A tired play on the old, unofficial Kent State motto “Kent Reed, Kent Rite, Kent Stayt” seems the most appropriate way to begin a tired article with a familiar storyline about Ohio State football. It is pretty obvious that the Buckeyes are not content to merely dominate the Big Ten; they have their eyes set on what might be a greater prize this year, the MAC. This week Ohio State will be dropping a few weight classes to meet the mighty Kent State Golden Flashes in a battle to the death that could clinch a third consecutive MAC championship for the Buckeyes. Go BUCKS! Represent the Big Ten in a manner in which the Minnesota “not so” Golden Gophers couldn’t.
The Buckeyes, currently ranked #3 in just about every relevant poll, have played no one six weeks into the season. Select a quality win from Ohio State’s schedule; I dare you, and then try to justify it as a good win with a straight face. This is not to say that the Buckeyes have not looked good kicking kindergartners in the nuts, a task that USC, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and company have not been able consistently do, but let’s be real here; what have they really accomplished? They have defeated six teams, none of whom have defeated a single ranked team in the country.
Ohio State’s non-conference schedule this year reads like the list of teams that the Big East beat in last year’s bowl games; Youngstown St., Akron, Washington, Kent State. Where is the “accomplishment?” In the end, it just creates a feeling of absurdity about the entire season. So much so that Kent State head coach Doug Martin is considering taking his starters out to prevent them from getting hurt in a meaningless game, a game in which it appears he is essentially conceding defeat.
So who is excited for the game? The Big Ten Network perhaps?
Doug Martin better get excited for the game. Jim Heacock and Jim Tressel were noticeably shaken by the suggestion that the opposition may not put out their best effort. While both coaches attempted to make it appear as though they thought Martin was just being coy, it was pretty clear by the change in their mannerisms and body language that both were taken by surprise. If coach Martin and the Kent State Athletic Department want to continue to ride on the Ohio State gravy train they had best put their best effort into that game.
In the end, it really does not matter. Ohio State would get a better game scrimmaging their third string. It sounds pompous and arrogant, but it is absolutely true. Every other major program in the country is doing it, this is the sad new paradigm in college football. At least conference play still forces good teams to play each other, now if only there were some good teams in the Big Ten for the Buckeyes to play.
Without Further Ado, introducing the Kent State Gold Diggers, I mean Golden Flashes.
It is pretty obvious from Coach Martin’s comments that he is not coming to Columbus to compete; he and the Kent State University Athletic Department are coming to whore their players out for a payday. Is it too late to get a refund?
The Golden Flashes are not completely devoid of talent, hell they have played better teams than Ohio State to date and they have not completely embarrassed themselves, at least not as bad as the scores would indicate. KSU was able to stay with the high-powered Kentucky Wildcats for a half, taking the game into the third tied 14-14.
Unfortunately for the Golden Flashes they were facing a Kentucky defense that is absolutely porous against the run. So much so that Kent State was able to amass over 300 yards on the ground against the Wildcats. I am not sure if they will break 50 against Ohio State. This could be a bit inconvenient for the Flashes as they are a run first offense.
Featured running back Eugene Jarvis who also doubles as the team’s leading receiver. Jarvis has impressive rushing numbers on the season, 851 yards on 144 carries for just under 7 ypc, but he has not faced a defense anywhere near as good as Ohio State’s. Jarvis is a tiny little guy standing at just 5’5” 170lbs, kind of makes you marvel at how defenders ever find him.
If the Zips are forced to throw the ball they are in big trouble. QB Julian Edelman is really more of an option runner than a passer and he is not particularly good at the whole “throwing” part of the quarterback job. He has thrown 6 interceptions in 6 games to compliment his 8 TD passes and 51% completion percentage. Yikes.
Defensively, well Kent is good for the MAC. Right now they lead the MAC giving up “just” 24.8 PPG, 330 YPG (150YPG on the ground). Those numbers are not quite as good as Ohio State’s season averages (against coincidentally similar competition) 7.1 PPG, 210 YPG (45YPG on the ground).
Ohio State’s Defense vs Kent State’s Offense: I am not sure if spectators, philosophers, coaches, and analysts will be able to tell where Kent State’s defense ends and the offense begins. They will probably have to review the tape and concede, no matter how much it may not appear so, every time the Flashes have the ball that they are actually on the offensive. This one ain’t going to be pretty, and if Jim Tressel and Jim Heacock actually do believe that Martin is not putting his best effort on the field, well, I think they just may go out of their way to embarrass him.
Ohio State’s Offense vs. Kent State’s Defense: Kent was able to hold the potent Kentucky offense to just about 450 yards, but it is hard to tell in a 56-20 game how good a defense actually is. There were breakdowns all over the field for the Golden Flashes and I expect that this will be no different. Look for the Buckeyes to try to get the deep passing attack back in gear should the Flashes start piling up in the box. Coach Tressel knows how important that vertical passing game will be in the second half of the Big Ten season.
Coach Tressel says that Beanie Wells will play because he is not sure that the week off will significantly heal him for the next week, so it is his belief that Wells will be better off staying fresh. This does not sound good. I am going to play “Junior Dr. Quinn (medicine woman)” and make an uninformed diagnosis: chronic lateral ankle instability. If this is the case, it is pretty serious, and requires off-season surgery and some pretty hardcore rehab.
Ohio State’s Defense vs Kent State’s Offense: I am not ready to call this Buckeyes defense an “All-Time” unit, but they definitely have the potential. They are strong, not just good, at every position. A one dimensional (and not very good) Kent State offense really has no chance of doing anything.
The Buckeyes will dominate upfront, play aggressively, and continue to dominate defensively unless they are as bored with this game as Buckeyes fans appear to be.
Don’t Be Surprised If:
-Ohio State throws a shutout today. The Buckeyes Defense was clearly disappointed at losing last week’s shut out in trash time. I am not sure that they will do that this week.
-Jim Tressel runs up the score in the last game that Doug Martin will be allowed to coach in Ohio Stadium. I think that if Coach Martin is not going to work to give the Buckeyes a work out than Coach Tressel will.
-The game is more interesting than I have painted it. The score won’t be interesting, but I think there will be enough big plays to keep Buckeyes fans watching the trainwreck.
-Brandon Saine becomes a featured back this week. He will not replace Beanie, but given Wells’ current health, the Buckeyes must realize that Saine will be a key to this season. Look for Brandon Saine to rip off a few big plays and 150 yards on the ground.
If I were a Betting Man:
I would stay away from the over under. I will pick it, but I do not like the bet this week. Kent will not contribute any points, so you will essentially be betting whether Ohio State is going to put 50 on Kent. I generally do not pick Tressel to put 50 on anyone, so I will take the under. Ohio State –30? Hell, I would take them –40.
Final Score: Ohio State 45 Kent 0.