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Buckeyes Blocked And Game Planned Their Way To Victory
Buckeyes Blocked And Game Planned Their Way To Victory
In Furls' post game wrap up of the HUGE win versus that team up north, he says that the Buckeyes outclassed off the field and on it. And that the offensive line isn't getting enough credit for a phenomenal performance against the vaunted Wolverine defensive line. And as always, Furls grades the units and grades his pre-game predictions.
Despite what the score told you this past Saturday, the Michigan Wolverines were outclassed on the field and off it.
I have spent the better part of two days with writer’s block. That is kind of strange considering I published about ten articles related to this game last week, but this game was so big, I was unsure what to say. In this media age and with a game this big, what was left to be said?
After thinking and reading for a couple of days it dawned on me. Everyone has been very quick to label this game an instant classic, and while it was important, exciting, and interesting ... after the Ohio State offense took the field for the first time, I'm not sure if the outcome was ever really in doubt.
The Buckeyes kept Michigan in the game with ridiculous turnovers, the kind that have very little to do with skill. As a matter of fact, it turns out that the same field that has been the bane of the athletic department’s existence nearly came back to haunt them again.
The turf was horrid and crumbling around the feet of the players on both sides. To their credit, neither team has made a cardinal issue of it, but it is clear from the divots and the slipping and sliding that it continued to be a problem. So much so that Ohio State center Doug Datish credits a divot in the turf with an assist on one of his fumbled snaps, “The second one [fumble] got caught in a divot on the field. There’s no excuse, though. It is my duty to get Troy the ball.” Anyone who was wondering if the Buckeyes would be playing on field turf next year probably just got that question answered.
In spite of the mistakes and dropped passes, the Buckeyes cruised to a win in a game that was not quite as precarious as the score would lead you to believe. Yet that was not enough to shut Mike Hart’s mouth. Following the game Hart fell just short of explicitly guaranteeing a victory in a rematch, instead he just implied it saying, “…if we played them again, it would be a whole different game. I guarantee that.” He then followed his classless tirade and poor sportsmanship with the following quip on the Buckeyes defense, “They’re not as good as people thought…. There’s nothing special about that defense.” Well Mr. Hart, I think the same could be said about Michigan’s defense.
Coming into the game, all the talk was about the Ohio State offense and the Michigan defense; one delivered and the other did not. Ohio State scorched Michigan for over 500 yards of offense, nearly 200 coming on the ground. Ohio State spent most of the first half in very aggressive four and five wide receiver sets, and Michigan had no answer. Smith went 21-26 amassing 241 yards in the FIRST HALF. Who’s defense isn’t special again? While Mike Hart is a good running back, I am not sure that he could do much about that defensive performance in a rematch.
Lloyd Carr fell just short of whining about the roughing call against Shawn Crable. Although he did say he was not questioning the call, he did question its applicability because Smith was out of the pocket. To that end, I would tell Mr. Carr, “Helmet to helmet contact, especially when using the crown of the helmet, will always get the flag.”
Speaking of unimpressive, did anyone else see Vernon Gholston manhandling Jake Long? I think NFL scouts might want to rethink his ranking among draft eligible tackles. On more than one occasion I saw Gholston bull rush Jake Long straight into Henne only to hit Henne about a half second too late. Had those been long routes…
If I had to point to two differences in the game, I would say it was the offensive line play of Ohio State and the coaching of Jim Tressel. The Ohio State game plan was perfect (and precisely what I predicted) and Troy Smith had all day to execute it. Smith was hit several times shortly after throwing the ball, but that was after checking down to his third and fourth options.
Grading the Positions:
Quarterback: A+++++ There are not enough pluses to give to Troy Smith. His performance in that game cemented not only his Heisman Trophy but also his position as Ohio State’s greatest quarterback. Welcome to the Furl’s Top 10 list of All Time Buckeye Football Players 2007 Edition. A win in Glendale puts him in the top 5.
Running Back: A. 187 yards on the ground? Against that defense? Are you kidding me? Pitt and Wells showed again that if you have good backs and a balanced offense that you can run the ball on anyone. Wells TD run set up the play action bomb to Ginn, so I think he should get credit for two TDs!
Offensive Line: A++++ I didn’t give them much of a chance against that scUM defensive line, but they delivered. Well actually the bought Troy enough time so that he could deliver. I will forgive the fumble inducing snaps.
Wide Receivers: A-. The only thing that stopped this from being a rout were a couple of dropped passes to start the third quarter. If the Buckeyes drive down the field to start the third and make it 35-14, then Hart never sees the ball again in the second half and the game ends even more one sided.
Defensive Line: B. Quinn Pitcock and company did an adequate job, better than the 39 points would lead you to believe. They did not get as much pass rush as one would have hoped, but there were facing a very good offensive line. Mike Hart did make some serious yardage, but the line came up big when it needed to.
Linebackers: C. The linebackers were just ordinary. Not great, not bad. Poor containment, gap discipline, and tackling really opened the door for Mike Hart. Against Michigain’s zone blocking, it is imperative that the linebackers stay home and get off blocks, and they did not.
Secondary: C. Chad Henne had a big day and the secondary was very ordinary. They were very lucky that Henne is as bad as he is, for Michigan receivers were open down the field all day.
Coaching: A+++++. There is not enough space on this page for me to put down all the pluses that Jim Tressel and his staff deserve for this game. The game plan was perfect even if the execution was not. Ohio State maximized its strengths while exposing Michigan’s weaknesses. I particularly love how the Buckeyes used the pass and spread to help with the running game, and how they used play action in short yardage to chuck it down the field. Mr. Carr meet your daddy.
Grading the Grader:
I said, “Don’t be surprised if…Ohio State throws more screen passes in this game than they have all season (three by my count).” I didn’t see any screen passes, which isn’t surprising because Michigan was not able to get any substantial pass rush. Screens are only effective if the defense gets penetration and frankly Michigan didn’t. Like everyone else in the nation, I overestimated the Michigan front seven. D.
I said, “Don’t be surprised if…Troy Smith is Ohio State’s leading rusher.” Wrong again. Who would’ve thought that Pittman would go for 139 yards and Beanie would break one for 53 against a team that only allows 30 yards rushing per game. I guess, in the words of Mike Hart, there is nothing special about that defense. F.
I said, “Don’t be surprised if…Troy Smith sets the all time Ohio State record for passing yards in a Michigan game (330).” Smith threw for 316 yards in the game (241 in the first half) and if the Buckeyes could have stopped shooting themselves in the foot in the second half, he would have had it. I guess Troy will just have to console himself with a big bronze trophy. A.
I said, “Don’t be surprised if…Michigan’s defensive game plan hinges on blitzing on nearly every play.” Maybe they should have. Lloyd Carr proves again that he sucks. He tried to play it safe and beat the Buckeyes, that didn’t go so well for him. F.
I said, “Don’t be surprised if…Ohio State’s secondary picks Henne 3 times.” Well they should’ve had one, but in general the secondary did not play very well. D.
I said, “Don’t be surprised if…Ohio State puts up 125 rushing yards on Michigan.” Well, the Buckeyes had 187, which is pretty good. I thought 125 would be good against that defense, 187 is unbelievable, but you get the point, I thought OSU could run some, it turns out they could run a lot. C.
I said, “Don’t be surprised if…Rory Nichol and Brian Robiskie are an important part of the offense. When the Wolverines blitz, Hall will be single on either Gonzo or Ginn and the linebacker blitzing should create the hole in the middle for Nichol.” BooooYahhh. Robo had a huge game, and Nichol had a couple of catches. OSU just has too many weapons wide for any secondary in college football.
I told you to take the Buckeyes and the over, well the over was GOOD, but the Buckeyes were not although they should’ve won decisively. Sorry about that, hope your kids can still go to college. C.
Props to the Prognosticator of the Week:
Congratulations Kyle Moyer, enjoy your tickets to the Ohio State vs. Coppin State Men’s Basketball game. Kyle called a score of 37-17, which surprisingly was not bettered by anyone else. Lucky for Kyle that the rest of us were not as smart as we thought we were.
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