Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never blah blah blah… it’s the second B1G/SEC tilt of the day, and should be airing right about the time that you find your keys in the bottom of the guacamole.
The History: This is one of the oldest games in the country, and was formerly the “Tangerine Bowl”. Because of it’s location, African American players were not allowed to participate, causing Hillsdale to decline their team’s offer to the game in 1955, and Buffalo choosing to do the same in 1958. In 1966, Morgan State (a historically black college) won the game and finished their season undefeated.
The “gifts that you can’t sell at all” for the student athletes in this game include yet another Fossil Watch and a $420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy. 420. Seriously. While this is awesome in and of itself… if I was participating, I’d really want something a bit more connected with the game’s sponsor, like, say “cash” or medieval weaponry.
Ohio State is 1-3 in this game, with their only win coming against BYU in 1985. The last B1G team to win this game was… wait for it… TTUN, giving Urban Meyer his only loss in Llllloyd Carr’s final game. Alec Baldwin was not involved in any way.
Georgia Scouting Report – At the beginning of the season, the Bulldogs’ head coach found himself on a short list of coaches that might be replaced in January. A brilliant campaign that led to a three way tie in the SEC East and a berth in the SEC Championship Game has certainly stopped those whispers. The Dawgs’ best win was the “upset” of Florida in the Swamp, where they held the Gators to nine points; their most heartbreaking loss was against Alabama in the SECCG- a game that was decided by really poor clock management at the end of the contest. Georgia’s offense is led by the aerial attack of Aaron Murray and Tavarres King, while Todd Gurley’s 1260 yards on the ground help balance the Bulldogs’ game plan. However, it’s linebacker Jarvis Jones who gets the headlines most often, his numbers are among the tops in the nation and certainly better than a certain Heisman candidate.
Buckeye Connection- The Buckeyes are 1-o against Georgia, although any chance for a more current assessment went by the wayside when the proposed series against the Bulldogs was cancelled to set up the B1G/PAC challenge… which was then cancelled. If it helps, Urban Meyer owns Mark Richt. Read More
Getting ready for the next phase of college fandom, that wonderful world filled with gifts of college hoops and bowl catastophies. As such, here’s the soundtrack for this week’s look back.
Robert Frost once said, “Nothing Gold can stay”; and so, another leaf turns and this college football season comes to a close. Before we jump into Championship Weekend, let me take a second to say “Thank You” to a great Ohio State blog and BBN member who hung up their keyboards this week- Dave and Drew, Godspeed on the next adventure.
Well, the crapocalypse is surely upon us- we’ve now got the choice to pull for Notre Dame or for Alabama in the Mythical National Title game come January; although I’m still holding out hope that the Mayans were right.
Alabama punched their ticket to yet another dance via a dominant second half performance against a very game Georgia team. Throughout the first half and into the third quarter, it looked as if the Bulldogs had figured out a way to neutralize the Bama defense, a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown only extended the sense of dread that Alabama fans must have been feeling throughout the sold-out Georgia Dome.
And then Nick Saban remembered that he had a running game. From that moment on, the Crimson Tide’s offensive line and stable of running backs managed to decimate the Georgia defense, churning clock and yardage. After running all over the Black and Red, it only made sense that Alabama’s last score would come on a beautifully executed play action pass- everyone, including the cameramen and your humble correspondent bit on the fake, and McCarron’s ball was perfectly targeted for the score.
Again, kudos to the Georgia team; they refused to give up even under dire circumstances and dwindling clock. They managed to drive to the red zone in a short amount of time, but then made decisions that I’m still trying to figure out.
After passing for the first down on the Alabama 8 yard line, Georgia chose to run a play and not spike the ball for clock stoppage goodness- they had used their last time outs forcing the Tide to punt on the previous series. The process of setting the play up itself cost them a good 5 seconds or so, and then they chose to run the following attempt:
There’s a lot of things that went wrong here- the pass was tipped at the line, and the receiver should have intentionally dropped it (although that’s a hard thing to do, as it goes against years of practice). But the decision to not control the clock a bit better at the end send Nick Saban to Miami to defend his team’s national title, and ended up pushing Georgia to game against the B1G Championship Runner Up (more later). Read More
On Homecoming 2012 in Ohio Stadium before a record crowd of 106,102 fans on national television in prime time the Ohio State Buckeyes left no doubt they are beginning to arrive in new head coach Urban Meyer’s system. What was being billed as a “Showdown in The Shoe” turned out to be a “Blowout in The Shoe” as the men of scarlet and grey plowed their way to an impressive 63-38 victory.
Fire and Ice
The Ohio State offense wasn’t exactly on fire to start the game. Coming out of the locker room the Buckeye offense went four straight series of three and out, the last included a fake punt attempt. I’d like to say that Bradley Roby’s 41 yard interception return for a touchdown at the 8:29 mark of the first quarter was the spark that got the team rolling, but the truth is Ohio State found themselves down 17-7 at the end of the first quarter. Starting slow is a first quarter trend that started back in game one against Miami, Ohio and continues through week six.
So what got the proverbial ball rolling? What kicked the offense and the team itself into gear and got them on a torrid scoring pace that ended up with a 63 spot on the board for the good guys? The answer: Braxton Miller. A 72 yard burst from “XBrax360” juking defenders out of their shoes and racing to the three yard line put the stadium and the Ohio State sideline into a frenzy. Two plays later Carlos Hyde busted into the endzone (more on Hyde later) and the onslaught of scoring had begun.
After his 72 yard sprint, Miller limped to the sidelines and could not finish the series. It’s the second week in a row that Braxton has given the Buckeye faithful a near heart attack. It’s also the second week in a row he shook off a bump and got back in the game. The question of course has to be asked: Can he keep taking hits and carrying the ball at this pace for an entire season?
Contain. Martinez was held to 40 yards on 18 carries. He also ended up throwing 25 times. That’s a good sign, if not for Burkhead’s 119 yards on 14 carries.
Defensive line dominance. Pretty strong statement for the D-Line on Saturday. John Simon was particularly disruptive.
Be smart. The penalties and turnovers were kept to a minimum for the most part. I still think a few of the penalties qualify as “silly” though.
Carpe Diem. Moment seized.
Feed Carlos. Feeding Carlos only got us 140 yards and 4 touchdowns. What were you thinking, unleashing a monster like that on the world?
Shut down the run, again. Not so much. 119 yards for Burkhead that was only stopped because he lost the ability to make a cut due to an injured knee.
Force Martinez into bad decisions. I think Bradley Roby alone forced Martinez into bad decisions. 2 picks for Roby, three total for the defense, and you can say this was definitely done.
Attack the middle of the defense. They started to hit this a bit by tossing to the tight-ends, but the passing game was almost entirely a secondary aspect of the offense this weekend. Use it when you need to, stick it in your back pocket when you don’t!
Less read option runs from Miller. How about more read options, all of which are correctly delivered?
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was certainly fun and exciting.
The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers fought a Shootout in the ‘Shoe to the tune of 14 total touchdowns in the game for a final score of 63-38. Braxton Miller finished the game with 7-14 completions for 127 yards and a touchdown, and added 185 yards on 16 carries for a touchdown. Taylor Martinez couldn’t keep up on the ground with 17 carries for 46 yards, but made up for it through the air on 15-24 completions for 214 yards and a touchdown, but also three picks. Carlos Hyde was a force in this one scoring 4 touchdowns and picking up 138 yards. The 63 points were the most scored by the Buckeyes since a 72-0 victory over Pittsburgh on September 21st 1996.
I’m impressed with the play of the offense tonight. They put in touchdowns on five straight drives, and it could have even been six or seven if not for the unfortunate Carlos Hyde fumble late in the third quarter. That is a testament of what this team can really do on offense. They’re figuring it out slowly but surely. It would be really nice if they could do it starting in the first quarter too, but it’s certainly better late than never. Simply put, these guys are making progress in picking up the system, and they’re making it work.
Despite what many will say about the defense, I want to give props to the unit for doing a fairly solid job all game long. As I’ll mention below, the big plays are still a concern, but the defense on the whole did a good job against a talented offensive team. If not for the offense struggling in the first quarter, Nebraska may never have made it to 30 points in this game. There’s still a long way to go, but I see this defense making progress slowly but surely – and don’t forget, you don’t get to 6-0 without at least some kind of defense.
That’s right, the Buckeyes are now undefeated halfway through the season. I doubt that many of us honestly believed the Buckeyes could find themselves in this position at this point in the season. There’s still a long way to go, but the players on this team have the heart to go the distance. One way or another, it’s going to be a fun ride through the last six games of the season.
Last year Nebraska joined the B1G and Ohio State traveled to Lincoln for an exciting game. Last year also introduced us to Tad Stryker, Dan “Husker Dan” McGlynn, and Husker Max.com. They joined us last year for our questions and they graciously decided to put up with us again this year and answer our questions about this year’s game.
1) Watching Nebraska defeat Wisconsin (woot!!) on Saturday, we couldn’t help but have deja vu with the second half comeback. Do you attribute that to great half-time adjustments, players executing the game plan better in the third and fourth quarters, home crowd momentum, or Bert Bielema just being awful? We’ll totally accept a combination of the two.
Tad Stryker: Yeah, that comeback did bring back a memory or two, didn’t it? The home crowd was a big factor, but the players settled down and stopped making critical mistakes. As far as coaching goes, putting Ciante Evans on Abbrederis for the second half was one of the best adjustments the Huskers made all evening. Second-year offensive coordinator Tim Beck stuck with the running game despite being down 17 points, unlike last year in Madison.
Husker Dan: The main cause of the Huskers’ second half resurgence was that they got out of their own way. There were also half-time adjustments to the offensive and defensive line schemes. Better execution, half time adjustments and the fact that Russell Wilson is playing for the Seahawks helped to contribute to the Husker win! Bret Bielema is a good coach, but clearly doesn’t have the talent he’s had the past few years.
2) Taylor Martinez has improved his passing significantly this year, both statistically and in his decision making. However, there seem to be several moments of regression (UCLA game, 1st half against Wisconsin)… what are the coaches doing to help him put together a complete game?
HD: This is a great question. I’m not sure the coaches can do much, other than stay out of his way. Taylor Martinez is light years from where he was a year ago. He played most of 2011 with two bad wheels that limited his ability to throw and run. This year, he’s become much more of a leader. He is definitely in charge of the offense. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance this fall. When he reaches his full potential, look out. He has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
TS: Martinez has improved a lot, but I still don’t think he can beat a high-level opponent with his arm alone. I think the coaches just need to keep reinforcing his confidence and let him run the ball with abandon (no more hook slides). When the Husker run game improves, Martinez improves as a passer, and so on.
3) At the game in the Rose Bowl, the Blackshirts seemed to be out of position in a number of occasions. What adjustments have Nebraska’s defensive personnel and coaches made since UCLA? Read More
Contain.Keep Taylor Martinez in the pocket and force him to beat them downfield with his arm. He’s much more dangerous with his feet.
Defensive line dominance. Continue moving the line of scrimmage one to two yards into the backfield. Keep the gaps plugged and force Burkhead to bounce his runs outside.
Be smart. No silly turnovers and penalties from the offense. Nebraska is going to give them a lot of different looks, some they haven’t seen this year. Keep your head in the game.
Carpe Diem. While being smart, enjoy the moment and seize the opportunity! “Who’s going to make a big play first? Me!” should be the thought on everyone’s mind. It’s national television in prime time, this is why you came to Ohio State.
Feed Carlos. Carlos Hyde had a pretty decent game vs Nebraska last year. He took the team, with the offensive line, on his shoulders in the closing minutes in East Lansing and won the game by the running the ball right into the teeth of the Spartan defense and keeping the clock moving. Now feed him! Let’s see a good dose of Carlos Hyde bashing into the Nebraska front seven!
Shut down the run, again. We did it last week with great success, but it may be more difficult this time around since Nebraska has more than one weapon on the ground.
Force Martinez into bad decisions. Nebraska’s QB has improved his throwing since last season, but he is still inconsistent at best. If the Buckeyes can get pressure on him and force him to make some mistakes that will severely limit the Husker offense.
Attack the middle of the defense. I don’t know if it is because the coaches don’t trust Miller to make the reads, but I have felt for weeks that the middle of the opposing defense has been extremely vulnerable and we haven’t taken advantage of that. Teams are focusing on stopping the run and the quick passes into the flats, leaving the middle of the field relatively open. I’d like to see the offense attempt to exploit that weakness a bit more this week.
Less read option runs from Miller. He’s still not very good at making those reads and it showed in the first half against the Spartans. Granted, that D was damn good which didn’t help, but I’d like to see us ease off those plays (just like we did in the second half against MSU) until Miller proves he can execute them consistently.
This past weekend in East Lansing the Buckeyes put on a gutsy performance and came away with a narrow win over the Michigan State Spartans, 17-16. This week Ohio State returns home to the friendly confines of Ohio Stadium for a nightcap with the Nebraska Cornhuskers on national television (ABC 8:00 EST). It also marks the return of Bo Pelini, a captain on John Cooper’s 1990 Ohio State team. Saturday night also brings the opportunity for another shot at a goal achieved in East Lansing: Payback.
Wanna hear a dirty joke? A pig rolled in the mud. Want to see a dirty play? Watch this video of MSU’s Jack Allen (number 66) trying to gouge out the eyes of Jonathan Hankins at the end of a run caught beautifully by the ABC/ESPN camera crew.
I know what you’re thinking: Doesn’t this happen at the bottom of those dog piles for fumbles and after tackles all the time? Well, actually, no it doesn’t. See, despite what old school commentators or that guy at the bar who was all-league in high school and is now “in between jobs, but somethin’ll come up!” may want you to believe, sportsmanship does exist on a football field. Not everyone is trying to literally poke someone’s eyes out when they think nobody is looking. What drives me really insane about this is the thought of how often must it have been happening for Allen to pull it so blatantly?
The video has been turned in to the Big Ten offices for review. Anything less than a one game suspension for Allen is unacceptable. Remember Robert Reynolds choking Jim Sorgi in 2003 at Wisconsin? Reynolds was on the phone with Barry Alvarez the next day apologizing to both him and Sorgi for the incident. He then received a suspension and sat for a week. While Allen’s actions didn’t take Hankins out of the game like Reynolds with Sorgi, it is just as heinous and deserves an equal punishment.
By the way, if you recall, as an aside, Sorgi really played up that throat thing for all it was worth too, didn’t he? I mean come on man, you could have gone back in the game… I have to let things go.
After Further Review
Two other interesting tidbits came out of Spartan Stadium on Saturday, one was blown way out of proportion and the other has largely been ignored. Read More