Purdue got smoked at Ohio State.

Not other way to state it; the Boilermakers gave up 59 points in a 28-point loss, failing to compete let alone score yet another upset this season.

However, there were bright spots in the Columbus darkness, which 6-4 Purdue can carry forward when it takes on Northwestern in Wrigley Field on Saturday, then Indiana at home a week later. For the first time in more than a month, Purdue will be favored against its final 2 opponents, with an early 12-point edge vs. the Wildcats and likely at least that vs. the Hoosiers.

As for those bright spots …

Not again

Purdue won’t play another team with anywhere near the talent of fifth-ranked Ohio State, so the Boilermakers can take at least some solace in knowing they’ve come through the meat of their schedule. And they came out OK, considering they scored upsets over then-No. 2 Iowa and then-No. 5 Michigan State, along with a win at Nebraska.

But none of those opponents were close to as talented as the Buckeyes, a team built on speed at the skill positions, a young accurate quarterback and a defense that’s good enough.

Northwestern and Indiana are forced to rely too much on their defenses, because neither has much on offense. And so Purdue has a chance to get consecutive victories and get to 8 wins on the season before the bowl game, and nobody predicted that outcome for the Boilermakers before the season started.

O’Connell’s performance

Quarterback Aidan O’Connell is playing at an All-Big Ten level.

The senior signal-caller has been excellent since taking over the starting gig for the Boilermakers in Week 5. Since then, O’Connell is 202-of-275 (73.5 percent) for 2,105 yards (350.8 per game), with 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. And the last 2 games, against arguably the best teams on Purdue’s schedule in Michigan State and Ohio State, O’Connell is 80-of-106 for 926 yards and 7 TDs without a turnover.

In those games, O’Connell has shown incredible accuracy, having hit his targets in areas that allow them to make plays after the catch and missing badly on only a handful of passes, if that. Arguably, O’Connell is playing right with the best QBs in the Big Ten, as well as Stroud, MSU’s Payton Thorne and Penn State’s Sean Clifford.

Most importantly, Purdue’s offense, which had been stuck in neutral earlier in the season (scoring only 13 points in 4 games in a 5-game window), has come alive, putting together consecutive 30-point outings. All-America wide receiver David Bell, a Biletnikoff Award finalist, has been outstanding, as expected, with O’Connell at quarterback, but so have others. Maybe none more so than super senior Jackson Anthrop, who has blossomed in an expanded role as a versatile slot receiver and running back.

And because of Anthrop and the return of starting running back Zander Horvath, who had broken his leg in Week 2, Purdue’s running game has livened, at least enough to give the Boilermakers relative balance. Against Ohio State, Purdue had 91 yards on 19 carries, a 4.9 average.

A refocused defense

It’s fairly likely that George Karlaftis woke up Sunday morning, after his group had given up 59 points to the Buckeyes, and was fuming.

Maybe the wake-up call will be a good thing for the Boilermakers with favorable matchups remaining. Purdue had been excellent much of the season, one of the surprise units in the Big Ten. A new defensive staff, led by co-coordinator and play-caller Brad Lambert (who somehow wasn’t a nominee for the Broyles Award for top assistant coach), is largely deserving of credit.

But the Buckeyes, as they have done against many this season, exposed the Boilermakers’ weakness, particularly a lack of speed at linebacker and in the secondary. It’s unlikely that Karlaftis is going to let his teammates forget any time soon that it had breakdowns, and that likely bodes well for solid defensive performances the last 2 weeks.

It helps too that the opponents are Northwestern and Indiana, the worst (at 17.1 points per game) and third-worst (at 18.6) scoring offenses in the Big Ten this season.