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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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|