Archives for October 2007

Data on Common Opponents – Penn State

OSU FootballOhio State plays its third away-game-at-night of the season this weekend (*cough*unfair*cough*), and it’s against one of the top defenses in the country.

As of week 9, OSU and PSU have no common opponents. So, this week, we’re presenting the numbers from Penn State’s home games and Ohio State’s away games.

The tables list the opponent(s) in chronological order down the first column, and include the following ‘important’ stats: total points (Pts), total yards (Yds), total first downs (Dwns), and turnovers (TOs); for each team and its opponent (Opp).

Table 1: Penn State Home Games

  Pts Pts (opp) Yds Yds (opp) Frst Dwns Dwns (opp) TOs TOs (opp)
Florida International 59 0 549 114 27 7 2 5
Notre Dame 31 10 295 144 19 9 3 1
Buffalo 45 24 393 395 22 20 2 2
Iowa 27 7 489 194 26 8 3 0
AVERAGE 40.5 10.3 431.5 211.8 23.5 11 2.5 2


Table 2: Ohio State Away Games

  Pts Pts (opp) Yds Yds (opp) Frst Dwns Dwns (opp) TOs TOs (opp)
Washington 33 14 481 346 21 20 0 4
Minnesota 30 7 459 277 24 15 1 2
Purdue 23 7 381 272 20 15 3 1
AVERAGE 28.7 9.3 440.3 298.3 21.7 16.7 1.3 2.3


Ooohhh… a juicy comparison. Here are some points for argument:

  • Penn State’s numbers are better overall… BUT Penn State’s home opponents rank 118, 119, 85, and 109 (respectively) in total offense (out of 119 teams overall). Put simply, the worst of the worst.
  • PSU’s home opponents’ combined average yards per game (ypg) is 268.4. Note that the Lions are allowing 211.8 ypg. In other words, Penn State is holding home opponents to 57 fewer yards than their average.
  • OSU’s away opponents’ combined average ypg is 403.8. OSU is holding these opponents to 106 fewer yards per game. (And remember, they’re doing so in away-at-night environments).

What say you? Personally, the more I look at the numbers, it seems clear that the Nittany Lions’ offense will hardly challenge the Buckeyes at all. Like last week, Penn State’s best chance for an upset is to hope for multiple defensive scores. Joe Pa needs turnovers to have a chance to win this game.

Weekly Vernon Gholston Shot

Vernon Gholston

Is he getting ready for lift-off? Or playing Car Wash? Or is he a Transformer, mid-transform?

Link round-up and more to follow…

BlogPoll Ballot, Week #8

Rank Team Delta
1 Ohio State
2 Boston College 2
3 Arizona State 6
4 Oregon 4
5 Oklahoma 3
7 Virginia Tech 5
8 West Virginia 6
9 Kansas 6
10 Southern Cal 3
11 Florida 5
12 South Florida 9
13 Missouri 3
14 Kentucky 9
15 Hawaii 2
16 Texas 10
17 Virginia 3
18 Georgia 4
19 Alabama 7
20 South Carolina 13
21 California 10
22 Michigan 4
23 Penn State 3
24 Rutgers 2
25 Auburn 7

Dropped Out: Tennessee (#19), Cincinnati (#21), Boise State (#23), Kansas State (#24), Indiana (#25).

Not a lot to say this week. SYR left Virginia off his ballot. Hopefully this was just an oversight. The sportsMonkey omitted Hawaii. Again, maybe an accident?

We are homers, we will rank Ohio State #1 until the cows come home, or they lose. I hear the cows are totally lost and their Garmin is totally busted.

Michigan State Performance Evaluations

OSU FootballI’m still surprised how the Ohio State/Michigan State result has been perceived. Not just nationally, either. The headline on the sports page of the Columbus Dispatch was “Quite a fright.” Are you kidding me? I know the writers don’t pick their headlines, but that is ridiculous. A fright? Seriously? Hardly. Michigan State came into Columbus with a vaunted rush game and something to prove. Ohio State’s defense put them in their place. Let’s start there:


The Defense: 4.5 Sweatervests

Michigan State and its one-two punch of Ringer and Caulcrick came into this game running other defenses over. They were averaging over 450 yards of offense a game. These are not insignificant numbers. Michigan State may not be a great team, but they are good. You don’t rack up that kind of yardage without some talented players.

That being said, Ohio State’s defense absolutely dominated the Spartans. Gholston & Company held the double-J’s to 59 yards on the ground, 2.1 yards per carry. That’s stout. Nine first downs, total. Solid tackling, good adjustments, everything. Laurinaitis continues to be a leader by example, racking up 12 tackles and really seems to be everywhere on the field. Everyone is flying to the ball. This is a fun defense to watch.


The Opponent: 3.5 Sweatervests

As I mentioned above, Michigan State is not a bad team. They laid the wood to a good Indiana team (the same team that played Penn State tough last Saturday) and matched Wisconsin stride for stride for 3+ quarters. They also beat Pitt (even though it wasn’t pretty) who just beat a good Cincinnati team. They were averaging almost 37 points a game and gobs of yards coming into the Horseshoe.

They’re also a well coached team. Give Dantonio a couple years and he’ll have Michigan State in the thick of the Big Ten again. Don’t be fooled. Ohio State beat a pretty good Michigan State team.


Beanie’s Stiff Arm: 4 Sweatervests

It’s unfair, actually, how easily Beanie pushes around defenders. You know as soon as you see him switch the ball to his other hand that the Stiff Arm of Justice™ is coming, halting all in its path.

My only concern is that he relies on it just a little too much. It also leaves him vulnerable for arm/shoulder injuries. But for now, he seems to be doing just fine. Stiffing people is Beanie’s business, and business is good.


Vernon Gholston: 5 Sweatervests

Gholston decided to descend from his throne atop Mount Olympus to play as a mere mortal this week. Can’t let anyone get too suspicious. We’ll give him the decidedly mortal five Sweatervests.


Overall Performance: 4 Sweatervests

Baseline: 3 Sweatervests. +1 for Ballard’s catch. Thing of beauty. +1 BIG D. That’s a D with 72 point font. +1 for Beanie’s 221 yards. More of that, please. -1 for Boeckman’s INT, -0.5 for his lost fumble (not entirely his fault) and -0.5 for Beanie’s almost lost fumble. Less of that, please!

Freudian slip

Want more proof that ESPN is the source of the “SEC superiority” myth? Watch Chris Fowler as he calls the BCS poll the “SEC poll” without realizing it (slip-up is at the 1:15 mark):

A few of our commenters have noticed a trend occurring… OSU is playing a team with a lot of “talent,” that should “test” the Buckeyes. When that happens, “we’ll know what kind of team the Buckeyes have.” After dispatching said team, the ESPN folks say “Ohio State survived the test, but we won’t know until next week what kind of team they have.”

Obviously, it’s an canned line of reasoning, because the same things have been said each week for the past few weeks… again and again and again – it’s been said about Washington, Purdue, Michigan State, etc. How many weeks are we going to be told “we’ll see how good they are next week,” then watch OSU handily dispatch an opponent, only to cast doubt on the quality of the team’s dominance afterwards?

Herbie does it again at the end of the above video. “The OSU defense is playing like a #1 team, but we won’t know anything about the offense until next week.” Kirk, MSU came to Columbus with the 15th best offense in the country. Everyone agrees that MSU has a good offense, correct? Some ESPN analysts even predicted an upset, due to the strength of players like Ringer and Thomas. So, if OSU were to offensively outperform a team that everyone agrees is one of the best, wouldn’t it make sense to say that OSU’s offense one of the best as well?

And how did the Buckeyes do last Saturday? OSU goes out and has two players that individually outperform the entire MSU offense – Wells with 221 yards and Boeckman with 193 (compared to MSU’s 185 total). Yet, “we still don’t know how good OSU’s offense is.”

Put simply, the Buckeyes are perfectly capable of beating any team in the country, and probably would on a neutral field. The only question is whether or not the offense is mature enough to not beat itself, like was almost allowed to happen last Saturday.

Michigan State Open Thread

OSU FootballI’ve been very busy today pushing electrons for The Man, the sportsMonkey is on vacation and no one knows what happened to Zeke or Sylvester Yon-Rambo (they’re probably playing Halo 3 or something fun.) so this week’s Open Thread will be a little thin. In other words, I’m here to make a prediction and then getting back to work.

Don’t let that stop you from posting your thoughts on tomorrow’s 3:30 match-up on ABC. Should OSU be on upset-alert?

I don’t think so. I think they’re going to flex their considerable muscle and continue their stingy streak on defense. Michigan State only records one TD. My prediction:

OSU: 34
MSU: 16

What do you think?

Sylvester Yon-Rambo here…… I am still trying to figure out how I could go to a Penn St vs Wisconsin game and come away disgusted with OSU fans at the ‘shoe. I will openly admit that PSU fans and satadium is crazy and very fan friendly and LOUDER than a whole season worth of games at the shoe…… The Student section at PSU is insane and large and VERY VERY VOCAL….. and the crowd manages to be loud for an entire game and not just 3rd down in the 1st qtr. OSU needs to stop selling so many tickets to BLUE HAIRS and relocate the Student section and some how get the fans involved more…… I will give more of my perspective next week during PSU week.

As for my prediction……

OSU: 45
MSU: 9

I sincerely believe this may be the best defense top to bottum I have ever seen in football. And I am a Chicago Bears fan from birth which includes the vaunted 1985 Bears…… As long as we control our TOs we will go undefeated and avenge our only loss in the last 2 years.

Link Round-up, Week #8

Blog/site newsOSU FootballBefore we get started with this week’s round-up, I just wanted to make sure I understood the ramifications of Rutgers resounding defeat of South Florida. As USF was ascending in the polls, their victory over Auburn “looked more and more impressive” as Auburn beat Florida and squeaked by Arkansas. The victory over Auburn was one of USF’s feathers in its cap, something the pundits used to justify why their 7-0 was more impressive than OSU’s. Now that USF has been defeated (no surprise here at MotSaG), does that cheapen the victory over Auburn? Does that cascade its way down the chain? I could go on, but it’s probably pointless. Either way, OSU still controls its own destiny.

Now to the round-up:

Our first link, this piece of written vomit is just more Big Ten bashing. Look everyone! Ohio State hasn’t beat anyone of merit! Am I the first writer to write that! I bet I am! (via Buckeye Commentary)

Did that get your blood pressure up? Now you can cool down a little with this piece from a Fox Sports blog by “MrPressbox,” whoever that is. I like the cut of his jib.

“But when it comes to talking about conference powerhouses, the SEC is king, but the Big 10(11) is a close second. No conference is more talented from top to bottom and the reason the records donít look stellar is because the teams are so tough they beat each other up each week.

Why do you think other conferences like the Big 12, Pac 10 and ACC almost never schedule a Big 10(11) team on their regular season schedule?”

But enough of the “my conference is better than yours!” jibba jabba. That’s what bowl season is for. Let’s talk Buckeyes football.

I love that the Ohio State coaches are using last season’s championship debacle to motivate the team this year. Boeckman was on the radio today with Hooley and they talked about how the coaches are using little subtle reminders of the game against Florida. Things like using “4114” as the code on the doors to the practice facility. Hopefully that keeps them focused.

Anderson Russell, he of iron ankles, should be playing Saturday, along with James Lauranaitis, who left the game with a hip pointer.

AR’s return is amazing after considering what happened to him, a nominee for The Wizard of Odds’ Cheapest Shot of the Year.

Speaking of come-backs, here’s the feel good story for the season: Nader Abadallah’s brother whipping him into playing shape.

As it should be, the Ohio State/Michigan game will be Noon on ABC. And again, it will have National Championship implications. The BTN, however, will not get its chance to air it. It will never get that chance.

A little blog linkage: Simon at SimonOnSports asks “What do we know about the Buckeyes?

As always, don’t hesistate to send us your tips, your stories, your gameday pictures, anything. You can always contact us via the Contact Form. Thanks for reading!

Kent State Performance Evaluations

OSU FootballAnother short one, because honestly, this was a mid-season warm-up game. Good on Kent State for gaining some yards and playing hard, but let’s be real. This game was another no-doubter.


Run Defense: 3.5 Sweatervests

A little cause for concern here. Kent State came in with a pretty good running game with a shifty little runny (Garrett Wolfe, anyone) that had some success against the Buckeyes’ D. The plays they ran seemed to be perfectly timed when the D-line was scheming itself out of the play. Adjustments were made in the second half, but it still gave up too many yards. If teams want to run the ball on us, they’ve got some footage to show them how to do it (Wisconsin, Michigan). Still, no touchdowns are no touchdowns.


Pass Defense: 4.5 Sweatervests

Being a run-first, run-often offense, the defensive backfield was never really challenged. In fact, as SMQ pointed out, OSU’s defense out-gained KSU offense through the air: Kent State passed for 62 yards, Donald Washington’s interception return went for 70. I’ll give up 62 yards of passing all season long. That’s almost unfair.

I am also very happy to see Donald Washington’s improvement as the season has gone on. He was a big question in my opinion, a wild card. We knew Jenkins was going to lockdown any he went against, but the other side of the field was going to be an issue. Washington has been a revelation, along with Chekwa. No need for concern yet.


The Young ‘uns: 4 Sweatervests

With the game well in hand by halftime, Tressel was able to play a lot of youngsters. It’s clear that OSU”s second and third best is still better than whatever the MAC can throw at it (whether that means anything is debatable). Brandon Saine was definitely shining the brightest, catching passes out of the backfield and running the ball with some good moves. He stills looks a little tentative to me, not 100% sure of his knee. Regardless, he still has wheels and will be just fine. Schoenhoft is still trying to skip his passes up into his receivers arms, throwing passes 80 miles per hour straight into the turf. He did finish 7 for 9, though. That’s promising. I’m just not sold on him yet. Ten players caught passes and seven players rushed the ball. It might have been garbage time, but it’s better than no time.

The only thing holding the youngsters back was Jon Thoma’s punt. That was ugly. Otherwise, decent performance by the reserves.


Vernon Gholston: Sweatervests Galore

No lie — we lost count how many Sweatervests Vernon earned. The guns got a hold of Kent quarterbacks a couple times and wreaked havoc and destruction. I read somewhere that his mere presence caused Kent State’s water coolers to spring leaks and their trainers’ medical tape was no longer sticky. I’m not sure how that’s related, but I believe it because I saw it on the internet.


Overall Performance: 5 Sweatervests

Baseline: 3 Sweatervests, +1 for stiff defense, +2 for a special teams and a defensive score, -1 for allowing buckets of yards on the ground.

Weekly Vernon Gholston Shot

Vernon Gholston

I wonder what it feels like to have testosterone run through your veins instead of blood. Huh.

The Kent State performance evaluation and Link Round-up will be up later. Probably shortly after the Indians send Manny being Manny and his Merry Band of Red Sox packing.

Data on Common Opponents – Michigan State

OSU FootballSparty comes to the Horseshoe to face OSU this week, and once again there is only one common opponent between the two teams – the Northwestern Wildcats.

The tables list the common opponent(s) in chronological order down the first column, and include the following ‘important’ stats: total points (Pts), total yards (Yds), total first downs (Dwns), and turnovers (TOs); for each team and its opponent (Opp).

Table 1: Michigan State

  Pts Pts (opp) Yds Yds (opp) Frst Dwns Dwns (opp) TOs TOs (opp)
Northwestern 41 48 481 611 20 29 0 0
TOTAL 41 48 481 611 20 29 0 0
Average 41 48 481 611 20 29 0 0


Table 2: Ohio State

  Pts Pts (opp) Yds Yds (opp) Frst Dwns Dwns (opp) TOs TOs (opp)
Northwestern 58 7 396 120 20 11 2 3
TOTAL 58 7 396 120 20 11 2 3
Average 58 7 396 120 20 11 2 3


This is where I wish the two teams had more opponents. The Total and Average fields would give a better picture of how these two teams match up. This NW game is ruining MSU’s statistics this season.

For example, consider that “611 yards” stat. Yes, MSU’s defense totally disappeared from that game, but it appears to have been an aberration. For its other 6 opponents, the Spartans allowed only 286 yards per game, which would be good enough for top 3 in the Big Ten (and close to OSU and Penn State’s average).

Note that “0” in the Turnover column… the Spartans are tied for second in the Big Ten in turnover margin (0.71).

What say you? Does this game have the potential to be 1998 all over again?