I believed in him. Ohio State had struggled to move the ball with a passing game which was as bad as usual and a running game that was never able to get going. Despite all of that, late in the fourth quarter the Bucks took the ball in good field position, trailing by only six.
As the team drove, it wasn’t pretty, but I believed in the ability of freshman quarterback Braxton Miller to lead the offense down the field.
I believed that the magician could pull the rabbit out of his hat. The offense moved with a different swagger on that drive.
But in the Purdue red zone, the offense hit the wall. After a couple plays that went no where, Ohio State faced a fourth and 8 with 1:37 left in the fourth quarter and the clock ticking.
Miller dropped back and pressure forced him out of the pocket. An Ohio State offensive linemen had fallen to the ground. Miller hurdled over the down player, and off his back foot, across his body threw a pass which found junior running back Jordan Hall who was tackled into the end zone.
It was the second time in three games that the Buckeye offense managed to come up with a clutch play late in the game.
OSU hadn’t looked impressive on either side of the ball, but now stood an extra point away from taking a demoralizing lead.
But the unthinkable happened as the ensuing extra point attempt was blocked by Purdue. Such a deflating moment. The game remained tied.
Purdue had a solid return, taking the ball to midfield and looked to be putting a drive together that would challenge for a touchdown before a Robert Marve pass was intercepted by the Bucks.
Ohio State would run out regulation.
In overtime, Purdue won the coin toss and elected for Ohio State to take the ball first. After a lackluster first two downs, the Buckeyes completed a 15 yard pass that setup a fourth and short and kicker Drew Basil was able to give Ohio State their first lead of the afternoon. 23-20.
Purdue performed well when they took the ball. Picking up a first down, the Buckeye defense seemed to stiffen, and Purdue faced a third and 11. With one of the best kickers in the Big Ten, I expected Purdue to run and setup an easy field goal, but they threw a pass that would pickup the first down and take the Boiler Makers to the 1 yard line.
Marve would push his way into the end zone on the following play to win the game.
It was a very disappointing loss. But Ohio State didn’t look good today. Honestly, Purdue deserved to win this game. I had a bad feeling in the first down where they continued to pick up huge chunks of yards and the Buckeye offense struggled.
Purdue was very successful at disrupting the Ohio State running game.
A good sign was Miller again played well under pressure. On one fourth quarter drive, the freshman picked up two first downs on his feet.