College Football’s 2014 Resolution of MOAR SPEED AND OFFENSE gets off to a roaring start on New Year’s day with the potential of a BCS Shootout!
The History: The Fiesta Bowl has been a long standing tradition for Arizona football fans since 1971 and has seen some of the best moments in sports history. The Fiesta has been a major part of the BCS era, hosting an NCAA record seven national championship games. Over the last few years, the bowl has become popular for the amount of trick plays that have lead to wins. From Urban Meyer’s 2005 Utah squad, to the 2007 Boise State trick plays, there is no doubt that this bowl has been known as an exciting game to watch every single season.
Let’s relive some of those great moments. Starting with the three Boise State trick plays that beat Oklahoma…
And how about this good ol’ defensive stand on 4th and goal to give the Buckeyes the championship in double OT in 2003…
Buckeye Connection: As witnessed above, the Fiesta Bowl has been good to the Buckeyes. Ohio State has played in the Fiesta six times, defeating Notre Dame (2006), Miami (2003 Championship), Kansas State (2004) and Pittsburgh (1984). The Buckeyes have lost to Texas (2009) and Penn State (1980) in the Fiesta Bowl. Current Head Coach Urban Meyer defeated Ohio State as the head coach of Florida in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl National Championship. Meyer also lead Utah to a 35-7 win over Pitt in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.
The Buckeyes faced UCF last season, lead by current quarterback Blake Bortles in the second game of the year, winning 31-16. Braxton Miller rushed for three touchdowns on a then career high 27 carries. He was the first OSU quarterback in over 34 years to run for three scores.
Despite not playing each other since 1982, a lot of talk during the season from the media and fans pitted Baylor against Ohio State as a matchup they’d like to see at the end of the season. Ohio State and Baylor have only played twice against each other, with OSU holding a 2-0 record against the Bears.
Passing, passing, more passing. I asked for 50 fewer yards, and the Buckeyes put up 100 fewer yards passing compared to last week. I think we’re moving the wrong direction here.
A sack fest. One sack a fest does not make. In fact, I think the diners at the table are on the verge of starving to death after only three sacks for the last two games. Will they show some hunger next week?
A 100 Yard Game from Carlos Hyde. It’s probably my fault he’s injured. Sorry guys. He ended with 27 yards on 7 carries, and was only just getting things rolling.
Ultra-short laser pulses. UCF didn’t bring the laser along, I’m so disappointed. (Ed. – Yea, right, that would have cost more than bringing the entire football team plus buying all the seats in the stadium, and shuttling UCF students and fans to fill them plus a week’s vacation. Fuggetaboutit)
Plug the gaps. It wasn’t perfect, but it was something. UCF only gained 103 yards on the ground, and their top back only went for 75 on the day. Perfect? No, but it wasn’t exactly easy sledding either.
Seek and Destroy. Hmm…not so much. The linebackers barely had their name called all day, and certainly not in run support.
Should they sneak through. CJ Barnett and Christian Bryant did, in fact, light a few people up. There can be improvement in this regard, but – baby steps. Baby steps.
Lock down. Lock down corners? Try again next week.
Brax-tacular and Mr. Hyde. Well, you got another helping of the Braxton Show, but I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one placing a curse on Carlos Hyde for the week.
Jason joins us again with another review of this week’s game…
The old adage of “a win is a win” certainly rang true on Saturday. The Buckeyes performed well enough to walk away with a somewhat convincing win, 31-16 over Central Florida. And this is in way to take away from UCF’s accomplishments Saturday afternoon, but that was what we call an “ugly” win as errors in the secondary, offensive line issues and penalty’s plagued the good guys all afternoon. Let’s look back.
The back 7
It’s early, but for the second week in a row we have seen major issues in the secondary and back seven in general in passing situations. Corners leaving receivers assuming they have safety help and linebackers chasing slot receivers across the middle are disturbing and happening too frequently. I don’t believe talent is the issue as some of these guys are athletic freaks of nature. A combination of miscommunication and being in the wrong place seem more likely.
Obviously, these are problems the coaching staff will address and get corrected. Sometimes maybe it’s making things simpler. Sometimes it’s a need to take pressure off guys who may be trying to do too much. Other times it’s running the snot out of someone and repeating reps in practice over and over until it sinks in. Whatever the case, Urban Meyer doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who is going to let it work itself out. I imagine he’ll start with conversations with Kerry Coombs, Everett Withers and Luke Fickell. They’ll work it out. Expect improvement.
One of the things I was looking closely at was our defensive line and their gap protection. To be more specific: How would our defensive line protect their holes against a UCF team that was said to have a more conventional running attack in that it was to come more straightforward. Central Florida started the game trying to hit the Buckeye defensive line between the tackles and did have some success early on in finding gaps and exploiting them. But this was very short lived success for the Black Knights (I) for two reasons: 1. Ohio State tightened up and 2. They went away from it shockingly early. Despite early success, UCF shifted to what you see in your everyday spread offense. Read More
Coach Meyer’s comments following the win over the Central Florida Knights, courtesy of Fox Sports Ohio: (transcription provided by the Ohio State Athletic Department)
As always, I like to give credit to a very good team we faced in Central Florida. We knew going in they would try to run downhill on us.
I think this is the second week in a row we held a team under 100 yards rushing. However, pass defense, we have a long way to go. Getting pressure on the quarterback.
Offensively, we’re down to our third tailback, and it looked like it. We have to get better. The guys carrying the ball are talented, just terrible mistakes. Penalties and turnovers are not ‑‑ in the first game, very minimal penalties and zero turnovers.
And then this week was not good. So just gotta fix it. We’re going to have to really ID who is going to touch the ball. We have to go back to the drawing board and make some decisions on who is going to physically touch that ball and they have to take care of it, obviously.
So I would also like to thank our fans and our student body. Tremendous. And also the weatherman did a nice job for us. So appreciate his effort. And got a big one next week, but we’re going to enjoy the win. Winning major college football games is a tough duty, especially when you face a quality opponent. Read More
That could have been a lot prettier.
The Buckeyes played host to George O’Leary’s UCF Knights today in the Horseshoe. Despite Braxton Miller’s impressive performance, the Knights kept fighting their way back into the game only to fall 31-16. Turnovers and big plays were the difference in the game as the Buckeyes scored 14 points off the Knights’ miscues.
Things weren’t as easy as last week, which is a big credit to O’Leary for preparing his kids to play. The UCF running game found lots of space to move the football, and it was well balanced by the passing game. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, focused on their running game for the most part, throwing on only about one third of the total possessions. In particular, Braxton Miller ran for 27 carries, a week after Urban Meyer was quoted as saying that 17 carries were too many.
Like Tim put together for us last week, here are the positives and negatives to take away from this game.
It’s time for another great LiveBlog! The Buckeyes are set to take on the UCF Knights at Noon EST. The Liveblog will kick off 30 minutes before gametime.
While you wait, check out the great members of the BBN: Our Honor Defend, Men of the Scarlet and Gray (Make sure to check out their great new look!), Buckeye Empire, Silver Bullet, The Buckeye Blog, Unscripted Ohio, and Fox Sports Ohio.
Looking forward to seeing you there! Go Bucks!
For this week’s views from enemy lines we travel down south to Florida… No we didn’t ask Mike Bianchi any questions. We did stay with the Orlando Sentinel though, and their UCF writer Iliana Limon. Check out Iliana’s answers as she gives us some insight on UCF’s program, and take a listen to her visit with our BBN bros at The Empire.
1. How does George O’Leary like to attack his opponents offensively? Is he primarily a ground guy, air guy, or is he more flexible depending on the defense?
UCF coach George O’Leary definitely prefers to use a tough rushing attack to establish pass plays. He believes in ball-control offense, which tends to set up his defense for success when his offense performs well.
2. We’ve seen UCF oscillate between good seasons and mediocre/bad ones on about a three year cycle since O’Leary arrived. Do you see that continuing into the future? How do you envision the future of the program under O’Leary?
Like all coaches, O’Leary aspires to win on a consistent basis. The key to his success is sustaining depth. He has struggled to string together back-to-back strong senior classes, who are expected to be the leaders of his program. When reserves don’t see early playing time and have other options, they tend to leave UCF and erase key components of what will one day be a senior class. It appears the program is finally starting to turn a corner with some well spaced out classes that could provide consistent leadership year after year.
3. What type of defense does UCF employ? Do you think it will be up to the task of facing Urban Meyer’s offense, albeit imperfectly run?
UCF runs a multiple or 4-3 defense. The Knights prefer to get pressure on the quarterback without blitzing. The emphasis is on playing assignment-sound football and being as disruptive as possible. It’s hard to say how successful UCF’s defense will be against Ohio State. The Knights have great depth and talent, but some fundamental mistakes — including poor tackling form — popped up last week against Akron and could be a much bigger headache for the Knights at Ohio State.
4. With Latavius Murray possibly out for the game, do you think the Knights change their offensive philosophy at all? Read More
Passing, passing, more passing. I asked for 350 yards, and came up 106 yards short. I’ll ask for 300 this time and hope that’s easier for the Buckeyes to match. If Braxton gets his footwork under control, it might be possible.
A sack fest. We’ve been told that OSU might have the best defensive line in the country. I’d like to see some backfield punishment of the UCF quarterback to prove it. Remember, Urban Meyer believes that a quarterback should pay for trying to pass. I want to see that philosophy in action.
A 100 Yard Game from Carlos Hyde. I think this is pretty self-explanatory. Lets get him his first century of the season.
Ultra-short laser pulses. Wait, what? That’s right, a physicist at UCF just set the world record for the shortest laser pulse at 67 attoseconds. For the uninitiated, an attosecond is merely a millionth of a billionth of a second (or 1/1,000,000,000,000,000). A thousand of these are also known to their friends as the amount of time it takes a photon to travel the average width of a human hair (about 100 micrometers). Let’s just say that’s really, really short. Now back to your regularly scheduled football coverage.
Plug the gaps. We’ve heard how UCF brings a straight forward running game, I want to see the defensive line plug the gaps and force the back to make other arrangements for finding positive yardage. So along with that…
Seek and Destroy. When the defensive line plugs the gaps, I want to see the linebackers fill and crush the back. We know Shazier is a sure tackler, despite being a true sophomore. How about Sabino and especially Curtis Grant? Be physical!
Should they sneak through. Attention CJ Barnett and Christian Bryant: let’s light some people up!
Lock down. If the run is being punished, the corners are often alone. Lock’em up!
Brax-tacular and Mr. Hyde. I’m excited to see week 2 of Braxton Miller in Urban Meyer’s offense. He had a breakout game of sorts against Miami, how will he follow it up and keep the train rolling? Carlos Hyde ran hard last week. Meyer all but called him the workhorse. I started the hash tag #FeedCarlos during last weeks second half, will they oblige again this week?