- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The quest for perfection is greater than the need for revenge.
But Ohio State is certainly aware of what happened against Purdue last year, and in some cases the veterans are still stinging from another loss in the series two years before that.
So while the search for retribution doesn't seem nearly as urgent as it did before games against Michigan State and Nebraska earlier this season, the Buckeyes are obviously trying to continue their trend of shutting down losing streaks to Big Ten opponents before they can ever start.
"It’s definitely a chip on our shoulder," cornerback Bradley Roby said. "When you go into a game, it’s like, ‘We lost to these guys last year, we can’t lose to them this year.’
"Especially last year we felt like we should have won the game, so it gives you more of an incentive to go out there and make plays and win the game more dominantly [after] a loss the year before."
Going back nearly a decade, the Buckeyes have used that mindset to consistently battle back in those situations to settle the score -- which they've already done twice this year alone.
Ohio State hasn't lost consecutive games to a conference opponent since Wisconsin went back-to-back in 2003 and '04, though technically the Boilermakers will bring a two-game winning streak to Ohio Stadium due to the sanctions that vacated a 2010 blowout loss on their last visit. Whether those losses came consecutively or not, the Buckeyes who were around for both of them clearly don't want to deal with another one.
"Oh man, yeah," wide receiver Jake Stoneburner said. "I wouldn’t say it’s the driving force, but they’ve beaten me twice. We blew that last year with the extra point, we’ve lost twice at their place, so you never like losing to a team -- especially twice. I don’t feel like we should have lost those games, so we definitely want to beat them.
"It’s not really revenge, but we don’t want to lose."
That's true for every week, of course. And the Buckeyes have bigger goals in front of them than simply getting even with the Boilermakers.
But that would be a nice bonus for them anyway.
"We’re trying to get to eight wins, you know, the only thing we want to do is win every game," Stoneburner said. "That has a lot to do with beating Purdue, so as long as we can beat Purdue and they happened to beat us last year, we’ll take it as a revenge game -- and I’ll take both of those."
Two-way action: Zach Boren is just a linebacker for the time being. But if the Buckeyes can get healthy at the position again before the end of the season, the senior might still wind up with a chance to carry the ball again before his career ends.
"Maybe when [Etienne] Sabino gets back," Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said. "I’ve been thinking about that. I’d love to hand him the ball just to reward him some time down in the red zone or something."
Until Sabino heals from the fractured bone in his leg, though, Boren will be focusing on his new responsibilities on defense. After leading the team with eight tackles in his first appearance at the position, he's expected to start at middle linebacker against Purdue.
Bumps and bruises: Nathan Williams is expected to return from the concussion that kept the defensive end out of the win over Indiana last week. A healthy Williams and improved play from freshman Noah Spence will enhance the options available for a banged-up defense and allow for more flexibility after a rough outing against the Hoosiers.
Other injury updates provided by Meyer:
Jordan Hall: Ruled out as the senior running back continues to recover from a partially torn ligament in his knee.
Ryan Shazier: Meyer called the linebacker "sore," but said he's ready to play.
Joshua Perry: Part of the group of injured linebackers that led to Boren's move a week ago, Meyer called him "fine."
He said it: "Potentially in the 3-4 if we do some odd stuff, which he’s already done some. There’s a chance of [Williams playing linebacker], and the one thing is Noah Spence played well enough that we trust him on the field now. That frees up Nate to maybe help us if we do some of that 3-4 stuff." -- Meyer on getting Williams and Spence on the field together
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The quest for perfection is greater than the need for revenge.But Ohio State is certainly aware of what happened against Purdue last year, and in some cases the veterans are still stinging from another loss in the series two years before that.