Ah, nothing like a comfortable win. And that was nothing like a comfortable win.
Cam Heyward and Dexter Larimore were both great in the first half. Ryan Mallett was clearly rattled whenever he had to move in the pocket. Mallett completed only slightly more than half of his passes, so the defense was doing something right. I've made Chimdi Chekwa a target for criticism so many times in his time at OSU. However, I have to say it was a shame that he got injured. The play where he was injured was the best play I've ever seen from him. And of course, there was Solomon Thomas, who sealed the game. That was amazing.
I missed the first drive, but I heard on the radio that the Buckeyes were going with a no-huddle offense. Wow! And they were having success with it. Double wow! I frankly had no idea the Buckeyes were capable of such a thing. Terrelle Pryor had a lot of success running the ball. He had some success throwing the ball too, thanks in part to receivers who bailed him out on some poor throws. For instance, Dane Sanzenbacher's TD reception. Obviously, it was not an ideal pass, but Sanzenbacher still made the grab because that is what he does. I feel pretty comfortable saying that no other receiver on the team would have made that catch.
I was amazed to see some throws to the tight end in the first half. That tight end screen (run to both Reid Fragel for 44 yards and Jake Stoneburner) was astounding. I have never seen the Buckeyes run that play before last night. Herron had some good runs in the first quarter. If I remember right, he had 40+ yards in the first quarter. Everything was going great. The offense clicked. The defense made Ryan Mallett look very ordinary. The Buckeyes had an 18-point lead at halftime. Which brings us to...
We all know that getting a big lead against a good team is the worst thing that can happen with the Buckeyes. This is a team that will not go out and finish the other team like Stanford did to Virginia Tech (a lot can be learned from that game). No, this team will sit on that lead and just hope the defense is good enough to keep the opponent out of the end zone. In the second half, the creativity was gone, and it was replaced with predictable Tressel-ball. Just look at the play-by-play summary of the second half. There sure were a lot of run plays to the right side of the line on first down.
And the defense was not much better. It seemed like every time Knile Davis got the ball, he picked up at least 8 yards. And while Mallett's completion percentage wasn't great, his receivers sure did rack up some yardage.
The second half was essentially Murphy's Law for the Buckeyes. A fumble on 4th and 1, where Boom Herron would have made a first down...if only he had remembered to take the ball with him. That blocked punt was unbelievable. The defender made a great effort, but how on earth do you let the punt get blocked in that situation? HOLY COW!
And let's not forget the refs in this section. The most egregious non-call of the night came in the second half when Pryor threw the ball to Corey Brown. The defender just launched himself and took Corey Brown out. How is that not pass interference? The safety was questionable. I don't think there is too much question that Herron's forward progress was stopped outside of the end zone.
Terrelle Pryor should get a late Christmas gift (no, not a tattoo) for Dane Sanzenbacher. Dane bailed out TP twice: recovering that fumble in the end zone, and catching a lousy pass for a touchdown.
Under the Radar player of the game
The entire offense was under the radar for all of the second half, but none of them gets the award. The players of the game are on the defensive side of the ball. Cam Heyward had 3.5 tackles for loss, Dexter Larimore had 2 sacks, and of course Solomon Thomas with the great interception to preservethe win for the Buckeyes.