Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 10/18/12
Unbeaten with a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate leading a high-powered offense, No. 7 Ohio State has appeared to re-establish itself as one of the nation's elite programs. Coach Urban Meyer, though, isn't sold quite yet. With the Buckeyes' defense struggling mightily, Saturday's matchup with a Purdue team that is scuffling offensively could help it get on track. Ohio State (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) hasn't had much trouble putting up points the last two weeks, beating then-No. 21 Nebraska 63-38 on Oct. 6 before a 52-49 win at Indiana last Saturday. Braxton Miller, who has looked Heisman-worthy much of the season, rushed for 186 yards versus the Cornhuskers and against the Hoosiers, accounted for 360 yards of total offense - including a 67-yard touchdown run and TD passes of 60 and 46 yards to Devin Smith. Miller enters the week, ranked seventh in the FBS in rushing yards per game at 130.3, and needs 88 yards to become the first Ohio State quarterback to rush for 1,000 in a season. It's the defense, though, that has Meyer concerned. In allowing Indiana to rack up its most points in the series, the Buckeyes nearly blew an 18-point lead in the final two minutes. They're giving up an average of 400 yards - 10th in the conference - and their 277.7 passing yards allowed ranks 107th in the nation entering Week 8. Meyer said if Ohio State wants to be considered among the best teams in the nation, it must improve those numbers. "The (teams) that get to where the errors are rare are real elite teams. At some point you have to play some really good defense, and they all do," Meyer said. "The top two (in the BCS standings) right now are Alabama and Florida, the two best defenses in America. And that's not by accident." Missing starting linebacker Etienne Sabino for three more weeks due to a broken leg surely won't help matters, but Meyer isn't about to start making excuses. He vowed to become a bigger part of the defensive game planning, beginning with Monday's meeting with the defensive coaches. "I have to get more involved and find out what the issues are," Meyer said. "I don't think you can pinpoint any one thing right now. I have got to find out. I am going to increase my involvement with the defense." It doesn't appear the Buckeyes will be challenged much by a Purdue offense that has sputtered in consecutive blowout defeats. After averaging 463.5 yards while going 3-1 in non-conference play, the Boilermakers (3-3, 0-2) managed 213 in a 44-13 loss to Michigan on Oct. 6 and 252 while falling 38-14 to Wisconsin last Saturday. Running back Akeem Shavers hasn't rushed for more than 74 yards in a game all season, and totaled only 19 carries in the last two contests. "We've just got to come out and start running it better," Shavers said. "We have to have balance on offense. We can't have success if it's 70-30." Purdue's defense hasn't exactly been great, either. It allowed 645 total yards against Wisconsin - its most since 2006 - and has given up an average of 529.3 yards over its last three games. The Boilermakers were run over for 467 yards by the Badgers, who came into the game 90th in the nation in rushing. This doesn't bode well for facing an Ohio State team that ranks eighth in run yards at 263.6. "The result was from our team not being fundamental," coach Danny Hope said after last week's loss. "We weren't able to wrap guys up and were diving at ankles too much. We needed to cover in the back half of the defense and cover better. We weren't able to stop their play action attack and they had guys wide open. That kind of thing is inexcusable." The Buckeyes have won seven straight home matchups with Purdue, but they've split the last six overall meetings after the Boilermakers' 26-23 overtime win Nov. 12.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Data shows NFL-backed youth program that claimed reduced concussions is bogus


Report: Odom’s family working hard to get him to go to rehab

Drug dealers adding Olympic rings to cocaine wrappers in Rio

Report: Cowboys have ‘no interest’ in Freeney, Hardy

Report: Bradham was defending girlfriend during alleged assault

Elliott domestic violence case being taken to city prosecutor

Belichick: Brady is not going to lose his starting job

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

MLB asks Yaisel Puig to stop wearing his Vin Scully cleats

Study finds link on babies named Shea, Mets’ success

Durant: Being cheered by Oracle Arena crowd ‘felt a little weird’

10 must-watch WWE Network outside-the-ring videos

Is Marchand worth the money he’s reportedly asking for?

Rams sent emails hawking hats to old ticket holders in St. Louis

Miami Marlins unveil logo for 2017 MLB All-Star Game

Enes Kanter blasts writer over Russell Westbrook bashing

WATCH: Rick Sutcliffe cuts up tie during Cubs-White Sox game

Kirk Cousins has excellent take on franchise tag

Broncos DB during DUI arrest: I can't wait to tell Obama

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker