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Purdue: The Thorn In Ohio State's Side

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Ohio State wide receiver Jeff Heuerman and the Buckeyes look to celebrate a second straight win over Purdue on Saturday. The Buckeyes beat the Boilermakers in overtime in 2012, but was it the best Ohio State-Purdue game in the BCS era? Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images.
Ohio State wide receiver Jeff Heuerman and the Buckeyes look to celebrate a second straight win over Purdue on Saturday. The Buckeyes beat the Boilermakers in overtime in 2012, but was it the best Ohio State-Purdue game in the BCS era? Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Old Brass Spittoon, the Little Brown Jug, Paul Bunyan’s Axe and the Old Oaken Bucket — those are just a few of the trophies boasted in the Big Ten’s most storied rivalries.

There is no trophy, however, for the Ohio State-Purdue series.

It might be time to ignite that tradition considering that the Buckeyes and Boilermakers have played some doozies over the years.

The series has helped decide Big Ten champions, Rose Bowl berths, national championships and even gave us the famous “Holy Buckeye!” call (Thank you, Brent Musburger). 

The series began in 1919 and the Buckeyes hold a 39-14-2 advantage over the Boilermakers. Nevertheless, Purdue has given Ohio State some fits and rattled some nerves — particularly in the BCS era.

No. 4 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) has dropped three of its last four meetings with Purdue (1-6, 0-3) in West Lafayette, Ind., and has only won once in the last decade at Ross-Ade Stadium (2007). But the Buckeyes shouldn’t have a problem this week against the reeling Boilermakers (noon ET, Big Ten Network) with Ohio State coming off a 63-14 drubbing of Penn State last week.

The Buckeyes are a 31-point favorite, but Purdue has been a formidable opponent in recent years despite the season circumstances for either team, which has made for some classic clashes.

“It will be fun. It’s Purdue versus Ohio State and that is what it comes down to,” first-year Purdue head coach and former Ohio State assistant Darrell Hazell said during this week’s Big Ten teleconference. “There are still some players (at Ohio State) that I have good relationships with and coaches I have good relationships with.

“But at the end of the day, it’s still Purdue versus Ohio State.”

With this being the swan song season for the BCS, here is a look at the Top 5 Ohio State-Purdue matchups from the BCS era, beginning with the No. 1 game in the rivalry.

2002: No. 3 Ohio State 10, Purdue 6 

Ohio State won its first national championship since 1970, but had some close games and major scares along the way, with Purdue being one of them. Purdue almost derailed the Buckeyes' national title campaign late in the season when Ohio State (10-0, 5-0), ranked No. 3 at the time, went on the road against the stumbling Boilermakers (4-5, 2-3).

With just more than two minutes left in the game and Ohio State trailing, 6-3, the Buckeyes faced fourth-and-1 from the Purdue 37-yard line. Head coach Jim Tressel gambled and opted to go for the first down rather than attempt a 54-yard field goal. Quarterback Craig Krenzel checked down to his third receiver option in Michael Jenkins and found Jenkins at the goal line for the eventual game-winning touchdown.

Cue “Holy Buckeye!”

The PAT put the Buckeyes ahead, 10-6, and CB Chris Gamble intercepted Purdue QB Kyle Orton on the ensuing series to extinguish any chance of a Purdue comeback.

The following week, Ohio State needed overtime to beat Illinois, 23-16, then edged Michigan, 14-9, to earn a BCS title game berth. The Buckeyes won the the Fiesta Bowl national title game, defeating 11.5-point favorite Miami, 31-24, in double-overtime to hoist the crystal football.

Purdue (7-6, 4-4) finished unranked and defeated Washington, 34-24, in the Sun Bowl.

2000: No. 16 Purdue 31, No. 12 Ohio State 27

The last time that Purdue played in the Rose Bowl, Lyndon B. Johnson was president and Woodstock was still two years away. Thanks to a 34-27 win at home in late October over Ohio State in 2000, Purdue solidified itself in "The Granddaddy of Them All" for the first time since 1967.

Purdue (6-2, 3-2) led Ohio State (7-2, 5-1) at halftime, 7-3, before both teams combined for 48 points in the second half and traded leads in the fourth quarter.

Ohio State S Mike Doss made his second interception of the day off Purdue QB Drew Brees, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by RB Jerry Westbrooks to give the Buckeyes a 27-24 lead with 2:16 remaining in the game.

Brees answered quickly with a 64-yard touchdown pass to WR Seth Morales to regain the lead with 1:55 left to play and ultimately seal the win.

Purdue went on to lose to Washington in the Rose Bowl, 34-24, and finished No. 13 in the AP/USA Today final rankings.

Ohio State lost to Michigan, 38-26, in the regular season finale and fell again to South Carolina, 24-7, in the Outback Bowl to drop out of the Top 25.

2009: Purdue 26, No. 7 Ohio State 18

Ohio State entered its matchup with Purdue ranked No. 7 in the country with a 16-game Big Ten road winning streak (one shy of the Big Ten record) and a 6-2 advantage over the Boilermakers in the BCS era. Having already lost to USC in the second week of the season, Ohio State still had hopes of making a run at the national championship game. 

Instead, the Boilermakers (2-5, 1-2) sent the Buckeyes (5-2, 3-1) packing for Pasadena and the Rose Bowl.

Ohio State trailed, 9-7, at halftime before Purdue got two touchdown passes from Joey Elliot to Aaron Valentine of 15 and 23 yards, respectively, in the third quarter to extend the Boilermakers' lead to 23-7.

Sparked by QB Terrelle Pryor, the Buckeyes tallied 177 yards to rally in the fourth quarter. Aaron Pettry had a 24-yard field goal early in the final frame to cut the lead to 23-10 after Ohio State got inside the Purdue 5-yard line, but was unable to reach the end zone. Purdue answered with a field goal of its own with 10 minutes left to play. Ohio State followed with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Pryor to WR DeVier Posey and the two-point conversion made it a 26-18 deficit. But the Buckeyes were unable to maintain their momentum in the final minutes and returned to Columbus with the loss.

Ohio State defeated Oregon in the Rose Bowl, 26-17. Purdue, which lost to Oregon, 38-36, in the second week of the season, failed to qualify for a bowl game.

2012: No. 7 Ohio State 29, Purdue 22 (OT)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: QB Braxton Miller gets injured in a game and backup Kenny Guiton comes in to save the day.

Purdue led Ohio State, 22-14, with 47 seconds left in regulation. Guiton, who was filling in for Miller after he left the game late in the third quarter with a head injury, engineered a 61-yard, game-tying touchdown drive capped by a 2-yard toss to WR Chris Fields with three seconds left on the clock. Guilton hit TE Jeff Heuerman the two-point conversion to send the game in overtime.

In overtime, RB Carlos Hyde scored on a 1-yard run and the Buckeyes' defense forced a Purdue four-and-out to ice the win.

Guiton’s gutty performance in Ohio State’s (8-0, 4-0) dramatic win over Purdue (3-4, 0-3) was a preview of his serviceability as a backup signal-caller in 2013. Guiton is 2-0 as a starter this season, claiming Big Ten player of the week honors for his performances against Cal and Florida A&M in back-to-back weeks.

Even though Ohio State was serving a one-year bowl suspension last season, the win preserved the Buckeyes' undefeated season under first-year head coach Urban Meyer. Purdue lost to Oklahoma State, 58-14, in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

2003: No. 4 Ohio State 16, No. 10 Purdue 13 (OT)

Playing on senior day at Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes needed a 36-yard field goal from Mike Nugent in overtime to get past Purdue. Nugent had a chance to win the game on the last play of regulation, but Purdue's Bobby Iwuchukwu blocked Nugent's 41-yard attempt.

Nugent converted on Ohio State’s (10-1, 6-1) opening possession of overtime, but Purdue (8-3, 5-2) placekicker Ben Jones missed a 36-yarder that would have sent the game into another overtime period.

Jones also missed a 28-yard attempt in the third quarter with the game tied, 6-6.

As a side note, Ohio State and Purdue both played Bowling Green in 2003, with Meyer manning the Bowling Green sidelines in his first season as an FBS head coach. Purdue lost to Meyer’s Falcons, 27-26, in its season opener. The Boilermakers finished No. 18 in the AP poll after losing to Georgia in the Citrus Bowl, 34-27 in overtime.

Ohio State, which edged Bowling Green, 24-17, lost to rival Michigan following its win over Purdue and went on to win the Fiesta Bowl, 35-28, over Kansas State.

For The Record

An Ohio State win over the Boilermakers on Saturday will extend the nation’s longest active winning streak to 20 games. The longest winning streak in Ohio State history is 22 games (1967-69), matching Meyer’s personal record while he was at Florida from 2008-09.

With the additions of Maryland and Rutgers in the Big Ten next season and the pending realignment and renaming of the Leaders and Legends divisions to the Western and Eastern divisions, respectively, Ohio State and Purdue are not scheduled to play again until 2018.

Maybe we should hold off on that trophy for now, at least until the series is rekindled in five years.