After two landslide defeats, losing a close one didn't feel any better to Purdue.
Caleb TerBush and the Boilermakers had No. 7 Ohio State right where they wanted. The Buckeyes were down by eight points with 47 seconds left and a long way to go to the end zone. They were also missing their star quarterback.
But backup Kenny Guiton threw a TD pass with 3 seconds left and followed it with another completion for the tying two-point conversion to force overtime. From there, the Buckeyes scored on a run by Carlos Hyde, and the Boilermakers misfired on four passes. That was enough for Ohio State to seal a 29-22 victory.
"The past couple of weeks we got blown out at home," TerBush said, referring to 44-13 and 38-14 losses to Michigan and Wisconsin, respectively. "Then we fight down to the wire at Ohio State. It would have been a huge win for us. It's disappointing, but as we learned from the past couple of weeks, we have to move on."
What could have been a historic day for the Boilermakers (3-4, 0-3 Big Ten) ended up as their third consecutive loss. There were plenty of high points — Akeem Hunt sped 100 yards with a kickoff in the first quarter, and the Boilermakers were in command for most of the game. But the bottom line was another setback.
No one should have been more down than head coach Danny Hope, but he tried to avoid making matters worse than they were.
Asked if this was the most devastating loss in his four seasons with the Boilermakers, he smiled and said, "I didn't say that, you did. No."
But he wasn't happy with how his team handled the last few minutes. He certainly wasn't happy with the officiating, either. He felt Ohio State got away with a lot of holding calls.
"I know this: There's a couple things in my next life I do not want to come back as," Hope said. "One of them is an official and the other one is probably a defensive coach."
For almost 60 minutes, he couldn't have had any complaints with his own defense or its coaches.
In home losses to Michigan and Wisconsin, his defense gave up 82 points, 771 yards rushing, and 1,054 total yards. Purdue's defense ranked 97th in the nation against the run (200 yards per game), 76th in total defense (412 yards), and 71st in scoring defense (27.5 points).
But with 2:40 left, strong safety Landon Feichter intercepted a tipped pass by Guiton. All Purdue had to do was run out the clock.
Before the Boilermakers even got their hands on the ball, however, a lineman jumped offside. TerBush completed a sideline pass to Gabe Holmes for a yard, Brandon Cottom rushed for a yard up the middle, and Akeem Shavers — who had raced 83 yards for a touchdown with a TerBush pass on the game's first offensive snap — gained seven yards around left end. Because of the penalty, the Boilers had to punt.
"That was huge," said TerBush, who completed 19 of 30 passes for 230 yards and two scores with one interception. "All we needed was one first down and we would have been able to run the clock out. That false start (penalty) killed us."
Cody Webster's 48-yard punt and Chris Fields' nine-yard return gave Ohio State one last gasp from its own 39. The Buckeyes made the most of it, driving the length of the field, scoring, and then forcing overtime.
In overtime, Ohio State quickly scored as Guiton, who took over when standout Braxton Miller was injured and left late in the third quarter, handled the pressure with the poise of a starter.
"We'll get a better look once we watch film," Purdue defensive end Ryan Russell said. "Just from our perspective, the defensive line needed to disrupt the quarterback a little more."
TerBush then threw two incompletions, hit on a 5-yard gainer to Holmes, and then was hurried and misfired on a last shot at the end zone.
Ohio State fans flooded the field in celebration.
"Before the game we talked about playing 60 minutes," Feichter said. "Unfortunately, we played 59 minutes and 30 seconds."
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