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Initially supposed to be a bye week, that's essentially what last Saturday's game against Bowling Green ended up being. The Buckeyes dominated in all phases, and likely could have won by 40 or 50 if they wanted to. In his game wrapup, Furls breaks down the game, grades the positions, and grades the predictions made in his game preview column.
Efficient, systematic, unfair, one-sided, boring; these would all be fair ways to describe the thrashing the Buckeyes put on the BGSU Falcons. Frankly, I would describe it as boring. I was at the game, but often times I wished I had been somewhere else (I think BGSU felt the same way).
Well, at least the Falcons got 650,000 reasons to be thankful for participating in the game, but I really do not think the Buckeyes got their money's worth. The BGSU team was flat, lacked energy, drive, and ability. In short the played like a man walking down death row for the last time, not like a team excited for a chance at a historic upset. I think the Buckeyes may have done better to play the scout team on Saturday.
Troy Smith set Ohio State and Big Ten records for passing efficiency. His 17-20 performance now stands as an all time Ohio State record for completion percentage in a single game (with a minimum of 20 attempts). Furthermore, his performance on Saturday raised his career passing efficiency mark to 158.1, an all time Big Ten record. Is this enough to push him further ahead in the Heisman Race? Only time will tell.
As impressive as Smith was, he could have been even more amazing had the Buckeyes been looking down the field. In a game plan that I like to call "Ohio Mercy," Jim Tressel and the boys concentrated on long drives and short routes to keep the score under control. Ginn's short routes early brought the corners up, and the deep pass was available whenever the Buckeyes wanted it.
The Buckeyes ran the ball fairly well, but it is hard to really take anything from this game except that Jim Tressel is really not very interested in dispaying much for Lloyd Carr to study aside from Ginn's ability to run short routes.
Grading the Positions:
Quarterback: A+. Perfect execution and devastation with the legs.
Everyone else gets a B for showing and saying nice things about BG after stomping them into submission. Attendance and manners count for something.
Grading the Grader:
1. I said," Don't be surprised if… Troy Smith's Heisman campaign takes a bit of a hit here. I think that ESPN talking heads are going to start getting tired of talking about "efficiency." At some point they are going to start demanding numbers and frankly, Coach Tressel is not very concerned about winning with style." The Buckeyes clearly did not win with style here, but Smith was able to make some plays to get himself some Sportscenter Highlight time. I was wrong, his athleticism and playmaking ability continues to drive his Heisman Campaign in spite of conservative play calling. C.
2. I said, "Don't be surprised if… The Buckeyes come out playing like a team on fire. Even though this is not really a competitive game, Ohio State players seem focused and rumors from players on the team are that this week's practice was a throwback to mini camp (think boot camp). That is obviously the coaching staff trying to keep their heads in the game." This was 100% true. The team came out and stuck it to BGSU with cold, calculating precision. This is a team of destiny that will not allow these speed bumps to become obstacles. A.
3. I said, "Don't be surprised if… The Buckeyes get three more picks today. This Bowling Green team has never seen speed like they are about to see, and this leads quarterbacks to believe a receiver is open, when in fact the secondary is just waiting to jump the throw. I would not be surprised to see another pick from an athletic group of linebackers either." I was off on this one. They had two, but only got credit for one. Who knew Vernon Gholston's hands were good for anything but wringing quarterbacks necks? Also interesting, that was one of the first times all year I noticed the Buckeyes using zone blitzes extensively. C.
I was pretty much right on for the outcome. BGSU and the under, but I was not very enthusiastic about it. As you could see from the game, the whole bet resided on the "Ohio Rival Mercy Factor." Something you must consider any time the Bucks are big favorites against in state foes.
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