Gone are 4 of last years starting offensive lineman, Carlos Hyde, Philly Brown and Braxton Miller. Early in Saturday’s game vs. Navy the subtraction of last years offensive MVP was apparent. No, I’m not talking about Braxton Miller. I’m referring to Ohio State’s offensive line, which last year was one of the best in the country. The first half was marred by missed assignments, poor line communication, penalties and flat out bad blocking. These things helped lead to a 7-6 deficit going into half time.
Ohio State pulled away late, giving people that didn’t watch the game the impression that OSU handled Navy rather easily. That wasn’t the case at all. for a better part of 3 quarters The Buckeyes struggled with The Midshipmen.
The redshirt freshman got his first college start and performed well, throwing for 226 yards, completing 80% of his passes, throwing for 2 touchdowns and leading Ohio State in rushing with 50 yards. He did throw a bad interception as a result of poor offensive line play that lead to pressure bursting right up the middle, forcing Barrett to scramble and make a ill conceived pass that was picked off in the red zone. Meyer could be seen yelling at Barrett to throw the ball away. This one will go down in the books as Barrett’s failure, but it was clear the pass was forced by near immediate pressure.
Barrett had 3 incompletions. The first was on a pass to Dontre Wilson who was side open in the middle of the field and simply stopped running his route and ended up dropping the ball. That play could have been a TD. The second was off pressure once again on 3rd down, forcing a wobbly pass to Curtis Samuel out of the backfield. The 3rd was the interception. All other passes were completed.
Once the offensive line settled down in the second half and Herman allowed the kid to throw the ball downfield, the offense got it’s rhythm back. I think the key play of the game was a 22 yard completion to Michael Thomas. It had Barrett rolling right on a two receiver pattern. Barrett read it perfectly and hit Thomas on a frozen rope for 22. It showed his offensive coaching staff he could make an accurate throw downfield.
The kid is solid, won’t wow anyone like Miller did but he can certainly spin the ball. Should be fun to watch him develop this year.
Lee made the play of the game, returning a fumble 61 yards for a go ahead touchdown to start the 3rd quarter. He also had 7 tackles, including 2 tackles for loss and one thunderous hit on Keenan Reynolds. He seems to have that “it” factor and has a nose for the ball and for making plays.
The Defensive Line
Michael Bennett, Adolphus Washington and Joey Bosa did work Saturday. Constantly having to fend off cut blocks they combined for 11 tackles and 4 tackles for loss, including a sack. Bosa also had a hand in the fumble that lead to Lee’s TD, forcing a bad pitch by Reynolds. This unit will be the key to The Buckeye defense.
So yeah, he’s pretty good. Averaged 7.2 yards per carry, 23 yards per catch and had 168 total yards on 14 touches good for 12 yards a touch. Meyer has his Harvin. NO! Meyer has his WILSON.
The Offensive Line (First Half)
I already touched on it, but yeah…they were terrible. Ohio State managed 2 measly field goals and barely any offense what so ever.
The Chris Ash revamped secondary was never tested Saturday as Navy threw the ball 4 times for 20 yards. I guess the good news is, Ohio States pass defense is ranked 3rd in the country! Next week will be the real test for the defense.
The Kids Table
How did the Buckeye younglings do? Curtis Samuel showed tremendous burst, rushing for 45 yards and averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Jalin Marshall flashed some promise, with a couple catches going for 19 yards. He didn’t get much action, but showed good wiggle and gets up to speed quickly. Von Bell had 7 tackles and should be the starter along Tyvis Powell at the safety spots.
Lessons To Be Learned
For the love on God, stop scheduling Navy or any other school that runs the triple option. It doesn’t teach you anything about the defense you have and it’s difficult to get better as a defense because the offense you are going against is so alien to anything else they will see all year. It also puts the entire team in a bad spot in my honest opinion. It’s VERY difficult to blow this team out, because they run the ball so well against everyone they play. It makes it difficult to get into a rhythm on offense.
It’s hard to replace an all world QB, amazing offensive line and bulldozer of a running back. But this is Ohio State. They will reload each and every year. This game felt like an extension of fall/summer camp in a lot of ways. Lots of running backs getting touches and lots of offensive lineman getting reps. Still seems to be looking for the right combination on the line and in the backfield.
Most of the game was frustrating to watch, for many reasons. But they got the win and did so by 17. Onto Virginia Tech.
The Buckeyes started off the 2014 season with a 17 point victory vs. The Navy Midshipmen that felt more like a last second 4th quarter comeback win. Ohio State took control in the 2nd half, scoring 28 points after falling behind the Midshipmen 7-6 at the end of the 1st half.
Ohio State got a huge boost from linebacker Darron Lee who scooped up a Navy fumble and raced 61 yards for a go ahead TD. Navy answered a couple minutes later with a 1 yard touchdown by Keenan Reynolds. After tha Ohio State took complete control of the game, scoring 3 touchdowns to Navy’s 1 field goal.
The first half was dominated by bad offensive line play that resulted in stalled drives, penalties and constant pressure on J.T. Barrett who threw a costly interception in the red zone after getting pressure up the middle, avoiding it and carelessly throwing a bad ball.
The offensive line settled down in the second half and that allowed OSU’s offense to get back on track Barrett, in his first OSU start played well, throwing for 226 yards, 2 touchdowns and leading the Buckeyes in rushing with 50 yards. Braxton Miller, he is not, but he can clearly throw the football well when given time.
The jury is still out on the defense, who gave up 370 yards rushing to a Navy team who runs the option better than anyone. While they gave up tons of yards on the ground, they only gave up 17 points to a powerful offense and all world quarterback in Keenan Reynolds. The defensive line was outstanding, getting a few key stops in the 2nd half. Next week will be a better gauge for how far the defense has come along when they play Virginia Tech, a team that runs a normal offense.
This team is very young and very talented. They will make you want to tear out your hair one minute and make you jump out of your seat with excitement.
Buckle up Buckeye fans. It’s gonna be a fun year.
More game detail to follow.