Friday, January 1, 2010

Buckeyes 26, Ducks 17

This installment of the weekly Buckeyes wrap-up is brought to you by cheese, and the state of Alabama (drop me a line if you'd like to know why). Well, it may not have been the most exciting game I have ever seen (the 1st half especially), but it certainly was exciting to see the Buckeyes come through in a big game instead of giving us a movie we've seen before. Oh, and by the way, I have to give myself a pat on the back for nailing the 1st quarter score. Let's get to it, shall we?

The Good
I have been as fierce a critic of Ohio State's offense as anyone. I have criticized it for being predictable and uninspired. And let's face it, we certainly did see some of that, but the offense came through when it needed to. That was refreshing. I mean, when the Buckeyes got the ball with 12 minutes to play and a 2-point lead, I never expected to see them score a touchdown. But that is exactly what they did, and there was no bigger play than the pass to Jake Ballard (more on that later). I'll tell you something else I never expected: 37 pass attempts by the Buckeyes offense. Or 23 completions by Terrelle Pryor. I am sure I wasn't the only one astounded by the fact that the Buckeyes came out slinging the ball on the first drive. Even more surprising than actually passing the ball was the fact that the Buckeyes broke tradition and actually scored a touchdown on the first drive. I frankly didn't realize that was possible for this team. Devier Posey had an incredible game. While the running game wasn't very noteworthy, it is very hard to argue with 41 and a half minutes of possession. And that, is how you beat Oregon: keep that offense off the field.
Let's face it. The defense was pretty much nails all day, particularly since the special teams gave Oregon such good field position all day. Masoli is the guy that makes the Ducks offense go, and he was bottled up. LaMichael James had a good game, but the defense did not allow him to run wild as he did for most of the season. Ross Homan had a real good game. So did Doug Worthington and Thad Gibson.
Special teams
The field goal kickers were good in this game. It's a good thing too because they accounted for most of the points through 3 quarters.
The Bad
OK, so the offense scored a late TD to seal the game, but it was not without its problems. They had 1st and goal from the 6 and 1st and goal from the 10, and ended up with 2 field goals. Plus, there was some of the predictability that we have come to know (although not necessarily love).
Hard to complain about the defense when it allowed only 260 yards to the potent Oregon offense. However, the 2 TD drives Oregon had were accomplished with very little resistance.
The Ugly
Terrelle's interception was the result of a really poor decision. He threw it at 2 defenders and I could see that one coming. Literally, it was coming right in my direction at the stadium. There was one pass to Sanzenbacher that ended up incomplete simply because Sanzenbacher didn't even realize the ball was coming his way. There were a couple other passes that should have been caught, but weren't. Oh, and someone tell TP that if a receiver (like Taurian Washington on a couple plays) lines up with no defender in front of him, he should throw the ball to that receiver.
Oregon's 2 4th down conversions belong here because of how they happened. Chimdi Chekwa, how do you let your guy get open beyond the sticks on 4th and 9? And Devon Torrence, why on earth do you give your guy a 5-yard cushion on 4th and 2?
Special Teams
I have no idea what was up with the kick coverage in this game, but it was miserable. It's a good thing the defense was as stout as it was, considering how many times the special teams allowed Oregon to have a short field.
Under the Radar Player of the Game
I think Ross Homan had a really good game. In fact, it would be easy to give this to the entire defense. However, I think someone more exemplifies what the UtR player of the game is all about. On the Buckeyes 4th quarter touchdown drive, Jake Ballard made the catch on 3rd down to keep that drive going. When Pryor threw that ball, my response went something like "OHCRAP!OHWOW!" Ballard went up to get that ball, and it kept the drive going. If he doesn't make that catch, the Buckeyes punt the ball to Oregon with 7 or so minutes to go. Congrats to the Buckeyes on another successful season and a big Rose Bowl win.

Buckeyes celebrate on bench as clock ticks down


The Cereal Dater said...

That was awesome!!! The bad was the kickoff coverage. Can't OSU just get a guy to kick it out of the end zone? Other than that it was a very solid effort and good game-planning by JT. Time of possession was incredible and the D shined again!


Gone with the Schwind said...

Jim, I could not understand what was going on with the special teams. The kickoffs were short and the coverage guys couldn't tackle. After the Ducks had 3 or 4 good returns, why not just kick a ground ball? But the defense was definitely solid. It's a really good group of players.

Trane said...

when we went up 10-0, i thought of your post and starting cursing you Gary! but.....we pulled through and won!!!

neslagle said...

Gary - Conservative is good. Cuts down on turnovers and wins games. OSU 11-0 when they win turnover battle this year. Even with 37 passes by Tressel he took what Oregon gave them. Lot of short passes. Gained only 7.2 yards per attempt, but moved the ball and kept Oregon offense off the field.
Surprise stat of game. Oregon gained 4.9 yards a play, OSU 4.7 yards a game. OSU won game by controlling the ball. As you pointed out defense played well despite good field position by Oregon.
Incidentally, my prediction for game was OSU to win 24-17.

Comments per my web site:


As expected, a good defense beats a good offense. Oregon's coach, Chip Kelly, said before the game that he didn't care about time of possession. However, he didn't expect OSU to have the ball for a Rose Bowl record 41:37 minutes. As a result, Oregon's offense spent most of the game on the sideline.

Pryor was MVP of the Rose Bowl by competing 23 of 37 passes for 266 yards and 2 TD's. Going into the game experts wondered if Pryor could pass. After the game they wondered if Mazoli could pass. He was 9 of 20 for 81 yards and a TD. Pryor ran for a game high 72 yards on 20 carries. Probably included 5 sacks for -20 yards. Mazoli was held to 9 yards on 6 carries including a couple of sacks.

James was held to 70 yards, breaking a 7 game streak of 100 plus yards. OSU hasn't allowed a 100 yard rusher in the last 23 games which is the 2nd longest streak going.

OSU converted 11 of 21 3rd down plays vs 2 of 11 for Oregon. OSU won turnover battle 2-1 and finished 11-0 this season when they won turnover battle. OSU turnover was an interception on 3rd and 6 which was 25 yards downfield, better than a punt would have netted. Oregon's two turnovers were killers.

Oregon stacked the line of scrimmage to stop the run which worked, as OSU gained 3 yards per rushing attempt. That forced Pryor to pass which was fine with him.

Oregons best weapon was kickoff and punt returns as they returned 7 for an average of 28 yards to give Oregon good field position all day.

Despite 37 passes by Pryor, OSU passed 38 times and rushed 51 times. Oregon passed 20 times and rushed 33 times.

Oregon averaged 38 points and 425 yards a game this season. OSU held them to 14 points and 260 yards.

Big Ten wins first Rose Bowl since 2000 but were only playing in 5 of those games with 4 being vs USC and one vs Texas. Big Ten now 5-6 in last 11 and 8-7 in last 15 Rose Bowls they have been in. In last 15 games the Big Ten have been 0-5 vs USC and 8-1 vs other Pac 10 teams. Big Ten has had 5 offensive MVP's in last 11 Rose Bowl games. They are Brian Griese of Michigan, Ron Dayne of Wisconsin twice and Joe Germaine & Terrelle Pryor of OSU.

Gone with the Schwind said...

It's like I said Trane, I hope the Buckeyes prove me wrong. They did. It is nerve-wracking watching a game when the Buckeyes have the lead.