Thursday, September 12

Kenny G cruises to victory after Braxton injury

After converting a 4th down near the goal line early in the 1st quarter, Braxton Miller laid helmetless on the field in obvious pain. The crowd in attendance, as well as Buckeye fans around the country, collectively held their breath, but when our star sat up, seemingly okay, everyone’s mind shifted to a different thought. I know I was thinking it watching this game alone in my apartment, then the 110,000 at The Shoe echoed my sentiments when they started chanting in unison “Kenn-y-G! Kenn-y-G!”

Kenny Guiton took over while Brax watched the rest of the game from the sideline with a brace on his leg, and the Purdue game hero never looked back. Guiton set career marks across the board while leading the Buckeyes to a 42-7 thrashing of San Diego St.

Game Recap
SDSU received the opening kickoff and quickly punted it away to the Buckeyes, who started near midfield and wasted no time reaching the red zone. On 4th and 1 from the 12, Brax ran an obvious quarterback keeper and easily converted, but was sandwiched by two Aztec defenders at the play’s conclusion, dislodging his helmet and leaving him lying on the turf. The medical staff came out and helped Miller to his feet before assisting him off the field. Kenny G entered to a raucous ovation, and after a handoff to freshman sensation Dontre Wilson, Ohio St was off to a quick 7-0 lead.

As bad as San Diego St QB Adam Dingwell looked on his three incompletions on the first drive, he looked even worse on his first pass of the second, when Doran Grant intercepted him. Starting with great field position again, this time the Bucks couldn’t capitalize and went three-and-out. But two more Dingwell atrocities later, OSU was right back in business. Guiton was sharp on this possession, rushing for one first down and completing a pass to Rod Smith for another before hooking up with Philly Brown for a 27-yard touchdown.

Quinn Kaehler became the second backup to enter this game, but for much different reasons. I suppose he looked better than Dingwell by default, but wasn’t good enough as Steve Miller went Space Cowboy on his ass, sacking him and forcing another Aztec punt. If anyone was worse than the SDSU quarterbacks, it was their punter, as another shank set up Ohio St past the 40 yet again. A 16-yard pass play to Devin Smith on third and twelve was the key play in this series that ended with a Jordan Hall TD run. Just like last week, the Buckeyes dominated the first quarter, leading this one 21-0 at its close.

The 2nd began with another Aztec punt, then Guiton’s one mistake of the game. In his defense, the San Diego St defender made a hell of a play for the interception. SDSU followed up the turnover by actually converting a few first downs, but ultimately still had to punt it away. With the ball back in his hands, Kenny G looked like a spitting image of Brax when he raced 44 yards for the first rushing TD of his career.

The onslaught continued when Noah Spence and Michael Bennett simultaneously collided with Kaehler, forcing a fumble that Bennett recovered. (Quick aside: How bad ass is Spence’s Shredder mask? As if the dude wasn’t intimidating enough. I couldn’t find a good pic of it to link here, so if you don’t know what I’m talking about, pay attention this weekend and in the meantime just picture this.) A long Hall run set up Rod Smith for the 1-yard plunge and the Bucks took a 35-0 advantage into the locker rooms.

Ohio St took the foot off the gas in the second half, but not before Guiton threw an absolute beauty to Philly for Brown’s second TD reception of the game and a 42-0 lead. SDSU responded with a quick touchdown of their own, and the scoring was complete before the third quarter came to an end. The only other thing of note was that when Hall, Smith, and Wilson all came off the field for good, it was Ezekiel Elliot, not Bri’onte Dunn or Warren Ball, who got the mop up time carries. I’ll get into this a bit further later on. With mostly backups on defense in the 4th, sophomore Armani Reeves stood out with an interception in the red zone to shut the door on San Diego St once and for all and preserving the 42-7 victory.

Game Ball
Kenny motherfucking GGGGG! While Braxton Miller is clearly the centerpiece to an undefeated season, as long as he is alright in the long run (he appears to be), I can’t say I was mad to see Guiton out there for a game. The Captain who was almost thrown off the team less than a year ago (Yes, you read that right - the team has so much faith in its backup quarterback that they made him a captain), went 19/28 for 152 yards and two scores with the one interception, and also led all players with 9 carries for 83 yards and another TD. Hopefully Brax is good to go for Cal in a few days, but I certainly enjoyed the Kenny G ride while it lasted.

Big Ten
The nation’s focus was on a Big Ten game last weekend, as the michigan/Notre Dame contest was the highlight of the evening. I told everyone that my favorite spread of the day was bitchigan -4, but would never sell my soul to actually cash in on that. Sure enough, the wolverines ran past the Irish 41-30 behind four devin gardner touchdowns. Blah blah blah. The amusing thing about this to me is that brady hoke wasted 10 games of this kid’s career while he sat behind can’t-tie for most of last season. Hahaha, good call guys.

Illinois had an impressive rout of Cincinnati, while the rest of the conference disposed of weaker foes, with Northwestern’s win over a bad Syracuse team being the only other opponent in a major conference. Indiana was the only B1G team to lose, giving up 41 points to the Naval Academy.

Crowded Backfield
You can never have too much of a good thing. With Rod Smith returning to action after a one-game suspensions, Ohio St flexed its RB depth muscles last weekend. Jordan Hall didn’t repeat his retarded numbers from the Buffalo game (7.6 ypc, 2 TDs), but was still very effective rushing for 75 yards and a score. Freshman Dontre Wilson continued to electrify, gaining 10.1 yards per carry and a touchdown of his own. Smith was the far-from-flashy but bruising back we’ve known him to be, and Ezekiel Elliot looked good in limited mop up duty. It appears that freshman Warren Ball, who was ranked higher than Wilson and Elliot coming out of high school last year, and sophomore Bri’onte Dunn are at the bottom of the depth chart and won’t see too much playing time this season barring unforeseen circumstances.

Now for the big question – what happens when Carlos Hyde returns from his suspension in two weeks? The easy answer and the one I seem to be getting from most people who are in-the-know in Columbus, is that he is going to have to play his way back onto the field, as you can’t really limit Hall and Wilson’s touches right now considering their production in the first two weeks. That being said, I think people are quickly forgetting how freaking dominant this guy was last season. It will be very interesting to see how Meyer spreads the wealth once Big Ten play begins. But as the heading stated, there’s no such thing as having too many great players. (Quick aside #2: The other depth chart-related note was that Philly Brown took all punt returning duties, although the SDSU punter was so shitty he never got a chance to return one.)

RG Marcus Hall committed five penalties in this game. Five! This was a big concern for him last year, and without any depth on the O-line, I think I speak for all of us when I say – Marcus, get your head out of your ass.

OK, I’m reloaded!
I said in my preview article that I wasn’t too concerned with Ohio St losing all four of its starting defensive lineman from last season. After two games, it looks like I couldn’t have hit the nail more on the head. Spence and Adolphus Washington are going to be studs and Bennett looks very good so far, but the biggest surprises have come from Joey Bosa and Steve Miller. Both of them played terrific against San Diego, plus I get the opportunity to make a bunch of Steve Miller Band references, which I couldn’t be happier about.

Up Next: @ Cal (1-1), 7:00, FOX
Without a doubt, the Cal Bears offer Ohio St its toughest non-conference test. Last season, in Columbus, California boned the Buckeye defense for over 500 yards, and a 72-yard touchdown from Miller to Devin Smith with minutes to go was the only thing that kept Ohio St’s 12-0 season from going down in flames in Week 3. Braxton is questionable for the matchup, but Meyer seems confident he’ll play. No matter the QB for the Buckeyes, I expect the defense to play with a fire after what happened to them last year, and keep things rolling. Even more reason to be positive, OSU gets a rare FOX game, which means Eddie and Erin Andrews! What more could one ask for?
Prediction: Ohio St 33 Cal 15

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