Ohio State football: 5 takeaways from a 4-TD win over Purdue

COLUMBUS -- Ohio State came out of its offensive funk in a big way Saturday.

The fourth-ranked Buckeyes scored on nine of their 10 possessions before running out the clock in the fourth quarter of a 59-31 win over No. 19 Purdue.

That was more than enough to cover for a defense that gave up some yards but avoided the big bomb and lived to fight another day.

Here are five things to know about the game:

1. The Ohio State offense was nearly flawless.

The Buckeyes scored touchdowns on their first six possessions then settled for a field goal late in the second quarter.

They averaged 10.2 yards per play, including 11.2 through the air and 13.4 on the ground, in the first half when C.J. Stroud completed 19 of 25 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns.

“They were hitting on all cylinders today,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “They’re a playoff caliber team. They outplayed us, outmanned us, and beat us in every category. They easily have a chance to win it all.”

The Buckeyes finished with 624 total yards, matching the season high they put up against Akron in the fourth game of the season.

Stroud completed 31 of 38 passes for 361 yards and five touchdowns without a turnover while Jaxon Smith-Njigba caught nine passes for 139 yards.

After struggling to finish drives the last two weeks, Ohio State scored on five of its six trips into the red zone, the exception coming when the Buckeyes kneeled on the ball to run out the clock in the fourth quarter.

2. Garrett Wilson looked great in his return.

After missing the Nebraska game a week ago with an injury, Wilson wasted no time getting up to speed.

The star receiver scored his first touchdown less than four minutes into the game and had three total by the end of the first half. That included a 51-yard run and a highlight-reel 12-yard catch in which he reached back behind a defender to haul in the ball with both hands.

He struck again in the third quarter with a 24-yard touchdown catch for a score and finished with 10 catches for 126 yards.

“Honestly, I just came out here and did what I love doing,” he said. “I missed last week not being able to be out there with my brothers and to come back and be able to go out there on offense and have the game I had, it feels good for sure.”

3. The running game got untracked.

Ohio State didn’t run the ball much in the first half, but the Buckeyes didn’t have to. They averaged an eye-popping 13.4 yards per run with TreVeyon Henderson (12 yards per rush), Wilson (51) and Miyan Williams (8.5) all contributing.

Ohio State ran for 174 yards on 13 carries, nearly doubling their full-game yardage total (90) from a week ago, in the first 30 minutes.

The Buckeyes finished with 263 yards on 31 attempts, an average of 8.48 yards per.

Williams ran for 66 yards on the last drive of the game and finished with a game-high 117 on 14 carries. Henderson had 98 yards on 13 carries and scored two touchdowns.

4. The Boilermakers got their licks in.

Aidan O’Connell, who threw for over 500 yards the week before in an upset of then-No. 3 Michigan State, hit 40 of his 52 passes for 390 yards and four touchdowns Saturday.

Purdue finished with 481 total yards, the most Ohio State allowed since Oregon and Tulsa went over 500 yards in back-to-back weeks in early September.

“They’re a really good team and a really good offense,” linebacker Cody Simon said. “Their quarterback is really talented, and for us the job is to keep the ball in front and try to play another down. I commend all of our guys who played super hard. We’re fortunate enough to get a win out of this and move on.”

Star receiver David Bell won his individual matchup with Ohio State freshman cornerback Denzel Burke, but he had to work for it. Bell caught 11 passes on 17 attempts and finished with 103 yards. He one explosive play — a 23-yard catch on Purdue’s first offensive snap — and drew pass interference penalty on Burke.

“Guarding a receiver like that at such a young age, there’s going to be (room for) improvement,” Ohio State safety Bryson Shaw said. “The lessons you learn from that are drastic, and I thought Denzel played really great. You look at the stat sheet, 11 tackles, that’s huge for us. For Denzel, a corner like that, to come up and make some tackles, that’s awesome. I thought he did a good job on Bell. David’s a great player, he’s going to make his plays and Denzel made some plays as well.”

5. Purdue’s top defensive player had a quiet day.

Wide-side end George Karlaftis finished the day with only three tackles, the last of which came when the game was all but over in the fourth quarter. He had a tackle for loss in the third quarter but was held without a sack and was not credited with a quarterback pressure.

“We definitely did some different things to try to avoid the exposure to him,” Day said.

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