Tuesday, October 5


That title sums up everything that Jim Tressel and Ohio St attempted to do, and succeeded in doing, against Illinois last Saturday. It was certainly not pretty, as the Buckeyes played their worst game since last year's loss to Purdue, but when your Heisman candidate is injured and you're playing on the road in the Big Ten, all you care about is coming out with a victory. That's exactly what the Buckeyes did.

Game Recap

Ohio St came into the game looking to stop the running game. They were successful in doing that, as they were the only team this year to keep Mikel Leshoure short of the 100-yard mark (19 carries, 80 yards). What they did not count on was the early success of Nathan Scheelhaase. The freshman QB hit Jarred Fayson twice and caught a pass from Fayson on the first possession of the game, which led to Scheelhaase running it in himself to put the Illini up early. I immediately recognized Fayson's name from the Florida team that beat OSU in the National Championship a few years back, because I remembered making several "He has his game Fayson" jokes. I assumed it was his brother, but apparently it's the same guy, he just transferred.

Anywho, Terrelle Pryor ran for 66 yards on Ohio St's first play, which set up his touchdown pass to Brandon Saine to tie the game. After that there were some punts, then some more punts, then an Illinois missed field goal, then some more punts. The difference in the first half came with about five minutes to go when Pryor threw an interception deep in OSU territory. Thankfully, the defense stepped up (I know, shocking) and held Illinois to a FG. Jaamal Berry had a good kick return and TP had another big run to set the Buckeyes up at the 10-yard line, where Pryor completed a TD to Dane Sanzenbacher. Ohio St didn't play too well, but went into the half up 14-10.

On OSU's second play of the second half, Pryor ran for 10 yards down the sideline, then stayed down. It didn't look like he was hit in any hard or awkward way, so you knew it had to be something with his legs, either his knee that he wears a brace on from the surgery he had in the offseason, a hamstring, or (gasp) an ACL. Buckeye fans hoped it was only cramps, but when Terrelle limped to the locker room we all got very nervous.

Backup QB Joe Bauserman came in and all offense went out the window. After an OSU punt, Jermale Hines picked off Scheelhaase, but Bowser immediately threw an INT right back. (By the way, the Bowser nickname that I just came up with would be a bad-ass nickname if he were a linebacker or something. Or just good at anything.) After some punts, and then some more punts, Pryor came back into the game but was clearly still struggling with his injury. He repeatedly handed off to Dan Herron, and Boom took the Bucks on an eight-minute drive, resulting in a Devin Barclay field goal to put OSU up by a touchdown. Scheelhaase hit Fayson for a big gain to set up a FG to answer, making it 17-13 with under five minutes to go.

A good return by Jordan Hall paired with a 15-yard facemask penalty put OSU in Illini territory. Boom ran for about five yards on the first play, then about 5 again, then another 5, then 10, then 10 again, then capping it off with a 6-yard TD to seal the game. Illinois knew what was coming, and just couldn't do anything about it. Ohio St doesn't play well, but plays smart and wins, 24-13.

Game Notes

Game Ball
Pryor had more rushing yards and a much better YPC than Herron did, but Boom is getting the GB here for just being a man and relentlessly carrying the ball up the middle. Herron had 23 carries, 20 of those coming in the second half, including a span where he got it 11 straight plays. The Illini defense knew he was going to get it, put eight or nine guys in the box, and he just continued to get first downs, while securing the ball and moving the clock. His final stat line of 95 yards and only 4.1 YPC doesn't look that great, but Ohio St does not win this game without him.
Game balls to date: Pryor (3), Herron, Moeller

Big Ten
The big game in the conference this week was Penn St traveling to Iowa, and it didn't live up to the hype. PSU just couldn't move the ball at all, and the Hawkeyes dominated a very boring game. In another matchup of top 25 opponents, Michigan St topped Wisconsin by 10. I said at the beginning of the year that I was glad Ohio St didn't play MSU, because I think they are the second best team in the conference. LB Greg Jones is an animal, and would look great wearing brown and orange next year. In meaningless Big Ten news, Northwestern edged Minnesota, 29-28.

I didn't talk about that school up north's game against Indiana in the previous section because I'm gonna go on a rant here. I honestly don't know what I am more excited about, seeing Ohio St play for another national title or watching michigan fail and every analyst that's been on their knees for them all year having to wipe the egg off their face. Yes, michigan is 5-0, but I wouldn't be surprised if they barely get into a Bowl at 6-6. The two best teams they have played, UConn and Notre Dame (a combined 5-5 btw), have two of the whitest, slowest defenses I have ever seen. I will give Denard Robinson his props - what he has been doing this year has been pretty sick - but let's see what he does against real defenses. A 190-pound QB cannot carry the ball 30 times against a Big Ten defense. He will get killed, and I can't wait to see it happen. Wait till he gets hit by Greg Jones for the first time next week, not being able to tie his shoes won't be his biggest problem. Oh yeah, and does anyone want to mention that they have given up 72 combined points to Indiana and UMass? Their defense blows more than Barx on a Friday night.

Tressel Ball
The sweater vest was in full effect in this one. I was a little upset about it at the time (especially since I had money on OSU -17.5), but Jim Tressel isn't one of the best coaches in the nation for nothing: he knows how to win football games. He knew that Illinois could not move the ball against his defense, and the only way Ohio St could lose was by making a mistake. He made sure that that didn't happen, as he was bleeding the play clock as soon as the second half started, even before Pryor was injured. Then after that happened, forget it. TP said after the game that he was maybe 25%, and there is no way that he could do anything other than handoff. Tressel took Herm Edwards' advice and just played to win the game. As usual, he was successful.

Cannon, more like Shannon!
Wow, I didn't think I would see an Ohio St punter worse than Jon Thoma in my lifetime, but Ben Buchannan is doing his best to prove me wrong. Holy shit this guy is awful. We need to do something about this, right now. There has to be someone on campus, a soccer player or something, that can punt better than this guy. What about kick-off man Drew Basil? Or Drew Carey? Or the frigging corpse of Harry Caray? Anyone would be better than this guy.

Injury Bug
Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, Terrelle Pryor's leg isn't our only concern. Safety Tyler Moeller is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. I have been giving this guy a ton of love this year, and it really sucks to see him out for the second straight season, especially with opening day's starting safety C.J. Barnett already done for the year. Orhian Johnson will be the full-time starter now, and expect to see freshman Corey Brown a lot as well.

This has nothing to do with the Ohio St game or Cleveland sports, but I think this needs to be mentioned here because it won't be anywhere else. In honor of breast cancer awareness month, Larry Fitzgerald is donating $1,000 for every catch and $5,000 for every touchdown he gets in the month of October to a breast cancer foundation. It's a shame that this isn't more publicized. Apparently you can only get on ESPN if you're raping chicks or killing dogs. This is a great thing that Fitzgerald is doing, and while he won't get credit for it in the national media, I speak for all of us here at the FCF in thanking him.

Up Next: vs. Indiana, 12:00, ESPN
It would be fun to watch an 100% TP run all over Indiana (3-1) like Can't-Tie did last week, but unfortunately that will not happen. Expect Pryor to start and play the whole game while it is in doubt, but don't count on him doing anything other than handing to Boom Herron again. There's not a chance Tressel will risk anything with Pryor when there is a trip to Madison on the schedule the following Saturday. We need Pryor to be healthy for that one, and the defense should be able to take care of business in this one without him being very effective. For the first time this season I won't bet on the Bucks (-23), but I'm not one bit worried about losing this one.
Prediction: Ohio St 20 Indiana 6



Andy said...

Easily your best game writeup of the season. A few comments on a game I was unable to watch because I was blasting dudes with paintballs:

I see you've started betting on your favorite teams instead of against them. You know what I'm talking about.

Were there any punts?

I did get to see a bit of PSU-Iowa, and man did the Chickenhawks ever destroy the Lions.

shhh...don't let out the secret that michigan sucks! I kinda hope they're like 8-3 when they play OSU and people start the "anything can happen in a rivalry game like this" (as if upsets are any more common in rivalry games) and the Buckeyes roll them up for the 7th straight time. Can't. Wait.

I love hot dogs!

Charitable work doesn't sell newspapers, I'm afraid.

Figgs said...

I'll take heat for betting against the Brownies, I understand, but I won the game I bet against them and lost the one I bet on them.

Penn St's offense is totally anemic. Boldin has shown a few flashes and he could be good in the future, but right now they just can't move the ball at all.

Alright, I'll keep it to myself for now that michgian porks. The world will find out soon enough.