Train Wrecked

On a blustery day in West Lafayette, the Buckeyes had the opportunity to put themselves into the driver’s seat for a spot in the B1G championship game.

Instead, they spent three hours reminding us why Ohio State will spend a lot of time this offseason in search of new coaching.

That about sums it up.It can’t just be me who has noticed – since the Cooper era – that Ohio State often comes out flat in noon kickoff games, and today was no different. It’s almost a university tradition at this point, and there has to be a rational explanation for it. Given the stakes of every remaining game this season it’s incomprehensible that a team that had so much to gain – and lose – could come out looking like Zach Galafanakis in both Hangover movies. If anyone has thoughts on this I would absolutely love to hear them. My opinion is that it all boils down to coaching. And today was by far the worst display of coaching that I have seen in my fifteen years of following Ohio State football.

I had a 1500-word post written to recap this game, and that was before it went to overtime. I’m tossing the entire thing out and replacing it with the following:

7 Penalties for 50 yards – almost every one of them impacted the game at a critical moment, and that doesn’t count the ones that were declined or offset.

5 sacks for -19 yards – indicative of the completely uninspired performance put forth by the offensive line.

One blocked XP (which would turn out to be the biggest play of the game) and a missed FG – either of those being good wins the game for the Buckeyes in regulation.

About three thousand missed tackles – reminiscent of the Miami game

Completely unimaginative playcalling – especially in the first half.

I’m not going to rag on the players today, even though by halftime Antonio Underwood had played the worst game I’ve seen by a lineman since Alex Boone in the 2006 MNC. Most of them are extremely young and are going to make mistakes. Think back to when you were 18. I know I did a lot of stupid things back then, and I bet you did too. I don’t expect Braxton Miller to be 2005 or 2006 Troy Smith just yet and I know he’ll throw a few BauserBombs (5 today by my unofficial count) along the way, but he’ll be great some day. Ditto with Roby, Shazier, and Devin Smith.

The bottom line is that this team came out and underperformed in every aspect of the game. They came out and didn’t make a positive play until early in the second quarter. The lone phenomenal play – Miller’s magical touchdown pass to Jordan Hall with 55 seconds remaining – almost immediately was stripped of its importance as the Buckeyes allowed Purdue to block the PAT attempt.

The entire debacle was just a giant, rolling ball of suck. And I wish I had spent the day punching myself in the nuts rather than watching it.

On the bright side, we now don’t have to worry about falling ass-backwards into a good bowl game and getting annihilated by a team with a competent coaching staff. So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.

Answering Jason’s questions from the preview…
1. Ohio State is averaging fewer than 9 completions per game and has earned honorary service academy status.  Will the Buckeyes complete double-digit passes this week? Nope. 8/18 for 132 yards.

2. Purdue gives up nearly 260 rushing yards in games against teams with a winning record, about 8 fewer than Indiana.  Last week, Ohio State produced 3 100-yard rushers against the Hoosiers.  Will it happen again? No. They had 18 yards rushing in the first half. Total. The second half was a little better, but ultimately Purdue’s playing with a 6-man front ended up being effective enough.

3. The game is on Big Ten Network, so we should hopefully be spared of too much moronic announcing.  Still, there’s only one topic in college sports this week and the team involved is playing at the same time as we are.  How soon after the opening stadium shot does someone mention Penn State/Joe Paterno, how many plays do we miss due to cutaway coverage, and does anyone compare a decade-long cover-up of serial child rape to lying about ineligible players? Not that I heard. The coverage still sucked, being BTN


  1. I want to erase this game from my memory. But, I do have to say that those two announcers were the worst I have ever seen.

    “Is this four down territory?” — 1 minute left in the game, down six

    “First down Buckeyes!!” — 2 yards short in overtime

    I could go on. But, as I said, I want to begin to forget.

  2. Thanks. Good stuff.

  3. Yeah, the four-down territory comment was probably the stupidest thing an announcer has ever said.

  4. It’s another loss that’s directly on Bollman. Once again he didn’t adjust until the 4th quarter, with the wildcat option and QB runs, rather than earlier when he should have.

    When Braxton is left to do “his thing,” the results are scary. The TD passes at the end of the Wisco and Purdue games were not called plays. Doesn’t anyone realize that the only time the offense is successful is when it’s running a play Bollman hasn’t schemed or called in?

    Still, having said that, 23 points is good enough to beat any team in the Big10, especially Purdue. But you can’t drop three or four interceptions (some or all of which would have been run back for 6pts), and expect to win. In all seriousness, last year’s Buckeye squad would have won this game 50-7.

  5. Good read Jason & right on SMonkey, several games ago it was reported Vrabel took Bollman’s playbook and threw it across the locker room hitting the wall…certainly a defining moment. At the weekly presser we have Fickel saying “you have to go with what you’ve got” BS you change it if it’s failing, a real coach would never say that. Luke hasn’t got mad once hasn’t changed anything, it’s on you Luke, what a cop out! How many times this year have we continued to watch Jordan Hall get the call on third and one but run Carlos Hyde on first and ten, why run a wildcat when your starting QB is mobile, Luke has never stepped in and shook things up. It’s broken plays that bail out Buckeye teams,a trademark. Hope they can pull it together one more time for the Michigan game.

  6. Luke was talking about his inability to hire/fire coaches (besides filling his old job w/ Vrabel). You have to understand that he is not an offensive play caller: it’s just not something he knows (yet). That’s what Tressel was and this staff was built for Tressel to succeed. It doesn’t work w/o him because it lacks a standard OC who can design creative plays and knows how to develop an effective gameplan. Bollman is the culprit here, not Fickell.

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