Thursday, October 24

Buckeyes overcome sluggish first half to stay unbeaten

Last Saturday's 34-24 win over Iowa was entirely a tale of two halves. Nothing looked good from the Ohio St perspective in the first 30 minutes, as the Buckeyes trailed 17-10 after two quarters of play. The defense was abysmal, Carlos Hyde was bottled up, and the struggling D took a significant hit when Bradley Roby was ejected in the 1st quarter for targeting on a bullshit call. The problem with the defense came down to not being able to get off the ball. The Hawkeyes completely dominated the line of scrimmage, and stretched 90% of their plays to the hash marks to stay away from Ryan Shazier. There was a point in the second quarter where every series of downs went the exact same way for two straight drives – Iowa would run up the middle on first down and easily get past the OSU defensive line to gain three or four yards before Shazier would make the tackle. On second down they would do a stretch run or throw a swing pass or short button hook to the outside, which would net 6-8 yards. Rinse and repeat. It was painful to watch.

I remarked to the older gentleman sitting next to me at The Shoe that their gameplan was clearly to just get as far away from Shazier as possible, and that Meyer would have to make some sort of adjustment, or they would do this all afternoon. Well, Meyer made that adjustment at halftime, and save for one long pass play, the Buckeye D dominated Iowa for the final two quarters. The offense also came to life, particularly Hyde, who ran for 106 of his 149 yards and both of his touchdowns in the second half. The final second-half tally showed a 306-153 yardage advantage and a 23:05–6:55 time of possession tilt in favor of the Buckeyes.

The 10-point victory extended two very impressive streaks. It was Ohio St’s FBS-leading 19th straight win (undefeated in the Urbs era), and also marked my 9th consecutive victory in attendance at Ohio Stadium.

Game Recap
Iowa had to convert two third-and-ones on their opening drive, but basically made the 7-0 lead look easy. Jake Rudock hit C.J. Fiedorowicz for the short score and early Hawkeye advantage. Ohio St responded with multiple short chunks of yardage (the longest play coming on a 16-yard Braxton Miller scramble), and ultimately cut the margin to 7-3 on Drew Basil’s 27-yard chip shot. Iowa came right back to match the three-pointer and the first quarter closed with Kirk Ferentz’s bunch up 10-3.

Brax quickly tied up the score at 10-10 when he found a WIDE open streaking Philly Brown for a 58-yard touchdown. Iowa’s ensuing drive consisted of the four-yard up the middle, six-yard to the sideline back-and-forth I discussed earlier, and was handsomely rewarded with Rudock’s second TD toss of the day, making it 17-10 Hawkeyes. The Buckeyes drove down the field again in small doses, but this time instead of giving Basil another attempt, Meyer elected to go for a 4th-and-10 from the Iowa 29. I disagreed with this call vehemently at the time, calling the move “desperate.” Miller threw an incompletion, and the Hawkeyes took over. Ohio St forced the first punt of the game, and went into the half trailing after only possessing the pigskin three times.

The Bucks received the second half kickoff and continued their drive theme of lots of little plays. Hyde ran for 12, Devin Smith caught one for 13, Dontre Wilson caught one for 9, Brax ran for 6, etc. This time, however, they were able to put the ball in the end zone to tie the game once again. Hyde barely got the nose of the ball across the goal line on his one-yard score, making him the first person to score a rushing touchdown on Iowa all season.

After an Iowa punt, Brax was right back at it, dinking and dunking his way down the field. Devin Smith’s athletic run after the catch got him to paydirt and put the Bucks on top for the first time all afternoon. The Hawkeyes answered on really their only successful offensive play of the second half when Armani Reeves got beat deep by Jake Duzey for an 85-yard passing score. I said I could live with this play, seeing as how the adjustments the Buckeyes made put more focus on the run game, and our freshman simply just got beat on an island. If only we had an All-American corner that could run one-on-one with anyone in the nation…oh, wait.

With the score tied again, Miller hit Smith for 15 yards on the final play of the third to get the Buckeyes moving. Two and a half minutes into the final frame saw the game’s most exciting play. On 1st-and-10 from the Iowa 19, Carlos Hyde ran to the outside and was hit hard by Iowa safety Tanner Miller. Hyde was knocked off balance and stumbled towards the sideline, but corrected himself right before stepping out of bounds. Without a Hawkeye defender in sight to clean up the play, Hyde righted himself and made a Matta toward the endzone. (If you didn’t catch what I did there, I replaced the stupid word ‘beeline’ with the much cooler sounding ‘Matta’) With one defender closing in, Hyde leaped to the pylon and just made it regain the lead for OSU.

Iowa’s assholes were tight at this point, and the Buckeye defense stiffened even more, forcing a quick punt. Hyde and Miller were able to milk 5:20 off the clock and add to the lead with another Basil FG. Freshman Tyvis Powell sealed the Hawkeyes’ fate with his interception of Rudock’s desperation pass. Ohio St ran out the final 4+ minutes to stay perfect in Meyer’s tenure.


Game Ball
This game was all about the second half for the Buckeyes, and the second half was all about Carlos Hyde. The Buckeyes' top back finished the day with 24 carries for 149 yards and two scores. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry, and didn’t have any huge runs that inflated that stat – he was pretty much just getting six yards every time he got the rock. His go-ahead TD run was probably the team’s highlight of the year so far. I also want to give kudos here to Ryan Shazier, who made a team run an entirely different game plan to avoid him, and Braxton Miller, who didn’t really do anything flashy and hasn’t gotten much attention because of it, but actually had an outrageously efficient game. He earned an 83.9 passer rating by going 22/27 for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns with no picks. He added 102 yards on the ground.
Game balls to date: Guiton (3), Hyde (2), Miller


Big Ten
Outside of this game, it was a pretty boring week in the conference. Northwestern made us look bad when they dropped a home contest to Minnesota, Michigan St continued to win without any resemblance of an offense in a shut ut of Purdue, Wisconsin steam rolled Illinois, and devin gardner and jeremy gallon rewrote the scum record books in michigan’s 63-47 victory over Indiana. Two things to point out in that game – michigan gave up 47 points to Indiana, and 100% of quarterbacks who have ever worn the number 98 couldn’t read.

Live from The Horseshoe
As I mentioned, I was one of the 105,000 plus in attendance for this W. Apparently so was Andy’s brother-in-law, who in some outrageous coincidence sat a few seats down in the same row as me. Crazy. Too bad I wasn’t exactly in the right state of mind to remember who he was. But I do remember Gary, the kick-ass old dude I sat next to. I’ve been very lucky in the fact that every time I don’t sit next to the people I came to the game with, I’ve been fortunate enough to still be in good company. I guess that just proves that all Buckeye fans rule. Gary graduated from OSU in 1968, when Ohio St won a National Championship. He had some really cool stories.

My record now stands at 10-1 in Ohio Stadium (with another four wins against that school up north where I was on campus but not in The Shoe). Iowa is the eighth different B1G school I’ve seen, with only Minnesota, Nebraska, and michigan left on the agenda. Stupid Rutgers and Maryland are going to delay my plans further of seeing michigan last.


Up Next: vs. Penn St (4-2, 1-1), 8:00, AB
C
The Lions visit The Shoe this weekend in another primetime game. Penn St is coming off a bye following a thrilling 4OT win over bitchigan. They will come into Columbus fired up, where they have beaten us the last two times. Ohio St has yet to have a quick start in conference play, and will aiming to do just that on Saturday. I’m betting that they will, followed by a slower-paced, back-and-forth game.
Prediction: Ohio St 29 Penn St 17


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2 comments:

Andy said...

So you gave Hyde the gameball from Northwestern after all. I was really wondering about that one.

Would it kill Blogger to only have the left-hand side scroll, so I could look through the article as I comment without having to jump back up to this dialog box at the top every goddamned time?

I listened to this game as part of an epically awful weekend of work - you haven't lived until you've heard Ohio State win on patchy radio in a deserted graphite plant on a weekend.

That's pretty hilarious that you saw Bucko there. Couple weeks earlier and you would have seen Nick and me.

What was the loss you saw in Ohio Stadium? I've been going to games since roughly 1987 so I've seen many more than one loss - I was even at the one they tied in 1992. Oh, and I was at a certain game in 2006. I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I attended a loss in person, but I'm 90% sure that it took place in a year that started with "19." I'm serious.

While I'm here, the Wikipedia page about the OSU-michigan rivalry used to have OSU's 2010 vacated win in gray to distinguish it from the official wins (in red) but still acknowledge that OSU kicked the shit out of the weasels, but someone, almost certainly a jerk michigan fan, removed the shading.

Figgs said...

The first game I ever went to, I saw Limas fucking Sweed barely get one foot down in the corner of the endzone on a pass from Vince Young that looked like it was surely headed for the stands to beat us 25-22 in 2005. It was awful.

That game will always be red in my mind.