Ohio State is 7-0. Regardless of how they got there, no Buckeye fan can be disappointed in the fact the Urban Meyer is having a successful first year at the helm of their favorite team. Even so, many fans of the scarlet and grey are wondering how Ohio State would do against stronger opponents. While still a bit suspect, the offense manages to put plenty of points on the board each week, but the defense seems to be having difficulty wrapping up and tackling the player with the ball.
In their last two games the Buckeyes have managed to give up 49 points to Indiana and 38 points to Nebraska. While most would agree that Nebraska is a tough opponent, they would also agree that it's unusual to give up that many points to a team like Nebraska and not lose. Indiana is a different story. Everyone expected Ohio State to score a lot of points on the Hoosiers, but no one believed that the Hoosiers could score that many points on the Buckeyes.
So what will happen this week?
Purdue will offer a game similar to what we saw last week against Indiana. Offensively, Ohio State should be able to control the ball and give the Boilermaker offense little time on the field. Defensively, the Buckeyes should allow few yards and little offensive success to Purdue. The game should be a total domination by Ohio State.
But that's how the Indiana game was expected to go.
So what are the Buckeyes doing to ensure a better game this week? Urban Meyer is inserting himself more into the defense. Local Columbus channel WBNS-TV showed part of an interview with Meyer on Friday during which he explained his position. His concern is not with the logistics or the technical aspects of the defense. He believes that the team is too far into the season to be making changes there. His problem is with the lack of effort being exhibited by the defense. As only Urban Meyer can, he made it very clear that any player wanting to remain on the field had better demonstrate a strong desire to make the hit that stops the opponents in their tracks.
Meyer is also upping the ante on the defense. Plagued by injury, the Buckeye defense is hurting in several key positions, so it's going to be necessary to make some adjustments. Since there are several good running backs in the Buckeye roster, it's only smart to take a fast, strong fullback and give him a shot on the other side of the ball. After all, who else should able to read an offensive attack better than someone used to carrying the ball? So, starting at linebacker for the first time this year will be former running back (of 2 weeks ago) Zach Boren. Boren played some at linebacker last week, and was quite successful with 8 tackles on the day – the most of anyone on the team. Meyer is rewarding that effort by moving Boren into the starting position. Perhaps that will send a message to the rest of the defense.
Even though Purdue has a long history of spoiling Ohio State's undefeated seasons, this year it ain't gonna happen. Ohio State has too much to prove. Expect the Buckeyes to dominate on both sides of the ball.
Prediction: Ohio State 42, Purdue 13.
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