By Michael Marot
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.: Unbeaten Ohio State was unblemished Saturday.
Doran Grant intercepted Danny Etling’s first pass, returning it for a touchdown, and Braxton Miller threw for 233 yards and four touchdowns to lead the fourth-ranked Buckeyes to a record-breaking 56-0 victory at Purdue.
Ohio State (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) kept its national title hopes alive by extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 21 in a row — and they did it in a venue where they had lost three of their past four.
Coach Urban Meyer, who hasn’t lost in 34½ months, tied his personal best by winning a 22nd consecutive game, a streak that includes his final victory at Florida. Meyer also won 22 in a row with the Gators in 2008-09.
Ohio State won this one in dominant fashion, too, scoring the most points and producing the most lopsided victory in the history of this 56-game series. Both of the previous marks came in 2010 when Ohio State beat Purdue 49-0. Miller was 19-of-23 despite not playing in the second half.
Backup Kenny Guiton threw for one touchdown and rushed for two more on a day that five Buckeyes receivers caught touchdown passes.
Etling was 13-of-29 for 89 yards and was sacked six more times. He’s now been sacked 19 times in four games. Purdue (1-7, 0-4), meanwhile, has lost six in a row and endured its second consecutive shutout for the first time since 1953.
The Boilermakers still have not beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision team in coach Darrell Hazell’s first season as coach, and they haven’t taken a snap in the red zone since late in a Sept. 28 loss to Northern Illinois.
This one was ugly right from the start.
On the game’s second snap, Grant stepped in front of B.J. Knauf, picked off Etling’s pass and sprinted 33 yards to make it 7-0.
Miller then threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Jeff Heuerman on the Buckeyes’ second offensive play to give Ohio State a 14-0 lead. Before the first quarter ended, Miller threw an 8-yard touchsdown pass to Nick Vannett and a 2-yard shovel pass for a touchdown to Corey Brown to make it 28-0.
Guiton threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Chris Fields midway through the second quarter, and Miller hooked up with Ezekiel Elliott on a 10-yard scoring pass later in the first half to make it 42-0 at the half. And it could have been worse. Brown’s 60-yard punt return for a touchdown was called back on an illegal block.
Guiton ran for two scores, breaking the scoring record on a 1-yard touchdown run with 10:37 left in the game.