Well, howdy-do, Buckeye nation! Thanks for paying attention to my little neck of the sunshine state… hope it works out as well as last time Ohio State had a team out here. You know what? Since we’ve already got a visit scheduled to the Bay Area for September, what say we just go for the trifecta and come on back out this way in January. Multiple options for today’s soundtrack- Vintage, Old School, Hippie, Country, Top 40, Hip Hop, Rock. Oh, and I’ve got a great recommendation for a place to stay.
Welcome to the calm before the storm… unless you’re an NIT junkie, then your Madness has already started. In honor of Coach Calipari’s fantastic coaching job on Tuesday night, today’s soundtrack channels the thoughts of Wildcat fans as they get to watch the rest of the tournament. Hey… you think they’ll have time to join our Bracket Challenge?
The Buckeyes played their most complete game of the season this past Saturday in dispatching Illinois 52-22. A game that shouldn’t have been close wasn’t. A team that has in recent years played to the level of its competition, whether up or down, the Buckeyes showed their mite by putting their foot on the gas early against the Illini and never looking back.
A lot has been said about the Big Ten being weak and the Buckeye schedule being light. I can’t argue much about either of those points. When writing last week’s entry, the thought crossed my mind that this (past) week against Illinois could be the week when it all comes together and the “Urbanization” of the Buckeyes begins to take shape.
For me, the real transformation to this program completely becoming Urban Meyer’s will be when we no longer see games like Purdue or California. The day we see the Buckeyes playing at a high level every week, not just when it’s a rival or a night game against a major name opponent, is the day the transformation is complete. It’s the day that everyone else in the Big Ten realizes that they are either going to work longer and recruit harder or be crushed in Meyer and Ohio State’s wake.
The destruction of Illinois may have been the first sign of this process taking shape. The defense was responsible for 6 points, the offense went up and down the field at will, backups played like they could have won the game if asked from the start, lots of excitement and celebrating on the sidelines, a confident swagger. Good times are ahead, my friends. Read More
I’m pretty certain everyone was well entertained this week. Nothing like Illinois to cure what ails you!
4 Quarters of Offense.We scored with 4 minutes left in the first quarter. I feel like this isn’t quite “early” enough, nor “often” enough for your taste.
Defense…more, please. It was a pretty solid effort from the defense, and probably would have been better if the offense hadn’t coughed the ball up twice. But you really can’t complain with 170 total yards for the Illini.
XBrax360. 223 yards passing, 73 yards running, and 3 total touchdowns. Pretty solid video gamey numbers.
Electricity in the ‘Shoe. Maybe it was electric in the first quarter, but I doubt it lasted much beyond halftime. Cold weather plus a blowout does not electricity make. Not having been there, someone will have to let me know if they felt differently.
No more Illini Dancing on the Block O. I very much doubt there was any Illini dancing going on after this one.
Throw It Over Top. There were certainly some nice throws over the top. The wheel-route to Rod Smith was a thing of beauty.
Silver Bullets. They made steps in the right direction, and they would have likely held Illinois to only 6 points all game if it wasn’t for those meddling backups and their fumbles.
Hyde and Smith. Hyde got over 100 (137) and was the primary rusher – so you were correct there. Rod Smith’s 32 yards on 5 carries, however, not so much. In fact, Bri’onte Dunn’s 73 yards on 13 carries and a score was a much better outing toting the rock. Rod Smith’s 55 receiving yards (51 on the wheel-route) makes his day overall better.
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.
Nate Williams is out, and Zach Boren has been moved to linebacker. And that’s just what we knew about heading into the game; a matchup that Ohio State dominated until mental lapses and a “never say die” Hoosier team made the contest too close for comfort late.
Since Eric is at a wedding and Tim’s got work, you’re stuck with me for the recap. Buckle up.
Braxton was able to get enough of the passing game going over the middle of the field to keep the Hoosiers honest, and found Jake Stoneburner for an early first down catch on a close call. A pass interference call kept the Ohio State drive alive, and Braxton made a good read on an option pitch to Corey Brown for the first Buckeye score. After a three and out by IU, the Buckeyes took over again and began to feed Carlos Hyde. After one first down, though, the Buckeyes were forced to punt, and IU began on their own seven yard line. The Hoosiers continued to have the dropsies, and IU punted back to Ohio State. Rod Smith reported for duty for Ohio State on their third drive. After a couple of nice runs, Devin Smith dropped a sure touchdown forcing Braxton to scramble on third down to pick up the long first. A couple of times during the first quarter, Ohio State showed a new wrinkle of a “touch pass”- they were unsuccessful in converting, though, and Drew Basil added his third field goal of the season.
Indiana got their first first down of the game, and began to move up tempo. Indiana ran an off-tackle play to Stephen Houston who ran 53 yards for the score, and the Hoosiers drew within three. Heuerman dropped the first down pass attempt, and Indiana was able to feather the option attempt and stop Braxton from any gain. A false start put OSU at third and 15; Braxton was only able to pick up five yards and the Buckeyes punted… and it was blocked by Indiana. The Hoosiers started at their own 17, and gained two yards prior to the end of the quarter. Read More
I wonder what it’s like to play the favorite at home four straight weeks against teams you’re expected to not only beat but beat handily? Does that put pressure on a young football team learning a new system and at some point make them begin to feel confidently complacent yet nervously unsure at the same time?
This is in no way an attempt to make any excuses for the myriad of problems the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes face nor to defuse the complaints being lobbed at them from its die-hard fan base. It’s just a question of mindset and trying to imagine what goes through the head of a 18-20 year old college athlete playing at the most popular university in the country.
B1G a welcome sight?
For the last 5-6 years we’ve had it shoved in our face weekly just how bad the Big Ten has become. Quite honestly, I’m really tired of hearing about it and beginning to not care. If Michigan can’t beat Notre Dame and Nebraska can’t beat an upstart UCLA team in the Rose Bowl and Wisconsin can’t beat anybody, what’s it matter to us? I’ve said it for a few years now and it needs repeated: Just win the games on your schedule and things will fall out how you deserve. Win them all and If you still can’t get in the BCS title game or upcoming playoff, be honest with yourself, look at your schedule and realize it’s likely you didn’t deserve it anyway. Besides, what is Ohio State going to do, leave the conference? But, more on the B1G overall later…
Coming in to this weeks game against Michigan State in East Lansing (ABC 3:30) all the lingering issues from the games with UAB , California and UCF can be put to rest. It’s time to start fresh. It doesn’t mean those problems don’t still exist (tackling, angles, dropping passes etc) it just puts the focus elsewhere. Instead of pounding it in players heads all week about how poor the tackling was, Coach Meyer’s staff can now use it as a tool to sharpen senses and focus on the task at hand: Beating Sparty. As an example: Instead of spending the week repeating the same fundamental issues over and over until they’re blue in the face, Luke Fickell can simply throw in during practice “And if you think you’re going to tackle Le’Veon Bell the way you tackled Joe Schmo from UAB, we might as well not even get on the plane!” Nothing more needs to be said. The message is clear. Get it together or you will fail. Read More