Friday, November 29

Indiana no match as Buckeyes' win streak sets school mark

The last 23 times Ohio St has stepped onto the gridiron, they left victorious. The 42-14 whooping they gave Indiana last Saturday broke the tie with the 1967-69 teams for the most consecutive wins in school history. The Hoosiers nearly matched OSU in terms of yardage, but failed to finish off drives time and time again. With the win, the Buckeyes clinched a spot in the Big Ten Title game against Michigan St. But of course, there’s one more relatively important game before that.

Game Recap
Ohio St received the opening kickoff, and for what seems like the 11th time this year, marched right down the field and began the game with a touchdown. Braxton Miller had a 41-yard run to help set up Carlos Hyde’s 16-yard score. A quick IU punt left the Bucks with a short field to work with, and Braxton didn’t waste time making it 14-0 on a 37-yard run. The Hoosiers were able to grind out a couple of first downs on their second crack, but still ultimately punted. Miller had the Buckeyes on the move again but fumbled the ball away when he was sacked by Ralpheal Green. If there was ever a knock on Brax, it would be his ball security, but I can live with a fumble every now and again if it means several jaw-dropping runs in between. No word on whether or not Green used his twin daggers to aid in the sack. The quarter came to a close with the score 14-0, moving Ohio St’s 1st quarter scoring to 83-0 in the last four games. I don’t even know how to respond to that statistic.

The second quarter opened up with a Mitch Ewald missed field goal. Ewald came into the game a perfect 8/8 on the year, but the blistering wind and flurries of snow did not make kicking conditions optimal this afternoon. The teams matched punts, but Indiana’s was blocked by (any guesses?) Bradley Roby. Roby’s coverage skills seemed to have dropped off a bit from the last two seasons, but he still has a knack for big plays. Miller ran in his second TD of the game two plays later.

After each squad punted again, Tre Roberson and Nate Sudfeld split time under center and had the Hoosiers in business. They were unable to convert it into points again, however, when Michael Bennett sacked Sudfeld on 4th down. Bennett was a menace all afternoon. A Jeff Heuerman 34-yard catch had OSU in the red zone again, and Hyde capped the drive with a 5-yard score to end the half at 28-0.

Indiana put together another good drive to begin the second half, but it just wasn’t Mitch Ewald’s day. A Joey Bosa sack on third down made Ewald’s attempt a little longer, and it made the difference as he was no good from 41-yards out. Miller was intercepted on the first Buckeye possession of the half but he got it right back when IU went four-and-out with their second failed 4th down attempt of the day. Braxton threw a quick swing pass to Dontre Wilson, and ‘Tre did the rest with 24 yards after the catch to extend the lead to 35-0.

In what was the theme of the day, the Hoosiers continued to rack up yardage but failed to turn it into points. On 4th-and-goal from the two, Roberson’s pass fell incomplete. In an attempt to possibly impress voters, Brax and Hyde were still in the game in the 4th quarter and took the Buckeyes on a 98-yard drive. Devin Smith, who has been relatively quiet in recent weeks, caught the 34-yard touchdown.

It was clear that would be Miller’s last throw of the game, and I along with thousands of others waited on the edge of my seat in anticipation of Kenny G’s final appearance in Ohio Stadium. The Buckeye defense couldn’t close out the shutout, as Sudfeld threw a 4-yard touchdown to Shane Wynn. Guiton entered to a raucous ovation, but unfortunately fumbled on his first play after a long run. Indiana capitalized with another scoring drive to make it 42-14. Guiton came back on the field to take a few kneel downs so his final memory at The Shoe wasn’t his turnover.

Game Ball
It was just another ho-hum 300-yard and four-score day for Braxton and 117-yard, two-score output for Hyde, so I finally get an opportunity to give Ryan Shazier some praise. Shazier, wearing #2 in honor of injured senior Christian Bryant, was an animal all game long. He was seemingly in on every single play, finishing with 20 tackles, four for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble, as well as often affecting plays in pass coverage. Although I really hope it’s not the case, it was most likely the Junior’s final fantastic performance in Columbus.
Game balls to date: Guiton (4), Hyde (3), Miller (2), Shazier

Big Ten
Michigan St solidified their spot opposite Ohio St in Indianapolis on December 7th with their 30-7 thrashing of Northwestern. Iowa rallied for a 17-0 second half to beat michigan, while it took overtime for Nebraska to top Penn St. Wisconsin ended Minnesota’s win streak to retain Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the tenth straight year, and Illinois and Purdue played a game of what can only loosely be called “football.”

BCS Outlook
Alabama and Florida St, not surprisingly, came across no hiccups with Chattanooga and Idaho, respectively, and remain comfortably in the top two spots. Alabama has a HUGE contest this weekend in the Iron Bowl against 4th-ranked Auburn. FSU will travel to The Swamp to face a Florida team who was just embarrassed last week with a loss to FCS Georgia Southern. Ga. Southern won that game without completing a pass. Seriously, their quarterback was 0-3. Simply stunning.

Baylor was smoked by Oklahoma St and Oregon was upset in Arizona, so we don’t have to worry about all that talk of one of those team’s jumping us. Clearly the best hope for Ohio St to slide into one of the top two slots would be Auburn beating Alabama, but that also could put Auburn in position to leapfrog the Buckeyes and play the Seminoles in the title game. Stanford and Arizona St are each one win away from meeting in the Pac 12 title game, with the winner being Ohio St’s Rose Bowl opponent, assuming the Bucks take care of business but are left out of the BCS Championship.

Up Next: The Game, 12:00, ABC
Happy michigan Week! The gay house will host the 110th meeting between these storied rivals this Saturday at high noon. Ohio St has won eight of the last nine battles with that team up north, including last year’s thrilling 26-21 victory in Urban Meyer’s debut to the rivalry. The wolverines’ struggles this season have been well-documented, especially here at FCF where I won’t let an opportunity to criticize bitchigan slip by. Their defense can’t stop anybody, and brady hoke’s job could be in jeopardy if he doesn’t pull a miracle out of his over-sized ass this weekend. jeremy gallon is an All-Conference caliber receiver, and will be the focal point of the Buckeye defense. Bradley Roby will get the opportunity to showcase his talents to NFL scouts going against the senior wideout. devin gardner has had a very ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ type season, rewriting the scum record books against Indiana but only averaging 189 total yards per game in the four contests since.

Ohio governor John Kasich kicked the rivalry up a notch this week by declaring Nove*ber 30 “Scarlet Letter Saturday,” urging Ohioans to avoid using the letter ‘m.’ This is aweso*e. God I love watching us beat those assholes.
Prediction: Ohio St 110 that tea* up north 0


Thursday, November 21

Carlos Hyde leads Buckeyes in rout of Illinois

Carlos Hyde is a bad man. Not “bad” as in he punches women at bars (well…), but as in Michael Jackson Bad. It was another lightning start by Ohio St to go up 28-0 early, but it took Hyde’s dominating performance to deter the Illini momentum after they brought the game back within reach. The defense showed its weaknesses again in this one, allowing Nathan Scheelhaase and Illinois to post 420 total yards en route to 35 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome Hyde’s monster day. Carlos rushed for 254 yards while scoring four times on the ground and once more through the air. When the Illini clawed their way back from a big hole to cut the lead to 47-35 in the fourth quarter, it was Hyde’s two TD runs of 50+ yards that ultimately sealed the deal for the Buckeyes.

Game Recap
Ohio St has just destroyed B1G opponents in the first quarter, and last Saturday was no different. The Buckeyes were on the board 36 seconds into the game when Braxton Miller took off for a 70-yard touchdown. He didn’t have to do much to get into the open field, and once he did, there wasn’t an orange jersey that could come near him. As good as the start was for the Ohio St QB, it was the exact opposite for his counterpart, as Scheelhaase was picked off by C.J. Barnett on his third pass attempt of the game.

Later in the quarter, Miller engineered a 94-yard drive, capping it with an 18-yard score to Hyde. Scheelhaase was intercepted again on the ensuing drive, and Bradley Roby took this one back to the house for a 21-0 lead. Roby is becoming the Ed Reed of the NCAA, scoring almost any time he gets his hands on the ball. This was his third career pick-six, to go along with a fumble return, two punt returns, and two blocked punts, all for scores.

The end of the 1st quarter and beginning of the 2nd saw the only gap in offensive production, with three consecutive punts from the two teams. Miller got the ball rolling again with a 28-yard run followed by an 11-yard touchdown toss to Philly Brown, and the game appeared like it was headed to become yet another joke. But when Cameron Johnston was out to punt on the next Buckeye possession, V’Angelo Bentley took it all the way back to put Illinois on the board. Johnston and the punt team had been flawless this season before the Bentley return, allowing a staggering three yards all year on punt returns.

OSU answered quickly when Hyde was the beneficiary of a great Jordan Hall kick return to extend the lead to 35-7. Scheelhaase kept the scoring frenzy going minutes later with a TD pass to Steve Hall. After another Johnston punt, Illinois failed to convert on 4th down and the fast-paced half came to a close with the Bucks leading 35-14.

Halftime didn’t slow anything down, as the Illini came out of the gate hitting on all cylinders and closing the deficit to 35-21 on a Scheelhaase-to-Evan Wilson score. Ohio St took the ball right back into Illinois territory, but a Braxton fumble stopped the drive. Each team traded punts, but Johnston’s 71-yard boomer left Illinois in the shadow of their own goal line. When Scheelhaase was forced to leave the game for a play after he lost his helmet, back up Reilly O’Toole (what a terrific name) was sacked by Ryan Shazier and fumbled in his own end zone. I don’t know if I've talked about it on this blog before, but Shazier is really, really good. Illini TE Matt LaCosse minimized the damage to a safety by recovering the fumble.

After a Chris Fields 47-yard catch set up the Buckeyes for another score, Ohio St fans looked on anxiously as Brax was hit late and stayed on the turf for a loooong two minutes. He walked off on his own power and we were all generously rewarded with a Kenny G appearance. Guiton didn’t need to show off his prowess, however, as two handoffs to Hyde put the Buckeyes up comfortably yet again, 44-21. Miller was back for the next series and a Drew Basil miss from 50 yards closed the third quarter.

With the game seemingly out of reach for the second time, those damn Illini refused to go away. Two more touchdowns (along with a two-point conversion) sandwiched a Basil FG and brought the game to the smallest margin since the middle of the first. Then Carlos Hyde decided to take the game into his hands. His 51-yard score with five minutes left FINALLY put the game away, then his 55-yarder was just icing on the cake. After the game, Hyde was confused as to why it wasn’t this easy all game long. “That last run, in my head I was like, we could have done this the whole time.” Dear Carlos, you did. You had 150 and three touchdowns before that.

Game Ball
Well if you’ve read this far you know where this is going. But I would like to take this time to shout out LB Ryan Shazier on another dominating performance. I would love to give him a GB at some point this season if a defense can actually find a way to stop Hyde and Miller.
Game balls to date: Guiton (4), Hyde (3), Miller (2)

Big Ten
In a game that decided the Legends Division, Michigan State remained unbeaten in conference play with their 41-28 win at Nebraska. The Spartan D showed some holes for the first time all year (while still forcing five turnovers), but the offense also showed some life for the first time by capitalizing on all Cornhusker mistakes. Northwestern was once again on the brink of their first Big Ten win but fell short in overtime against bitchigan. Wisconsin and Penn St rolled over Indiana and Purdue, respectively.

Defensive woes
While the Buckeye offense continues to rack up outrageous numbers, the defense is having its struggles. Granted, although Illinois is a pathetic team as a whole, their offense has put up some decent numbers this year, and starting linebackers Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry were out for this game, but it would be nice to see some consistency out of this unit. There is a ton of talent here – Shazier is one of the best LBs in the nation, Barnett is flourishing in the absence of injured Christian Bryant, and Joey Bosa and Noah Spence have turned in some dominating performances this season, but they just seem to be lacking the ability to put it all together.

Up Next: vs. Indiana (4-6, 2-4), 3:30, ABC/ESPN 2
Ohio St should have no troubles sending out their seniors with a win at The Shoe. Along with Carlos Hyde, Kenny G, and most of the offensive line, this will also be Bradley Roby’s (who already weirdly declared for the draft) and possibly Ryan Shazier’s final game in Ohio Stadium. Indiana has some players that aren’t worth talking about. Hyde could go off for 300+ in this game.
Prediction: Ohio St 66 Indiana 20


Thursday, November 7

Buckeyes steamroll Purdue

While I’ll get to all of the fun parts of Ohio St’s 56-0 thumping of Purdue last Saturday in a moment, I’m going to start this piece by airing a grievance. Why is it that when Oregon beats a team by eight touchdowns, it’s because their offense is so invincible, but when the Buckeyes do it, it’s because the Big Ten sucks? There is just such a bias against the B1G that we can’t ever seem to win here. I’ll be the first to admit that our conference has not been its best in recent memory, and no, of course we haven’t been up to par with the SEC. But this double standard against Ohio St is starting to get ridiculous. You’re telling me that the Virginia’s and N.C. St’s that Florida St is beating up on or the Colorado’s and Cal’s of the Pac 12 are any better than the dregs of the Big Ten? Now again, don’t get me wrong, my rankings would have the Buckeyes at #4 as well - I just don’t understand the media’s viewpoint of things when OSU has these games and all they can talk about is how easy our schedule is but when teams from other conferences do it they just talk about how great they are. OK, rant complete, let’s get to the fun stuff.

Wow, Purdue isn’t very good. The Boilermakers set several records of ineptitude during their ass-whooping at the hands of Ohio St. The 56-point margin was the biggest in this series, and Purdue was shut out for the second consecutive game for the first time in 60 years. They also haven’t even reached the red zone in THREE games – that’s just astounding. On the Buckeyes side of things, it was just a stat-padding field day. Braxton Miller threw four touchdowns before giving way to Kenny Guiton, who scored three of his own. Carlos Hyde was over the century mark per usual, and five different Buckeyes caught a TD pass. Oh, and we outgained them in yardage 640-116.

Game Recap
Two plays and 57 seconds into the game, Ohio St was on the board, when Doran Grant stepped in front of a Danny Etling pass and took it to the house. I guess you could say Grant was hungry like the wolf on that play. Purdue quickly punted and the OSU offense scored on its second play, with Braxton hitting a wide-open Jeff Heuerman, who began his 116-yard career day with this 40-yard TD. The Boilers achieved a rare first down on their next series then punted right after, but the Buckeyes didn’t capitalize this time as Miller threw an INT.

It was less than a minute before the ball was back in Brax’s hands, and this time he came through. After another long Heuerman catch, it was the other tight end, Nick Vannett, who hauled in the eight-yard score. Purdue RB Brandon Cottom never got a hold of the handoff on the first play of their next drive, and Noah Spence was there (where wasn’t he in that first half?) to fall on the loose ball. With a short field, it again only took Miller two plays to reach the end zone, this two-yard score to Philly Brown being his most exciting and creative of the afternoon. He scrambled to the far side of the field, and I was just waiting for him to tuck it and run. So were the Purdue defenders, as they cheated in to flush Brax to the sideline. This left Brown open, and Miller, while facing the sideline mind you, threw a sideways shovel pass right into the breadbasket for a 28-0 Ohio St lead ,after a quarter of play.

The trend continued in the 2nd, with Purdue punting and Braxton driving down the field. This time it took a whole 11 plays to reach paydirt, and it was Kenny G in the Wildcat formation who threw the touchdown to Chris Fields. Two more Boilermaker punts sandwiched the Buckeyes’ lone three-and-out of the game, and Carlos Hyde broke one off for 42 yards when the Bucks got it back to set up Miller's fourth and final touchdown of the game. Freshman running back Ezekiel Elliott was on the receiving end this time, making a very good run-after-catch to complete the 10-yard score. The clock couldn’t hit zeros fast enough for Purdue, and most of their fans were gone when the half finally did come to a close with the score at 42-0.

Guiton was at the helm to begin the second half, but nothing changed. Another easy drive ended in another seven points, with Guiton rushing it in. Dontre Wilson got a couple of touches on this series and had a big 24-yard catch on a swing pass. As someone who has a weird obsession with shortening everyone’s first names to one-syllable nicknames, you have no idea how happy it makes me to have ‘Tre and ‘Zeke running the ball for us for the next three seasons.

I’ll give you one try to guess what Purdue did on its next possession. When OSU took over they moved it down to the Purdue 26 and were facing a 4th and 7. Ohio St went for it, which is the norm in football as kicking a field goal is seen as rubbing it in. I have always been confused by this notion. The Bucks attempted a pass on the down, and while it was incomplete, isn’t throwing and going for 7 rubbing it in more than kicking the FG? The only way I could understand this logic was if a team went for it and took a knee or did a QB sneak. I guess it will just always be one of those things that doesn’t make any sense to me but I just concede to the people who know way more about coaching football than I do, like going for two when up four late in the game or punting when you’re getting blown out.

Rod Smith and Kenny G did a lot of running in the 4th quarter, with Guiton crossing the goal line for the second time to cap the scoring at 56-0. Cardale Jones closed out another game, which is always fun so I can make a “playing football not playing school” joke.

Game Ball
Kenny motherfucking GGGGGG! While Braxton Miller (19/23, 233 yards, 4 TDs) may deserve this GB, my man-crush on Kenny G takes precedent. I had every intention of giving Guiton another game ball at some point this year just for holding PATs, so when he accounts for over 150 yards and three scores, it was really no contest. His jump pass to Fields was just awesome. But back to Braxton, he’s completing 72% of his passes this season. If he doesn’t miss those three games and pads his stats against those shitty teams, he is right there with Mariota, Manziel and Winston in the Heisman running. I can’t even fathom the potential of him coming back next season.
Game balls to date: Guiton (4), Miller (2), Hyde (2)

Big Ten
For really the first time all year, there were actually some other entertaining games to talk about. In the only irrelevant game, Minnesota outlasted Indiana in a 42-39 shootout that probably would have been very fun to watch had anyone actually watched it. Penn St beat Illinois in overtime in an exciting, back-and-forth battle. Wisconsin overcame a sluggish start to outscore Iowa 21-3 in the second half behind James White’s 150 rushing yards to win in Iowa City. On the brink of their first conference win, Northwestern was devastated by a Taylor Martinez hail mail in the final seconds to lose to Nebraska.

Then in the big one, Michigan St’s D proved legit as they straight dominated that school up north, 29-6. The Spartans dropped devin gardner seven times behind the line of scrimmage, leaving bitchigan with -48 total rushing yards. Yes, that is a negative sign in front of that number. I said a couple of weeks ago Ohio St’s best chance to impress voters would be if MSU ran the table in the conference and held a Top 10 ranking when we beat them in Indy.

Up Next: 11/16 @Illinois (3-5, 0-4), 12:00, ESPN/ESPN 2
As Ohio St enters their second bye week of the season, all eyes will be on Thursday night when two of the remaining power conference unbeatens face their toughest tests. Baylor will host Oklahoma, and while the Bears are a super long shot to jump an undefeated Buckeye squad, it can’t hurt to have fewer teams with a goose egg in the loss column. More importantly, Oregon travels to Stanford Stadium to take on the Cardinal. Stanford appears to be the only team capable of stopping this high-powered Duck offense, as they handed Marcus Mariota his only career loss last season when they upended Oregon 17-14 in Eugene. Ohio St’s title hopes rest on them doing that again. And then there's the showdown on Saturday in Tuscaloosa when #1 Alabama faces LSU, again, probably their toughest test of the season. The odds are certainly against it, but it's definitely not inconceivable to think that the Bucks could be ranked number two and in position to play for the Title by the next time they take the field.

On to the Buckeye game in two weeks - this should be another laugher. Illinois showed some fight against the Nittany Lions last week, but then again we beat PSU by 49. 10th-year senior Nathan Scheelhaase leads the Illini, who have put up some points this year but whose defense hasn’t been able to stop anybody (see: Sothern Illinois’s 34 points). Ohio St will continue to roll, we’re just going to need some outside help (C’MON STANFORD!!!)
Prediction: Ohio St 49 Illinois 20


Friday, November 1

Buckeyes finally get statement W at the expense of Penn St

Ohio St needed a statement win, and Penn St took the brunt end of it. The 63-14 ass-whooping the Lions took was their worst lost since 1899. Going into the game, I was very confident in a win. A freshman QB going into The Shoe in primetime usually doesn't work out so well. But nothing could have prepared me for what unfolded last Saturday night.

Game Recap
Ohio St jumped out to a quick lead after a Braxton Miller to Devin Smith completion netted 35 yards to set up a short Carlos Hyde touchdown. That would be the first of SIX rushing touchdowns the Buckeyes would accumulate during the game, to go along with its staggering 408 yards on the ground. Penn St responded with a good drive into the OSU redzone, but Corey Brown picked off Christian Hackenberg in the end zone and effectively ended the game.

Cameron Johnston punted after a Buckeye three-and-out, but it would be his only appearance of the half. PSU punted right back and Brax made it 14-0 on a 39-yard TD run. It was C.J. Barnett’s turn to victimize the young Nittany Lion QB on the next series, intercepting Hackenberg. With Christian Bryant out for the season, a lot of pressure has been put on his fellow senior safeties Brown and Barnett, and they certainly rose to the occasion early on in this contest.

The second quarter was 15 of the most dominating minutes of football Ohio St, or just about anyone in the nation, will play all season. Miller ran in his second score early in the period to extend the lead to 21. Penn St quickly went three-and-out then Braxton hooked up with Smith three more times before hitting Chris Fields for the score. Penn St did score once this quarter, when Hackenberg hit Brandon Felder to make it 28-7. Dontre Wilson took the kickoff back into PSU territory and two plays later Carlos Hyde scored on a 39-yard run. In the closing seconds of the half, Miller put up his fourth score by connecting with Philly Brown for a 42-7 halftime massacre.

After a Zach Zwinak fumble early in the second half, Braxton threw a swing pass to ‘Tre who sprinted 26 yards for another Buckeye touchdown. This dude is going to be a fucking stud. At 49-7, the evening was over for Miller and Hyde, but Jordan Hall and Kenny Guiton had no trouble keeping the momentum going. Kenny G ran for two scores of his own during his quarter of play before giving way to Cardale Jones, who closed out the game under center. Penn St superstar wideout Allen Robinson scored a late TD, bringing the final count to 63-14.

Game Ball
You know you’ve had a productive night offensively when your All-Conference tailback can ring up 147 yards and two touchdowns while gaining over nine yards per carry and not even be considered for the GB. Braxton Miller was untouchable in this game, flawlessly shredding the Nittany Lion defense time and time again. He finished 18/24 for 252 yards passing with a 3/0 TD/INT ratio, while rushing for 68 yards and another two scores.
Game balls to date: Guiton (3), Miller (2), Hyde (2)

Big Ten
There were only three other conference games on last week’s slate, the main one of note being Minnesota’s upset over 24th ranked Nebraska. That makes the Gophers second straight big conference win after beating Northwestern the week Pryor. Michigan St’s offense finally showed up, routing Illinois 42-3. The Spartan are quietly 7-1 and undefeated in conference play, and sport one of the best defenses in the nation. Buckeye fans should be rooting for MSU to run the table and move their way up to a top 10 ranking, so we can get a quality win in the B1G Championship. Also, Iowa beat Northwestern in OT. Wahoo.

Up Next: @Purdue (1-6, 0-3), 12:00, Big Ten Network
We all remember what happened last year when a beat-down Boilermaker squad came into Columbus expecting to be blown out of the stadium. While it turned out to be the most exciting victory of the season and the birth of the myth that is Kenny G, it was astounding how poorly the Buckeyes played. It won’t happen again this Saturday. Purdue has fielded some pretty poor teams in recent memory, but this one probably takes the cake, averaging 13 points per game offensively while giving up 34 on defense. Expect the Bucks to keep last week’s momentum going full force.
Prediction: Ohio St 55 Purdue 7