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Monday, September 2, 2013

Ohio State Football: Rapid Reaction

Okay, so maybe this post shouldn't be called rapid reaction since it has been almost two days since the Buckeyes' victory over Buffalo. But here are some thoughts on that contest and some observations in general about this Buckeye team:


Jordan Hall's return was a smashing success. The senior tailback, now in his fifth(or is it sixth?) year with Ohio State, ran all over the Bulls to the tune of 159 yards and two TDs. For anyone wondering how the Buckeye run game would hold up with Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith in street clothes, I think Hall erased any questions the doubters might have.

Dontre Wilson is as good as advertised. I know it was only Buffalo, but fans have to be pleased with the true freshman's performance on Saturday. Not only did Wilson show some of his elusiveness on a screen pass that he turned into an 18-yard gain, but I am sure many people thought he was going to take his lone kickoff return(which ended up as a 51 yard gain) to the house.

Kenny Guiton proved once again why he is the best backup qb in the nation. When Miller went down early in the third quarter, I'm sure everyone in 'The Shoe' were holding their collective breaths. Yet Guiton, as Mr. Joe Cool, calmly went in and led Ohio State on a three play scoring drive. As much as OSU fans think the season would be lost if Miller were to go down, I think they'd be surprised to see how well the offense fares with Guiton under center.


Ohio State's defense. Not only did the Silver Bullets defense, with star recruits Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington as bookends on the line, fail to produce any pass rush, they only forced one turnover against a mediocre Bull offense. What's even more concerning is that the linebackers, without Shazier in the lineup, seemed to lack punch. As I have said before, Curtis Grant needs to step up in a big way at the mike linebacker if this defense is to be successful.

Turnovers. Ohio State lost one fumble, had one pass intercepted for a touchdown, and almost had another fumble recovered by Buffalo for a touchdown if it weren't for an illegal hands to the face penalty. The Buckeyes can get by with mistakes like these against lesser teams, but once Big Ten play starts they need to be winning the turnover battle.


Offensive line play. It was to say the very least, offensive(pun intended). Right guard Taylor Decker, so highly touted during the offseason, got beat so many times he should have been playing for the other team. And aside from Hall's two TD runs and some runs by Braxton Miller late in the fourth, the run blocking could definitely use some work.

Moving Forward

There are many in Buckeye nation who believe that Ohio State doesn't belong in the top 10 after their performance against Buffalo, let alone the top 2. To those people I would say slow your roll, homies. Ohio State won the game, and, although the margin of victory wasn't 60 points, I think anybody would be hard-pressed to say the outcome was ever in doubt.  So bottom line is Ohio State did what they needed to do, regardless of what anyone else might say.

Do I think Ohio State is a top 2 team right now? No, but that is beside the point. Everyone in Buckeye nation is chomping at the bit to get their hands on an SEC team in the national championship game. Personally I don't give a shit about the SEC at this point. They're a great conference, and they've won the last six or seven national title games, but Ohio State can only worry about the games in front of them. There is no use worrying about how we stack up against Alabama, Florida, Oregon, or even Texas A&M because at this point there is no guarantee we will even play one of those teams at the end of the season.

It is clear the Buckeyes have significant work to do, and hopefully they're focused on San Diego State next week, and not worried about what lies further down the road in the schedule.

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