After dropping its second game of the season to Oregon, No. 5 Ohio State has since rattled off seven-straight wins, including this past weekend’s hard-fought 26-17 victory over a scrappy Nebraska team. While things didn’t look so great at times for the Buckeyes, they did manage to hand the Cornhuskers their largest loss of the season, winning by a larger margin against Scott Frost’s team than Oklahoma, Michigan or Michigan State.
Despite the closer-than-expected final score, Ohio State did do quite a few things well — especially on the defensive end. The defensive line in particular continued its incredible stretch, piling up four of the team’s five sacks including contributions from Tyreke Smith, Zach Harrison, Javontae Jean-Baptiste and Jack Sawyer. Harrison has turned it up as of late, and Smith has looked like a man possessed in each of the last two games. Just imagine how good he would be playing if the Big Ten refs were willing to call a single holding against him!
The Buckeyes did allow a pair of long passing plays in the game — one a 72-yard touchdown by Samori Toure — but otherwise were pretty solid on the back end. They were especially good against the run, which has been a trend for much of the year. Nebraska finished with 113 yards on the ground, but the Huskers averaged just 3.3 yards per carry and got 21 of those yards on one long scamper by Adrian Martinez. Overall, the defense played pretty well and was surprisingly the better half of Ohio State’s team for the second week in a row.
On the offensive end, the only player that was able to do much of anything was Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The second-year receiver absolutely showed-out with 15 catches for 240 yards and a touchdown, which was especially important with Garrett Wilson sitting out with a concussion. The Buckeyes once again struggled to establish the run, as TreVeyon Henderson finished with 92 yards on a 4.4 yards-per-carry average behind an offensive line unit that continues to look suspect in the run-blocking department. C.J. Stroud was just okay, throwing a pair of picks but also racking up 405 yards and two TDs on an afternoon where he clearly wasn’t on his A-game.
Ohio State vs. Purdue: Week 11 betting lines
(All odds courtesy of the DraftKings Sportsbook)
Spread: Ohio State -20
Ohio State opens as nearly three-touchdown favorites against Purdue, which is a bit surprising based on how the two teams looked in their last times out. The Boilermakers sit at 6-3 on the season, and 4-2 in the Big Ten. However, while their record may look pedestrian at best, this team has been anything but — especially when they match up against ranked conference opponents.
After knocking off No. 2 Iowa earlier this year, Purdue is coming off a massive 40-29 victory against No. 3 Michigan State this weekend. The Spartans secondary has been a bit suspect at points this season, and Jeff Brohm’s team looked to take advantage early and often. Aiden O’Connell put up a casual 536 yards passing while completing 40 of his 54 attempts with three touchdowns and no picks. His favorite target, as it has been all year, was the speedy David Bell, who caught 11 passes for a whopping 217 yards and a touchdown.
Ohio State fans won’t want to hear this, but this Purdue team is built very alike to the one that upset them in 2018 — albeit that contest was in West Lafayette. Bell is likely the best non-OSU wide receiver in the Big Ten, and his style of play is eerily similar to a man by the name of Rondale Moore. The Boilermaker defense is solid as well, led by defensive end George Karlaftis. The stud defensive end leads the team on the year with six tackles for loss to go along with his 2.5 sacks, while defensive back Cam Allen has been the star of the secondary with a team-high four picks as well as 40 total tackles.
The 20-point spread is hefty, especially if Ohio State’s woes on the ground and in the red zone continue. However, Purdue may be a bit emotionally spent after their huge upset this Saturday, and will not have the added benefit of the home crowd behind them. The Buckeyes are well aware of the dangers the Boilermakers present, and surely won’t take them lightly. It will also be Ohio State’s last chance to “tune up” before games against Michigan State and Michigan, but Purdue will not be a pushover despite what the Vegas odds may lead you to believe.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.