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Purdue vs. Ohio State Football Prediction and Preview

Aidan O'Connell, Purdue Boilermakers Football

Aidan O'Connell and company try to be the "Spoilermakers" once again when they travel to Columbus to face the undefeated Buckeyes

The Ohio State Buckeyes welcome the Purdue Boilermakers to Ohio Stadium for the first time since 2012. The invitation comes with much trepidation, as Purdue's reputation as the "Spoilermakers" is well-known by Ohio State fans.

Ohio State leads the all-time series between the two teams, with 39 victories compared to 15 for the Boilermakers, as well as two ties (1946, 1958). With a closer glance, though, Purdue has won three of the last five meetings (2009, 2011, 2018), although all of the Boilermakers' wins have taken place in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Note: Ohio State's 49-0 win in 2010 in Ohio Stadium was vacated by the NCAA.)

Purdue is basking in its second win over a top-five ranked team, defeating then-No. 3 Michigan State 40-29 at home last Saturday. Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm recognizes that the Boilermakers will need to focus upon the task at hand: going on the road to defeat Ohio State. Purdue sits at 6-3, with a 4-2 record within the Big Ten.

"Well, we've got a big week ahead of us and a tremendous opponent that has a ton of talent," Brohm said at a press conference. "They're well-coached. ... They play really good football. We're going to have our hands full. We've got to get back to work and understand we've got to continue to improve and get better and shore up some things in all three segments and make sure that we can play as error-free as we can this week in order to have a chance to beat Ohio State. But we're looking forward to the challenge. I think our guys will practice hard and we'll go up there and see what we can do."

Ohio State enters the game with an 8-1 record, 6-0 mark within the Big Ten, and No. 4 in this week's College Football Playoff Rankings. Ohio State has struggled to score points in the red zone in two straight games, and the Buckeyes have become overly reliant upon their passing game, which has come at the expense of their traditionally strong running game.

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day recognizes that although the Buckeyes departed with a victory over Nebraska, there is always room for improvement. Said Day following the game, "At this point, you got to survive and move on. We talked about how you got to bring it every single week. You're gonna get everybody's best punch with nine conference games. There are great teams that we’re playing. I'm very, very impressed with Nebraska. Thought they played strong. We're gonna go again next week against Purdue."

Purdue at No. 4 Ohio State

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 13 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Ohio State -20

When Purdue Has the Ball

Purdue ranks second within the Big Ten, behind Ohio State, with 333 passing yards per game. Purdue has alternated quarterbacks, but Aidan O'Connell has seemingly become the primary player. O'Connell is coming off a stellar performance versus Michigan State, where he completed 40 of 54 passes for 536 yards and three touchdowns.

O'Connell's top receiving target is standout wide receiver David Bell. Bell leads the Big Ten this season with 64 receptions for 1,003 yards, averaging nearly 16 yards per reception, and has five touchdowns.

Both Iowa and Michigan State struggled to effectively defend against Bell, who leads the Boilermakers in receptions by a substantial margin; the next leading receiver for Purdue is Milton Wright, who has 36 receptions for 368 yards and three touchdowns. Also of note, Purdue is last in the Big Ten in rushing offense, averaging only 77 yards per game on the ground. While Ohio State cannot ignore the threat of Purdue running the ball, it may bear watching to see how Ohio State elects to defend Bell, as he is the vital cog in the Boilermaker offense.

When Ohio State Has the Ball

Ohio State is second nationally to Virginia in total offense, averaging 541.8 yards per game. Ohio State's passing game, led by redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud, features playmakers such as Chris Olave, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Garrett Wilson. Wilson missed the game at Nebraska on Nov. 6 but is expected to be back versus Purdue.

As mentioned earlier, Ohio State's running game took a demonstrably evident backseat to the passing game in the Buckeyes' 26-17 win at Nebraska. Freshman TreVeyon Henderson leads the team with 937 yards rushing and could be called upon by Day to help balance out the offense with a big day running the ball.

Purdue has improved considerably on the defensive side of the ball this season. Among the Boilermakers' leading players is defensive end George Karlaftis, who has 2.5 sacks this season and is continually disruptive along the defensive line. For an Ohio State offensive line that had its share of struggles against Nebraska, keeping an eye on where Karlaftis is lined up will be critical.

Final Analysis

Ryan Day will have no problem getting his team's attention with Purdue coming to town, as the Buckeyes will know how the Boilermakers upended both Iowa and Michigan State. This game will hinge upon how Ohio State's revamped defensive staff schemes for David Bell, and how well the Buckeyes are able to keep Purdue from putting up points when they are in the red zone. Look for Ohio State to focus on running the ball more, to keep Purdue's offense on the sidelines, especially in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Purdue 28

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— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also is podcasting for Buckeye Scoop. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.