In a surprisingly friendly environment, that was at worst 50% Buckeye fans, the Ohio State Buckeyes met the California Golden Bears in California Memorial Stadium. In a game best described as “frenetic”, both teams put up 1112 total yards of offense en route to a 52-34 final score. Kenny Guiton finished the game 21/32 for 276 yards and 4 touchdowns, while his counterpart, Cal QB Jared Goff, notched 31/52 for 373 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception. Jordan Hall and an impressive day on the ground with 168 yards on 28 carries for 3 touchdowns, and Devin Smith picked up 149 yards on 3 receptions for 2 touchdowns.
As has been typical for the Buckeyes this year, they started on the defensive side of the ball. On the first play of the game, Joey Bosa made a huge tackle to celebrate his first start of his career. The defense as a whole executed extremely well, wrapping up better than we’ve seen all season, and performing smart, aggressive tackles. And while Cal was able to get some yardage on their first couple possessions, it wasn’t enough to sustain a drive.
Kenny Guiton got his first career start in this game, with Braxton Miller’s MCL still a concern to the coaching staff. It didn’t take him long, only the second play of the first OSU possession, to make his own mark on this game. Devin Smith broke open on a deep route on the right side of the field, and Guiton hit him with a 90 yard touchdown strike. The pass hit Smith nearly in stride and allowed him to run away from the defender with ease. It was reportedly the longest play from scrimmage in OSU football history, beating out Gene Fekete’s 89 yard play against Pitt in 1942.
The offense didn’t let up either. Guiton hit another long pass play to Smith on the next possession. He followed that with a 4th and goal strike to Chris Fields, which came after OSU forced Cal QB Jared Goff into a fumble. All in all, OSU scored 21 points and racked up 190 yards of total offense in the first *six minutes of play*. It was an offensive showcase in every way imaginable.
Ohio State has traveled to the left coast for their first away game, and arguably their first true challenge, of the season. The California Golden Bears welcome the Buckeyes into California Memorial Stadium today for a primetime matchup between the B1G and the PAC-12 – the third of the day.
The game starts at 7:00 PM EST, LiveBlog will officially start at 6:30 PM. People may be in and out all day, though, so stop by if you get a chance!
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Another week, another round of questions! This time, our friends over at California Golden Blog have agreed to tell us everything they can about the upcoming game in Berkeley. Thanks to LeonPowe, atomsareenough, and Vlad Belo in particular for their great answers!
tBBC: California is leading the nation in passing yards at 470 per game. How do you explain true freshman QB Jared Goff’s taking the country by storm?
LeonPowe-CGB: Obviously the #Bearraid offensive system installed by Tony Franklin and Sonny Dykes is a big reason why. Spread the field, use passes as the running game. Tempo. And having lots of talent at wideout have been big pluses for the passing offense, but Goff is the guy who makes it go. Despite being a true freshman, his high school ran the Tony Franklin system and he familiarity with the terminology and what the QB is supposed to do gave him some advantages over his competition for the QB job in the spring and in the fall (he’s an early enrollee). But mentioning all of that without giving credit to Goff would be selling him very very short. His strengths are his decision making and his accuracy – he’s been baited into a handful of bad throws but he’s a true freshman and playing catch-up with regards to defender speed and size.
atomsareenough-CGB: Well, first and foremost, the credit has to go to Goff. He’s been as advertised; consistent, accurate, careful, and makes quick decisions with the football. Secondly, those traits mesh extremely well with the new offense, which is conceptually pretty simple but relies on being quick and accurate. Third, we have a talented corps of receivers who have mostly done a good job catching the ball. I wouldn’t have predicted he’d be leading the nation in passing yardage, but I think part of the explanation is that teams have been focusing on stopping the running game and putting the pressure on him to throw. Fortunately, he’s been able capitalize on that, has distributed the football well, and we’ve taken what they’ve given us. The way he plays though, it’s not simply a quirk or a coincidence or a product of the scheme. He’s legitimately very good, especially for a true freshman. Even after 2 games, I feel pretty confident in saying he’s the best QB we’ve had in many years.
Vlad Belo-CGB: Jared Goff does not look like a guy who is overwhelmed. He is extremely composed, keeps his poise very well, and throws the ball on time. He seems to have a command for this offense and it shows. Playing in the friendly environs of his home field to make his debut hasn’t hurt either.
tBBC: Sticking with offense, through two games, the Golden Bears are averaging 97 plays per game. Is this extremely fast tempo by design or dictated by the game situations? Can they keep up this pace on Saturday?
Pass the ball!There was definitely some passing, though perhaps not quite as on-target as we may have hoped. 16-30 for 249 yards and 4 touchdowns (with a pick) is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
Run it up. Not as much of a “cakewalk” as you expected, was it? We did pick up more than Cal’s defense was averaging, but only by 4 points.
Bri’onte scoring again. Mr. Dunn did not even touch the ball on Saturday – except on a 22 yard kick return – let alone house it.
Pass rush. Definitely a significant improvement here! The pass rush was much more aggressive than we’ve seen in previous games, and led to more than a few sacks.
Braxton getting less than 15 carries. This is a case of “careful what you wish for”. Braxton got less than 15 carries, but it seemed terribly contrived, and may have caused him to hesitate a bit longer than he should have a couple times.
Secondary issues gone. I think this one speaks for itself. I’ll spare you the hideous laughter…this time.
Down field passing. Ignoring the types of routes, we definitely saw some downfield passing. We even saw a couple completions – one big one to Smith for 72 yards, another to Stoneburner for 40, and one to Philly Brown for 21.
That’s all there is to it. That game was simply ugly.
In a game that was a lot closer than it seemed it should be during the 2nd quarter, the Buckeyes evaded the Cal Golden Bears 35-28. California did an excellent job of keeping the game close until halftime before putting in their 46 defense as an adjustment to confuse the Buckeye offense. The result was a motivated Cal team that managed to take the lead early in the 4th quarter. The Buckeyes regained control only to see it get tied up again. A final deep shot over a corner and safety that had bit on a possible Braxton Miller run gave Devin Smith the go-ahead Buckeye Touchdown.
This team has a long way to go before they’re going to be anything like what Urban Meyer wants to see on the field. The defense still seems to have communication problems, and also struggles to tackle. This is not the kind of defense that’s going to do well against the Big Ten at this point. They need to really get it together if they want to be even a half-way decent OSU defense. That said, it was the defense that had to dig deep at the end and stop California to secure the victory. They have it in them, but it isn’t quite there yet. Hat tip to Christian Bryant for picking up the interception to secure the victory.
Props to Jeff Tedford and company for their great gameplan, including the confusing use of the 46 defense. If not for their field goal kicker missing three shots during the course of the game, this might have been a different story in the end.
As for the offense, it has its moments. It is pretty clear that they aren’t 100% there on understanding the system, but they’re taking the steps towards getting there. At some point, this offense is going to be insane – but that may not happen until next year.
It’s finally Saturday! The Buckeyes are set to take on the California Golden Bears at Noon EST on ABC. The Liveblog will kick off 30 minutes before gametime.
Looking forward to seeing you there! Go Bucks!
Pass the ball!California has allowed 260 yards per game through the air…and that was against Nevada and Southern Utah. In a game where we should be leaning on the passing game more because of injuries, it’s nice to know that it’s the weakness of the opposition. The Thunderbirds actually threw for FOUR touchdowns against these guys (that’s Southern Utah, by the way).
Run it up. Cal allowed 31 points in each of their first two games…again, to Nevada and Southern Utah. This game should be a cakewalk, so let’s rack up the points and make it fun.
Bri’onte scoring again. Bri’onte Dunn went to the same high school as I did (and has the best use of the apostrophe since Butler By’not’e), so I have a place in my heart for him. Let’s get him some more scoring opportunities.
Pass rush. we have too much talent on our D-line to not be getting constant quarterback pressure.
Braxton getting less than 15 carries. I dont mind Braxton getting carries but 20+ per game is too many. I would also like to see the RBs be more effective along with the passing game.
Secondary issues gone. I’m not sure what has been going on the first couple weeks. I understand lack of pass rush but there have been quite a few breakdowns downfield.
Down field passing. I would like to see smith and brown running the go routes and skinny posts. Some corner routes as well as hitting stoneburner up the seem as well.
The “traditional” Pac-10/Big 12 matchup turns into the now Pac-12/Big ## matchup. At least they got a couple of traditional teams…
History: As with many of the other bowl games, we have covered this one a couple of times over the last few years. While this is a Pac 12/Big 12 matchup these days, it originally started out as the destination of the WAC champion. It sure has come a long way from those humble roots.
California: The Golden Bears are the jack-of-all-trades this year. Good at everything, master at nothing, their per-game averages rank in the 40′s in many of the major categories. It’s enough to beat you, but not by a lot. For Buckeye fan’s reference, the Cal Bears only managed to beat the Colorado Buffaloes 36-33 in OT. They did almost catch Stanford closer to the end of the year, and definitely improved over the last few games.
Texas: The Longhorns have simply not been the same since losing to Alabama in the National Championship. They did manage to improve this season, and with Colt McCoy’s brother, Case McCoy, slinging the football they should be good going forward. This year, however, they’ll be depending on their 19th ranked running game far more than the passing game.
Who we got?