- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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Purdue at Ohio State
Oct. 20, at Ohio Stadium (kickoff and TV TBA)
About the Boilermakers
2011 record: 7-6 (4-4 Big Ten)
Ohio State all-time against Indiana: Buckeyes lead series 38-14-2
Last year: Purdue blocked an extra point to force overtime, then went on to spring their second upset at home in as many tries against the Buckeyes after Robert Marve punched in a quarterback sneak to cap a 26-23 thriller.
Top Boilermakers returners: RB Ralph Bolden, LG Peters Drey, WR Antavian Edison, RT Trevor Foy, TE Gabe Holmes, WR O.J. Ross, C Rick Schmeig, QB Caleb TerBush, QB Robert Marve, TE Crosby Wright, CB Ricardo Allen, LB Dwayne Beckford, DB Max Charlot, DT Bruce Gaston, CB Normondo Harris, CB Josh Johnson, LB Will Lucas, DE Ryan Russell, DT Kawann Short, DT Brandon Taylor
2011 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)
Rushing: Bolden* (674 yards, 6 touchdowns)
Passing: TerBush* (1,905 yards, 13 touchdowns, 6 interceptions)
Receiving: Siller (50 receptions, 474 yards, 1 touchdown)
Tackles: Holland (94)
Sacks: Short* (6.5)
Interceptions: Allen* (3)
What they're saying: "I believe we have the talent. I believe we have the experience. We're a very fast football team, a lot of fast guys on both sides of the ball. We have a very big, strong defensive front, experienced secondary, great experience and potential at the quarterback position. So all of the pieces are there. We have to put it all together and make it happen as a team." - Purdue coach Danny Hope
Three things to watch
1. Blood boiling: Unprompted during a session at Big Ten Media Days, Ohio State fullback Zach Boren referenced a couple upsets on his career resume he certainly would like to forget. Purdue has jumped up to stun the Buckeyes in two of the last three years, which is at least weighing on the mind of Boren heading into his last season with the program. The wild ending a year ago might only add to the motivation for Ohio State.
2. Building blocks: The
roster is filled with returning starters on each side of the ball, and if Purdue is going to make a push for a division title, it certainly helps that it's only competing with three other teams. But even with Ohio State and Penn State ineligible for the bid from the Leaders Division, the Boilermakers still have to play both of them along with heavy favorite Wisconsin and Illinois. And despite bringing back plenty of experience, the depth of talent might not yet match up with teams like the Buckeyes no matter how solid that first unit may be.
3. Experience counts: If not for Ohio State's John Simon, Purdue might feature the defensive lineman with the most buzz around him heading into the season. And while the Boilermakers will surely know where Simon is on every snap, the Buckeyes will have to return the favor when Kawann Short lines up looking to improve on the 17 tackles for a loss he piled up last season. Blessed with an abundance of athleticism in a 310-pound package, Short will have Ohio State's full attention when it establishes a game plan in the middle of October.
Purdue has upset Ohio State in two of the last three years heading into their 2012 matchup on Oct. 20