And so, we draw closer to another season in Ohio Stadium. Senior Day is always special, but this one even more so… and there’s more work yet to be done. Aw, heck… I’m getting all choked up just thinking about it. Here, listen to the soundtrack and enjoy your Thursday.
The polls are changing. A win at Illinois that left Buckeye Nation questioning everything. Saturday night brought us the end of the Stanford story. We’ll round up all the mass hysteria and make sense of it. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
Bye week hangover
Despite racking up 60 points and Carlos Hyde having a career day on the ground, the general consensus nationally was that the Buckeyes somehow “escaped” in their battle with the Illini. I’ll be the first to admit that this was clearly not the best performance we have seen from the Buckeyes in 2013, but it was hardly if ever in doubt. Oh, and they put up 60 points.
There were a lot of factors in play working against the good guys on Saturday.
Out due to injury, Joshua Perry and Curtis Grant left a gaping hole in the linebacker group. Joey Bosa’s injury took another starter off the field for the Silver Bullets.
Offensively things never seemed to click as timing was off and Braxton Miller seemed to get out of sorts in the middle stages of the game. He was also getting hit hard by the Illini defense, once illegally. Jack Mewhort missed some time during those same middle portions of the game while they looked at a tweak in his knee.
You can’t discount the mood in general, either. The stadium was half full, giving it an almost sleepy feel from the start. I hear you, that shouldn’t matter. But add in that they were near 30 point favorites who are still kids that read their own hype, mix in a week layoff and it is a ripe situation for a letdown. I think it became obvious when they went up 28-0 early that the foot came directly off the gas pedal and the machine was switched into cruise control. Read More
It may not have pretty, but the Buckeyes left Illinois with a 60-35 victory. Let’s see if our experts faired better than the Buckeyes defense:
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.
We’ve got a two-fer for your viewing pleasure this afternoon!
First, at Noon, the Buckeye football team travels to the space between the cornfields out in Urbana-Champaign to take on former Buckeye assistant coach Tim Beckman’s Illinois Fighting Illini.
Then, at 1 PM, the Men’s Shooty Hoopers tip-off in Milwaukee against Buzz William’s Marquette Golden Eagles.
Stop by and chat through both games with all of your favorite Buckeye friends and bloggers!
After the bye week the Buckeyes look to keep the momentum going at Illinois. Let’s see if our experts can too:
We’ve been meeting up with our friends from Champaign a hundred times now; it certainly seems like today’s soundtrack is more than appropriate.
Injury Update- Coach Meyer reported that the team is (finally) healthy, and will be ready for the stretch run. Jordan Hall in particular was pointed out as being active in practice; he’d been struggling with “a knee thing”.
There is nothing than returning to the podcast and ripping anything and everything to do with TTUN! On this week’s show, Joe and Clair have fun with the latest in Michigan failure — including Marie Sue Coleman’s Drunk Halftime speech, Ron English’s adjective to explain the type of football his former Eastern Michigan team plays, plus a Michigan fan that literally blamed all his drunken sorrows on Al Borges.
Oh, and we get you ready for Illinois/Ohio State on Saturday too!
Joe and Clair also talk about the current state of football through the recent bullying scandal in Miami, Where this coaching staff could end up after the season and how Luke Fickell could be a wanted commodity by more than just Florida Atlantic.
One school that comes up is the zero win Miami of Ohio program.
This and much more on the program this week! Thanks for listening!
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