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October 10, 2007
Heacock's blitzes key to stopping Purdue
Ohio State's new-look defense gave the scoreboard at Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium a new look.
The scoreboard operator didn't need to change the Boilermakers' side for 59 minutes, 50 seconds before a last-ditch touchdown from the Purdue offense.
By then, Ohio State proved its mettle by silencing one of the nation's most powerful offenses and one of its most productive receivers.
After the Buckeyes shut out Purdue for all but 10 seconds and held the Boilermakers to a season-low 272 total yards, Rivals.com has named Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock its National Coordinator of the Week.
"I didn't think that their offense had seen a defense like ours," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said after the game.
Ohio State was without end Vernon Gholston for most of the game and tackle Todd Denlinger missed the entire contest. Heacock used a 3-3-5 look early against the Boilermakers, blitzing linebackers James Laurinaitis, Marcus Freeman and Larry Grant. The change held Purdue to 80 yards in the first half. Before Purdue's only scoring drive of the day, the Boilermakers had only 184 yards.
"We had a lot of injuries as we went through the week, so it was a little bit frustrating," Heacock told BuckeyeGrove.com. "But we've been playing six or eight guys all year, so we expect injuries, and if one guy goes down the next guy has to be ready to step up."
Regardless of injuries to the line, the blitzing linebackers helped throw quarterback Curtis Painter, who had rarely been pressured, off his game.
Just as impressive, Ohio State neutralized one of the Big Ten's top offensive threats. Wide receiver Dorien Bryant had trouble staying out of the red. He finished the evening with two receptions for minus-4 yards, one rush for minus-2 yards and one punt return for minus-4 yards. Only 61 yards on kickoff returns kept Bryant on the positive side of the stat sheet.
The victory also helped Ohio State pass LSU as the nation's top total defense statistically. As good as the Ohio State defense was against Purdue, 10 seconds separated it from a total victory.
"I'd be lying if I wasn't upset we didn't put up the big zero," Laurinaitis said. "Overall, to control that offense, you know you've done something OK."
OTHER NOMINEES FOR COORDINATOR OF THE WEEK:
Tyrone Nix, South Carolina
David Cutcliffe, Tennessee
Matt Eberflus, Missouri
Scott Shafer, Stanford