Saturday, September 19, 2009
Buckeyes 38, Rockets 0
This was a game of surprises. No, I haven't grown so jaded that I thought the Buckeyes would lose to Toledo. However, I did think that in the spirit of the Buckeyes, the game would be much closer. (I predicted 23-13 before kickoff.) Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is the fact that all of the surprises in the game were pleasant.
OK, now I know that the defenses of Toledo and USC are leagues apart, but there was a much different approach to this game than there was to the game against the Trojans. Last week, the Buckeyes looked like a team that was truly afraid to get a first down, or even advance the ball at all. There certainly was nothing like that in this game. I had no idea the Buckeyes were capable of 500+ yards in a game. Did you honestly expect you would see the following from Ohio State: rollouts, QB draws, deep passes over the defense, passing on 1st down, passing in the red zone? Neither did I. And yet, that's exactly what we the fans were treated to. We were treated to an offense that wasn't afraid to actually try things to move the ball down the field. Amazing what can happen when the offense looks beyond page 1 of the playbook. Terrelle Pryor looked (more) like the player who has been advertised since he committed to Ohio State. It was nice to see what the kid can do if he is allowed to use his abilities. Brandon Saine looked pretty good. So did Jordan Hall. In fact, I am looking forward to seeing a lot more of Hall. The offensive line was good, and Dane Sanzenbacher had an awesome game. I can't remember the last time the Buckeyes had a 70+ yard TD pass.
Well, the Buckeyes pitched a shutout. What more can you say about that? Brian Rolle is clearly the linchpin of this defense. Heyward had a really solid game. So did Chimdi Chekwa. (I know. I don't say that very often.) I wouldn't mind seeing more of Nathan Williams. That dude plays hard and seems to find the ball.
TP's second interception was pretty silly. Not only did he throw it off of his back foot, but he also threw into double coverage. TP, there is no shame in lobbing the ball 10 yards out of bounds in a situation like that.
You would think that in a 38-0 game, I wouldn't have anything to put in the ugly. You'd be wrong. The Buckeyes had 4 false start penalties. Really. And they spread them around. If I remember correctly, each penalty was committed by a different offensive lineman. I don't know that I've ever seen anything quite like that.
Under the Radar Player of the Game
In a game like this, it is often hard to pinpoint a player who fits the criteria of this distinction. After all, the game was never in doubt, so how can you say who did something unnoticed to help the Buckeyes win? Which makes this the perfect opportunity to recognize a player I haven't always praised. Chimdi Chekwa broke up 2 downfield passes that could have been big plays, and for that, he is the UtR player of the game.
Good news and bad news. The good news is that USC lost, and that's always good. Let's face it, the Buckeyes are not making the BCS championship game, so it doesn't really matter if Buckeyes opponents are good or not. The bad news is that Washington (yes, the W on the helmet also stood for Winless last season) finished what the Buckeyes could not. Ruminate on that for a moment. But keep your chin up, Trojan fan. USC probably will only drop 1 or 2 spots. You know, like when the Trojans lost to Stanford. At home.