Wednesday, September 30

Passing Is So 2008

Last Saturday, the Oho St Buckeye offense may have set college football back 100 or so years, but did so in impressive fashion, pounding Illinois 30-0. Coach Jim Tressel didn't even pretend like he wanted Terrelle Pryor throwing in the terrible weather, and he didn't have to. OSU ran all over the Illini, to the tune of 236 yards. They probably only needed about 50 of that, as the defense continued to look superb in shutting down Juice Williams and his mates for 60 minutes.

Game Recap

On the opening series, Pryor went 0-2 and the Buckeyes went three-and-out. Little did we know that would be all the passing Ohio St would do for the first half. On the ensuing drive, Illinois was moving the ball down field until Juice was picked off by (who else?) Brian Rolle. This guy is a friggin' stud. Ohio St couldn't capitalize and settled for an Aaron Pettrey 50 yard field goal. Another good Illinois drive ended in a punt, and again Pettrey hit from deep, this one a 46-yarder, making it 6-0 Bucks.

A personal foul penalty against Illinois on OSU's next possession set up the first TD of the game, coming on a Boom Herron run. Both teams traded a couple of punts to end a pretty boring first half. The Fighting Zookers dominated the total yards, but the Buckeyes were up on the score board 13-0.

Thaddeus Gibson sacked Juice to force a fumble to begin the second half, and OSU took advantage this time when Herron ran in his second score of the day. On the next drive, it was Lawrence Wilson's turn to get in on the turnover action when he made a very acrobatic pick. With under 6 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter, Pryor hit Dane Sanzenbacher for his first completion of the game. Sanz caught another pass on the next play that led to another Pettrey FG, 23-0.

The rest of the game was pretty sloppy, weather- and play-wise. TP hooked up with Sanzenbacher late in the game to complete the scoring. Three 4th quarter sacks by the Bucks helped seal the shutout.

Game Notes

Game Ball
Let's just give it to the whole defense. Five sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, and their second straight shutout. They held Juice Williams to an ugly stat line of 13/25, 77 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs. Even more pitiful were his rushing stats - 15 carries for 18 yards. The 170 total yards that Illinois put up was their lowest output in over three years. It is unbelievable how much talent this unit can lose each year and just keep reloading with more studs.

"It may appear there's more, but they only have one #90 out there."
Those were commentator Ron Franklin's words in the middle of the third quarter, referring to DE Thaddeus Gibson being all over the field. Thad finished with 7 total tackles, two for a loss, and one forced fumble. That line doesn't even do him justice, as Gibson was harassing Williams all day and was responsible for several other big plays that he didn't get credit for.

The Forward What?
Jim Tressel said going into this game that he wanted to rely on the running game, but when he saw the inclement weather, he just said the hell with it and gave up the pass all together. Let me be the first to say: thank you. Ohio St was going to run the ball until Illinois showed that they could stop it, and that moment never came. Brandon Saine got 14 touches! He picked up 93 total yards, good for 6.4 a pop. Give this man the ball! Herron added 75 yards and two touchdowns, Pryor picked up 59 on the ground, and Jordon Hall closed out the game again, finishing with 22 yards.

I'm Sorry, I Thought This Was A Contact Sport?
Next week Ohio St will be without defensive captain Kurt Coleman, who was issued a one-game suspension for his late/helmet-to-helmet hit on Illinois QB Eddie McGee in the 4th quarter of last week's game. While the hit should have been flagged, it certainly did not merit a suspension. See for yourself. This is a huge loss to this defense.

The Second Coming of Nugent?
Aaron Pettrey was 6/6 on his kicks in this game, with FGs good from 50, 47, and 27 yards. While there will never be kicker as celebrated as Mike Nugent in Columbus ( he was in the top 10 on my Favoirte Buckeyes list), Pettrey has got an incredible leg.

Up Next: @ Indiana, 7:00, Big Ten Network
Ohio St finally has their first true road game as they travel to the Hoosier State. Indiana, also 3-1, comes into this contest after coming within two and a half minutes of pulling a major upset last Saturday in Ann Arbor (who is still a whore, by the way). On one hand, Indiana's offense has looked good and, thanks to the aforementioned suspension, Ohio St will not have Kurt Coleman. On the other hand, the Hoosiers haven't won a game in this series since 1988. Don't expect that to change. The 17 point spread sounds about right.
Prediction: Ohio St 34 Indiana 17


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