12:00 PM ET, November 2, 2013
Ross-Ade Stadium, WEST LAFAYETTE, IN
(AP) -- Almost every major college football team burns with the central goal of playing for a national championship.
That's also true at Ohio State, only with a twist.
Coach Urban Meyer says a more realistic and reachable goal is to merely be in a position to play for all the marbles, and the fourth-ranked Buckeyes open their November stretch run with a game Saturday at struggling Purdue.
"We don't go into the season saying we want to win this one, or this one. If you look around there's not a bunch of goals," he said Monday. "Our goal is to win the national championship, but we don't put that down. There's too many variables involved."
Instead of reaching for an all-or-nothing prize, Meyer and the Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) hope to head into the stretch run of the season with championships on the line.
"It's always the same: To get to November and then let's go try to find a way to win a championship," Meyer said. "Because there's injuries and issues you have to deal with. So that's our focus."
Ohio State's season may not have traced the line a lot of Ohio State fans or insiders had plotted before the season even got going.
Due to injuries and suspensions, it seems the cast of characters has changed each week.
Yet the Buckeyes enter their final four games riding a 20-game winning streak and with a world of possibilities.
It's been so long since they lost that they have to think hard what it felt like.
"It has been a few years. What, the Gator Bowl was the last loss?" tight end Jeff Heuerman said, referring to a 24-17 defeat to Florida on Jan. 2, 2012, that capped a dreadful 6-7 campaign. "We experienced that a few times that year. A lot of the guys remember that. And that's not something we want."
Things are going so well right now that the Buckeyes are content to ride the wave and see where it takes them.
The offense, in particular, appears to be on a high-speed treadmill. It is averaging a Big Ten-best 47.2 points, coming off a 63-14 rout of Penn State last Saturday.
After a while, opposing defenses just want the game to end.
"We like to call that 'no mas,'" tailback Carlos Hyde said with a grin. "It's pretty easy to tell when guys don't want anymore. They don't want to even tackle you anymore. And the offensive line is just blowing guys off the ball."
The Boilermakers (1-6, 0-3) are unquestionably suffering through a difficult season, but Ohio State is not expressing much sympathy.
Purdue has won the last two meetings and four of the last six in West Lafayette, Ind., and almost shocked the unbeaten Buckeyes a year ago at Ohio Stadium before losing 29-22 in overtime.
"Each week we respect our opponent," linebacker Curtis Grant said. "(Their record) doesn't have anything to do with it because they could come out this week and be ready to play. If you're not ready to play, you'll take a loss."
After this game at Ross-Ade Stadium, the Buckeyes have a bye week to gear up for games at Illinois (3-4, 0-3), the home finale against Indiana (3-4, 1-2) a week later, and then the annual grudge match with rival Michigan (6-1, 2-1) at The Big House on Nov. 30.
Meyer isn't concerned about a letdown at any point along the way.
"We're going into November, we are competing for championships," he said. "So you can bet the focus is very intense."
Purdue, last in most statistical categories in the conference, has dropped five straight. The Boilermakers fell 14-0 at Michigan State in their last game Oct. 19 and 44-7 to Nebraska the previous week.
"I think we're making strides but obviously we're not making enough plays to get the ball into the end zone," coach Darrell Hazell said. "We haven't been able to finish drives all season long."
Top 25 Overview
Purdue once again is struggling and has just one victory, which obviously pales in comparison to Ohio State's 20-game winning streak. But Purdue has won the past two matchups at Ross-Ade Stadium and took the unbeaten Buckeyes to overtime last season in Columbus, which has helped keep them focused as they try to keep pace in the BCS standings.
|Avg Points Allowed||17.0||37.1|
The Buckeyes racked up at least 50 points last week for the seventh time in two seasons under Urban Meyer, one more than they did in 10 seasons under Jim Tressel. Perhaps even more impressive, a 50-point effort Saturday against Purdue would give Ohio State back-to-back 50-point games for the third time under Meyer after doing so on just four occasions from 1890 to 2011 (122 seasons).
Ohio State now has a 21-game win streak, tied for the 4th-longest in the last 10 seasons.[+]
Longest Win Streaks - FBS Last 10 Seasons
Ohio State has now scored at least 40 pts in the 1st half of back-to-back games for the 1st time over the last 10 seasons (42 pts in 1st half vs Penn State last week). Entering Saturday, the only FBS teams to do so in 2013 were Baylor (3 straight) and Oregon.
Ohio State is the 2nd Big Ten team in last 10 seasons with back-to-back 600-yd games in a conference game. Northwestern in 2005 also did it.
Jeff Heuerman's 40-yard touchdown reception was his longest career catch.
Braxton Miller threw for 4 pass TD in the 1st half against Purdue. It's the first time Miller has ever thrown for 4 touchdowns in a half.
Ohio State's 56-0 win over Purdue is its largest shutout win vs a Big Ten opponent since 1980 (defeated Northwestern 63-0).
Ohio State opens its scoring at Purdue with an INT ret TD by Doran Grant, his 1st career touchdown... It was the Buckeyes' 2nd defensive TD of the season (fumble recovery in EZ at Northwestern) and their 1st pick-6 since last season at Penn State.
Ohio State has scored 30+ points in 9 straight games, the longest such streak in school history. Previous record was 8, done in 1969.
Including Saturday vs Purdue, Ohio State has scored at least 50 points in back-to-back games 3 times in less than 2 seasons under Urban Meyer after doing so just 4 times in 122 seasons from 1890-2011.
Today was Ohio State's 8th 50-point game under Urban Meyer in 21 games. Ohio State had 6 such games under Jim Tressel in 128 games.
Ohio State scored 28 points in the first quarter Saturday and has now scored the most 1st-quarter points in the FBS this season.[+]
Most 1st-Quarter Points - FBS This Season
3rd time this season Ohio State has scored at least 24 pts in the 1st quarter. Scored 24 at Cal on Sept. 14 and 34 against Florida A&M on Sept. 21.
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