Buckeyes have had their struggles in Ross-Ade

Ray Stein The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins fights for yardage against Purdue linebacker Cornel Jones during the first quarter. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Ohio State and Purdue have been members of the same athletic conference for more than 100 years. But because of quirks in the Big Ten schedule, the teams had played football in the Boilermakers’ stadium only 21 times before Saturday’s 49-20 Purdue win in prime time.

A large sample size is not necessary, however, for the Buckeyes to declare that Ross-Ade Stadium has been something of a house of horrors over the years. It certainly was Saturday night.

Ohio State brought a 13-8 record in West Lafayette into its game against Purdue, a .619 winning percentage that is minuscule compared with OSU’s .823 percentage at home (27-5-2) against the Boilermakers.

Remarkably, the Buckeyes took the field at Ross-Ade as a top-10 team for the 12th time in 22 meetings. OSU entered ranked No. 2 in the country. In those previous 11 meetings as a highly ranked team, Ohio State went 8-3 against the Boilermakers, though scant few of those matchups could be described as cakewalks.

Here are some of the notable games over the years:

Oct. 15, 1960: A week after whipping No. 4 Illinois 34-7 in Champaign, the third-ranked Buckeyes, who had allowed only seven points in three games, were humbled on the road at Purdue, losing 24-21. Willie Jones, who had not scored a touchdown in his career, had three TDs against OSU, including the go-ahead score with two seconds left in the third quarter.

Nov. 14, 1970: Ohio State was 7-0, ranked No. 3 and a week away from a revenge game against Michigan — those 1969 spoilers — but nearly tripped on the way. On a muddy field, the Buckeyes and Boilermakers traded touchdowns early in the first quarter before the defenses buckled down. Fred Schram’s 30-yard field goal with 2:04 remaining gave OSU a 10-7 win.

Oct. 6, 1984: The Buckeyes looked strong in opening the season 4-0 and took a No. 2 ranking into an early test at Big Ten co-leader Purdue. Jim Everett passed for three touchdowns and Rod Woodson returned an interception 55 yards for a fourth-quarter score to spark the Boilermakers’ 28-23 victory. Keith Byars had 191 yards rushing and 102 receiving for OSU, which still made the Rose Bowl.

Nov. 9, 2002: OSU was 10-0 and No. 3 in the polls when it traveled to West Lafayette for a game in windy conditions against an average Purdue (4-5) team. The game was a slog, with the Boilermakers taking a 6-3 lead midway through the fourth quarter on a field goal. But Craig Krenzel saved the day with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins on fourth-and-1 with 1:36 remaining. That gave the Buckeyes a 10-6 win, and “Holy Buckeye” was born.

Oct. 11, 2007: Purdue entered its prime-time game with a 5-0 record, a No. 23 ranking and offensive averages of 496 yards and 45 points. But the fourth-ranked Buckeyes clamped down on quarterback Curtis Painter and the Boilermakers, limiting them to 272 yards and a garbage-time TD in a 23-7 OSU win. Todd Boeckman passed for 200 yards and two touchdowns for Ohio State.

Oct. 17, 2009: After a close loss to Southern California early in the season, Ohio State took a four-game winning streak into its game at Ross-Ade. But the Buckeyes committed five turnovers and was outscored 20-0 in the middle quarters in a 26-18 loss. OSU still won the Big Ten and went to the Rose Bowl.

rstein@dispatch.com

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