USC Game Recap (Buckeye Leaves)

OSU FootballI’ve decided that complaining is not going to make me feel any better. It’s been done elsewhere, with much more vitriol than I would have spilled, so I’m just going to move on. There are glaring problems that my scarlet tinted glasses have been obscuring for a while, but it’s all becoming so clear. Part of the problem can be improved with time and patience. Hopefully it will. The other part of the problem most likely will not.

So I’m not dwelling on the bad. I’m looking at the positives. This is not some fanciful idea that everything is grand, viewed through those scarlet and gray tinted glasses. This is objective (mostly) praise that was earned and something we, as Buckeye fans, can be happy to see.

So let’s pass out some helmet stickers.

First, a big Buckeye Leaf is given to the defense as a whole. Some context: As a team last year, USC averaged 37.5 points a game. They averaged 454 yards of offense a game. Joe McKnight averaged 7.4 yards per carry. This year, they racked up 620 yards (342 on the ground) against SJSU. The Buckeye’s D, who, prior to kick-off, weren’t given a snowball’s chance against the vaunted USC offense, held them to 18 points (11, really, but we’ll be nice), held the team to 313 yards (take away the final drive and you’ve got a whopping 227 yards) and stuffed McKnight to the tune of 3.8 yards per carry. This was a defense possessed and deserves a world of credit, and more.

Another Buckeye Leaf goes to the defensive line as a whole. For all the statistical reasons listed above, plus the fact that they were supposed to be pushed around by the Great Wall of Linemen. This did not happen almost all game. They were in the backfield, roughing up McKnight and his buddies, disrupting rhythm and making big plays all over the place. It’s a shame they didn’t get the final victory, but this was a fantastic outing by the D-line.

Defensive Line

In addition to the D-line as a whole, I’m calling out Doug Worthington as a recipient as his own Buckeye Leaf. I know everyone played lights out, but for some reason I remember getting more excited about Worthington’s plays. Maybe it’s because I like the way he plays and the way he’s gotten where he is as a Buckeye. Hammerhead Heyward also deserves one. Everyone played great, but these guys anchored the best performance out of the D-line in a long time.

The linebackers (Brian Rolle and Company) and the defensive backs deserve credit as well. Torrence and Rolle led the way, but Chekwa held his own and Coleman did what he needed to do. Even Spitler looked like he was 100%, looking much quicker this time around.

What a shame such a dominating performance gets squandered. Let’s hope this game doesn’t crush the D’s will to play like that again because we’ll need it against Penn State and Michigan.

I can’t pass out many Leaves to the offense, as much as I’d like to. The only bright spot I saw was how Boom Herron was running the ball. He didn’t have much to work with, but his collision with Taylor Mays proved he deserves the moniker “Boom”. He gets a sticker for that hit alone.

I can’t give a full sticker to the OL for their performance, but they get one for their improvement. They didn’t play the entire game like they should have, but they were getting a push and often did a decent job of pass protection. It wasn’t perfect, no, but Terrelle’s happy feet hurt the overall perception of their performance. This was a step in the right direction, and if the play calling hadn’t been a string of gigantic turd rockets, we might be singing a different tune.

Finally, our special teams are still special, as Thoma consistently pinned the Trojans deep in their own territory. Congratulations, Jon, you get an imaginary helmet sticker from a mouth-breathing sports blogger. I know that’s some consolation.

So: Defense good, Offense bad (mostly). Coaching N/A (my momma taught me…)

And that’s about all I have to say about that.


  1. Well put. Modest. Middle-of-the-road, but deliciously mid-Ohio in every positive sense of the word.

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