Urban Meyer thought Ohio State needed a pregame wake-up call Saturday. The Buckeyes answered with a quick flurry.
Interception return, touchdown. Two plays, touchdown. Six plays, touchdown. Two plays, touchdown. And that was just in the first quarter.
Doran Grant picked off the first pass of the game, scoring on a 33-yard return, and Braxton Miller threw for 233 yards and four touchdowns as No. 4 Ohio State extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 21 with a record-breaking rout 56-0 of Purdue.
"I saw, not necessarily a sleepy look, but I just didn’t like what I saw in our pregame," said Meyer, the Buckeyes’ coach. "So we brought them in here and kind of rattled them up a little bit and made sure they woke up."
Did they ever.
The Buckeyes produced the highest scoring total and most lopsided victory margin in the 56-game series, surpassing marks they set in a 49-0 victory in 2010. They handed Purdue (1-7, 0-4) its first back-to-back shutouts in six decades, and the 56-point loss matched the worst in Boilermakers history. Purdue lost 56-0 to Iowa on Oct. 28, 1922 and 56-0 to Chicago on Nov. 9, 1907.
It was hardly a surprise.
Ohio State (9-0, 5-0) hasn’t lost in 22 months. Meyer tied a personal best by winning his 22nd consecutive game, which includes his final victory at Florida.
Miller went 19 of 23 before giving way to Kenny Guiton for good in the second half. Guiton was 8 of 11, throwing one TD pass and running for two more. He finished with 98 yards rushing on nine carries, second only to Carlos Hyde who ran for 111 yards on eight carries.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman caught five passes for a career-high 116 yards and was one of five different Ohio State receivers to score.
Plus, the Buckeyes defense forced two turnovers, added six more sacks to their Big Ten-leading number and limited the Boilermakers to 116 total yards as a large contingent of scarlet-and-gray clad fans turned the road game into a pseudo home contest in the second half when most of the Boilermakers fans left. The combination was enough to keep Ohio State on track for a second straight perfect season and a potential berth in the BCS title game.
But the Buckeyes, admittedly, needed some early help.
"It was an early morning, we had to get up early, we had to get prepared, we had to eat well," Miller said. "We had to get the guys going and the coaches talked to us and got us hyped."
Purdue certainly didn’t need that.
The game that was billed as a blackout turned into a washout.
How bad was it?
Etling, the freshman, was 13 of 29 for 89 yards.
Purdue’s mistake-prone secondary was gouged so often by the Ohio State quarterbacks that the Boilers gave up a record-breaking scoring total in Ross-Ade Stadium for the second time this season.
The Boilermakers head into next week’s game against Iowa with eight consecutive scoreless quarters and with the dubious achievement of failing to reach the red zone for the third consecutive game. Purdue hasn’t taken a snap inside the opponents’ 20-yard line since late in a Sept. 28 loss to Northern Illinois, and still hasn’t beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision since Darrell Hazell took over the program after last season.
"We didn’t tackle very well, we had guys out of place quite a few times (on defense) and we need to get off the blocks," Hazell said. "We can’t get a quarterback beat up the way we did. We had problems in pass protection."
Miller & Co. made them pay for those miscues, seemingly every time.
On the game’s second snap, Grant stepped in front of B.J. Knauf, picked off Etling’s pass and sprinted 33 yards to make it 7-0.
Miller then threw a 40-yard TD pass to a wide open Jeff Heuerman on the Buckeyes’ second offensive play to give Ohio State a 14-0 lead. Before the first quarter ended, Miller threw an 8-yard TD pass to Nick Vannett and a 2-yard shovel pass for a TD to Corey Brown to make it 28-0.
Guiton threw a 1-yard TD pass to Chris Fields midway through the second quarter, and Miller hooked up with Ezekiel Elliott on a 10-yard scoring pass later in the first half to make it 42-0 at the half. Guiton ran for two scores in the second half to close out the milestone victory.
"We’re just playing Ohio State ball," Hyde said after the Buckeyes rolled up 640 yards in offense. "I expect this out of the offensive group, you know. Just come out and be explosive all day and put points up and put up yards. That’s what I expect from us."