Wednesday, September 15

Buckeyes Ride 4 INT's to Victory

Going into this past Saturday's showdown between #2-ranked Ohio ST and #12-ranked Miami (FL) in Columbus, much hype surrounded the two big-play quarterbacks, OSU's Terrelle Pryor and UM's Jacory Harris. Neither threw the ball particularly well, but the game was decided by
Pryor making plays with his legs when nothing was open, and Harris turning the ball over in those same situations. The four interceptions Harris threw can't all be blamed on him, as Hurricane wideouts were repeatedly dropping passes and running wrong routes, but he certainly didn't look like a Heisman candidate (as all of us here at FCF told you before the game). TP, on the other hand, absolutely did. His 12 of 27 passing for 233 yards doesn't look spectacular, but he added a game-high 113 yards rushing and more importantly showed great decision making and ball security that led to zero turnovers and a 36-24 Ohio St victory.

Game Recap

The game's first big play came early on when OSU safety C.J. Barnetttipped a Harris pass and Nathan Williams came up with the pick in Miami territory. When a big run by Dan Herron was called back because of holding, the Bucks settled for three, and Devin Barclay connected on the 24-yarder. Special teams haunted Ohio St for the second week
in a row when Miami's Lamar Miller took the ensuing kickoff 88 yards to paydirt to put The U on top. Ohio St's offense stalled with two consecutive three-and-outs and the Hurricanes added a 51-yard Matt Bosher field goal to go up 10-3 at the end of the first quarter.

The Buckeyes were looking for a big play to get the momentum back on their next possession, and that's exactly what they got. Pryor hit DeVier Posey for 68 on the drive's first play, then connected with Brandon Saine for an 18-yard score on the next. Just like that, the game was tied at 10. When OSU got the ball back, Pryor made two great third down plays, running for 10 yards on 3rd and 3 and hitting Dane
Sanzenbacher for 19 on 3rd and 14, setting up another Barclay FG.

Miami began their next drive at their own 20, and Harris was picked off immediately by Chimdi Chekwa. Jacory and his receiver weren't even in the same book on that one and Chekwa was in the right place at the right time. After a Sanz 15-yard catch, Boom scored on a 4-yard run to put the Bucks up 20-10. Each team traded punts, but Miami's Travis Benjamin took The Cannon's punt back 79 yards for a score to put them right back in the game.

Jordan Hall did his best Miami impression and brought the ensuing kick to the Miami 28, but Ohio St couldn't move the ball and Barclay hit another FG to extend OSU's lead to 23-17. Harris experienced deja vu when his first pass on the next drive was again intercepted by Chekwa. This time Harris hit Benjamin right in the hands and he basically tipped it right to the OSU DB. With only 49 seconds left in the half, Pryor took a couple of failed shots to the end zone and Barclay knocked in his fourth field goal of the half. 26-17, Buckeyes lead at the break.

Ohio St's defense went into bend-but-don't-break mode in the third quarter, giving up over 150 yards but no points. On Miami's first drive they got inside the ten yard line, but Cameron Heyward brought in OSU's fourth pick of the day. The big fella rumbled 80 yards with the ball, back to the Hurricane 15. After the game, Ironhead Jr.
said, "They caught me. That shows they didn't give up, and shows I'm not that fast." He was fast enough to set up an easy Buckeye touchdown when Pryor made Miami's defense look silly on a 13-yard run.

Miami's next good drive ended when Devon Torrence blocked a field goal, which set up yet another Devin Barclay kick. He looked like Steve Kerr out there with all those 3-pointers. (Not my best, but I thought it was great when I said it double-digit beers deep at the bar. Live with it.) Miami finally finished their next drive when Harris completed a pass to Chase Ford to make it 36-24. Miami's last-ditch effort ended when they failed to convert a fourth down with 7:30 left in the game. Pryor never gave them another chance, picking up four 1st downs and draining the rest of the clock, preserving the twelve-point win (and another cover, cha-ching!)

Game Notes

Game Ball
As I stated earlier, Terrelle Pryor's passing stats (12/27, 233 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) were pretty ho-hum. I also said last week to expect him to run a lot more in this game, and that he did. TP carried a game-high 20 times for a game-high 113 yards with a game-high one touchdown. If you go back to many of Ohio St's games the past two seasons, you would probably see a rushing stat line very similar to that. To be as impressed as I was about this performance, however, you had to watch how he got those yards. He wasn't just running like a chicken with his head cut off and getting yards just because he's an athletic freak, he looked to pass first and took off only if his
receivers weren't open or the pocket started collapsing. Over the off-season I questioned whether Pryor was actually maturing or not, and I think I got my answer this week. I have never been more impressed with Terrelle than I was watching this game.
Game Balls to date: Terrelle Pryor, Tyler Moeller

(Not So) Special Teams
In the first two games of the season, Ohio St's defense has given up 10 points. Its special teams have given up 21. While this will certainly be a point of focus for Jim Tressel and the coaches in practice and should be something to keep an eye on, I'm not that worried about it. The Marshall score was a blocked kick on a 50+ yard FG attempt, not much you can do there. The kick returns against Miami scare me a little, but they both looked more like flukes than ST blunders. It didn't really look like poor tackling, it just seemed Miami had some good blocking and created a few seams. I don't foresee this as being a big problem as we go on.

No Big Ten Solidarity?
Man, do Penn St fans hate Ohio St. I didn't realize that it was this bad until I went to State College this weekend for a bachelor party. Understandably, my A.J. jersey got a fair amount of boos from passersby throughout the afternoon, but I expected that. What I didn't count on was everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in the bar rooting for Miami. I thought everyone hated The U? Then of course after Penn St lost and more alcohol was consumed, the boos aimed at my jersey turned into shouts and obscenities, but I just laughed it off. On a funny, related side note, when walking home from a bar around 1 a.m. it started pouring, and I mean really raining hard. A girl I was walking with, who was wearing merely a tank top, asked me if she could wear my jersey for the rest of the walk in the rain. Take off AJ? On game day? Being the chivalrous gentleman that I am, I politely took off my undershirt and offered her that, then went the rest of the night with nothing under a football jersey. Even a shot at some trim can't come between me and my Buckeyes.

Quick Hits
- Brandon Saine was largely ineffective, running the ball with 12 carries for a paltry seven yards, which resulted in Herron getting more carries. Saine did, however, add 3 catches for 36 yards and a touch.
- Safety C.J. Barnett injured his knee in the 4th quarter in this game and will miss the rest of the season. Barnett won the starting competition over Orhian Johnson when Johnson was hurt in preseason. Thankfully, Johnson is expected to play this week. We will also see more of last week's star Tyler Moeller.

Up Next: vs. Ohio, 12:00, Big Ten Network
Ohio (1-1) is led by dual threat QB Boo Jackson, whose name should be familiar to Buckeye fans. When these two met in 2008, Ohio St trailed 14-12 going into the 4th quarter before scoring the last 14 points of the game. Jackson came in when the Bobcats' starter went down in the first after a late hit. This year's Ohio St team seems so focused and determined, don't count on them looking too far ahead and expect them to TCB in this one.
Prediction: Ohio St 38 Ohio 6



nothingbutlimericks said...

There once was a man named Boo,
He led the young team from O.U.,
But with Bucks in his face,
He can't finish the race,
And he limped home away from the 'Shoe.

Figgs said...

Did that seriously happen? Welp, thanks for reading NBL, tell your friends!