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Buckeyes take short break from title quest

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 3, 2013 at 11:07 am •  Published: November 3, 2013

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is already installing his bye week game plan.

He wants players to stop talking about the national title quest and ignore anyone who dares to bring it up.

No, the man with two national championship rings, a top-five ranking and a perfect 21-0 record since coming to Columbus isn't trying to downplay what the Buckeyes are really chasing, he's trying to avoid this week's one potential pitfall: Distractions.

"We have to make sure we're not worried about anything like that," Meyer said Saturday. "That's the unfortunate thing about bye weeks. You let guys go for weekends and they start hearing stuff like that and we just have to come back stronger and faster."

It's hard to fathom the Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) playing any better than they are now.

Since taking their first open date, the week of Oct. 12, Ohio State has outscored Iowa, Penn State and Purdue by a combined 153-38. In its latest rout, Saturday at Purdue, the Buckeyes led 28-0 after one quarter, 42-0 at halftime and wound up handing Purdue (1-7, 0-4) its worst home loss ever. The 56-point loss equals the school's record, matching 56-0 defeats to Iowa in 1922 and Chicago in 1907.

Ohio State's dominance goes far deeper than blowouts, though.

On Saturday, the Buckeyes topped 600 yards in total offense for the second straight week. The defense limited Purdue to just 116 total yards, forced two turnovers, added six sacks to its Big Ten-leading total and pitched its second shutout of the season. And it could have been even worse if a 60-yard punt return for a score hadn't been called back because of an illegal block.

That's enough to get anyone who follows college football talking — anyone, that is, outside the Ohio Stadium locker room.

"I definitely feel like everybody's a lot more focused," running back Carlos Hyde said. "We're getting toward the end, we have this bye week coming, let everybody get rested and get back fresh and then come out these last three games and be explosive."

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