Looking forward. Looking back. Review. Penn State. Iowa. The BCS. What are we doing messing around with some wordy introduction? It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
To put it mildly, the Iowa game this past Saturday was way more intense and closer than anyone thought it could/should be. And some of the event that took place during it are going to have a lasting impression on the 2013 season.
El Guapo can fly
Certainly the highlight of the day and the season to this point was Carlos Hyde’s feat of athletic brilliance for a touchdown of 19 yards in the fourth quarter that will be on video’s and commercials in Columbus and all through Buckeye Nation for years and years to come. You know the play, the one where he went right, broke out to the sideline, took a hard shot, lost his balance, regained his balance, took off down the sideline and then leaped into the endzone the last 5 yards. Not since Devin Smith scored 2012′s first touchdown have we seen such a truly special play in that the players name will become synonymous with it.
Carlos Hyde is on a mission, and that mission is to go well over 1000 yards for the season and if need be carry this team on his back to a perfect season. With the way the offensive line is blowing off the ball and giving him running lanes, it just may happen.
A terrible rule
The defenseless receiver/targeting rule in the NCAA is terrible. I understand at the heart of it it has the best intentions and player safety in mind. I get that some type of rule of this caliber to stop dudes who headhunt is necessary. I just can’t get past one thing: What is the point of making these plays reviewable to allow guys without malicious intent to stay in the game if you’re going to review Bradley Roby’s first quarter mouthpiece remover and just instantly say “rule confirmed, player gone”?
Let me just be clear, I absolutely hate this rule. But make no mistake about it, Roby violated the rule. And, since everyone is an expert on the rule, I thought I’d copy it directly from the NCAA rulebook to show you he was wrong.
Targeting and Initiating Contact With the Crown of the Helmet
ARTICLE 3. No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent
with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul. (Rule 9-6)
(A.R. 9-1-3-I) It was the crown of Roby’s helmet that struck the facemask of whatever his name is for Iowa. The big tight end dude. Violation number 1 by Roby.
Targeting and Initiating Contact to Head or Neck Area of aDefenseless Player
ARTICLE 4. No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck
area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or
shoulder. When in question, it is a foul (Rules 2-27-14 and 9-6). (A.R. 9-1-4-I-VI)
Notes to 9-1-3 and 9-1-4
Note 1: “Targeting” means that a player takes aim at an opponent for purposes
of attacking with an apparent intent that goes beyond making a legal tackle or
a legal block or playing the ball. Some indicators of targeting include but are
not limited to:
FR-88 RULE 9 / CONDUCT OF PLAYERS AND OTHERS SUBJECT TO THE RULES
• Launch—a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and
forward thrust of the body to make contact in the head or neck area ding ding! Roby
• A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with contact at
the head or neck area, even though one or both feet are still on the ground ding ding! Roby
• Leading with helmet, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with contact at the head or neck area ding ding! Roby
• Lowering the head before attacking by initiating contact with the crown of the helmet ding ding! Roby
Note 2: Defenseless player (Rule 2-27-14):
• A player in the act of or just after throwing a pass.
• A receiver attempting to catch a pass, or one who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a ball carrier. ding ding! Roby
After all this, I still think it was ridiculous he got tossed. I understand the 15 yard penalty, essentially all you have to do is touch the guys helmet and you get that. But the ejection? The ejection stands is if it is decided by the officials and replay officials that the defender was intending to injure.
I’ll tell you why Roby’s ejection was upheld. Two plays prior he smashed a running back on the Iowa sideline and was almost flagged for targeting then. The Iowa bench and Kirk Ferentz went crazy. Then, after the hit on what’s his face, big tight end dude, he celebrates in a completely ridiculous fashion. Now you before you go all “come on, he made a nice play, you’d celebrate too” I can tell you with 100% certainty that I would not. You know how I can say that for sure? They got the first down and this game isn’t about me.
So, in summation, that is the rule. Now you know why folks like myself and the rest of the crew here at the BBC were flipping out when this went into affect. You can call this 3-4 times per game if you want. It isn’t right.
Silver Bullets against Iowa
It’s kind of funny to me how all everyone remembers about the Ohio State defense in the second half is the blown coverage touchdown to a tight end for 80 some-odd yards. Nobody seems to recall that aside from that egregious blunder, the Buckeye defense shut Iowa down in the second half.
After a dominating first half filled with long drives, the Buckeye defense allowed the Hawkeye offense to be on the field for just under 7:00! That is efficiency and getting off the field when it matters most, 3rd down. Once the staff decided to dial up blitzes and bring heat, the pressure led to an interception and several ill-advised throws by quarterback Jake Rudock. In the fourth quarter Rudock was rattled and it showed.
Blitzing the quarterback has always been a trademark of the Silver bullet defense. With traditional pocket passers like Rudock and this weeks opponent Christian Hackenberg at Penn State, you have to get in their face and disrupt the timing. You have to make them nervous. And most importantly, you have to get them on the ground.
Penn State coming to town
Those of you who have followed me in this column for the last year plus at the BBC and those who read my ramblings as a solo act for years prior know that I am an adamant denier that Penn State is considered a rival. I won’t give them the satisfaction of thinking they matter to us as fans.
You also know that I will never forget the “White Out” of 2005 and the way Ohio State fans, players and band were treated in State College. As a quick refresher: Violence toward the elderly, woman and children verbally assaulted, blood balloons, urine balloons, any empty drink receptacle being thrown.
I’m kind of glad that this storm has all come together and Penn State gets to be the sacrificial lamb that comes to Ohio Stadium. What storm? Well, being 4th in the BCS for starters. Not blowing out teams they’re supposed to blow out. The last prime time chance to impress voters and the nation until December’s Big Ten Championship Game.
Urban Meyer said that on Sunday he had a “state of the team” meeting with his players whereby he laid it all out regarding what was in front of them and what will be necessary to achieve the goal they all want. He admitted that for the first time this year he spoke with them about the polls, rankings and the opportunity they have. He told them to “embrace it”.
And I’m sure included in that discussion was how the Silver Bullets need to step up their game and become ferocious. I’m sure it was also addressed that they need to be relentless on offense and score without mercy. I’m sure it was discussed that they need to play with a sense of urgency for four quarters and that they had better come out on fire ready to go from the start unlike the last few games were the first quarter saw an offense that looked like it was stuck in neutral and up to the doors in mud.
All of this fury and refocus comes with Penn State and their 18 year old (or is he 19 now?) freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg at the controls. Don’t let the Lions fool you: They can’t run if their life depended on it. But they can and will use their tight ends. While you’re at it, keep an eye on number 8, Allen Robinson, who is easily one of the best wide receivers in America. Which leads me to this point: If Bradley Roby would like to collect some of the NFL money he has left on the field this season, shutting down Robinson on national television will certainly help that cause.
Saturday will go one of two ways
The Buckeyes will feed off of the energy and announce to the country that they are not content to just sit back and wait for someone to lose to take a spot in the BCS National Championship game. In four emphatic quarters they will make it known to all voters and doubters that league strength is irrelevant when you dominate teams the way they are about to do in their final regular season games of 2013.
Or, Penn State is going to hang around and keep it close into the fourth quarter. We’re going to hear all about the moxie and nerve of the true freshman quarterback who isn’t intimidated by the setting or the opponent and is keeping his sanction ravaged team in the fight to the end. Follow that up with a solid cementing of the familiar narrative that the Buckeyes play a week schedule and the Big Ten being awful.
I want to see a beat-down.
Not so fast my friend…
Thank you so much to MaliBuckeye for posting the gif of the Clemson fan on ESPN’s College Gameday from this past Saturday. I cannot stop laughing at this idiot as he rips off his shirt, takes a quick crazy stare into the camera and then begins to pour whatever liquid is in that plastic cup into his face.
The alternate uniforms wore against TTUN last year and Wisconsin this year will be used Saturday night once again against the Nits. There will be a minor adjustment, pink socks and gloves for breast cancer awareness month.
Wrap it up
I’ve seen a lot of people say “just win, handle your business and it will work itself out” as it pertain to the BCS. But can the Buckeyes really think that way? It certainly seems like a risky proposition considering that Alabama, Oregon and now Florida State seem untouchable with the exception a few minor potential hiccups.And I’m well aware that history says only two, likely one, team will emerge undefeated when the dust settles.
Just win, handle your business and it will work itself out. Absolutely… in 2002. Or even in 2006 or 2007. For sure in 1995, 1997, 1987 and any year before that. The 2013 Buckeyes have to play every game the rest of the way with a feeling to kill.
Saturday marks the first of 6 opportunities to make the decision to not include Ohio State in the national championship conversation seem laughable. As of right now, everyone nationally and even a lot of folks locally are content with the Buckeyes finishing undefeated and playing Stanford or maybe even undefeated Oregon in the Rose Bowl on January 1st for a chance to show they belong on the big stage. And sure, that is a nice consolation prize. But it’s a prize I’d rather someone else enjoy while our boys go play for the crystal ball.
Metallica track of the week
I think the narrative stays the same the remainder of the season… Three simple words… SEEK. AND. DESTROY.