Friday Open Thread: Rutgers

Ohio State gets back into action this Saturday, against the other new member of the Big Ten, welcoming Rutgers to the ‘Shoe.

To the surprise of a lot of people, the newest additions to the Big Ten, Maryland and Rutgers, have been more than competent thus far. While Ohio State handled Maryland with relative ease, Rutgers will still pose a viable threat come Saturday afternoon.

Statistically, Ohio State has an edge of Rutgers in most categories, but it’s closer than I had expected. Rutgers has a good pass rush and solid red zone offense.

Ronnie mentioned that pass rush in his Players to Watch post. I think Ohio State’s line should be able to establish the run but should be on the look out for Rutgers pass rush.

Shannon previewed the game here at MotSaG and he sees it as a pretty open-and-shut case, with a Buckeye victory. I think most would agree with that assessment. Ken at the Buckeye Battle Cry is equally optimistic.

I’ll join the chorus of prognosticators calling this one for Ohio State. I say:

Ohio State: 45
Rutgers: 20

What say you?

By The Numbers: Rutgers

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Rushing Offense (ypg) 247.0 (18) 135.0 (44) Rushing Defense (ypg) Ohio State
Passing Offense (ypg) 276.6 (35) 261.7 (100) Passing Defense (ypg) Ohio State+
Pass Efficiency 183.5 (2) 131.5 (79) Pass Efficiency Defense Ohio State++
Total Offense (ypg) 523.6 (12) 396.7 (70) Total Defense (ypg) Ohio State+
Scoring Offense (ppg) 44.6 (5) 21.7 (43) Scoring Defense (ppg) Ohio State
Rushing Defense (ypg) 135.6 (45) 159.2 (75) Rushing Offense (ypg) Ohio State
Passing Defense (ypg) 178.8 (13) 267.5 (36) Passing Offense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency Defense 112.4 (28) 166.9 (4) Pass Efficiency Offense Push
Total Defense (ypg) 314.4 (14) 426.7 (57) Total Offense (ypg) Ohio State
Scoring Defense (ppg) 20.8 (31) 29.5 (71) Scoring Offense (ppg) Ohio State
Turnover margin +0.60 (28) -0.33 (90) Turnover margin Ohio State+
Penalty Yards/game 50.2 (52) 55.5 (64) Penalty Yards/game Push
Sacks (/game) 2.40 (68) 1.33 (28) Sacks Allowed (/game) Rutgers
Sacks Allowed (/game) 2.60 (74) 4.00 (3) Sacks (/game) Rutgers+
3rd Down Conv. (%) 48.4 (14) 42.1 (85) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State+
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 35.8 (44) 42.3 (60) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Push
4th Down Conv. (%) 44.4 (83) 28.6 (16) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Rutgers+
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 100.0 (127) 50.0 (55) 4th Down Conv. (%) Rutgers+
Redzone Offense (%) 82.1 (72) 75.0 (26) Redzone Defense (%) Rutgers
Redzone Defense (%) 91.7 (109) 90.5 (26) Redzone Offense (%) Rutgers++
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from

Instant Analysis: Ohio State beats Cincinnati 50-28

osuHelmetDon’t lie — when you saw Gunner Kiel go deep to Chris Moore you thought to yourself “oh no, here we go again.”

Then Ohio State ripped off 30 unanswered points and it looked like the rout was on.

But as was pointed out repeatedly by the commentators (inadvertently, mind you), there is no such thing as momentum. Cincinnati would go on a run of their own, outscoring the Buckeyes 21-3, and suddenly it was a game.

A game of runs.

Looking at a 28-33 score, Ohio State would drive down and get a field goal to go up by 8. Then a questionable offensive pass interference call put Cincinnati in a big hole, unable to get another first down. Ohio State would then go on to pound the ball on the way to a couple more scores to put the game out of reach.

There’s plenty more to discuss (there are still some defensive deficiencies) but for now, let’s enjoy the huge offensive explosion.

Offensive player of the game: Ezekiel Elliot. This was easy, this was pure man-ball from Elliot. 233 total yards, a touchdown and just straight up beastmode.

Defensive player of the game: I thought about not awarding anyone this one, seeing how they gave up three HUGE touchdown passes, but I can’t overlook how good Joey Bosa played, especially in the first half. His sack/forced fumble that resulted in a safety looked like it might turn the game ugly. The Big Bear played lights-out.

Dan Fouts foot-in-mouth award: I don’t remember if it was Glen Mason or not (I think it was) who said, speaking of Curtis Samuel, that he “learned a valuable lesson tonight, to hold on to the ball.” Sorry, but I’m pretty sure Curtis learned that “valuable lesson” in the fourth grade, Glen.

After an up and down non-conference run, it’s time for Ohio State’s B1G play to start, beginning with Maryland in a week.

Friday Open Thread: Cincinnati

Did I spell that right? It always looks wrong to me. That’s usually why I refer to the city as Cincy. I kinda don’t like Cincinnati. If they love Kentucky so much down there they can leave. This state is only big enough for one baseball team and one football team, and let’s be honest, when have the Reds or Bengals done anything? (Okay, don’t answer that.)

So it’s back to the gridiron for our Buckeyes, something all us Ohioans can agree on, that the Buckeyes and Ohio State are superior to the University of Cincinnati Bearcats in every way, shape, and form. Maybe someday it will fall off and sink into the Ohio River and do us all a favor.

Things will be a little somber at the Horseshoe, as a moment of silence is observed for UC walk-on running back Chamoda Kennedy-Palmore and his tragic death. Extremely sad and should put things in perspective as to what really matters. You really only need a few seconds to consider it, though. It’s football. Football matters. And family. And friends. And good times and enjoyable memories. Dang it now it’s dusty in here.

As always, we’ve had a plethora of game coverage. Ronnie looked at the players to watch, but let’s be honest: the only player that should give you pause for concern is Gunner Kiel:

He is a towering player at 6-5 200+ pounds, and with his size comes some surprising mobility. He won’t beat you with his feet, but is more than capable of escaping the pocket and gaining meaningful yardage. Kiel’s real talent lies in his big arm and above average accuracy. Head Coach Tommy Tubberville wanted to find out what he had with Kiel in their first two games and he came away impressed. Kiel went 50 for 76 (65.8%) and threw for ten touchdowns and two interceptions. The Bearcats offense is not very balanced and relies heavily upon Kiel to get the ball to their plethora of wide receivers. This will be the most talented receiving core Ohio State will face this year and Kiel loves to spread the wealth. The Buckeyes will have to bother Kiel in the pocket in order to make their more aggressive pass coverage schemes more effective. If not, expect Kiel to put up big big numbers and really push the Buckeyes to the brink of an upset.

Chip looked at three things to consider for the game, the majority of which deals with trenches.

MotSaG Live continues apace, and Josh and the gang are really hitting it out of the park. Give it a listen!

Jacob previewed the game, which you should read.

After you read it, what do you see happening this Saturday? The Buckeyes will win (duh), but which quarterback racks up more yards? Which freshmen sees the field the most? What margin of victory is “acceptable” to start the way back into the CFB Playoff discussion?

I’ll say:

Ohio State: 45
Cincy: 23

Kiel will out-gun JT “Double” Barret in a shootout. (I’m so sorry)

Raekwon McMillan will see the most snaps this Saturday.

Who cares? Just win BABY!

Ohio State Dominates Kent State (Let’s Talk About It)

osuHelmetThe remedy. A slump-buster. Just what the doctor ordered. Call it what you want, but Kent State came into Ohio Stadium as the sacrificial offering to appease the masses worshipping at the altar of Ohio State Football. Only a massacre would quell the murmurings. And a 66-0 domination should suffice. For now.

If there was any hope of getting back into the graces of the playoff selection crew, if there was any hope of redeeming a lackluster performance in front of a national audience, Ohio State had to go out and decisively handle business. They would probably need to score two or three touchdowns in the first quarter, and have an insurmountable lead by halftime. The starters shouldn’t be needed after the first series of the third quarter. Lots of younger kids should probably see the field early and often.

These are the strictures the law demands. These were all met.

Of course, it was against Kent State. So what does that mean? Does the team that will take the field the rest of the season look like the team that struggled with new defensive looks and top-notch defensive coaching, or will it be the team that depends on its superior talent and athleticism that simply overwhelms its over-matched opponents? (It will field superior teams in just about every game moving forward, with the exception of Michigan State).

Time will tell.

The first half gives us a pretty good read on how this team could move forward. This much was clear: given time, JT Barrett can find open receivers and he will have people he could get the ball to. He has a couple receivers that look to be reliable. There are two running backs that are talented and fast enough to chew up yards and grind and fly with the best of them.

Michael Thomas is clearly becoming a favorite target of Barrett. I always amused myself with the following thought: Thomas’ Twitter handle is “Cantguardmike” and I thought, “how appropriate. You’re right, no one can guard you, Mike, because you’re on the sideline.” No one can guard you. (I kill me) But now he is coming in to his own and Thomas has been putting those great spring efforts into some serious real fall football. This is promising to see.

The running backs are Ezekiel Elliot and Curtis Samuel and we probably won’t see much Bri’onte Dunn or Warren Ball moving forward. Rod Smith earned some PT for his blocking and effort, but Dunn and Ball did nothing to distinguish themselves and Urban basically said as much. It’s a shame for them, but they had their chances and Urban Meyer is going to start the players he feels are the best and give the team the best chance to win football games.

Raekwon McMillan appears to be the real deal. Everything I say about this game has to be viewed through the lens of “it’s just Kent State”. But it’s still an opportunity for underclassmen to learn to react, to recognize formations, personnel and situations. This experience will serve them down the road. So to see Raekwon making plays and being involved is very encouraging. Curtis Grant still has the seniority at the right to play, but I won’t be surprised to see Raekwon starting before we get to November.

The last thing I’d like to mention: a shut-out is a shut-out. Kent State or not, it’s really hard to keep any team out of the endzone. Kent State had fifteen possessions, a number of those against second third teamers.


Now the Buckeyes will get a break before taking on Cincinnati on the 27th.

Kent State Open Thread

When the negativity of Twitter gets to me, I go to my happy place (thanks for the advice, Chubs). MotSaG is my happy place, and while I don’t anticipate much negativity this week, we still have a safe place here to discuss civilly (and sometimes not, believe me, we get frustrated too) in our Open Thread.

Go Bucks!

Friday Open Thread: Kent State

osuHelmetThe season must go on, even after the bitter disappointment of a horrible showing against Virginia Tech in Primetime last Saturday night. The Buckeyes as a team are moving forward, trying to fix what went wrong and still prepare for a challenging Big Ten season. That road to recovery starts tomorrow against Kent State.

Ronnie, who has been on a tear for us recently not only profiled the players to watch on both sides of the ball, but also brought the preview knowledge that you need to watch this game with eyes wide open. The season is still very much salvageable, and it starts with a convincing win over Kent State. Ronnie predicts we’ll see Ohio State try to establish a running game early:

On offense expect to see a healthy dose of the run early on. This won’t be because Herman wants to play conservative versus a MAC opponent, but because the offense has yet to establish its power inside running style against an opponent. Carries will be divided among several running backs and h-backs, but there will be lots of carries early on to get the offense in a groove. The Buckeyes desperately need a feature back to step up so expect to see Ezekiel Elliott get plenty of touches and opportunities to earn that privilege.

Jacob took a look at the game as well and had a few strident things to say about Corey Smith (can’t disagree there)

Our guys casted a pod that you might find informative, entertaining and funny. You should check it out (and subscribe in iTunes, if you haven’t already).

No funny stuff this week with the Open thread. Just give us your thoughts on this week’s game and what you think the final score will be:

I say Ohio State works out some frustrations on Kent State and is up by a sizeable lead by halftime:

Ohio State: 52
Kent State: 9

We’ve also got a new poll, as well:

What outcome makes this a "Successful Season" for you?

View Results

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Buckeye Fans Root for the State of Michigan

osuHelmet(This article is brought to you by aspiring blogger (and writer) Jacob Seymour. We hope to hear and read more from Jacob in the very near future! -Ed)

The perception of the Big Ten is down and many believe that the Big Ten winner may get left out in the first FBS College Playoff. While obviously there is no reason for anyone to like that horrible place up north, Buckeye Nation may want to change their mind for at least a week.

Many argue that Ohio State plays no one out of conference, go check out Florida State or Alabama’s non-conference schedule and tell me it is better, the Buckeyes do need the rest of the Big Ten to step up. With Wisconsin blowing a fourth quarter lead and losing to LSU, this week is the most important week for the Big Ten. As Buckeye fans we watch and follow the Big Ten pretty carefully and we all know that the Big Ten is not as bad as people make it out to be, but when you have Illinois struggle against Youngstown State it causes a problem.

As painful as it is to say this, the Big Ten goes as the state of Michigan goes. Michigan State and Michigan are as important to the Big Ten, as Alabama and Auburn are to the SEC. Those two schools, Alabama and Auburn, won four national championships for the SEC. Take those championships away and the SEC only has three national championships during their dominance during the BCS era. If Michigan State and Michigan are able to look like contenders this helps the Buckeyes out tremendously.

For years all we ever is hear is how great Oregon is, how fast they are, and all the great numbers that offense puts up. Quick question for Oregon supporters, how many national championships has that won them? The answer would be Oregon has won as many national championships during the BCS era as Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue, and Illinois. The one team Oregon has struggled with is Stanford, who not only plays the same style as Michigan State but also who Michigan beat in the Rose Bowl just this past year. Yet all we have heard this offseason is how Oregon is a legit playoff contender, they should go undefeated, and how Mariota is the Heisman front runner and a high first round pick in the 2015 NFL draft. Mariota has struggled against teams who do two things. One is when teams play keep away and the other is teams who play physical defense. I bring up all these facts up because I do not want Buckeye fans to feel like Oregon is some juggernaut and that the Spartans have no chance because the Spartans have a great chance. If Michigan State, wins this week and is higher in the polls when Ohio State goes up to East Lansing then that win will look a whole lot better. So with the best interest of Ohio State, GO SPARTY!

While I hate Michigan, I actually root for them every single game, except when they play THE Ohio State University of course. Just hear me out before you burn me at the stake. In 2006 when Ohio State played Michigan and both teams were one and two in the polls. How great was that experience to whoop on your biggest rival and to also beat the second best team in the country? I mean imagine playing an undefeated Michigan the last game of the year, both teams playing to go into the conference championship and as Buckeyes we get to deny them that opportunity. Now I do not sound so crazy to most of you I am sure. While I love to see Ohio State be the best team in the conference, the Big Ten needs Michigan back to prominence. Playing Notre Dame is a must win for Michigan. One reason they need to win is because your biggest win of the year should not be how you got revenge against a FCS opponent. Secondly Brady Choke’s job depends on it, by the way Brady it is OHIO STATE not Ohio. Thirdly the Big Ten needs it. While winning the Big Ten is the goal for every team in this conference, to the country winning the Big Ten is a joke. Michigan has to be better and seems to be getting there. I am very happy Everett Golsten, Notre Dame’s starting quarterback, came back strong in his first game because now there is no room for excuses for Notre Dame when they lose at home. Michigan can win this game and hopefully by a good margin. There is a lot to play for from Michigan outside of what I just listed before. Think about this Michigan fans. Notre Dame is ending this historic series with you because they are pretty much joining the ACC, but while talking about ending the series they schedule a home and home with Ohio State. Could there be a bigger smack in the face? There is tons of motivation for this Michigan team and they should play inspired football. Buckeye Nation we need to put aside a rivalry that we have dominated the past decade and look at the bigger picture. Go Blue!

An Ohio State future unfortunately rests in the hands of that place up north. With the unknown of how the committee votes, it is too hard to tell if Ohio State going undefeated gives them an automatic bid to the playoff. If the strength of schedule is a huge factor, I would not be surprised if Ohio State is ignored. That is why Ohio State fans must root for Michigan State and Michigan. So the state of Michigan I say to you “Just win baby, win”.

Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech Preview

osuHelmet(This preview is brought to you by aspiring blogger (and writer) Jacob Seymour. We hope to hear and read more from Jacob in the very near future! -Ed)

After a tough week one opponent, the Buckeyes look to continue their regular season winning streak. While Virginia Tech seems to be the second best opponent on Ohio State’s schedule, the Buckeyes might be in a position to do something not many would expect.

Va. Tech’s Last Game in Review

Last week Va. Tech played William & Mary and won 34-9 and gained almost 500 yards of total offense. Now when we look at the box score it looks like Virginia Tech had no problems against William & Mary, but for those who actually watched the game the score is a bit misleading. Several times when Va. Tech was inside the 5 yard line they had difficulties putting the ball in the end zone in 2 attempts. Also when Va. Tech was inside the 5 yard line they seemed to struggle against William & Mary’s D-Line or shoot themselves in the foot with stupid penalties. At halftime the score was 17-6, William & Mary shot themselves in the foot on a miscommunication around the 50 yard line, when the center snapped the ball before the quarterback was ready. William & Mary were playing well up to that point and if they get another field goal or a touchdown on that drive who knows how the momentum of the game swings. When you look at the box score again and see that William & Mary only gained 76 yards of rushing, consider this. When a quarterback gets sacked it actually goes against their rushing yards. William & Mary’s Mikal Abdul-Saboor ran the ball 10 times for 85 yards, although almost half came from a 40 yard run. William & Mary was able to move the ball on the ground with some success against the Hokies. Also Tre McBride had 4 catches for 62 yards, 43 of those yards came on one play. The Hokies seemed to give up a few big plays and if William & Mary had a better offensive line, we may have had a different ball game.

Virginia Tech on Offense

The Hokies like to create a very balance attack and keep defenses on their toes. Va. Tech has a good freshman running back named Shai McKenzie. McKenzie is a powerful back who has some speed; McKenzie averaged around 11 yards per carry and had a good 39 yard run. If the Hokies are to pull the upset Michael Brewer, the quarterback, must have an exceptional game. Brewer played well in his first start, after transferring from Texas Tech. While Brewer had a good performance throwing an interception and having an adjusted QBR rating of 72.2 is not going to win the game against Ohio State. A guy Ohio State does need to watch for is freshman WR Isaiah Ford. This freshman is not your average freshman wide receiver. Ford had 4 receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown. Ford is quick and has some good height at 6-1 and if the Buckeyes’ secondary is not ready, Ford could have a breakout game. The Hokies offensive line does need to step up this week, the Hookies start two sophomores. The offensive line did not have its way with William & Mary, like they should of, and I expect the O-Line to come out and be very physical.

Ohio State on Offense

Ohio State’s offense failed to score a single touchdown in the first half, which is a bit surprising because Ohio State was moving the ball in the first half. Ohio State’s offensive line must improve; the Hokies have a quick D-Line and need to give Barrett some time to throw the ball. Barrett will need to be sharper throwing the ball. While the Hokies lost two very good players in the secondary to the NFL, this secondary does not miss a step. Most of the players returning in the secondary played quite a bit last year and the Hokies secondary could be arguably top ten in the nation after the season is all said and done. Barrett is going to have to keep his eyes out for Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller. Both of those cornerbacks, who are sophomores, are very good and have a future in the NFL if they continue to play the way they are. The Buckeyes will need to give Devin Smith some more deep ball chances because the Hokies defense has the secondary to play one on one with Ohio State and crowd the box. The Buckeyes need to establish a running game to help Smith and the other receivers to get open. I expect a lot more play action from the Buckeyes this coming Saturday.

NFL Future for Virginia Tech

While there are a few players on the Hokies roster that could play in the NFL someday, I want to focus on the best player and that is Kendall Fuller. The sophomore cornerback is the fourth Fuller to play at Virginia Tech, but he could be the best one. Fuller had 58 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 6 interceptions, 11 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble in his freshman campaign. Not only is Fuller physical, he is a playmaker. Fuller has great hands and plays the ball beautifully when it is in the air, as seen by his six INT’s last year. I see Fuller having potential going in the Top 15 in the 2016 NFL draft, if he stays healthy and continues to play better jamming wide outs at the line of scrimmage.

Buckeye to Watch

Last week we predicted Darron Lee to have a big game, which he did. So hopefully we can go two for two. Devin Smith is the Buckeye to watch this week. He will probably be matched against Fuller all night, so if Smith wants to prove that he should be on the rise, in next year’s NFL draft this is the week to do it. The Buckeyes will need Smith to stretch the field and make some plays after the catch because I expect the Hokies to stack the box and make Barrett beat them through the air.

Bottom Line

Ohio State wins BIG. After seeing how the Hokies offense played against William & Mary, I have a tough time seeing them showing up against the best D-Line in the country on the road. Ohio State’s Bennett and Washington dominated the line of scrimmage most of the game and with Va. Tech playing a more traditional style of offense I expect them and the rest of the D-Line to man handle this O-Line. While the Buckeyes defense is able to keep off the field, I feel the Buckeye offense will find its groove at some point and start piling up the points.

National Perspective of the Game

If Ohio State is able to shut down Va. Tech, like I believe they will, the voters give Ohio State a bit more credit. What will also help Ohio State’s victory is Navy going on the road and just dismantling Temple.

Weekly Getting SEC Fans Fired Up About the Truth

Alabama is so overrated they made a four win team, in the Big Twelve conference, look like a Top 25 team. Alabama’s pass defense is in need of a lot of work. I understand that Trey DePriest was suspended, but come on now West Virginia threw the ball almost fifty times, it’s not like you didn’t know what they were going to do. One of Alabama’s biggest strengths is their wide receivers’ ability to stretch the field vertically, but the problem with that is their quarterback, Blake Sims, has as much arm strength as Jamie Moyer throwing a fastball. The defensive line is not what I thought it would be, neither are the linebackers. Luckily Alabama played a team who has a pretty horrendous defense, otherwise Alabama loses that game. If Alabama plays to this caliber all year long, which they will not, Bama is in for a long year. After this game, I do not see Alabama winning the SEC West and I see them losing to LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M and/or Ole Miss. Which means once again we have to hear from SEC fans how hard their conference is because a team who dominated the BCS era could lose three games in this conference. Somehow Alabama to the voters will be like the popular guy at your high school reunion. You know the star quarterback who comes to the reunion fat, bald, but still gets all the attention because of what he used to be.

Friday Open Thread: Navy

This has been the craziest couple of weeks leading up to a season since… well, I guess since Urban Meyer took the helm. Or, maybe that time there was a little scuffle at a night club. Ok, so maybe it’s par for the course that Ohio State deals with some kind of stuff before actual football is played. So this year decided it wasn’t going to be any different, and here we are — starting-quarterback-less, an away game and a season of unknowns. Some have already said participation in the first college football playoff has sailed off into the sunset (or more appropriately, up north, to the newly christened favorite Michigan State). Others have said this wasn’t going to be the year anyway, so let’s see what we have in these young guys. And then you’ve got a group of seniors that have seen some serious highs and some abysmal lows. They don’t want to go out like that.

So we start Week One against a pluck Navy team. We’ve had some good content this week leading up, so a quick recap:

  • Chip wondered what the offense will look like (Guiton-ish?) and which freshmen will see the field (a lot).
  • Ronnie gave us his usual Cliff’s Notes on who to be watching when these two teams collide, including Curtis Grant, who is on a mission of reaching potential and possible meeting expectations:

    Not only will Grant need to lead by example, but his vocal leadership will be valuable on the field Saturday. Grant must be the commanding voice for the Buckeyes defense and keep them disciplined and calm.

  • Finally, Nate gets you set with all the knowledge you need to be prepared for the start of the 2014 season.

So here’s an open thread to discuss your thoughts, hopes and dreams about the start of the college football season. (The REAL start is on Saturday. This Thursday stuff is for the scrubs).

How about some predictions? What do you think will be the final score? Which running back will carry the ball the most? How many times to they let J.T. throw the ball?

My predictions:
Ohio State 45
Navy 17

Most carries: Ezekiel Elliot

J.T. passes: 18