If margin of victory on the field equates to style points for voters off of it, then Ohio State has accrued a ton of them the past two Saturdays.
One week after pasting Penn State 63-14, the Buckeyes took woefully undermanned Purdue to the woodshed, going into West Lafayette this afternoon and easily hurdling its way to a 56-0 win. The Buckeyes led the 1-7 Boilermakers 28-0 after the first quarter — Braxton Miller tossed three touchdown passes in the opening stanza — and OSU never looked back.
As dominating as the win looked on the scoreboard, it appeared just as one-sided on the stat sheet.
In the first half alone, the Buckeyes outgained the Boilermakers 350-87 in total offense. For the game, the advantage was 640-116 for the visiting Buckeyes. Driving home the statistical difference specifically and the massive gulf in general between the two programs, the Boilermakers did not eclipse the 100-yard mark in total offense until there were under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Ohio State’s Big Two of Miller and Carlos Hyde played their usual significant roles in the first-half pummeling, with the former passing for 233 yards — on 19-of-22 passing — and four touchdowns and the latter rushing for 91 yards on just seven carries. Neither played much in the second half after OSU rolled out to a 42-0 halftime lead and Urban Meyer took his foot off the Boilermakers’ throats a bit.
Miller, in fact, did not play at all the last two quarters, while Hyde played the first possession of the second half and finished with eight carries for 111 yards. It’s Hyde’s fourth consecutive game with 100-plus yards since missing the first three games of the season because of a suspension. Hyde now needs less than 300 yards (299 to be exact) in the final three games of the regular season to give Meyer the first 1,000-yard rusher of his coaching career.
With the win, the Buckeyes have now won a nation’s best 21 straight dating back to the first game of the 2012 season, with nine of those coming this season. Their last loss came 669 days ago in the Jan. 2, 2012, Gator Bowl against Meyer’s former team, the Florida Gators. OSU can tie the school record of 22 straight, set back in the late sixties, with a win over Illinois Nov. 23 — they have a bye next weekend — then break it at home the following Saturday against Indiana.
OSU’s current streak is the longest at the FBS level since Texas won 21 straight from 2004-06; ironically enough, it was the Buckeyes that snapped that Longhorn streak. The Buckeyes still have a ways to go to break the Big Ten’s overall record, however, as the Wolverines won 29 straight in 1901-03.
Incidentally, Alabama (12), Baylor (11) and Oregon (10) — all on byes this weekend — are the only other FBS teams with current double-digit win streaks. Florida State or Miami can reach 10 straight with a win in tonight’s Top-10 showdown.
Northern Illinois, thanks to its win today over UMass, is on the cusp of double digits at nine straight.