Archives for September 2006

OSU/Iowa – Semi-live update

OSU FootballEnd of First Quarter

Good to see Smith, et. al drive right down the field on the first drive. However, words cannot describe the disgust I feel at the obvious bias of the officials. OSU was called for one phantom interference call (that allowed Iowa to score a FG), and two – count ’em, two – pass interference calls were ignored when Iowa’s DBs committed them. The first clearly showed the DB dragging the WR by the shirt from behind; the second, a clear tackle before the ball got to the WR.

Buckeye Commentary pointed out the statistical bias the Big 10 officials seem to have against OSU “Play OSU, enjoy few penalties.” I know I sound a bit like a “whiny fan”, but his statistics seem pretty persuasive, and the first quarter of this game offers more evidence. Let’s hope that the officials step up for this game.

End of Second Quarter
Tressel’s game plan is having some success. If you want to beat Iowa, you’ve got to pound, pound, pound in the first half. Wear the not-as-deep Iowa defense down for the second half (OSU is leading fourth quarter scoring by 52 to 9 because of this game plan!) Beanie and Pittman are carrying the game right now, which is perfect.

Nice to see the OSU offense get 7 after the INT; conversely, it was nice to see OSU’s defense make Iowa go three-and-out after they got field position in OSU territory after the shanked punt. The defense is definitely getting into Tate’s head.

OSU is “in control” of this game, so I’m not as nervous as I was in the first quarter. Still, don’t count Tate out. And who is this Iowa TE, Chandler? What is he, like 11 1/2 feet tall? Seems like it. What a great football player. Gonna be a good pro TE someday if he keeps it up.

End of Third Quarter
Classic Big10 third quarter. OSU is pounding the Iowa D-linemen. Gonzo’s catch and run for TD is (to me) the best highlight of the year so far. Tressel is clearly happy with 28 points, and Tresselball has ensued.

Iowa is continuing to spiral down, although they caught a break by the official’s overturning the TGII first down catch. Third and long, deep in Iowa territory. They’ll go for the TD, then try a FG try to start the fourth quarter. Here we go…

End of Game
Final: OSU 38 – Iowa 17

Not much to say. OSU has beaten the spread for the past dozen or so games. When will Corso get it?

Helmet stickers to the defense, who got in Tate’s head tonight. Two turnovers in the last quarter – and yes, the Little Animal got one of them.

Boy… if Tressel had gone for the FG in the last drive, my prediction of OSU’s 41 point offensive performance would have been right on. Sweatervest decided to play it classy, though, and run his third team O-line and RB until time ran out. So el Kaiser was right on predicting Iowa would get two TDs, and Zeke and I were right on regarding the proficience of the OSU offense.

I was pretty nervous about MSU, but looks like they decided to start choking a week or two early. Now, it looks like OSU has a downhill ride to UM… and holy cow, both teams might be undefeated by then.

Another search log bust

LLLLoydNo doubt you’ve heard of the recent scandal involving an online company’s accidental release of private search engine logs. Well, here at MotSaG, we’ve uncovered quite a scoop for you.

el Kaiser, SYR, Zeke,and I have spent most of our nights and weekends for the past month poring over the gigabytes of data to extract interesting patterns in the search logs. Lo and behold, we hit the jackpot with user ID #1039375. This person had the most, uh, “intriguing” log. Here’s a year’s worth of his search strings, tagged with date and ranking.

Search log

Sound like anyone you know?

Week #5 – Iowa – Open Thread

OSU FootballWe’re just a little under 36 hours away from bedlam in Iowa City. The whole town is bracing for a Scarlet and Gray onslaught. Tickets are being sold at a premium. The Buckeyes will be dealing with a pink locker room. This is the first time College Game Day has been in Iowa City in ten years. Simply put, this is Iowa’s championship game. And the atmosphere is electric.


Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, history is not on their side. They’ve played the #1 team 8 times. Their record is 0-7-1. Not very impressive. There is more at stake, though, in the history department. Ohio State was drubbed by Iowa, in Kinnick Stadium, in 2004. Ohio State repaid the drubbing last year, driving Drew Tate crazy (see above for photographic evidence. I love that picture!). Each team has redemption (and revenge) on their minds. It’s going to be nasty out there. Someone’s leaving on a stretcher, I can just feel it.

For a taste of some previews of the big game, you can read Sports Illustrated’s here. Another in-depth preview by Buckeye Planet is available here. Keith has some thoughts about the game at Buckeye Commentary (Keith, help me find your permalinks!). I love that Keith mentioned the Iowa tight ends. Remember when they used to stand at the line of scrimmage (under Hayden Fry)? I always loved the look of those formations. Pfef has his preview up, as well. O-Zone takes a look here.

So how do we see it? As I mentioned earlier, history is on our side. We’ve won nine of the last ten meetings against Iowa. Their running game hasn’t really got things going lately, but they have a competent 1,000-yard back in Albert Young. Their defense lost some key linebackers (sound familiar?) but is still strong. But this game begins and ends with Drew Tate. What he’s able to do and what the Buckeyes can do to contain him will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game. If our ends can keep him contained, forcing him inside (into the teeth of the defense, also known as Little Animal) when he wants to run, we should handle Iowa easily. If he can get out on the corners, he’s extremely dangerous. He can throw on the run and he can gash defenses with his legs. I imagine we’ll have a spy on him at all times, following him like a hawk. (Get it? A buckeye following him like a hawk? A Hawkeye? I give up). Also, don’t forget, Tate sat out the game against Syracuse with a strained abdominal muscle. Has he recovered 100% from that? Will he re-aggravate it trying to spin out of a Gholston or Pitcock sack?

For OSU to be successful, Troy will have to find his rythm early and Pittman will be called on to grind up chunks of yards. Pittman has proven to be a reliable workhorse and Troy should feel more comfortable with favorable weather conditions. If Gonzo and Ginn get back to their Texas-form, it’s going to be a long night for the Hawkeyes. If Iowa can shut down the run, Troy will shred their secondary. If they play a lot of nickel (like we did against Texas) Pittman (and Wells and Wells) will have their way with the defense. Factoring in the hostile crowd should have some effect, but I don’t think it’s going to be on the level of Penn State last year. They expect 35,000 Buckeye fans in Iowa city tomorrow night and you know there will be a big showing in the stadium.

So how do you guys see it? Vegas has the the Buckeyes favored by 7. I think that’s a fair line, but I think the Buckeyes win by more.

Some predictions around the college football blogosphere:

Bemusement Park – OSU: 24 Iowa: 13
Buckeye Banter – OSU: 31 Iowa: 17
Pfef has OSU: 28 Iowa 14

As is tradition, we’ve got a couple more things to slap some virtual money down on:

Who gains the most yards, Troy Smith or Drew Tate?

What about their total production (o/u: 700 yards)?

How many turnovers does Lauranaitis cause (o/u 1.5)?

Is this the game Teddy Ballgame breaks out on special teams?

el Kaiser’s predictions:
Final score: OSU: 27 Iowa: 14
Troy Smith out-duels Drew Tate, accounting for over 400 yards for the Buckeyes
I’m going over on total production: 750 yards from the two of them
Lauranaitis keeps the turnovers coming, but is only responsible for one this time
Does Ted break out? Yes! Please! Teddy, this is your night to shine!

SportsMonkey’s predictions:
Final score: OSU: 41 Iowa: 13
Most yards, Smith or Tate?: Smith had an awesome game last year against Iowa. It will happen again.
Total production: Over – 799. OSU accounts for about 500 yards of it; Iowa, about 250ish.
Little Animal Turnovers: Unknown. I’m predicting two for the defense.
Does Ted break out?: Not on punt returns. Iowa’s special teams are pretty well disciplined there (#3 in the country in fewest yards allowed during put returns). They’re pretty bad on kickoff coverage, so TGII might have a shot there (although OSU has only returned 8 kickoffs all year, so he might be a bit rusty!).
Other comments: Ordinarily, having a night game at home is a great advantage, especially when you have a good team. But Iowa’s advantage is minimized by OSU’s “been there done that” experience in the bowl-like atmospheres of Texas and PSU. Lastly, Iowa’s defense is similar to, if a bit weaker than, Texas’ defense. And we all remember what happened three weeks ago.

Zeke’s predictions:
Final score: OSU: 30 Iowa: 16
Most yards, Smith or Tate?: No brainer, Smith out-gains Tate by at least 100 yards. Prediction: Smith accounts for 365 yards while Tate gains 240.
Total production: Under (see above) – 605 yards for Smith and Tate combined.
Little Animal Turnovers: LA has an interception in each of the last 3 games, that trend continues. Chalk up another interception for Lauranaitis against Iowa; however, he does not cover the o/u with only 1 turnover.
Does Ted break out?: It would be great to see him “break out” this week and return a punt or kick-off for a TD, but his presence alone gives the Buckeyes and advantage on punt returns. How many times have we seen an opposing punter shank it out of bounds while trying to keep it out of Ginn’s hands. Field Position people Field Position. We will see a return TD before the season is over, it is only a matter of time.

Zherdev signs

CBJThe Blue Jackets have announced that Nikolai Zherdev will be back wearing blue sweaters in Columbus this season. No details were disclosed on the three-year deal.

The fact that Zherdev was convinced to end his holdout with the Blue Jackets is good news for a team that has already lost two centers to injury and had a player suspended.

The CBJ still has to find a way to expedite his return to the US as quickly as possible. The paperwork involved in his visa might keep him from joining the team for the start of the regular season (which begins next Friday, Oct. 6).

Still, with the injuries to Fedorov and Svitov being minor, and with Zherdev coming back, it’s great to end September on a good note, for once.

#10’s feet, WRU?!?

OSU Football

Smith's feet

Details are still sketchy, but authorities are positive of one thing: Coach Tressel is involved in the disappearance. Whether he is keeping them hidden for strategic purposes, or for fear of injury, he has no doubt arranged for their abduction.

A tip has been received that the missing may show up this weekend in Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. If they don’t appear there, they’ll probably stay in hiding until November 18th in Columbus, Ohio.

But they will appear, folks. They will appear.

Blogpoll Ballot, Week #5

Rank Team Delta
1 Ohio State
2 Auburn
3 West Virginia 1
4 Southern Cal 1
5 Florida
6 Michigan
7 Louisville
8 Texas
9 Iowa 3
10 Virginia Tech
11 Louisiana State
12 Oregon 1
13 Georgia 4
14 Notre Dame 1
15 Tennessee 1
16 Oklahoma 3
17 TCU 3
18 Cal 1
19 Clemson 1
20 Boise State 6
21 Rutgers 3
22 Nebraska 1
23 Missouri 3
24 Georgia Tech 2
25 Purdue 1

Dropped Out: Arizona State (#18), Boston College (#21), Michigan State (#22), Penn State (#25).

Games we watched (all or in part):
OSU/Penn St.
West Va./ECU


We still can’t settle on USC or West Virginia for #3 and #4, but neither exactly blew us away with their victories over sub-par teams. Everyone else moved a little here and there, but nothing major.

According to our poll, #1 OSU will meet up with #9 Iowa, their second matchup with a top ten team. They will finish with Michigan, who, if all goes according to plan, could be as high as #3. That would be three top ten teams OSU will have played (and hopefully defeated).

Purdue has quietly managed to go unbeaten, so we think they deserve to be ranked. Their upcoming matchup with Notre Dame could end up being the most exciting game of the week. Of Weis’s four losses, three have been to Big T(elev)en teams – and he barely escaped another one last Saturday. We seem to have his number. Purdue and ND are ranked 10th and 55th, respectively, in overall offense; and 105th and 80th, respectively, in overall defense; so I expect NBC will be happy to broadcast a very high-scoring game. – sportsMonkey

We have until Wednesday to edit our entry, so if you see anything you think is amiss, let us know.

MotSaG Roundtable – Penn State

OSU FootballA few thoughts from the Buckeyes tough win over Penn State.

As those that were at the Horseshoe can attest, it was sloppy weather most of the game. Rain came down in buckets at times and seemed to make a mess of things. That being said, the Buckeyes still came out a little flat in the first half and didn’t really move the ball against Penn State’s defense. While I wasn’t impressed with Posluszny’s play, Dan Connor played very well. The running game didn’t get going until later and Troy Smith’s passes weren’t crisp. He had a few tipped at the line and a few fly higher than his usual, accurate, passes fly. Zeke mentioned that he wasn’t setting his feet before he threw the ball. He was on the run more than once, but that usually isn’t a problem. A wet ball may also have affected his accuracy, but he still had a handful of passes dropped. He had Ted Ginn flying down the middle of the field, working the DB to the outside and Troy’s pass went outside and was intercepted. After an 100+ passes without an interception, it was weird to see the ball go the other way.

The second half was all Buckeyes, or more accurately, all defense. The Buckeyes went on the attack on the ground, grinding out yards with Pittman, who had another solid 110 yards on 20 carries. Smith’s touch came back to him when he scrambled out of PSU’s hands to hit Robiskie in the end zone. Penn State made a move in the fourth quarter, driving down to the goalline, but the Buckeyes stood tall and held them to a field goal. The defense then had a field day, intercepting two passes and returning them for touchdowns.

So what was the issue in the first half? Was it the weather? I’m sure that was some of it. Penn State played inspired defense to start out, but OSU wore them down eventually. Troy’s numbers weren’t great, which concerns me a bit. He needs to get that accuracy back before Iowa next week.

The defense still gave up a lot of yards on the ground, but only 106 yards through the air. Holding another opponent under 250 yards total offense and less than a touchdown was a solid effort. Three interceptions was good to see and getting pressure on the QB looked easy. The defense is continuing to improve and should be ready for Iowa’s challenge.

Should be a great one next week.

Week #4 – Penn State – Open Thread

OSU FootballBuckeye Commentary has a recap of some bulletin board material that Penn State’s safety, Donnie Johnson, has provided the Buckeyes, free of charge. The question that always comes up is whether this kind of trash talking makes a difference. Does it really motivate the players anymore? I would think the 17-10 loss last year in Happy Valley is more motivation than someone saying, “I have no respect for Ohio State whatsoever.” That being said, I think, to an extent, it will still provide a certain amount of fuel to the fire. I would imagine it will fire up the team when they run out on the field, the kick-off, the first time Pitmann runs over Johnson or Ginn runs past him, but after that it won’t mean much.

Black Shoes Diary, a Penn State blog has a good preview of the game up, with a prediction of OSU 24: PSU: 13. Gutsy to pick against your team, but probably not that much of a stretch.

The depth chart for the Penn State game is up at The O-Zone. The only real change was the Tim Schafer was replaced at RG by Steve Rehring (who was “Lineman of the Week” after the Cincinnati game). That makes for a pretty meaty left side of the offensive line (Rehring at 329, Boone at 325). Look for Pitmann to run wild over there.

Buckeye Planet, as always, has an excellent and exhaustive preview of the Penn State game.

Vegas has the line at 16.5 points. What’s your call?

I’m setting the OSU offensive production line at 400 yards (weather has been taken into consideration). Over or under?
How many yards to Troy Smith contribute to those 400? (o/u 280 yds)
The Buckeyes had 8 sacks last week. I doubt they’ll have 8 again, so how many sacks do you see? (o/u 5)
Ted Ginn Jr. still hasn’t broken a big return. Is this the game he finally hits paydirt?

Feel free to add your predictions, thoughts on the game, trash talking, whatever you like in the comments.

Update: Everyday Should be Saturday looks at the OSU/PSU matchup from a different point of view.

Overall advantage: Paterno. Based on these six extremely scientific metrics, we’re forced to pick Penn State in this game. And since it is science, don’t even attempt to contest this pick, since it’s obviously incontrovertible empirical truth. We’re going to find fresh victims for Joe Pa now.

el Kaiser’s predictions:
Final Score: OSU: 37 PSU: 6
Offensive production: Under, 399 yards
Troy Smith’s yards: Under, 240 yards
Sack production: Over, 6
Ted Ginn comes close, but still doesn’t find the end-zone on special teams

sportsMonkey’s predictions:
Final Score: OSU: 31 PSU: 9
Offensive production: Over, 401 yards
Troy Smith’s yards: Under, 225 yards
Sack production: 5
TGII’s return TDs: Not this week… a wet field almost always favors the kickoff teams. But, I still think he provides some fireworks (see below).
Comments: Between the O-line’s reshuffling and the horrible weather forecast, I wonder if Sweatervest might be planning to return to Tresselball for this matchup. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a grinding ground game, some two TE formations, etc. There hasn’t been a reverse run this year, so with the slippery grass and PSU’s rep for overpursuing on defense, I’m betting that Tressel gets the ball in Ginn’s hands on a reverse attempt (those usually go for TDs). I’m hoping, also, that Smith’s feet return this week, for about 50 yards total. The backfield puts up at least another hundred.

Zeke’s predictions:
Final Score: OSU: 34 PSU: 13
Offensive production: Over, 469 yards
Troy Smith’s yards: Under, 277 yards
Sack production: Over, 6
No Return TD for Ginn this week.

Bengals banged up

BengalsBrowns**UPDATED – Now with video goodness (see below).

I know we’re a few days late weighing in on the Battle of Ohio, but we were a bit exhausted from all the great college games that happened on Saturday.

The Bengals easily beat the Browns, but paid a heavy price. Three starters were lost to injury, and several others were beaten bloody. Chad Johnson took a shot that blew the helmet off his bald head, and was taken to the trainer’s room to get chin stitches. Some time later, after the game, he was still too disoriented to speak to reporters.

“How do I look?” he said, trying to focus his eyes.

He was too disoriented to conduct an interview.

“I talked to Chad,” Palmer said. “He’s a little loopy. He’s a little out of it.”

Now that’s pro football, folks! Maybe you shouldn’t have done that silly chicken dance, huh, Chad?

The other Johnson (Rudi) had a great game, which of course makes me happy, not because I’m a huge Bengals fan or anything, but because I’m the greedy one that drafted him to my FF team. (That sound you hear is el Kaiser trembling in his boots in fear of our mighty FF matchup this weekend! C’mon, Kaiser! Bring it on!!)

This goes without saying, but Cleveland better step it up a notch. Looking at the stats alone, Frye had a respectable game (20 for 33, 244 yds), including a 75-yarder for TD to our old pal Braylon Edwards. But his “other” stat (2 INTs) prevented the Browns from getting into the game. Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t buy into the idea that Frye is the QB of the future for this team.

Check out Chad Johnson’s scrambled brains, after the hit:

BTW: You can see “the hit” here. Looks like Brian Russell may draw a fine from the NFL won’t be fined for this shot. clean hit. [Thanks to Craig for the update]

Federov out 4-6 weeks

CBJA pretty impressive and exciting preseason was up-ended last night when Sergei Federov was slew-footed into the boards, injuring his shoulder. The AP is reporting that Sergei will miss up to six weeks.

FederovDrew over at EOB calculates that, because of a relatively sparse schedule in October and early November, Federov could end up only missing four or five regular-season games.

Can’t the Jackets have a decent September, for once? These slow-starts in autumn are getting tiring. Last season it took until December before they were all healthy & started clicking.

On the positive side, the Jackets have been looking decent offensively, especially during power-plays. The talented Picard was finally able to get his first goal last weekend, and Anson Carter stepped up last night to cover for Sergei, against a very balanced Sabres team. I’m excited to see more of Carter, who should help to mitigate the disappointing loss of Zherdev.

Defensively, they’re still giving up a lot of shots, but goaltending has been exceptional. It’s hard to tell after just a couple of preseason games, but it looks like the CBJ is in good shape between the pipes, considering Denis’ departure. Even the rookie Popperle stopped 23 shots on Sunday.

Image credit & copyright: Mike Munden, The Columbus Dispatch.