[photo of Dan Herron by Marvin Fong of the Plain Dealer]
This installment of the weekly Buckeyes wrap-up is brought to you by pigs eating ham.
I'll just say it. If you believed all along that this team was going to a BCS game, your faith in the Buckeyes is much more profound than mine. Of course, they tried everything they could think of to give that game away, but the bottom line is that this is a conference championship team. That seemed like a pipe dream after the loss to Purdue. I'll admit it. To me, it seemed like a pipe dream after Barclay missed the field goal. To me, that had the earmarks of another Ohio State tank job. One thing is for sure: this was an odd game. With that in mind, I am going to break from the traditional format.
*Someone answer me this. Why is a QB even necessary on a team that almost never throws the ball further than 5 yards? Everywhere else, the QB is described as a critical position. At OSU, the QB is nothing more than a conduit to get the ball to the tailback. Why don't the Buckeyes just go with the Nebraska-style triple option?
*I will never (and I mean ever) understand why you throw a pass behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd and short, as the Buckeyes did on the first drive.
*Is there no better cornerback on the roster than Chimdi Chekwa? Did you notice the highlights of Vandenberg? In every last one of them, Chekwa appeared on the losing end.
*If Brandon Saine is the running back averaging 9+ yards per carry, why does Dan Herron get three times as many carries?
*How can a defense as good as the Buckeyes intercept the opposing QB thrice and still allow that QB a chance to win the game in overtime?
*Wouldn't it be great if the offense ever put together a solid performance for 4 quarters? Wouldn't it also be great if the offense could stay on the field for more than 2 minutes at a time?
*Why on earth didn't Iowa take a shot downfield against Chekwa when they got the ball with a little less than a minute to play?
*Is it any wonder why the Big Ten is a laughingstock when you have not one, but both coaches playing for overtime.
OK, now that I've got that out of the way, let's move on.
For the second consecutive week, the Bucks had a successful day running the ball. Frankly, they'd better considering how negligible the passing game is. Brandon Saine looked great and I can't imagine why he didn't get more carries. Herron had some good runs too, but it's hard to argue with 103 yards on only 11 carries.
The defense was great in the 1st half and in overtime. It did slip in the 2nd half mostly because Vandenberg seemed (rightly) to target Chekwa on every play. Homan had a great game. Spitler played really well. Heck, Anderson Russell had 2 of the 3 interceptions.
Since this was such an odd game, I am going to skip directly to...
It's the same old story. Ohio State gets a lead, then the offense becomes predictable and stagnant. Hey, at least the Buckeyes didn't break from precedent.
I just have to ask: What was the deal with that 2-minute offense at the end of the 4th quarter? 2:42 left in the game, all three time-outs and the Buckeyes showed no urgency. Not only that, they refused to run a play of greater than 2 yards. Who plays for overtime with nearly 3 minutes to play and all 3 timeouts? Ridiculous!
Nathan Williams jumping offside and negating a pick-6 by Thad Gibson was really disappointing. Although I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. AFter all, that touchdown would have sealed the game for the Buckeyes.
You might have thought that the game was sealed once the Buckeyes took a 24-10 lead. Did you honestly believe that the Buckeyes would salt the game away? HAHAHA! Not so fast, my friend! The scarlet and gray couldn't wait to give some of that lead back. Pretty terrible when only one defender gets a hand on the kick returner on a 99-yard return.
Under the Radar player of the game
As mentioned, a lot of guys had good games. Still, it isn't a real easy choice this week. Perhaps if somebody had done something spectacular in overtime, this would be an easier selection. But, the Buckeyes might as well have kicked the field goal on 1st down in overtime. So, who is worthy of the award? Well, Zach Boren and Dane Sanzenbacher both had good blocks to spring Herron for the TD that made it 17-10. And let's face it, would anyone have been surprised if the Buckeyes wound up with a FG attempt there? So, those two guys seem like as good an option as anyone else.