If you are interested in where I was last week with respect to draft day check it out here . I was pretty close with my thoughts around who was good, who was bad, and initially hit the nail on the head about the bad(Browns). This week I really dive into who rumbled through, who may have stumbled slightly in my eyes, and the fans that are getting my ire in the ugly! Let’s get rollin’ with the good!
It really should come as no surprise that the offensive linemen that come through Ohio States program now, have bullseyes on them for NFL execs. The work that Ed Warriner has put in to turn things around has been remarkable. Not to sell the athletes short either, but they were in the program when he arrived and its obvious his style as an edge to it that the players have come to love. Those players go to battle every Saturday for Warriner and that Buckeye team.
Look at the difference a couple years has made in the perception of those linemen and how much the NFL is beginning to covet it. Here’s a list from the NFL with all draft picks that were Buckeyes. To break it down quickly, The Buckeyes had seven linemen drafted between 2002 and 2008 with Barton being the last taken until Adams in 2012. Three full seasons without a single drafted lineman and in just the two years with Warriner there’s been three taken and the other two this year have caught on as UDFA’s that will probably earn a spot on their rosters because of the coaching they’ve received.
Jim Heacock won the Frank Broyles Award in 2007 for obvious reasons, I will make it my goal to campaign for Ed Warriner, and I am not sure that he shouldn’t have beat Pat Narduzzi out from MSU this past season. He has all of the tools needed to be a pretty good head coach someday and rumor has it he is pretty happy where he is at. I why wouldn’t you be grinding out the best rushing attacks that Ohio State fans have ever seen? We will see plenty from Fragel(2013), Mewhort, Linsley, Norwell, Hall(2014) in the NFL, all have worked their tails off for their coach and team and will get paid for it now! That’s five linemen that he coached jumping to the show. Read More
The Buckeyes and Clemson met for only the second time in history, and for the second time the Clemson Tigers pulled out the victory on an interception at the end of the game. In a tough, hard fought battle, both teams slugged their way into leads, and control of the momentum, but it was Clemson holding the 40-35 lead at the end. Braxton Miller, hurt for much of the game, grit his teeth and put together a 16/24 for 234 yards, 2 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also added two touchdowns and 35 yards on 18 carries, though he lost a lot of yardage on sacks. Tajh Boyd, Miller’s counterpart, came out with a stunning display by throwing 30/39 for 370 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, as well as running 20 times for 127 yards and a touchdown.
Carlos Hyde, the stellar Ohio State back, finished his career in a tough running day, managing to gain 113 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. Corey “Philly” Brown led the Buckeye receivers with 116 yards on 8 receptions for the day. For Clemson, Roderick McDowell picked up only 69 yards on 12 carries, while Sammy Watkins set an Orange Bowl record with 227 yards on 16 receptions, and capping it off with 2 touchdowns.
The Ohio State Defense, much maligned most of the season and especially going into this game, were the first unit tasked with handling a potent offense this evening. Things were going well for the first couple plays. Clemson was finding some success moving the football, but the Buckeyes were tackling and attacking. Until Tajh Boyd hit the center of the offensive line and blitzed away to a 49 yard touchdown. That was Boyd’s longest touchdown run of the season.
Going the other direction, things did not look a whole lot better for OSU. The Offensive Line, a huge strength of this team all season, suddenly looked unable to block up the middle. A few attempts at the edge, including a 10 yard pass to Corey “Philly” Brown in the flat, had some success, but it wasn’t enough. Clemson’s defensive line picked up an excellent 17 yard sack helped by their coverage unit. 20 yards of penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct, gave the Buckeyes new life on the drive.
The Buckeyes continued to struggle on their first drive. Eventually, they were forced to punt. But, instead of giving the ball back, Meyer called Heuerman’s number on a fake with only 2 yards to go inside Clemson territory. The fake worked, and began to breathe life into the Scarlet and Grey. The drive was capped off by a beautiful 33 yard run with a little Braxton-patented stutter-step for a touchdown.
The Buckeyes and Spartans met in a head to head clash for the Big Ten Championship. In a battle that swung back and forth all night, the Spartans got the upper hand on the Buckeyes, securing the first B1G Championship for the Legends division with the 34-24 win. Braxton Miller was ok today against the stout Spartan defense, throwing 8/21 for 101 yards and a touchdown, while running 21 times for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. Connor Cook was much more impressive, connecting on 24/40 passes for 304 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception.
Carlos Hyde broke 100 yards again, carrying 18 times for 118 yards. Corey “Philly” Brown led the Buckeyes with 5 receptions for 53 yards. Jeremy Langford of MSU was the first back to carry for more than 100 yards against OSU, running 24 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. Keith Mumphery led the Spartans in receiving with 2 catches for 84 yards.
We got a chance to see the Spartan offense take the field first against the much maligned OSU defense. The Bucks did an excellent job of slowing down the MSU offense early, forcing a third and long on the very first possession. A poor play by Doran Grant kept the drive alive on an overthrown ball, and began to give MSU some confidence. On another third and long, Ryan Shazier made contact with Langford with the ball sailing over his head, again extending the drive. MSU wasn’t able to do much more than that, settling for a field goal deep in OSU territory.
Then it was time to see what the MSU defense could do against the high powered Buckeye offense. Carlos Hyde made himself known on the first play, pounding up the middle for seven yards. Unfortunately, a bad snap from the center on 3rd and 3 destablized the offense enough to throw off the timing of the play. Ohio State was forced to punt after a three and out that was obviously self-inflicted.
Michigan State took over again after the punt on their own twenty yard line. Things were beginning to start clicking for the boys in green. The blocking up front was beginning to open holes in the Buckeyes line that Langford could get a head start in. With Langford getting things going, it seemed like MSU was going to score again. A false start followed by a stuffed run on first down put MSU in a hole deep enough that they couldn’t quite dig themselves out of it.
The Buckeyes and Wolverines met for their annual rivalry tilt in The Game today in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In a game that was a severe departure from the historical battles in this series, the Bucks and Wolverines fought to a 42-41 game that ended with an OSU victory and their 24th straight. Braxton Miller ended the game throwing 6/15 passes for 133 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception, while running for 153 yards and 3 touchdowns on 16 carries. His counterpart, Devin Gardner, threw 32/45 for 451 yards and 4 touchdowns, while running 9 carries for 10 yards and a touchdown.
Carlos Hyde had another history-making day today. His 226 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries counts as the most yards against Michigan of any back in Ohio State history – which puts him above some very prestigious company. This also made for the first time OSU had a pair of 100 yard rushers against Michigan since 1967. On a day with little to no passing for the Buckeyes, Jeff Heuerman led all receivers with 2 catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. De’Veon Smith led Michigan in yards gained on the ground with 57 on 7 carries, while Jeremy Gallon picked up 175 yards and a touchdown on 9 receptions.
This year’s version of the game started with the ball in the hands of the good guys. Things looked good for OSU running the ball with Carlos Hyde up the middle, and the offense was able to work itself into Michigan territory. Unfortunately, a pass thrown behind the receiver, and a sack on first down, helped to stymie the drive. With the Buckeyes punting, it was the first opening drive that Ohio State had failed to score on all season – a quick reminder to throw out the season records when these two teams meet.
Michigan came back with a vengance. Pinned on their own one yard line, it required only 2 plays to put them inside two yards of scoring. Receiver Jeremey Gallon, on second and long, took the screen on the left side, and had enough blockers to find an opening. He was only barely tripped up shy of the endzone by Bradley Roby. On the fourth play of the drive, Devin Gardner ran the option keeper into the endzone for the first points of the game.
Things were looking a little dicey for the Bucks offensively. Miller was struggling to find his targets in the passing game, even though the Buckeyes weren’t throwing much. Carlos Hyde was having little difficulty gaining yardage, but Miller’s running was being reasonably well defended. On another 3rd and long from near mid-field, Miller again went to the long pass. Devin Smith found himself a couple steps ahead of his two defenders, and hauled in the long pass that was a hair overthrown. He managed to maintain his balance enough to fall into the endzone to finally put the Bucks on the board.
Playing in Urbana Champaign, the Buckeyes secured their record-tying 22nd straight win over the Illinois Fighting Illini. Playing a game that was a lot more competitive than anyone anticipated, the Buckeyes held off Illinois by a final of 60-35. Braxton Miller struggled a little today throwing the football, connecting on 13 of 29 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 184 yards a touchdown and a fumble on 16 carries. Nathan Scheelhaase had a better day hitting 32/49 for 283 yards, 2 touchdowns, but also 2 interceptions. He picked up an additional 48 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
Carlos Hyde was again the star of the game for the Buckeyes. Carlos put together an impressive running day with 24 carries for 246 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground, along with 2 receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown. While not a 300 yard game, it was strongly reminiscent of Eddie George’s huge game against Illinois in 1995. Corey “Philly” Brown added 7 catches for 49 yards and a touchdown, while Chris Fields picked up 2 catches for 58 yards. On the other side Josh Ferguson carried the ball 15 times for 69 yards and a touchdown, while Steve Hull had 8 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown.
The Buckeyes started the game with the ball and put the exclaimation point up early. Starting with a strategy that was very similar to the previous two games, Miller began throwing the little dump pass to the outside, once to Dontre Wilson on a short wheel route that he missed, and once to Corey “Philly” Brown on a WR screen. But it was the third play that broke it all open. Miller faked one defender out with the play action, then blew through two defenders that had no idea what was going on. By time the Illinois defense had recovered, Miller was 10 yards past them with a full head of steam on the way to a 70 yard score.
The passing game for the Illini is one of the best in the conference, with Nathan Scheelhaase leading the conference in passing yards. Not surprisingly, Illinois went to it early and found some success moving the ball. On his third pass, Scheelhaase tossed it over the middle into a crowd of Buckeyes that connected squarely with CJ Barnett for a pick. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes screwed up the center to quarterback exchange on first down, and were forced into a 3rd and 19 that they couldn’t convert.
After trading punts that put each team deep in their own territory, the Buckeyes offense got moving again. It was apparent that the wind in the stadium was having a major effect on things. Not only was Miller struggling a little to hit targets down field in the passing game, both under-throwing and over-throwing Devin Smith on long passes, but the entire offensive strategy seemed a little more constrained. Using the short passing game, and taking advantage of the power in the running game, Miller was eventually able to connect on short pass to Hyde in the flat that the runningback was able to put into the endzone from 18 yards out.
Ross-Aide stadium has been a house of horrors for the Buckeyes in recent years, but it was as friendly a home they could have found outside of Columbus today. Ohio State rode their momentum from the Penn State game last week straight through Purdue on their way to a 56-0 shutout victory and their 21st straight win dating back to last season. Braxton Miller led the way with a 19/23 passing day for 233 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception. Danny Etling threw a pedestrian 11/25 for 72 yards and an interception in the biggest loss for the Boilermakers to a Buckeye team since the 49-0 victory in 2010 that was later vacated.
Carlos Hyde and Kenny Guiton both had solid days running the football. Hyde picked up 111 yards on only 8 carries, while Guiton gained 98 on 9. Jeff Heuerman led all receivers with 5 catchs for 116 yards and 1 touchdown. Five different Buckeyes caught touchdown passes today, including: Chris Fields, Nick Vannett, Corey Brown, and Ezekiel Elliott. For Purdue, Akeem Hunt gained 23 yards on 6 carries while Gary Bush caught 2 passes for 18 yards. As a team the Buckeyes outgained the Boilermakers 630-116 overall in offensive yardage – the second 600 yard game for Ohio State in a row.
The game started about as poorly for Purdue as they could imagine. Starting with the ball, they did manage to find some running room on the ground. But facing a 2nd and five, Danny Etling tossed the ball straight into the arms of a waiting Doran Grant. Grant returned the ball 33 yards for the first touchdown of the game 57 seconds into the game. Purdue followed that drive with a three and out stopped less than a yard short of the goalline.
Things didn’t go much better for Purdue when OSU had the ball, not that you would expect them to. The Buckeyes opened with the exact same gameplan they opened with last week. The first play was a WR screen on the outside to soften up the interior of the Purdue defense. That was followed by a pass over the middle to the left side where Purdue’s defense had left a massive gap. Jeff Heuerman was the recipient of the gift of a wide open field when the safety bit on the wrong receiver. Heuerman had no trouble taking the pass 40 yards into the endzone to give the Buckeyes a two score lead.
It took their third drive for the Boilermakers to get things unbottled. A handful of good short passes intermixed with solid runs helped to keep the defense honest and the Boilers moving. Noah Spence nearly single-handedly killed what was looking like a promising drive when he charged into the backfield and hammered Etling for a sack and an eight yard loss. Purdue was forced to punt a play later after an Etling pass was batted down under pressure.
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.