Buckeyes make it no contest

Buckeyes make it no contest

Purdue has played Ohio State close in recent years. This time, it was ugly from start to finish.

WEST LAFAYETTE -- For Purdue football fans, there is a silver lining to what took place on Saturday afternoon in Ross-Ade Stadium.

The college gridiron factory known as the Ohio State Buckeyes do not appear on the Boilermakers' schedule again until the 2018 season. To place that in perspective, current eighth-graders will be college freshmen the next time Purdue and Ohio State do this again.

For the past decade, Purdue has played some of its most memorable football against the Buckeyes, winning in 2004, 2009 and 2011 and falling in overtime in 2012 in Columbus.

But this time, on what turned out to be a gorgeous November afternoon, fourth-ranked Ohio State scored early and often, crushing the rebuilding Boilermakers, 56-0.

That is the second time this season an opponent has set a Ross-Ade single-game scoring record, replacing the 55 points unbeaten Northern Illinois put on the board on Sept. 28.

Promising Purdue freshman quarterback Danny Etling was intercepted for a dreaded pick-six on the game's third play from scrimmage, and it only got worse for the Boilermakers in front of a crowd of 51,423, dominated by those clad in red who made the trip across the state line from Ohio.

The Boilermakers, who were dressed in black on this day, had no answer for slick Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller, who passed for 233 yards and four touchdowns in less than three quarters of action.

Through the first three quarters, Ohio State ran 55 plays for 519 yards and 22 first downs while the rebuilding Boilermakers had 45 plays for 91 yards and seven first downs.

Etling, like The Fugitive, was running for his life from start to finish while Purdue defenders were running all over the field trying to contain Miller and all of those speedy skilled position athletes that find their way to the big campus in Columbus, Ohio.

How bad was it Saturday?

Well, it was 14-0 less than four minutes into the game, the Buckeyes averaged 10.5 yards per snap in the first quarter and even had a drive deep into Purdue territory stopped by a rare Miller mistake in the form of an interception.

The Boilermaker coaching staff picked up a 15-yard penalty for sideline interference, and the defense seemed to forget that opposing tight ends are indeed eligible to catch passes.

Darrell Hazell's winning personality and passion for football should serve Purdue well when taking a hard look at the big picture, but it has become painfully obvious that it will take time for the big picture to come into a focus that will please Boilermaker fans.

Purdue is 1-7 in this transition year from Danny Hope to Hazell and has been outscored by a collective 114-7 since the 55-24 loss to Northern Illinois on Sept. 28, which means that in their three most recent home games, the Boilermakers have given up 155 points while scoring only 31. Those numbers do not entice Purdue fans to purchase tickets, which is the lifeblood of an athletic department's budget.

With home games remaining on Nov. 9 against Iowa and on Nov. 23 against Illinois, will those Boilermaker fans who have tickets show up and create some kind of electricity and support a team that has a long way to go, as was proven again Saturday against a terrific Ohio State team.

Hazell said after the game that Purdue has to try to create some momentum during the season's final four games, as well as tackle better and do a better job of protecting Etling, who was sacked six times by a swarming, talented Buckeye defense.

Certainly, Purdue football is a work in progress. Maybe by the time these two programs meet again in 2018, the Boilermakers won't be giving up points in record numbers and the offense will be producing sustained drives and scoring points.

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