Wednesday, October 20

Buckeyes' Title Hopes Flushed

In hindsight, I feel as if I may have put this Ohio St team on too much of a pedestal. After last Saturday's 31-18 loss to Wisconsin, it certainly feels that way. I thought their defense was invincible and Terrelle Pryor reached the next level as a quarterback. While this defense is still very good, John Clay and James White certainly showed that they can be beaten. And while Pryor has made great strides from his first two seasons, he still struggles when forced to pass against good defenses.

Game Recap

In each of Ohio St's first six games, they put pressure on the other team by scoring within the first few minutes. The tables were turned in this game, when Wisconsin's David Gilreath took back the opening kickoff for six. OSU held the ball for less than four minutes in the first quarter, punting twice, whereas the Badgers had two long drives, both of which ended in John Clay TD runs. Before you could let out a string of 4-letter words, it was 21-0.

The Buckeyes came back with a nice, long drive of their own to start the 2nd, but stalled inside the five after three consecutive questionable play calls. Devin Barclay put the Bucks on the board, but when you're down three touchdowns, you're really looking to punch that one in. Andrew Sweat picked off Scott Tolzien, giving Ohio St another chance before half, but they again didn't capitalize, this time not scoring at all when Barclay missed a 45-yarder. OSU headed into halftime looking to regroup, trailing 21-3.

And regroup they did. The third quarter was very similar to the first, with the roles reversed. Dan Herron led the Bucks right down the field and capped it off by scoring from 13 yards out. After a quick Wisconsin punt, Pryor went 5-for-5 on a 19-play, 94 yard drive that took 10 minutes off of the clock. Herron reached the endzone for the second consecutive drive, and after a Pryor to Reid Fragel two-point conversion, the lead was cut to 21-18. At this point, I was supremely confident that Ohio St was coming back to win this, and I'm sure the 100,000+ Badger fans in attendance were awfully worried.

Apparently they had nothing to worry about, as Tolzien took Wisconsin right down to the red zone, and James White did the rest. White took the rock three straight times, picking up 23 yards and getting into the end zone. Down by two scores with 7 minutes to play, this is where we needed the mature TP to get those seven points right back. Instead he threw three incompletions and gave the ball right back to Wisconsin, essentially ending the game. Obviously, I'm not putting this all on Pryor, I just thought that that could be a situation where he could lead an epic comeback and propel himself to legendary status. Not so much.

Game Notes

Game Ball
I refuse to give the GB to an opposing player, and no one from Ohio St deserved it, so I let Uncle Rico throw it over the mountains.

Big Ten
In an attempt to cheer me up after an awful football weekend, Andy accurately pointed out that michigan still sucks. A-freaking-men. michigan played Iowa, its second good opponent of the year, and received its second loss. Can't-Tie ran for over 100 yards, but again struggled throwing the ball before getting injured. T. Forcier came in and put up 21 fourth-quarter points, but his comeback attempt fell short as the wolves dropped to 1-2 in Big Ten play. Did The Force create QB controversy in Whoreville? That would be fantastic. Elsewhere, Michigan St rode a very strong second half against Illinois to remain unbeaten, and Minnesota really blows, losing to Purdue by 11.

Yes, it really sucks that because of FBS' lack of a playoff that Ohio St's chance at a National Title is gone. It especially sucks since that dream seemed so possible, even likely, just a few days ago. But all is not lost. The opportunity to make the Rose Bowl and share of a stupid-good, sixth-straight Big Ten title is still very reasonable. Obviously, the Bucks have to win the rest of their games. One of those wins would be against Iowa, so that would put us ahead of them. That would leave Wisconsin and Michigan St, who would each have to lose. They both still play Iowa, and never rule out an MSU collapse, which seems to happen annually.

Up Next: vs. Purdue (4-2, 2-0), 12:00, BTN
Ohio St fans have certainly not forgotten last year's embarrassing loss to the Boilermakers, and neither has Terrelle Pryor. I don't know much about this Purdue team, other than they haven't played a good team all year (Notre Dame is the only respectable one, if you consider the Irish respectable). Ohio St is pissed off about last year's and last week's loss - expect no mercy in this one.
Prediction: Ohio St 34 Purdue 9


1 comment:

John said...

This Purdue team wasn't that good when it started the season and injuries to your leading receiver and starting QB usually don't help matters.

Last year's Purdue win was a wake up call, I think. After that defeat OSU seemed to play much better.

I suspect this year's defeat at Wisconsin was a wake up call too; that Ohio State was over-ranked.