Instant Analysis, OSU v. Northwestern

My wife was born in Oklahoma and raised in San Diego. But she has come to love the Buckeyes as much as I do. As we sat at home early in the third quarter, I said “it’s really rare when you see a team dominating both lines of scrimmage like the Buckeyes are, with the other team ahead. But Northwestern just wants it more. They fight and won’t go down. But will 5:03 (the amount of time for Northwestern between three losses and an undefeated season) come back to haunt them like last year? Do they have the depth to stick in a game for 60 minutes?” Her response, “our cheerleaders are cuter than theirs.” So there it is.

I have learned not to question Urban on certain things. I thought he should have called a time out with 1:40 left in the first half, but then what happened? Ohio State played it safe in their territory and moved to midfield. With 30 seconds left, OSU opened up, and promptly turned it over—at that point, I was glad there were only 11 seconds left. Still, I wondered why you’d have an Australian rules player in his first month of American football run a fake at his 30? Urbs, you got some splainin to do.

This was not Braxton’s night–until crunch time. Foiled by dropped passes in key circumstances, until late, he still had errant throws, was terrible on scrambles (great on designed runs) and fumbled twice. But in the clutch, Brax was pure gold.

Kenny Guiton got ready to come in not because he was about to come in, but because, I believe, Urban realized the Buckeyes were going to have to rely on the designed run—and Braxton could well get hurt—so get the right hander loose. Northwestern could not handle C. Hyde (Ezekiel on first down near the goal line? Come on man). After experimenting with the quick strike with no luck, Urban decided to go with smash mouth in the second half. A Braxton fumble near the goal line only stalled the inevitable. The Buckeye defense held, a punt penalty put the ball in Northwestern territory and B and C took over with the smash mouth.

Yes, there was poor tackling, dropped passes, very nervous first half play and Curtis Grant, while great otherwise, has a long way to go in pass defense. And Bradley Roby added very poor tackling to his growing list of weaknesses (love the blocked punt and touchdown saving tackle though). But in the trenches none of that mattered, and in the end that is what wins most games. Adophus Washington was a monster on every play and Michael Bennet, Joey Bosa and Noah Spence were there to pour it on. Northwestern’s play calling was high risk but effective and that put them nominally in control for a long time. But those things usually catch up to a team, and did.

Never worry guys--this one was always in the bag.

Never worry guys–this one was always in the bag.

So after the sack late in the third quarter put Northwestern out of field goal range, with Hyde unstoppable behind a totally in control O-line, barring yet a third Buckeye turnover, the outcome was never really in doubt even if the Buckeyes were losing by 3 at the time and even if Northwestern had come back to take the lead after Carlos’ stretch TD.

Oh, and the time Ohio State went ahead for good? 5:22–sometimes 16 inches on fourth down can seem like a mile.

Line play, when it is punishing, usually decides a game. And when it doesn’t, relax. There are always our cheerleaders.

Comments

  1. (Ezekiel on first down near the goal line? Come on man)

    I thought the exact same thing when they ran that play. Mix things up when speed is on the field.

    My medal winners for this game are:
    Gold: Carlos Hyde
    Silver: Joey Bosa
    Bronze: Corey Philly Brown.

    Great recap, Garth.

    • Thank you boss and thank you for calling attention to Philly Brown’s contribution. Seeing how effectively Northwestern uses its two headed QB made me wonder if Ohio State could not pull it off at an even higher level. KG isn’t the whole package like Braxton is but accuracy is still an issue with Braxton and I do believe Kenny is much more comfortable in the pocket. If I could tell Urban what to do I would humbly request he use this extra week to start to implement some of that. Oh and when I said “barring a third TO” I should have said fourth.

  2. Jay Roubini says

    Garth~Maybe the new Urban coaching style doesn’t include wanting to deal with rotating QBs anymore. Watching that first half again you can’t help but wonder, just what does it take to get benched?

    el Kaiser~remembering the days Bollman would bench and suppress our only true superstar, now we can smile. All hail the Gold Metal winner.

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