The Ohio Bobcats rolled into Columbus today to take on the Buckeyes and hopefully challenge them the same way that they did back in 2008. The Buckeyes weren’t having any of it as they raced out to a 43-0 lead before giving up a late touchdown in trash time to end the game with the 43-7 victory. Terrelle Pryor had another solid game with 22 receptions on 29 attempts for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns, though he threw his first 2 interceptions of the year.
The Ohio offense started out very poorly. After a short running play up the middle, Bates tossed a quick passing play to the left side of the field. Devon Torrence made a fantastic play on the ball by batting it into the air for Tyler Moeller to come down with. The interception gave the Buckeye offense fantastic field position. Unfortunately, after picking up a great game on their first play with a pass to Jake Stoneburner, the Buckeyes squandered their chance and was forced to kick a field goal in the red zone.
The Buckeye defense continued to be aggressive. With the Bobcats pinned close to their endzone due to a block in the back penalty on the return, the Silver Bullets made the most of the situation by not allowing Ohio any room to move the ball. On the ensuing possession the Bucks found plenty of room to move the ball. As usual, the offense promptly moved the ball into the redzone with confidence and authority. What was unusual was that Pryor found Saine over the middle for the Touchdown. It was exactly the kind of pass that Pryor needed in order to build confidence in his arm in scoring position.
By their third possession, Ohio State began trying to mix up some of their looks and get some of the younger players some touches. Philly Brown had a nice 9 yard gain on an end around with what looked like the 2nd team offensive line in the game. Pryor found DeVier Posey for a great 35 yard gain on a slightly broken play. Pryor then followed that with a 15 yard scramble to the right side of the field for another redzone touchdown. Most impressively, Pryor faked the entire defense with a pump fake to the left side before taking off, the move froze the defenders in front of him and gave him the lane to score.
A problem cropped up as both Devon Torrence and his backup, Travis Howard, were injured in the first quarter. The Buckeyes were forced to play with Corey Brown in the secondary in replacement. Brown seemed to hold his own pretty well making a nice tackle. Travis Howard would not return to the game with an apparent shoulder injury, though Devon Torrence was able to come back just before halftime.
When the Bucks took over again on offense, they put Joe Bauserman in for Terrelle Pryor so as to get him a little more game experience. Bauserman made a few good throws, and a few bad throws, in leading the offense. The bright spot, though, was the play of Jordan Hall who had a lot of success as the running back on that offensive set. The backup offense sputtered in the red zone giving Barclay a chance to put another 3 points on the board.
After Jermale Hines popped a fumble that was recovered by Nathan Williams, the Bucks put Pryor and the first team offense back in the game. Pryor through a couple of great passes on the short drive including a short one to Taurian Washington for a couple yards, and an out route to Sanzenbacher who ran for a great gain. The best moment was as Pryor scrambled to the right and found a wide open Jake Stoneburner in the endzone for a touchdown.
Ohio managed to gain their first first down of the game on a quarterback keeper to the left side of the field. Suddenly Ohio U was on the Buckeye’s side of the field with a little bit of momentum, but on the very next play, Bates made a poor decision in an option play by pitching the ball to his running back. The pitch hit the player in the face causing the back to fumble the ball to the turf. Cam Heyward recovered the fumble and tried to take it back for a score but was quickly wrapped up.
The Bucks responded quickly and with authority. Terrelle Pryor found 27 yards on a broken play running up the right side of the field, found Taurian Washington for his second catch of the game, and then pounded the ball into the endzone with Boom Herron to finish the quick drive. To that point, the Buckeyes were up 34-0 with 8 minutes left in the second half. The domination was clearly evident over an obviously inferior team though the level of crushing was surprising for a Jim Tressel coached team. Also surprising for a Tressel team is the sheer lack of punting in the first half. The Buckeyes kicked their first (and only) punt of the half with 2 minutes to go before hafltime.
The Buckeyes closed out in the half in a surprisingly aggressive set, clearly working on their 2 minute drill while they had the chance. It was interesting to see the Buckeyes dink and dunk their way down the field to get themselves in scoring position. Unfortunately, Pryor missed Sanzenbacher on what could have been an easy touchdown, putting the ball a little too low for Sanzo to get it. Even more unfortunate was that Pryor threw his first interception of the season on the last play of the half trying to force the ball into the endzone. The turnover was the first for the entire season for the Buckeyes. It’s not a major issue, though, as it was clear that Tressel was challenging Pryor to run a high pressure 2 minute offense and it’s great experience for him.
Pryor’s stats for the first half were boarderline disgusting. 17/20 passing for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with 5 carries for 36 yards and a touchdown. Pryor did not throw many long passes on the day, but he also didn’t have to and showed the quality of his decision making by taking what the defense was giving him and making smart high percentage passes. His decisions were particularly obvious as he hit 7 different receivers with 16 straight completions during the half
Beyond Pryor’s running, the Buckeyes didn’t find much success on the ground. Brandon Saine grabbed 19 yards on 8 carries, but was the only runner to get double digits on the ground game. As poor as the running backs looked, the receivers looked great. Posey and Sanzo both had 4 receptions in the half for 60 and 49 yards, along with Stoneburner’s 3 for 30 yards.
The Bobcats could not find much in the way of offense against the Buckeyes during the half. Quarterback Phil Bates was 3/7 for 11 yards and an interception, along with having 10 carries for 31 yards. Running back Dallas Brown was the most successful in the game with 18 yards on 3 carries, and the Ohio receivers were basically shut down with the three receptions being spread amongst 3 seperate receivers.
The Buckeyes outgained the Bobcats by 237 yards in the first half, gaining 289 yards to Ohio’s 52. The difference was primarily in the passing game where the Buckeyes had 213 yards to Ohio’s 11, while the rushing totals were more even at 76 to 41 respectively.
OSU came out of the gate with the starting offense and looked they were trying to make the running game go. After finding some success with the ground game, the offense stalled when Pryor tried to hit Posey and Posey’s brother knocked the pass down (though it was probably pass interference).
However, the horrendous play came on the ensuing punt. The Buckeyes spread punt protection simply does not get the job done as Ohio squeezed through and managed to block the punt giving them great field position. But, the Buckeye defense came through again as Devon Torrence picked up a fumble on the sideline a few plays later.
The Ohio Defense was more impressive in the second half in attacking Pryor and the Buckeye offense. Particularly impressive was a great blitz play where an Ohio defender came off the left edge and blew up Mike Adams on his way to a sack of Pryor. The defensive adjustments seemed to have the Buckeyes a little confused and unable to really get their momentum back.
It was clear that the second half had turned into a defensive battle as Ross Homan picked off an extremely ill advised Bates pass over the middle and returned it to give the Buckeyes more great field position. On the very next play, Pryor threw his second interception of the season near the goalline has he tried to hit Sanzenbacher. Continuing the defensive effort, Cam Heyward managed to nail a sack in the endzone for a Safety.
The Buckeye offense managed to get going following the big defensive stop. Starting from around the 50, the Buckeyes plunged deep into the red zone on some great passing and good running from Saine and Herron. On 3rd and goal, Pryor tried to hit Posey on a curl route in the endzone. Posey managed to catch the ball, but he caught it on the 2 yardline after bobbling it in the endzone. On 4th, the Buckeyes went for it and Boom Herron plunged into the endzone untouched.
With the 4th quarter looming, Both teams went with the backups as Ohio put in Boo Jackson at quarterback. Hankins saw extensive action, even early in the game as his drive and effort have been noted early this season. He had a few great plays in the middle getting lots of pressure on the Ohio quarterbacks and generally made his presence known. He will be a great player in a couple years, especially if he can increase his stamina.
Again the Buckeyes went back to the second team offense with Bauserman and Jordan Hall in the backfield. The unit didn’t have much success moving the ball, though they were also pinned at their own two yardline to start the drive. A couple Jordan Hall runs put the Bucks near a first down before they were forced to punt.
Pryor finished his day 22/29 for 235 yards 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions along with 8 carries for 35 yards and a touchdown. The interceptions should not cause worry as it was clear that the coaching staff was pressuring Pryor to make certain plays given particular playcalls in order to see how he would react. This is a great time for a learning lesson like this, and I’d much rather it happen now rather than later. Joe Bauserman got some time in the game at the backup and ended with 4 receptions on 7 attempts for 45 yards. Kenny Guiton also got some time very late in the game.
In total, Ohio completed 9/17 for 82 yards from their quarterbacks. Their top runners were Quarterback Phil Bates (11 carries, 43 yards) and Dallas Brown (11 carries, 42 yards). No other runners got anywhere near double digits in carries. The Ohio passing game also found a little bit more success in the second half finding 7 different receivers, but no receiver had more than 2 catches.
The Buckeyes continued to give players looks on defense, including Melvin Fellows Safari Planet, Garrett Goebel, and Storm Klein who got into the game in the 4th quarter. On that drive, the Bobcats finally managed to get their offense moving and entered the redzone for the first time in the game. The drive ended in a touchdown from Boo Jackson to McCray beating Corey Brown on the floating pass.
OSU found success in the ground game, though not incredible success. Brandon Saine and Dan Herron had similar days with 12 carries for 48 yards and 9 for 27 respectively. Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry both got some time at runningback, though didn’t make too much happen on the ground in their limited time. On the receiving end, no less than 10 receivers caught passes in the game including Reid Fragel, Chris Fields and Zach Boren. Taurian Washington had 2 while Posey Sanzenbacher and Stoneburner caught 5 a piece.
The Buckeyes next face Eastern Michigan in Columbus on the 25th of September. That game will be at 3:30 most likely on the Big Ten Network.