Wednesday, November 12

Bucks Bounce Back, Roll N'Western

Ohio St went into Evanston, Illinois this past week still with the bitter taste of defeat in their mouths. They took their frustrations out on Northwestern, and did it in a big way. Ohio St took the 'Cats behind the woodshed, coming home with a 45-10 victory.

The Buckeyes jumped right on Northwestern, as Chris Wells led an 8 play, 66 yard drive, rushing six times and scoring the touchdown. On a 3rd and 16 from about midfield, Terrelle Pryor eluded one would-be-tackler after another before hooking up with Brian Hartline for 44 yards. This play would foreshadow the entire game, as Northwestern continually forced the Bucks into a third and long, then gave up a big play. N'Western responded with a good drive of their own, finishing with a Mike Kafka TD run, tying the game at seven. Each team exchanged punts to close out the first quarter, and then the rest of the game was alllll Ohio St.

Beanie rolled for a 55 yard TD to begin the second, and they never looked back. After a Ryan Pretorius FG extended the lead to 17-7, TP took over. Pryor ran for 15 yards on a 3rd and 13 and another 21 yards on a 3rd and 16. He capped off the drive by hitting Brian Robiskie for a 15 yard score.

With a 24-7 lead at the break, you had to expect "Tressel Ball" to take over in the second half. This was not the case, and OSU continued to put the ball in the air, as Pryor hooked up with Rory Nicol to put the Bucks up 31-10. OK, that's enough, right Tress? Not even close. In the fourth quarter, Pryor and Robo connected for another TD, this one from 34 yards out. This play came after Ohio St successfully faked a punt. What the hell is going on? James Lauranaitis picked off Kafka with 7 minutes to go in the game, and finally Wells and Pryor exited. Time to run the clock out, right? Wrong again. Todd Boeckman came in and threw two deep balls (both incomplete of course). On the next drive OSU finally began to run up the middle, but the Wildcats were too demoralized to stop them. Dan Herron ran one in from 16 yards to close out the game, 45-10 Buckeyes.

Game Notes:

-Game ball goes to...Terrelle Pryor. TP dominated this game with his arm and his legs.

-I was shocked by Tressel running it up in this game. He won't throw the ball in the second half in a tie game, let alone up by three touchdowns. A fake punt in the 4th quarter? Throwing deep with 6 min to go? Not taking a knee with 10 seconds left? This is not the Jim Tressel I know. I don't necessarily have a problem with this, I'm just surprised. The only explanation I can offer up is that he was doing it for JoePa. Follow me here. Everyone in the football universe obviously has respect for Paterno, especially those who play against him each year. I don't think there's a coach out there (teams in the national title hunt excluded) that wouldn't like to see JoePa go out on top by winning another championship. Back to my original point, Ohio St looking good makes Penn St look good. Of course, this is all a moot point now, as Penn St blew it, but we'll discuss this later.

-The offense was back to its explosive self that we saw three weeks ago in the Michigan St game. They consistently picked up third and longs, going 8 for 13 overall on third downs. You could look at this from a negative point of view, looking at the ineffectiveness of many first and second down plays, but I'm more of a glass half full kind of guy. Northwestern had so many chances to get Ohio St off the field, and they just couldn't do it. Pryor was fantastic, going 9-14 for 197 yards, and a career high three touchdowns. He also had six carries for 33 yards. Beanie was also great, rushing the ball 28 times for 140 yards and two TD's. His 55-yarder in the second quarter was quite the highlight reel. Brian's Hartline and Robiskie looked like they were back to their All Big Ten form, with Hartline picking up 90 yards and Robo with 58 and two scores.

-If I were doing a "Heroes and Zeroes" article for this week, five demerits would go to Penn St. Come on guys, really? Iowa is not a bad team, but I wouldn't go as far as calling them "good" either. I was really rooting for the Lions after they beat OSU two weeks ago. Not only because it would increase our chances of getting a Rose Bowl berth, but also because I don't mind Penn St, and I generally root for all Big Ten teams to do well in the post season, save for "that school up north" of course. PSU's loss does however give Ohio St the chance to get at least another share of the Big Ten title, making five straight. Five straight! That's unheard of. This also opens up a very slim possibility that OSU could take home their third straight outright conference title, but that would take an Indiana win over Penn St, then Penn St taking out Michigan St at season's end. Highly unlikely.

Next week sends the Buckeyes to Champaign for a date with the Fighting Zookers of Illinois (Noon, ESPN). Ohio St has vengeance on their mind's in this one, as Illinois seemingly (but unsuccessfully) knocked the Bucks out of the title hunt last year by beating them in The Shoe. The Illini are a disappointing 5-5 this year, needing a win this week or against Northwestern just to be Bowl eligible. Expect Ohio St to continue rolling this week as they prepare for the beat down they're going to give "that school up north" in two weeks.


1 comment:

Andy said...

I'm not sure Tressel's late-game aggressiveness was quite that altruistic. This isn't the NFL where the only metric is wins and losses; in college, where you have voters who can't watch all the games, margins of victory matter. A 45-10 Buckeye win looks better to the pollsters than a 28-10 one, and for a club on the bubble as far as claiming a BCS spot, anything to make the club look stronger is a positive.