The Ohio State Buckeyes welcomed the Morgan State Golden Bears to Value City Arena to open the season. From the get-go the Bucks had no trouble with the Bears, eventually closing out a 89-50 victory. The Buckeyes were led in scoring by Lenzelle Smith Jr. who dropped 18 points and added 7 rebounds and 2 assists to his stat line. He was joined in double digits by Shannon Scott’s 16, LaQuiton Ross’s and Sam Thompson’s 14, and Marc Loving’s 10. LaQuiton Ross also added 11 rebounds for a double double on the day. Morgan State was led in scoring by Justin Black with 13, followed by Ian Chiles with 12, and Anthony Hubbard with 11.
The game started with two incredible surprises. The first was the starting lineup which was a three guard, two forward arrangement of Aaron Craft, Shannon Scott, Lenzelle Smith, Sam Thompson and Amir Williams. The particular surprise is that Sam Thompson was replaced by LaQuinton Ross at the first dead ball less than a minute into the game. The second big surprise was the shooting of Shannon Scott who hit three of four three point attempts in the first four minutes of the game, including hitting his first three straight.
Given the talent on this team, and the distribution of scoring, it is possible that we will see a variable starting lineup during the season. During the exhibition, the Buckeyes started a 2 guard, 3 forward lineup. That could have been an experiment for a game that didn’t count, but it could be a sign that Matta will start players in reaction to the opponent’s strengths. Either way, it’s something worth paying attention to during the season.
The Buckeyes displayed the typically strong defense of Matta teams, but also displayed a nice tendency to distribute the basketball. On several occasions, players passed on an ok shot to provide a pass to a player with a better look. The Bucks also used the dribble drive to open up shooters on the arc, forcing Morgan State’s defense to collapse into the lane. Interestingly, this team seemed to favor the three point shot more than previous OSU teams, shooting roughly 50% of their shots beyond the arc. Considering the opponent, this is clearly a sign that this team is more of a shooting squad than an inside game.
The Buckeyes face off with the Golden Bears for the first regular season game of the year. The game is set to tip at Noon on the Big Ten Digital Network (yup, you have to pay for it…again).
The liveblog will start at 11:45 AM. Come join all your favorite Buckeye bloggers and fans as we talk about some awesome Shooty Hoops!
The Buckeyes brought back a big road win from California but let’s see how many of our wishes came true:
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?
The Buckeyes make the Left Coast trip to visit the California Golden Bears this Saturday. The Buckeyes moved to 2-0 after their handling of the San Diego State Aztecs 42-7. Once again, it was a tale of two halves.
In the 1st half, the Buckeyes ran 37 plays for 284 yards (7.7 YPP), scoring on 5 of 7 possessions for 35 points.
In the 2nd half, they ran 33 plays for 116 yards and one (1) touchdown. Oh, and this firefight was smoothly led by backup QB Kenny Guiton after Braxton Miller went down with a knee injury on OSU’s first series. Coach Meyer expects Braxton to be healthy come game time Saturday.
Meanwhile out West, the Golden Bears of California handled FCS opponent Portland State 37-30 to move to 1-1 on the season. Backing up a week, the Golden Bears opened their current home stand with a 44-30 loss to B1G powerhouse #22 Northwestern. Go B1G!
In its first year under Sonny Dykes, California is running a frenetic paced offense, averaging 97 plays and 582 yards per game this season. Last week, against Portland State, Cal ran 95 plays for 616 yards. That is a lot of both. California currently leads the nation with 470 passing yards per game. Freshman Jared Goff and his receivers are simply wearing out secondaries this year.
Although Cal is making a name for itself on offense, for example, scoring on 7 of 16 drives against Portland State, their defense forced PSU to punt in their last 6 possessions to seal the win. So they can play some defense.
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.