What a show put on by the Buckeyes! We wrap up quite a night in The Shoe as the Buckeyes wallop Penn State and we look forward to the final four games of the regular season. We’ll also take another peak at the BCS and see where the Buckeyes stand nationally and how they can get themselves into the National Championship game. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
You can’t always get what you want
How often do we ask for the Buckeyes to perform to the fullest of their potential and show the world what we all feel they are capable of? We sit and ponder the scenarios of “If this guy can do this and that guy can do that…” in hopes of seeing it all come together. Saturday night was one of those times where it all clicked and the proverbial light bulb turned on.
As a complete unit with Braxton Miller at quarterback and Carlos Hyde at running back, this is only the third game we have seen the Buckeye offense play together. Think about that for a second. After drilling Penn state for 63 points (42 in the first half!) this is an offense that is just now, from a gelling together and games played standpoint, heading into early-mid season form.
The lyrics may say that “you can’t always get what you want”, but I’m here to tell you we are getting what we need. We are getting an offense that is about to hit their high point with four (five including the Big Ten Championship game) games left to play. You couldn’t ask for more.
Anatomy of a force
Braxton Miller is back. I don’t want to hear anything else about it. He is officially the Braxton Miller that was the Heisman frontrunner coming into the season. It took a while and some missed time to get there, but he is here. His feet are back. He looks as tough as ever taking on tacklers. His arm is like a rocket. And the most importantly, he is making great decisions and has his completion percentage is over 70%. Read More
Ohio State and Penn State met for the 29th time in their illustrious histories. The game was anything but illustrious for Penn State, who found themselves on the wrong end of a 63-14 beatdown that extended OSU’s winning streak to 20 wins. Braxton Miller had a spectacular day in all phases of the game today: he threw 18/24 for 252 yards and three touchdowns, while running 11 times for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns. Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg had a very pedestrian day throwing 23 passes for only 12 completions, 112 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Carlos Hyde continued to dominate on the ground, dropping 147 yards and 2 touchdowns on 16 carries. Devin Smith’s 5 receptions for 50 yards led the Buckeyes in the air, while Corey “Philly” Brown continued his solid play with 4 receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. For Penn State, Bill Belton picked up 98 yards on 22 carries, while Allen Robinson picked up 9 receptions for 99 yards.
Ohio State started with the ball and immediately began to attack the edges of the Penn State defense. Braxton Miller threw three straight passes in the flat spread around to Carlos Hyde and Evan Spencer in an obvious attempt to exploit a weakness in the PSU defense. The strategy netted nearly 10 yards per play and quickly moved the Buckeyes down the field, setting up a long pass play to a wide open Devin Smith that came within a half yard of scoring. It was no big deal for Carlos Hyde to power the ball into the endzone to give the Buckeyes the first points of the day.
Bill O’Brien’s offense immediately came to work on the next possession. Using a balanced attack of throwing and running, the Nittany Lions moved the ball 64 yards into the redzone. OSU’s defense looked as if they were already back on their heels and that it was only a matter of time for a PSU score. However, PSU QB Christian Hackenberg tossed a pass to the endzone that was underthrown. Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown reached up and intercepted the pass in the endzone for a touchback.
The Penn State defense stood tall following the turnover. They caught Braxton in the backfield on first down after a bad zone-read play. That eventually led to a third and 16 that saw Braxton scramble out for a 12 yard gain. Things weren’t much more successful on the other end of the field for the PSU offense. The Buckeye defense stiffened enough to force a three and out of their own.
The #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0) host the Penn State Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-1) for a Saturday evening game in Columbus.
After winning the first two games of the season, the Nits have alternated L’s with W’s, with their last game an exciting 43-40 win over TTUN two weeks ago. Penn State had a bye week to recover from that game and to prepare for this week’s contest.
This is Coach Bill O’Brien’s (BOB) 2nd year, and he seems to be continuing last year’s success (8-4) under challenging coaching conditions. Although the Lions feature Thunder (Zack Zwinak, 6’1” 240) and Lightning (Bill Belton, 5’10” 205) as their running backs, freshman QB Christian Hackenberg truly leads this offense. Hackenberg is averaging 284 YPG (3rd in B1G) on 26 attempts per game.
His key receiver is junior WR Allen Robinson (43 rec, 16.5 YPC, 5 TD). Robinson is 6’3” and 210 pounds. That presents some physical match up challenges. As you may guess, PSU throws to their TE’s quite a bit, with the 6’7” Jesse James and 6’3” Kyle Carter being the main targets.
Historically, Penn State’s offense has averaged slightly more yards passing than rushing. Not under BOB. In the past season and a half, PSU is running a yardage ratio of 65/35 in favor of passing. This is not your Pa’s Penn State offense by any means.
Meanwhile, Ohio State is coming off a 2nd half will-imposing win against Iowa. It was a return to 2012, as Miller and Hyde carried the running game with 42 carries for 251 yards between them.
Ohio State on Offense Read More
As we inch closer to the opening kickoff on Saturday, no team in the B1G is more intriguing or crucial to the success of the B1G than the Penn State Nittany Lions. Even though they are not eligible for the post season, a successful season would only strengthen the conference as a whole.
As Bill O’Brien enters into his second season, I sat down for a few minuets with statecollege.com writer, Ben Jones, and gathered a few of his thoughts heading into the 2013 season. Don’t forget to follow Ben on Twitter, @Ben_Jones88
1. Heading into the offseason, how much angst was there in Happy Valley waiting to see if Bill O’Brien would stay or not?
I think there was a fair amount of stress for fans the first few weeks after the offseason. Once O’Brien had his sitdown of sorts with the media to hash a lot of the rumor and speculation out I think that for the most part the fear left. Will he ever leave? Probably. But I think for now people expect him to stick around for the next few years.
2. In your opinion, is O’Brien the man to lead PSU through these sanctions and out the other side to relevancy again?
O’Brien is the kind of coach that I think Urban Meyer was. Unknown, and had a chance to prove himself and did and it was all “glory” from there. I’m not saying O’Brien is the next Urba Meyer but I think you can see qualities that he has that other elite coaches have. I think he stays through the sanctions and how Penn State comes out of them will depend on his future with the program. If he were to stay though I think that there is evidence to suggest he would do very well in Happy Valley.
3. Where does the QB battle stand heading into game week? Read More
Slight variation in schedule… think of this as TWTW meets Wednesday’s regular SBP. Here’s the tunes behind the guy behind the guy.
2013 started almost the same way that every other year has started since I can remember… with a slate of B1G Ten games, highlighting how many people who live in the midwest want to flee to warmer climes for some semblance of a vacation. I still haven’t figured out how the scheduling geniuses who have an entire slate of games and “bowl week” to work with decide to run four of them at semi-simultaneous time times, though.
You’ll note that I said “almost”… one of the major differences this year was the lack of Buckeye football; in case you hadn’t heard, they had a one year vacation from the post-season. What’s intriguing about that fact is that we seemingly had it shoved down our throats throughout the regular season by the good folks at the four letter network, and yet I can count on one hand the times I heard the words “Ohio State” or “Buckeyes” thus far in the bowl season. Penn State, too, although you’d think that one of the things that would be covered would be how teams playing got their losses this year; the Rose Bowl’s discussion included the review of their overtime losses, but didn’t mention by name two of the teams that handed those to them.
I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised, though… you want the games to be celebrations of the teams that are playing, and it’d be a shame to see anything hamper the narrative of next Monday’s “Championship” game; reminding folks of another undefeated team might cast a pall on that sacred moment. However, I don’t seem to remember Southern Cal being erased from the post season even when they were ineligible- their 10-2 record last year was certainly a topic of commentary.
Anywho… Ohio State hasn’t lost a game in over a year, and that can’t be taken away from them or their fans.
So let’s dive into the spectacle that was B1G Tuesday, taking a look at all of the outcomes and then reflecting on what this might “mean” for the conference and college football as a whole. Remember, the results you witnessed might have been different should the two outsider programs be in the mix this season… B1G fans, how are those “you’ve got no bowl game” taunts holding up for you these days?
This week’s soundtrack takes you back to 1978, well before vampires were sparkly and werewolves were dreamy. Happy All Hallows Eve, folks…
That may have been the most satisfying win of the season.
The Buckeyes went into insanely hostile Beaver Stadium and shook off a tough first half to knock off the Penn State Nittany Lions 35-23 to take sole possession of first place in the Leaders Division. The 9-0 Buckeyes were led by Braxton Miller’s legs as he went 124 yards for 2 touchdowns on 24 carries. He also threw the ball 19 times for 7 receptions netting 143 yards and a touchdown. Carlos Hyde was relatively bottled up for the game, and only picked up 54 yards on his 20 carries, but he did pick up an important touchdown at the end of the first half. For his part, Matt McGloin had a good game throwing the football, picking up 327 yards and 2 touchdowns on 27/45 throwing.
It seems like this team is making baby steps in the right direction. They still struggle at times early in ballgames, but they did an excellent job continuing to chip away at the Nittany Lions defense. While things weren’t easy in the first half, they managed to go into the locker rooms tied at 7. Braxton and company then ran away with the game and did enough to hold off the inevitable Penn State 4th quarter comeback attempt. A great throw to Jake Stoneburner over the middle in single coverage with only 6 minutes left in the game basically sealed the deal as Stoneburner went 72 yards for the longest touchdown of his career.
I can’t say enough about how good the defense looked in this game. While they still gave up a few big plays, and they still struggle in coverage, they made good plays all over the field. Penn State had a very hard time running the football, collecting only 32 yards on 28 attempts for the game. It makes you wonder if the defense doesn’t sometimes “play down” to their opponents, and blow off games they expect will be easy at times. It could also simply be that Penn State’s offense plays better to our defensive strengths, but it’s hard to ignore that the two best defensive efforts this year have come against Michigan State and Penn State.
Kenny G. We talk about this a lot; implying that Ohio State should be ahead enough to get the backup some time. However, after Saturday’s performance, the “old right-hander” has deserved a series or two… mmmm, smooth jazz.
Pick Six U. It’s a legacy for the Lions, and even something McGloin has been a part of. PSU loves to work the short passing game, it would be amazing to continue this part of the “curse” that we have on their season.
Silence. OK, you can’t really “see” silence, but taking the crowd out of this game will be important.
Poise. Maybe if I write it this way, the offense will focus enough to not have any you know whats.
Linebacker? You. On the first play Saturday, Ohio State’s LB corps put them in a difficult hole with poor play. The Lions run a no-huddle offense that looks to get a lot of plays on the board- over ninety for the past two weeks. Having the players at this position step up and own it will go a long way to slowing down PSU’s short passing game.
Fast Start. Hit the ground running and do not look back. This team has started slow in virtually every game this year. Let’s put it all together from the beginning.
Silence the Crowd. Nothing more obnoxious than 106,000 PSU fans all dressed in white…and I’ll be right there in Beaver Stadium among them proudly wearing scarlet and gray. Take them out of the game early, please.
Pick Six University. I’d hate to see such a wonderful tradition come to an end, so let’s not let it. Looking at you, secondary. Don’t let me down.
Just win, baby! Most of you know that I have a personal aversion to Penn State, and I’m going to be in Happy Valley for the game this weekend as I said. I don’t care if it’s by one point, by ten, or if it’s a blowout (although I’d really enjoy seeing a blowout), just WIN.