WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana – A fast start and better offensive line play were the points of emphasis this week in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Check both of those boxes.

The Buckeyes blocked better and were balanced during a 3-touchdown first half that wasn’t a 4-touchdown half because of a goal-line fumble. And the defense continued to control the game as the Buckeyes swept past Purdue 41-7.

“We made that a point of emphasis this week, whether that was starting fast in practice, and that definitely translated to the game,” quarterback Kyle McCord said. “We weren’t perfect by any means, but we put some points on the board and the defense did a good job.”

Player of the Week: Tight end Cade Stover

For years fans begged for the tight end to be involved. It took a converted linebacker to make it happen. Stover caught 4 passes for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The first was a little 4-yarder over the middle that McCord threw a little behind him. But Stover settled into the open spot at the front of the end zone, reached to his left and snatched the ball away from a closing defender. The second was a 14-yarder. He caught it at the 7 and scored easily.

Stover this season: 23 receptions (2nd on team), 359 yards (2nd on team), 3 receiving TDs (tied for 2nd on team).

Biggest surprise: No Purdue turnovers

The Boilermakers entered the game minus-3 in turnover margin. Ohio State entered plus-4 in turnover margin and has made a habit of scoring defensive touchdowns.

Despite rain for much the game, the Boilermakers held on to the football. But they didn’t do much with it.

Biggest concern: Running back injuries

Ohio State’s leading rusher was fourth-string sophomore Dallan Hayden with 76 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. He was pressed into action because the first 3 guys are hurt. Head coach Ryan Day, however, does not disclose injuries.

Starter TreVeyon Henderson was listed as questionable 1 week after being out. He did not play. Third-string Miyan Williams was listed as out. Backup Chip Trayanum started his 2nd straight game and gained 28 yards on 6 carries before getting dinged up himself.

Midway through the second quarter Trayanum was hit hard and stopped for a 3-yard gain by 3 Purdue tacklers. He got up slow, signaled for a replacement as he jogged toward the sideline, then stumbled and fell before leaving the field. He did not return.

Developing trend: Backup QB Devin Brown in the red zone

Brown lost the starting job competition to McCord, but his running ability and fullback mentality kept him in the plans. Day unveiled those plans Saturday when Brown bulled his way for a 2-yard touchdown and a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.

He got another chance in the second quarter but fumbled as he dove for the end zone. Brown took over for McCord in the fourth quarter and threw a 58-yard touchdown to true freshman Brandon Inniss for his first reception.

Key stat: OSU’s halftime rushing and passing numbers

Balance was achieved in building a 20-0 lead. The Buckeyes ran the ball 23 times for 136 yards. They threw it 19 times for 133 yards. By the end of the game the numbers were 334 passing and 163 rushing for 497 total yards.

First impressions about Week 8

The stage is set for the Big Ten to garner some of the attention the Pac-12 has been getting. Unbeaten and No. 6 Penn State comes to Columbus for a noon showdown. This is one of 3 games that will decide the Big Ten East Division champion, the participant in the Big Ten championship game and at least one Big Ten entrant into the College Football Playoff.

After this one, we get Penn State and Michigan and on the final day of the season Ohio State and Michigan.

Penn State comes to town with Ohio native Drew Allar at quarterback. Ohio State has Pennsylvania son Kyle McCord at quarterback. The Buckeyes have dominated the series of late, but Penn State will challenge the idea that maybe the Buckeyes are rounding into form.