I just got in from partying all night after watching “That’s Entertainment – Parts III, IV and V.” They were actually highlights of the second, third and fourth quarters of the Buckeye-Nebraska game. That was entertainment! The first quarter? Not so much.
Was it sloppy? Maybe. Frustrating? A few times. But it was rock-on, rocks-off stuff. What a great night for recruiting as the teams and the fans put on quite a show at the Shoe. Coach Urban Meyer wanted the fans fired up and – yes, alcohol burns – we were an inferno for three-plus flaming hours. And, hey Urban, what’s the best thing about going 6-0? “It gives us a chance to go 7-0.” You ‘da man…
We learned a few more things last night:
1) Remember those replacement refs from the NFL? Well, they held a reunion in Ohio Stadium last evening. They just made it up as they went along. Next stop – Division III.
2) Here’s fanciful fact for you: Take away the failed fake punt “rushing yardage” and OSU finished the first quarter with 8 total yards. They then AVERAGED more yards per play than that for the rest of the game!
3) There are no other undefeated teams in the Big Ten and as of later today when the polls come out, Ohio State will be the only B-10 Top 25 team. Wow…and ouch.
4) Anyone else think last night of the opening game of Miami when we stunk up the first quarter and still won, 56-10? We said then, well, the Redhawks defense stinks even worse. Against Nebraska, our offense hadn’t scored again after the first quarter (and had four straight three-and-outs) and we ended up with 63 points against defensive mastermind Bo Pelini and the vaunted Black Shirt defense.
5) If the over/under is 34-35 points and both teams beat it, do you get paid double for that bet?
Who else also thought that when we were up 18 in the second half of what happened in the collapse last year in Lincoln for their greatest comeback ever or that Nebraska came back and scored 20 points just last week to turn around the Wisconsin game, 30-27?
Well, I did.
Because it’s hard to feel confident in this Buckeye team even though they just keep winning; with new heroes and new questions and, well…they just keep winning. Down 17-7 and score 28 points in the second quarter? Don’t have a running back and then Carlos Hyde puts up 138 yards and scores four touchdowns and runs like it was his full-time job? And Braxton? Good God, Buckeye fans. We have never seen anything quite like Braxton Miller and we are not likely to ever see anything again like him. Enjoy – and keep your prayers coming that he stays healthy. In the first 60-percent of the first half, it was one Braxton long run and two Brad Roby interceptions. That was our total offense!
Hey – this was Nebraska we were playing here, not UAB or UCF or Miami (the good one, in Ohio). And we had the specter of the equally overwhelming Bo Pelini, he of the many contorted faces. Bo made his Nebraska debut at Ohio Stadium last night as a big evil BoBo doll, willing to get knocked down by the crowd and spring right up again. As we know, he had been a four-year letter winner and a two-year starter at free safety for Ohio State from 1987-90 and a team captain in 1990. As a senior at OSU, Pelini even won the Bo Rein Award as the program’s most inspirational player.
The Nebraska-OSU rivalry? Nebraska hadn’t played in Ohio Stadium since 1956 so it has been a while. And due to the randomizing and vagaries of Big Ten scheduling, we don’t play again until 2016, meaning that no one playing yesterday will be here then and many of the 2016 squad are now sophomores in high school. So much for tradition and continuity and appreciation of this “rivalry.” In fact, this was only the fourth all-time meeting between Ohio State and Nebraska. OSU is now 3-1 against with wins in 1955 (28-20) and 1956 (34-7) and a loss at Lincoln last year (34-27).
And – finally – from the near historical to the nearly hysterical, I have to say a few more words and stats about the inimitable and nearly mystical Braxton Miller. He is really playing his freshman year now as he got zero coaching last season. And how has he done in that smattering of downs in 2011 and half a season in 2012? Check it out: He ran past Art Schlichter last night to become the fourth-leading rusher of all-time among Ohio State quarterbacks. His 1,450-plus yards in two partial seasons is only about 660 yards short of Terrelle Pryor to become the all-time leading QB rusher ever. That’s saying something and he – and this team – made a number of statements last night in a chilly-yet-fiery Horseshoe.
OK, are all my eyes are crossed and my T’s dotted? Check out the rest of the analysis below. But I say we take some time off now. Let’s hold a holiday right in town for our Buckeyes. We can call it “Columbus Day” and the nation will celebrate with us on Monday. What do you say? And then let’s win the state of Indiana championship these next two weeks against Indiana and Purdue. Because you know what 8-0 gets you?
That’s right. A chance to go 12-0!
And from the same great marketing minds … that brought you portable Nike player billboards (you know them as those “throwback jerseys” that besmirch big games in order to generate some corporate moolah…), came the clever idea for the “Scarlet Out” at last night’s game. Let me bring up two salient points as these guys brainstorm for their next (first?) great idea:
1) 80-percent plus of the stadium always dresses in scarlet anyway and …
2) It’s weird timing when your opponent also wears a shade of red.
So I called ahead to Indiana and told them I had this cool concept for a “Crimson Out” at next week’s night game in Bloomington. Instead of IU being embarrassed that there are more Buckeye fans than Hoosiers in their home stadium, they – too – can take credit for all the red at that stadium. As the politicians say: If you are going to get run out of town, get out in front of it and make it look like you’re leading a parade…
Long After the Game
Nebraska game analysis by Duane Long
Slow starts are becoming a bit of a habit with Braxton Miller. No first downs in the first quarter but only one punt the rest of the game. At some point the word unstoppable crossed my mind.
As impressive as Miller was he was not the star of the game. It was not even Carlos Hyde who rushed for 140 yards. It was once again the offensive line - 371 rushing yards on 48 attempts for 7.7 yards a carry.
One thing I will carry out of this game is Miller finding the tight ends. As important as it is to get the ball to the wide outs to keep the safeties honest, the tight end in the passing game means the linebackers are going to play honest too. It is also another sign of growth with Miller who often makes us forget that he is only a sophomore.
The defense came up with big plays but it is still one that allows too many big plays. Intercept three passes and fall on a fumble but still give up 437 yards and 38 points? Those are some very odd stats. The defense allowed Nebraska to lead in time of possession.
There is an old adage in baseball that you have to be solid down the middle. I think it holds true in football, too. At the line of scrimmage the Buckeyes are fine but at linebacker and at safety that is not the case. When Storm Klein is a starter and Ryan Shazier has to stay on the field despite only one good leg holding him up, there is a problem.
At safety is seems we see players making mistakes as often as they are making plays. Great safety play was a hallmark of Urban Meyer coached teams so I am hopeful that will get straightened out in short order.
One thing that has gotten straightened out in short order is special teams. Solid all the way around for the sixth straight game, despite the one good return by Ameer Abdullah.
Game impressions by Huskers247 beat writer and Ohio Stadium witness Michael Bruntz
Nebraska's first visit to Ohio Stadium wasn't exactly one to remember - at least from the Nebraska side. The largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history had the Horseshoe rocking as both teams ran up and down the field on opposing defenses in the first half. Ohio State looked like a much improved squad from the one that lost in Lincoln in 2011, in large part because of Braxton Miller's growth as a quarterback. Bo Pelini-coached defenses at Nebraska have never matched up well against dual-threat quarterbacks and those struggles continued Saturday.
Nebraska seemed to have things under control in the second quarter up 17-7 and clicking on offense, until the mistakes came and Ohio State remembered it had Miller under center. The Ohio State sophomore joined a long list of dual-threat quarterbacks that have had their way with Nebraska's defense, and it frankly looked like Nebraska was just trying to get out of town late in the third quarter.
This year's Ohio State team seems to be playing with an edge that was lacking last year. Given Ohio State's struggles at times early in the year, many thought that Nebraska would have a shot at escaping the Horseshoe with a narrow win, but like good teams do, Ohio State took advantage of Nebraska's mistakes -- and there were many -- to cash in for a big homecoming win. Though the Horseshoe certainly lived up to its billing as one of college football's top venues, most on the Nebraska side will probably be fine with not coming back until later on down the road.
Spanning the College Football Globe: The Facts and the Pub
Buckeyes and national perspective by Dan Rubin, Bucknuts Publisher
Wow. That pretty much sums it up. Our weekly theme here – rollercoaster inconsistency complete with extreme high and lows – was on display for all to see. An anemic first quarter on offense … en route to 63 points. Brad Roby’s brilliance on defense … for a unit that allowed 437 yards.
But Mr. B., Duane and the gracious Michael Bruntz have that under wraps. Let’s look ahead by looking back. How does yesterday affect the Buckeyes chase for 12-0? And where will they be ranked after an intense national scene played yesterday? Here goes, beginning with a look at Ohio State’s remaining opponents …
AT Indiana: The Hoosiers appeared primed to win their second conference game in 23 attempts after two homecoming quarters yesterday against visiting Michigan State. Thing is, the game lasts four quarters. As inept and undisciplined as the Spartans were early – and it takes serious ineptitude and lack of discipline to allow Indiana quarterback Chase Coffman to rack up 256 first-half passing yards – there was enough Le’Veon Bell and true freshman receiver Aaron Burbridge (remember this guy) for Indiana to turn into a pumpkin. Not enough talent there for them to handle No. 5 and Co. for four quarters. Not even close.
Vs. Purdue: Some thought the Boilers were a real threat. Some were wrong. Michigan beat them like they stole something yesterday. Yes, the Buckeyes recent past vs. Purdue has not been pretty – on the road. This is in The Shoe, which will be placed so far … well, you get it.
At Penn State: Not as easy as once expected. Maybe Bill O’Brien knows what he’s doing. They have enough talent on defense – see linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges – to stay competitive against most Big Ten teams. But know this: Ohio State’s quarterback is Braxton Miller; Penn State’s is Mike McGloin. I rest my case.
Vs. Illinois: Don’t insult me.
At Wisconsin: These are not Russell Wilson’s Badgers. They are not even Scott Tolzein’s Badgers. It took them more than a half to dislodge themselves from the Fighting Illini. Jared Abbrederis meet Brad Roby. If Taylor Martinez can’t ultimately escape the firm of Hankins, Simon and Associates, how will Joel Stave - a walk-on freshman with limited mobility? Answer: He won’t.
Vs. Michigan: Well, here it is. At this point the media hype will be white hot – Urban’s historic first season run at a perfect record; Braxton’s attempt to unseat Geno Smith as the Heisman favorite; Countless comparisons between No. 5 and Arm Punt; THE GAME to decide it all. No bowl game this season? No BCS title shot? Methinks Ohio Stadium will feel like the combination of both for those lucky enough to have access.
Not a bad start to the Urban Era, eh? Good luck, Top 25 voters …
**Speaking of voters, the field winnowed out a bit yesterday so let’s just realize one of the storylines about to take center stage for our guys from the national perspective is this: How high can you rank Ohio State given the sanctions blah, blah, blah?
Here is how it should look now: 1. Alabama; 2. Oregon; 3. South Carolina; 4. West Virginia; 5. Notre Dame; 6. Florida; 7. Kansas State; 8. Ohio State; 9-plus Everyone Else.
Will the voters have the Bucks over LSU, Florida State, Georgia and Texas? Of course they should. Will they? My guess is no. At least one or two will still be ranked ahead of Ohio State despite a blemish. But as we discussed a few short paragraphs ago, this is going to get increasingly difficult for the voters as the weeks progress.
Undefeated is undefeated.
Bottom of the Bucket
Mr. B scrapes up some final thoughts
Coaching up those first two years…When a new coach takes over a program and makes it his program, there is some dislocation, a lot of confusion and inevitable back-sliding as the new systems set in. For Jim Tressel? He went a paltry 7-5 his first season at OSU and looked pretty bad against a couple of pretty bad teams. His second year? A perfect season and a national title. Urban at Florida had three losses in 2005 (his first year) then won it all – against Tress – the following year. Nick Saban, and coaching’s Holy Grail? He lost four games the first season at LSU (then went 10-3 and an SEC title); and he lost six games in Season One (2007) at Bama before going 12-0 in the regular season, his second. Even Pretty Pete Carroll had six losses that first season before an 11-2 second season – then two national championships...
Thus, there is huge room for that tingling sensation we classify as “optimism” when it comes to Urban renewal. Forget the old saw that the most progress a football team makes is between their first and second game. The most progress they make is between their first and second SEASON!
There are outliers to this bell curve, of course, with our own beloved Earle Bruce being one of them. He had an absolutely loaded squad in 1979 when he suddenly took over for Woody and went 11-1 and came within inches of a perfect season and national title. The next year? He started his string of 9-3 years.
The other out-liar? Well, that would be Brady Hjoke in my estimation. His first season was a planet-aligning (and Denard-inheriting) 11-2 before reality set; a reality that insists that Brady defines “average”. This season? Don’t look for much from the strong silent one imitating Bo at Michigan but now that he is 3-2 this year? Look out Earle Bruce and LLLLLLoyd Carr…
The Jeanette Jets … From the “Jetto” of Jeanette PA, we harvested two unique talents that have plied their craft for the benefit of Ohio State fans. Terrelle Pryor brought equal parts fame and infamy to the shores of the Olentangy. And standing in his shadow (both literally and figuratively…)? Jordan Hall, of course.
They played both football and basketball together in Jeanette. Imagine what it must have been like in Terrelle’s senior and Jordan Hall’s junior season in that division of PA football to try to handle the dynamic duo. Well, no one could as they went undefeated.
At OSU, their teams were supposed to pivot upon them in their senior years. But, no. Pryor sold his birthright for the proverbial bowl of porridge and Jordan can’t seem to shake the Jeanette curse, with freakish injuries while trying to light a fire under this 2012 team.
I will miss Jordan Hall when he is gone as he never was able to reach the type of form he could have achieved here, after arriving as “only” a “three-star” talent. And even with his five glittering stars, I won’t miss the incredibly talented – but also incredibly entitled Pryor Jeanette Jet, the TP hisself…
A Few Bullets at the Bottom
Quick hits, cheap shots and fill-in (the blanks)…
Hogs get slaughtered … We all thought that Arkansas this year would suffer under the maniacal direction of John Loony Smith. But even the most ardent Razorback hater couldn’t foresee that they would lose games to Alabama and to Texas A&M by a combined score of 110-10. Honest – you can look it up! Yesterday, they DID beat the worst Auburn team in 125 years to burnish their image.
(Leading up to this coaching debacle, Arkansas decided that Bobby Petrino was morally bankrupt and fired him. John L. Smith decided that he was financially bankrupt and filed himself. Now I ask you – how does a mediocre college football coach rack up $40 million in debts, anyway?)
Handling scandling…In the midst of one of the most lascivious scandals in college football (you know, sex and drugs and hookers and that kind of stuff), the man at the top – Athletic Director Shawn Eichoirst – announced he was leaving his scene of the crime at Miami to take on the same job at Nebraska. And Nebraska admitted it on Thursday, as well! The AP put it cryptically: “A particularly curious time as the school braces to receive potentially crippling NCAA sanctions.” Oh, well, the guiltless players coming in can handle all that.
(Is this Nebraska’s way to catch up with Penn State and OSU now that they are in the Big Ten? How about Gene Smith going to Miami as their new AD to use his experience handling the OSU “crisis” so well? And he can bring in Pete Carroll as the new coach…)
Classes ARE pointless for Cardale Jones… Except maybe readin’ and writin’ so he can decide how to spell his own name.
(Some said when we recruited him that C. Jones was “classless” – now we know what they meant...)
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