OSU clamps down, wins on road

Written February 15th, 2014 by Scott

Stingy defense and a 20-6 spurt in the second half allowed the Ohio

Thad Matta rallied the troops at halftime

Thad Matta rallied the troops at halftime

State Buckeyes to overcome an ugly first half and beat host Illinois 48-39 on Saturday.

A sellout crowd of 17,200 fans, many of whom were dressed like empty seats at game’s end, watched as Aaron Craft scored 14 points to lead the OSU effort. LaQuinton Ross added 9 and Marc Loving 8 as OSU improved to 20-6 overall and 7-6 in the B1G.

The spurt in the second half included eight straight points that helped OSU turn a 23-20 halftime deficit into a 36-29 lead midway through as the Buckeyes, who played for long stretches without the foul-plagued Craft, won at Illinois for the first time since 2011.

Loving was a spark in the second half, scoring all of his points, as was Ross, who hit a couple of early baskets to help erase the lead. The defense held Illinois to just 16 second-half points.

OSU was up 12 late in the game and heading for a blowout, but a lucky banked-in 3-point shot and some shaky free-throw shooting helped Illinois (14-12, 3-10) cut it to five with under a minute left. But Shannon Scott and Craft each nailed a pair of free throws to settle down OSU and ice the victory. Read More

The Week That Were: 2013 Championship Weekend

Written December 9th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Look, I know it’s the holiday season and all that, but I’m not feeling it just yet. Here’s some Ella if you’re in a similar mood this Monday.

And so it ends… not with a bang, but a whimper. Not for everyone, but for fanbases who entered Saturday with significant postseason aspirations, the doors gently shut on both those dreams and on their season.

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We Know The Feeling

While TWTW is usually reserved for Saturday’s festivities, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Northern Illinois started the slide on Friday; poised for a shot at another possible BCS bid, the Huskies fell for the first time all season in the MAC championship. And not just “fell”, but were beaten by 2o points by Bowling Green in a game that cost the Falcons (and the other non-qualifying schools) some pretty major cash.

Saturday’s early slate started with some Bedlam, a game where anything can happen and often does- this year in the form of an earthquake during a field goal attempt.

As a rivalry game, you throw the records and season results out the window, as any Ohio State or Michigan fan can tell you. And while TBPU looked to be the easy favorite, icy conditions and the passion of their cross state rivals kept this from being an easy match.

While both teams struggled to score early on, Oklahoma tied things up in the third following a fake field goal that may or may not have happened before the play clock expired. No call, though, so on we went.

Much like last week’s game in Ann Arbor, OkSU drove down the field with relative ease at the end of the game, and scored with time left on the clock in spite of our warnings. And, you can guess what happened- Oklahoma managed a length of the field drive to score which left only enough time for the Northwestern-esque “throw the ball around and hope for the best” play, and like NU, Oklahoma State’s efforts were interrupted and scored upon.

Nice Aim

Nice Aim

Check out the gif on the left there; this is after the spread-covering score, and you can see both a Cowboy cheerleader attempt to trip a jubilant Sooner and also notice that some happy fan has decided to huck a snowball at the field toward the end of the clip.

That’s what it means to be in a rivalry game… it’s bigger than just a regular loss, particularly when you fall at home and fall out of the BCS.  I’m sure that excitement and emotion were behind the Sooner player’s decision to go full Marcus Hall on the Cowboy fan, and am certainly looking forward to them being benched for the entirety of their next game, the way that Hall was. And, media folks, feel free to spend hours discussing how classless this play was and what Stoops should do.  You’ve obviously got nothing else to talk about.

With the Cowboys’ falling in Stillwater, the late afternoon game between Texas and Baylor became the defacto Big12-2 Championship matchup. Let that roll around in your head for a minute- Mack Brown, who may be on his way out after yet another disappointing season, was one game away from a Conference Title and a BCS bid.

WEIRD-BAYLOR-FAN

Filled With The Spirit?

And yet, it was not to be… after a close first half, Baylor made the plays that it’s executed so well all season and pulled away from Texas to win their first conference title in forever. Given that they’re opening a new stadium next year and just signed their coach to a sizable extension, it’s quite possible that we haven’t heard the end of celebrations in Waco.

And their reward? A trip to Phoenix to face the University of Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl… the same UCF that held off SMU to win on Saturday. That game ain’t going to be pretty, folks.

By now, Buckeye fans know all to well that Auburn will be playing in the National Title game against Florida State. Poised in the computers to leap Ohio State with a blowout win against Missouri, the resurgent Tigers (no, the other ones) handled the B12-2′s SEC East’s finest handily in Atlanta on Saturday, in a game that seemed to be played with an understanding that each team was required to ration their tackles (perhaps the same memo OSU got?).

Best Tackle All Day. Seriously.

Best Tackle All Game. Seriously.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t any controversy on the way to the SEC crown. One of Missouri’s early scores was on a long pass that clearly was not fully possessed by the receiver- I have no idea how that wasn’t overturned. Later, an Auburn player pushed Missouri’s Josey out of bounds after the running back had another long scamper, and the shove caused Josey to hit a nearby cart and miss the remainder of the game.

Auburn’s win meant that, should one of the top two teams fall, they would be in. Florida State started first in their epic clash against the Duke Blue Devils, and managed to go the entire first quarter without a score.

That was about it, though- the Seminoles managed to roll up a 45-7 win and punch their tickets to Pasadena, while Winston possibly scheduled a trip to New York to pick up some hardware. It’ll be interesting to see if we get a 2006 repeat- an undefeated team with a Heisman Trophy QB against a one-loss SEC program who “backed in” to the title game.  That’s all I remember about the 2006 game… and I’m not listening if you try to give me any further facts.

No Roses For You

Roses? Not so fast…

Which brings us to Indianapolis. As if Ohio State fans didn’t have enough reasons to hate Sports Illustrated, this week’s decision to put Braxton on a regional cover added the Buckeyes to the list of Oregon, Alabama, and Baylor as teams who lost the week following their cover appearance.  Splendid.

Look, my thoughts on the game are probably the same as the rest of Buckeye Nation:

  • Hats off to Michigan State, whose defense played the way that Ohio State defenses used to play. Wonder why that is… What I wouldn’t give to have one of their DBs in the scarlet and gray.
  • Hats off to Sparty, too, for offensively game planning a perfect scheme to attack Ohio State’s weaknesses in the secondary, and to Connor Cook for the poise that he showed in the passing game. Enjoy California, Dino and folks… remember, it’s not too far of a drive for your offensive line coach to visit some family.
  • I’m as confused as the rest of you are about the Ohio State gameplan, particularly when it looked like our bread and butter were working. I understand the idea of getting Carlos into space against MSU’s secondary, but when every empty set led to a QB draw/counter, then it takes away the mystery. And mid-range passing? Does everything have to be a bomb?
  • “Frustrated” only partially covers my thoughts on the secondary’s play this past year… I’m not smart enough to figure out if it’s a scheme thing or a personnel issue or coaching, and I’ve read all three from the “experts” that make up Ohio State bulletin boards. I know that linebacker is something that Urban has identified as a “need”, so I’m just going to trust that this will improve overall in the coming season.

Again, no disrespect to Ben Affleck or to Michigan State, but it feels more like Ohio State let this one get away from them than the Spartans “took” it. While I’d prefer that it was the Buckeyes in Pasadena, I’m still excited to see Michigan State play Stanford in the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl.

Stanford won their rematch with Arizona State in a walk in front of less than stellar crowds. While some blame the “rematch” factor for poor attendance, I believe that it’s due to these being hosted on campus… as nice as that is for the home team, this time of year the trend is to allow fans the chance to travel to somewhere new. I’m conflicted on this, since I believe that any future Championship Expansion should consider home stadiums, but I also understand that there’s a huge money factor involved from tourism and so forth.

RICE1

The “Bowl-Bloat” Culprit

And that’s the heart of the silly season that we’re getting ready to enter- schools will pay lots of money for the “privileged” of making cash for television networks and tax exempt “bowl committees”; and only one game will “matter”, other than the contrived “Bowl Challenge” that the four letter network has created without consideration of even-matchups. When there are so many bowls that more than 50% of FBS teams get to go, is it really an honor?

That being said, this year should be a pretty good one for the B1G- in looking across the Bowl Landscape, there are only a few games that don’t feel like solid contests.  See what you think:

  • Rose Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. BCS/Pac-12): Michigan State vs. Stanford
  • Orange Bowl, Jan. 3: (ACC vs. BCS): Ohio State vs. Clemson
  • Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
  • Outback Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Iowa vs. LSU
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28 (Big Ten vs. Big 12): Michigan vs. Kansas State
  • Gator Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Nebraska vs. Georgia
  • Texas Bowl, Dec. 27 (Big Ten vs. Big 12): Minnesota vs. Syracuse

The BCS games, then, would be Florida State/Auburn, Michigan State/Stanford, Ohio State/Clemson, Oklahoma/Alabama, and (bleh) Central Florida/Baylor.

All in all, a great set of excuses to gather friends and family for the holidays and then ignore them to watch TV. We’ll have breakdowns of each of these matchups in the coming days, as well as full coverage of Ohio State’s trip to Miami in an attempt to exorcise Charlie Bauman’s specter.

But with that… The Week That Were draws to a close for yet another season. Thanks for playing along with us all fall, and for being a part of tBBC Family. We’ll close with a bit of nostalgia to get you ready for Miami:

Pick ‘Em- It’s Almost Over

Written December 6th, 2013 by Scott

After 90 picks, tBBC’s pick ‘em between Gary and myself has come down to the final week.
b1glogoWith our contest deadlocked, we will pick the winners of Saturday’s games and use the total points scored in the B1G championship game as the tiebreaker.

To recap last week, both of us took Ohio State, Nebraska, Sparty, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Indiana.

We missed on Nebraska and Wisconsin and head into the last week deadlocked at 30-15. Thanks Bo Pelini.

I’m glad the Huskers don’t play this week.

Who forced you to pick us?

Who forced you to pick us?

Anyhoo, we are going to pick all the relevant and not-so-relevant Saturday games and see if we can’t get this thing figured out.

Games we are picking:

  • Oklahoma-Oklahoma State
  • Marshall-Rice
  • Central Florida-SMU
  • Memphis-UConn
  • Texas-Baylor
  • Missouri-Auburn
  • South Florida-Rutgers
  • Stanford-Arizona State
  • Louisiana Lafayette-South Alabama
  • Duke-Florida State
  • Fresno State-Southern Utah
  • Ohio State-Michigan State

Gary likes Marshall, UCF, Oklahoma State, Uconn, Baylor, Missouri, Rutgers, Arizona State, FSU, Buckeyes, LA Lafayette and Fresno State.

Gary questioned my manhood and told me not to copy his games. “Well I know how much you have to cheat off me to stay in this thing,” Gary said.

Unfortunately, there is not one game I would and will pick differently. So it comes down to total points in the B1G title game.

Gary has 45 points. I’m going with 46 points.

Let’s hope that we’re both WAY under. Go Bucks.

Ohio State News And Notes: Silver Bullet Points 12.3.13

Written December 3rd, 2013 by Clair

And The Chase Continues…

  • Sparty in his Sights-Urban Meyer was very business like in his weekly press conference on Monday. Not wanting to give a flea’s breath of a doubt that his team was focused only on the Big Ten Championship Game ahead, Meyer brushed aside any questions regarding Auburn, the BCS or a possible national title
    game appearance by his Buckeyes
  • Balancing Act- Both Urban Meyer and Tom Herman were asked about concerns with the offense being unbalanced at times. Both coaches mentioned in their own ways that it was not particularly a concern and against certain teams certain offenses work better. I think if we can get that nit picky about a balanced offense when our receivers, quarterback and running backs are efficient when called up on, the Buckeyes must have a pretty balanced offense in the stable.
  • Spartan Reserve- Michigan State will certainly be the toughest defense Ohio State has faced all year. From Urban Meyer and Tom Hermans description of the Spartan scheme it sound like they are a disciplined and talented bunch that is very proficient in disguising coverages. This may be a game where Meyer and Herman just throw off the gloves, say I don’t care what your throw at us, just try and stop it.
  • Tricks Are For Kids- This Ohio State pass defense has resurfaced as a problem as of late. As a fan, it is maddening to see what offenses are doing against a talented, albeit, misguided bunch. Michigan State is notorious for trickery, trickeration and all manner of trickstering. That being said, it will take all of the discipline the Buckeye secondary can muster to stop all the tom foolery and blatant wide open receivers that have been allowed to roam free in their zone!
  • For Crying in the Sunshine- Can a sister get an Amen for some pressure on the quarterback? This rushing three business really grinds my gears when clearly the linebackers have been served most useful in getting to the quarterback when the scheme allows. Get it together Fickell. I love ya buddy but the lack of pressure on Devan Gardener last weekend during one of the most EPIC Buckeye vs. UM games of all times was nothing short of underwhelming.
  • Trophy Time- All Conference teams named on Monday, and to no surprise Ohio State was well represented. Braxton, Carlos, Philly, Mewhort, Lindsley, Norwell were honored for the offense as first or second teamers, while Shazier, Spence, Roby, and Bennett got the nod for the Defense.
  • Yeah, But-  Michigan’s Lewan  was awarded the Offensive Lineman of the Year over Jack Mewhort, while Ryan Shazier lost the B1G Linebacker trophy to Wisconsin’s Borland. I guess we’ll see what the NFL has to say about that… Read More

Pick ‘em: Who wants to win?

Written November 22nd, 2013 by Scott

We’ve got two weeks left.

The question is “who wants it?” Gary started out on fire while I stunk Big-10-logoup the place.

But I have managed to close the gap the last couple weeks and one game separates us thanks to my brilliance the last half of the season.

Recapping last week, Gary went 3-2, missing the Northwestern and Sparty games. I was 4-1, whiffing on Northwestern as well.

Interesting games this week. Several could go either way and we are both apparently being cautious with our picks.

“I have to get serious now because I’m done letting (Scott) get back in this thing,” Gary said.

He likes OSU, Sparty, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin and Penn State. I agree with him on OSU, Northwestern, Michigan and Whiskey. I would love to take Iowa and Northwestern as upset specials, but I’ve got a chance to win and I refuse to do anything stupid. I’ll go along with Penn State just to stay on pace with Gary, but I can’t take Purdue. Even though it’s a road game, I’m gonna take the Illini. I have confidence in them. Someone else doesn’t.

“Illinois apparently never wants to win in the B1G again,” Gary quipped.

Yes they do and yes they will.

So to recap:

  • Gary takes OSU, Sparty, TTUN, Purdon’t, Whiskey and the Sanduskys.
  • Scott is countering with OSU, Sparty, Brady Joke, Chief Illinidrek, Whiskey and State Penn.

Standings:

  • Gary 23-10
  • Scott 22-11

The Week That Were: 11.2.13

Written November 4th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

“November is for champions”.  Guess what, folks… it’s champions time.

For the first time this season, the memorable games from The Week That Were found themselves coming from B1G Country. And, if I’m completely honest, the top two made my weekend pretty fantastic.

hailcorny_medium

He Who Walks Behind The Corn

First, let’s go to the “What’s NU With You?” battle, as Nebraska and Northwestern squared off in a battle of the walking wounded. Taylor Martinez and his magnificent aerial attack was on the sidelines again, while Northwestern’s Venric Mark missed yet another game… and more Wildcats would go down as the game transpired. If Ohio State hadn’t already broken Northwestern, Nebraska certainly would have.

And yet the Wildcats were leading by three, in Lincoln, as time was winding down.It certainly looked like it was going to be a bad weekend to be a Pelini.

The Huskers brought in their version of the Pillsbury Throwboy, who led the team to the memorable last second finish that you see gif-ing there on the right. Best “Fat Guy Touchdown” ever?

For full coverage and reaction, let’s turn to my wife’s play by play from the moment:

  • “Ugh… I hate this… losing at home. And you know that this will mean Bo’s job….”
  • “Well, that never works… And we’re supposed to play Michigan next week? Yuk.”
  • “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” (combined with lots of happy Husker hopping)

Yeah, it was that kind of moment… Buckeye fans know the feeling, and Coach Fitzpatrick certainly could find a Bert to talk to as well.

Several people pointed out that, in the mayhem that followed, Coach Pelini looked stunned and no one chose to celebrate with him. That could just be his normal demeanor, though… although it might also point to his having “lost” his team.  A word of warning to Tommie Frazier and all of the others looking to make a change… be very very careful what you wish for.

So now a Cornhusker team that has a huge emotional win to build on travels to Ann Arbor to face a Michigan squad that’s coming off what may be one of the worst beatings that they’ve encountered in a long time.

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No Freaking Idea

While it’s been well documented that Coach Hoke can’t win on the road, to lose yet another game to “Little Brother” never feels good- particularly when you end the game with negative 48 yards rushing.  That’s why Wolverine running backs should keep their mouths shut… although, this should have already been perfectly clear to anyone who pays attention.

Huge kudos to Coach Dantonio and our favorite Spartan, Coach Harley- not only did the defense rise up and make Devin Gardner look like the wide receiver playing QB that he is, they also managed to put points on the board for the second straight week. Granted Michigan’s defense has some holes (as Indiana and Penn State showed), but to see MSU’s offensive evolution over the season is impressive. Read More

Are You Not Entertained? Iowa

Written October 21st, 2013 by Gary Russell II

The Buckeyes survived a scare from Iowa in a 34-24 victory, but did our wishes survive?

Ken
  1. Run Stopper - Iowa averages >200 yards rushing per game, 104 by Mark Weisman. We need to commit to shutting down Iowa’s running game. Because.. 130 yards total and Weisman held to 52
  2. Hello Secondary - Iowa’s sophomore QB, Jake Rudock is capable (200 YPG) but is also capable of throwing interceptions (1 per game). We need to force him to throw and make the ensuing mistakes. I wan to see him up to 40-45 attempts on Saturday afternoon. You nailed this one Ken…..245 yards total and an interception.
  3. A Special Score - A Special teams and/or defensive TD. I would prefer both, but will take either/or. Not this time Ken. 
  4. No injuries – Another good game from an injury perpsective
  5. A Win – Scary….but we got it.
  6. Suckers - Buckeyes to run a fake punt. Hawkeyes are sucker for it. Hard to fake one when you never lined up for one.
Scott
  1. No Passing Allowed -  Fewer than 200 passing yards allowed. Sorry….245 yards for Rudock.
  2. Spread ‘em -  lets see the offense spread, like Urban promised.  Still think we are witing on this one. 
  3. Zero punts – I thought this was a long shot but you got this one right Scott!
  4. Zero field goals – Not so good on this one though..
  5. The G-Man - Kenny G – Still not hearing the music.
Patrick
  1. Improved pass defense -  Although Iowa doesn’t pose a great threat through the air, I want to see improvement for when Mr Hackenburg and Mr Robinson some a calling in two weeks. – Bye week didn’t seem to help our pass defense.
  2. Passion - Braxton play with some passion and fire. He seemed uninspired to say the least in the first half at Northwestern.  Zero turnovers and better reads is a must.Definitely a better Braxton.  324 all-purpose yards and zero turnovers. 
  3. The Horse - Carlos Hyde about 20 times. I’d love to see the numbers if El Guapo had played the first 3 weeks of the season.  24 rushes for 149 yards! Love that horse!
  4. A Blowout -  The Bucks need one. It’s time to start getting these “style points”.  The only style here was an ugly style. Read More

Silver Bullet Points Turns To The Skies

Written October 17th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

I apologize. I googled “songs about Iowa” and this came up.  Yeah, it’s pretty much what you’d expect. Here’s a palate cleanser… also from Iowa.

Don’t Bring A Bow To A Gun Fight

Buckeye 411

  • Injury Update- Tommy Schutt is indeed back in the rotation, and Jordan Hall is healthy enough to see time on special teams.  One interesting note from Wednesday Afternoon- Braxton said that his knee is getting better, but still creates some problems for him when he cuts; he doesn’t feel 100% as of yet. Clair was right on Tuesday!
  • Getting Wrinkly- Coach Meyer talked about Ohio State unleashing some new wrinkles on offense after the bye week. My current status? Giddy.
  • Get A Grip- Braxton addressed the “fumblitis” from Northwestern, and talked about the efforts he’s made over the past week to protect the ball and keep it closer to his body. The coaching staff even had him holding it during stretching to get the point.
  • Hyde, If You Dare- Carlos seemed more than a little excited in Wednesday’s interviews, saying that he was finally “100% back”, and looked forward to the remaining games of the season. Coach Meyer highlighted his leadership since his return, and said that Iowa’s description of Hyde being a “beast” was cool.
  • Trench Warfare- Iowa’s defense hasn’t given up a rushing touchdown, while Ohio State’s offensive line is a strength of the team. It’ll be a game that will make Woody proud, and one that Cory Linsley highlighted as something that the front was really looking forward to.
  • Secondary Matters- Pittsburgh Brown talked about the need to be smart against play action when facing the Hawkeyes, as well as opened up about the defensive back’s communication improvements since some of the errors during the Wisconsin game.
  • Like A Bosa- Freshman Joey Bosa is listed as the starter against Iowa, with Adolphus Washington healthy enough to see meaningful time as well. Jason talked earlier about this- what would a “NASCAR” package like some NFL teams have gone to look like for the Buckeyes? Bosa, Washington, Bennett, and… maybe Jamal Marcus?
  • By Oden’s Knees! Buckeye Greg Oden is trying another comeback, this time with the Miami Heat. Bad news, though- the Heat, who are monitoring his knees on a daily basis, have held him out of practice with some slight swelling. Hopefully, their proactive efforts will help Greg finally get his time in the spotlight.
  • This Week In Silverman- Great reminder from the graphic design wizard at Ohio State: Read More