Wednesday, November 16

Blocked PAT spoils Ohio St comeback

This past Saturday I sat on the couch with my AJ Hawk Gameday jersey on, my Ohio St football in hand, had previously watched the Ted Ginn Highlight Reel and listened to “Welcome to Buckeye City” to get pumped up, and was drinking Yuengling (my OSU Gameday Beer) - just as I have every Fall Saturday afternoon for several years. But despite all of that, I could have sworn I was watching the Cleveland Browns last week.

I just kept waiting and expecting Ohio St to turn it on and start to roll the inferior Boilermakers. But just as if they were wearing Brown and Orange, OSU squandered opportunity after opportunity, the kicker coming when Drew Basil’s extra point was blocked after the Buckeyes scored the not-quite-game-winning touchdown. Ohio St had their chances in overtime as well, having to settle for a field goal on their first possession and not getting Purdue off the field on a third-and-twelve on the Boilers' turn with the ball, which led to the actual game-winning touchdown as Ohio St watched their hopes of a seventh straight Big Ten title slip away.

Game Recap
Ohio St got the ball first and started a trend that we would see often in the first half - rush for two yards, rush for two yards, incomplete pass, punt. Purdue starting QB Caleb TerBush drove the Boilermakers down the field and Lou Groza candidate Carson Wiggs put Ohio St in a quick 3-0 hole. After the Bucks continued said trend Purdue was again set up in good field position, and TerBush again led a quick scoring drive. This time he hit Akeem Shavers for a 4-yard score to make it 10-0 Boilers.

Ohio St switched it up on their next drive, this time going with rush for two yards, rush for two yards, sack, punt. After forcing a punt and getting the ball right back, OSU started from their own 32 and had their lone exciting drive of the half. Braxton Miller found his running backs, completing a pass to Boom Herron that went for 20 yards and a 38-yard touchdown to Jordan Hall to cut into the Purdue lead.

Between two more punts from each team, the Boilermakers sustained the longest drive of the first half, moving the ball 88 yards and scoring on a Ralph Bolden 7-yard TD run. The Buckeyes went to the break trailing 17-7.

After forcing an immediate three-and-out on Purdue’s opening drive of the second half, Hall, Braxton and Carlos Hyde each had rushes of 10+ yards to set up Ohio St’s second touchdown of the day, a six-yard run by Miller. With the score within three and the Buckeye defense finally playing up to their normal level, I thought this game had 28-17 OSU written all over it. But that was not case. While the defense kept up their high level of play, the offense sputtered as a banged-up Boom was continually bottled up at the line of scrimmage. The two squads entered the final quarter with the Boilermakers up 17-14.

The 4th quarter began with Ben Buchanan punting out of his own end zone and Purdue starting with the ball across midfield. Bolden’s 13-yard run was all Purdue could muster, but it was enough for Wiggs to knock in a 44-yard FG to extend the lead. This was the first point in the game where I was legitimately worried that the Bucks were going to blow this. Ohio St’s ensuing six-minute drive led to 0 points and another Buchanan punt, but now it was Purdue’s turn to be in tough field position, and after a three-and-out OSU was looking good set up near their own 40.

Trailing by six with just over six minutes to play, it was do or die time for Ohio St. Boom did, breaking a 21-yard run on the first play of the drive. With the ball in Boilermaker territory, Herron and Hall persistently pounded it on the ground, setting up and 4th and 3 from the 13 with about a minute remaining. Braxton scrambled around, leaped over his own lineman that fell to the turf, eluded several Purdue defenders and made what appeared to be a season-saving play when he hit Jordan Hall for a score. With the game tied at 20-20, Drew Basil had his potential game-winning extra point blocked. Then he compounded his mistake with a short kickoff that was returned to the Purdue 40, and after a 15-yard pass from backup QB Robert Marve to Ralph Bolden, the Boilers found themselves at the OSU 46 with 37 ticks left and one of the nation’s best kickers on their side. Safety Orhian Johnson never gave Wiggs the chance, as he intercepted Marve’s next pass and sent the game into overtime.

Ohio St got the ball first and immediately put themselves in a hole after a Boom 1-yard loss and Braxton 5-yard sack. Miller then hit T.Y. Williams for a completion but was just short of the first down marker, setting up a 4th and 1. The Buckeyes elected to kick, and Basil’s FG gave Ohio St its first lead of the game. On Purdue’s OT possession, Marve ran for a first on 3rd and 4 to keep the drive alive. After a short run and negative yards on a screen pass, they were faced with a 3rd and 12 from the 15-yard line. Marve delivered the backbreaker, connecting with Gary Bush for 14 yards and giving the Boilermakers first and goal. Marve’s game-winning QB sneak on the next play was inevitable - the real killer was not stopping Purdue on that third and long. Ohio St, shocked for the second consecutive time in West Lafayette, loses 26-23 in OT.

Game Ball

Big Ten
As a surprise to no one, Penn St was defeated at home by Nebraska, 17-14 (of course just missing the 3.5 point cover - it was just that kind of day for me). This set up Ohio St’s opportunity to win the conference, which they of course blew. In a game that was much more of a blowout than the score indicated, michigan dominated Illinois 31-14. Boy are the Illini bad. can’t-tie was injured in the third quarter and didn’t return in this one - his status for this coming week is uncertain, although I bet he plays. Michigan St easily disposed of Iowa, 37-21, to take total control of their half of the Big Ten, while Wisconsin trounced Minnesota 42-13. Northwestern played possibly the most meaningless game of the year, beating the Rice Owls 28-6.

The Nittany Lions propped the door wide open for Ohio St this week, and we promptly shut it. There is still a tiny hope for the Bucks in the conference, needing of course to win out and also get a Wisconsin loss to Illinois this week (fat chance) followed by the Badgers beating Penn St in the finale. This would create at least a three-way (possibly four-way if Purdue wins out) three-loss tie at the top of the Leaders Division, and I would have no idea what would happen then. Of course, all of this will be moot once Wisconsin dicks all over Illinois on Saturday. What we’ll be left with is Michigan St facing next week’s Wisconsin/Penn St winner for the conference title.

Doug Calland was a busy man
Doug Calland, naturally, being Ohio St’s head trainer. WR Philly Brown, DT Jon Hankins, LB Andrew Sweat and RB Boom Herron all left the contest with injuries, with Boom being the only one OK enough to return. Now, I’m certainly not going to blame this loss on these injuries - we absolutely could have and should have beat Purdue with our second-string - but they are significant enough to make note of it. I don’t have any updates on these players’ current statuses, but hopefully they return to health for the upcoming game with Penn St.

Wildcat shmildcat
I really don’t like the wildcat formation from the Buckeyes. I don’t know where it came from, but Ohio St continued to run it throughout this game and I want it gone. It wasn’t terribly unsuccessful, but I just don’t get the point of it. Neither Boom nor Hall is ever going to throw from this formation, so the defense obviously knows what’s coming. Also, while putting a runner in at quarterback may make sense at times, it doesn’t if you do it at the expense of sitting your quarterback THAT’S ALREADY A RUNNER! When Brax is back there with Boom or Hall, the defense needs to be prepared for three options - a Braxton run, a Herron/Hall run, or a Braxton pass/roll out. When Boom or Hall are in the wildcat, they have one option to prepare for - a Herron/Hall run. Does this not make sense to anyone else? Am I missing something here?

Boiler Up
What the fuck does this mean? Several people in the stands where wearing these t-shirts at the game, and I found it quite stupid and irritating. I much prefer Urban Dictionary’s version.

Up Next: vs. Penn St (8-2, 5-1), 3:30, ABC
Man, this game would be a lot more fun if the Big Ten Leaders Division were on the line. When you think about it, this will be Ohio St’s first meaningless game in seven years. Now, hear me out here. Certainly I don’t mean “meaningless” where I’m not going to watch it or cheer hard for OSU or be really pissed if we lose, but in the context of the bigger picture, national and conference championship-wise. This will be the first game since Ohio St didn’t win the conference title in 2004 where whether we win or lose it will have no bearing on a national or conference title race. That is depressing. That being said, I fully expect the Buckeyes to regroup at home and pile on Penn St while they’re at their lowest.
Prediction: Ohio St 23 Penn St 13



Andy said...

TerBush? Seriously? With the CaMel CaPS?

I like how the Browns elegantly extended your OSU-Browns comparison by losing on their own botched chip-shot field goal the very next day. They're the best.

It's not just you - the Wildcat makes no sense.

I was seriously annoyed with Boiler Up by about halftime. I like Purdue in general, and no disrespect to distinguished Purdue and FCF alum JHH, but please. They implore the team to do well, or "boiler up" in key situations like 4th down.

John said...

Boiler Up doesn't make a lot of sense. But spelling out Ohio isn't the greatest cheer either.

I was a little worried about Figgs' prediction about Purdue being shutout at home. Then I remembered OSU's poor recent record at Ross-Ade (like Gatorade?) stadium.