WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Ohio State running back Dallan Hayden spent five games preparing for an opportunity that never came.
When he got his chance Saturday, he was ready.
On a day Kyle McCord threw three touchdown passes, Hayden provided a big boost for an injury riddle group of running backs by rushing for 76 yards and a score in his season debut to help No. 3 Ohio State rout Purdue 41-7.
“It's like the coaches always say, competitive spirit, you know. When your number is called, you’ve got make a play,” Hayden said. “ I think we have the best running back room in the country, so I feel like when one goes down, it's just next man up.”
That certainly was true when the Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) won their first game at Purdue in a decade to stay unbeaten for a showdown against No. 6 Penn State next week.
Coach Ryan Day also enjoyed a rare fast start. McCord & Co. scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions for a 20-0 halftime lead then started the second half with two more TDs to make it 34-0.
The Buckeyes did it with both TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams sitting out with injuries and Chip Trayanum leaviing in the first quarter after taking a big hit and stumbling as he walked across the field.
Hayden responded with 11 attempts for 6.9 yards in his season debut, splitting carries with receiver Xavier Johnson and backup quarterback Devin Brown and jump-starting what had been a stagnant Buckeyes ground game..
“When you get down Tre and Miyan and then Chip, that’s not where you want to be,” Day said. “We got down in there and I thought Dallan started running pretty well. To run the way we did without three of our guys is a good sign.”
For the Boilermakers (2-5, 1-3), the game seemed as dismal as the cool, windy and wet conditions that sent many Purdue fans home early.
They couldn't consistently stop McCord, Hayden, receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. or tight end Cade Stover. Harrison caught six passes for 105 yards and had the first score of the game while Stover had four catches for 53 yards and two TDs, one in each half..
McCord was 16 of 28 with 276 yards, matching his single-game career high for TD throws.
“They're No. 3 in the country for a reason,” Purdue coach Ryan Walters said after a second straight loss. “And they're sitting where we want to go as a program.”
Purdue quarterback Hudson Card was 13 of 32 with 126 yards and one touchdown. Devin Mockobee ran 18 times for 110 yards for the Boilermakers.
Ohio State: Nobody questions the Buckeyes defense, which has only allowed 58 points all season. Now Ohio State's offense is starting to show some mettle. Despite all the injuries, the Buckeyes seem to be kicking it into high gear, outscoring opponents 68-14 over the last three halves.
Purdue: The Boilermakers wanted to take advantage of playing five of their first seven at home. Instead, they're 1-4 at Ross-Ade in Year 1 under Walters, treating fans to some of their worst games of the season.
Purdue's first three scoring chances ended with missed field goals. Even worse, a student came out during a media timeout and made multiple field goals during a contest.
Ohio State’s medical team took away Trayanum’s helmet following a brief examination in the injury tent. Purdue offensive lineman Luke Griffin was carted off the field with an air cast around his lower right leg during the first quarter. His teammates ran to the cart to show their support.
Ohio State helped its case with a lopsided road victory, but until No. 1 Georgia or No. 2 Michigan stumbles, the Buckeyes will have a hard time climbing in the rankings.
BY THE NUMBERS
Ohio State: Harrison posted his fourth 100-yard game of the season and the 11th of his college career. ... The Buckeyes are now 4-5 at Purdue since 2005. ... Ohio State rushed for 4.2 yards per carry one week after averaging 1.9 against Maryland. ... Day is 34-0 against unranked opponents.
Purdue: Burks caught three passes for 22 yards and now has five TD catches this season. ... The Boilermakers are 3-3 in their last six games against top-five foes.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes host Penn State next Saturday in a key East Division game.
Purdue: The Boilermakers have a bye week before visiting Nebraska on Oct. 28.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll