Preview: Rutgers vs Ohio State

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This weekend will mark the first time the Buckeyes Head Coach Urban Meyer goes toe to toe with one of his former coaches, Chris Ash who was the Buckeyes Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach for the last two seasons.  Ash took a Head Coaching job within the BIG 10 and he is the newly minted coach at Rutgers.  This will be one of those games that could get out of hand quickly, but I look for Urban Meyer to show “some” mercy for his first clash or encounter with a former member of the Urban Meyer coaching tree.

ash1Chris Ash spent two years at Ohio State coaching up the Defensive Backs.  During his tenure, he helped develop players such as Doran Grant, Eli Apple, Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell.  He helped secure the commitments of some notable players like current players, Defensive End Jashon Cornell, Running Back Antonio Williams and Wideout K.J. Hill.  He brought in Safeties Isaiah Pryor and Brendon White for the 2017 Class.  He has proven that he was one of Ohio State’s best recruiters during his tenure and now that he is the head man at Rutgers, it is just a waiting game until he can stop the TTUN’s pipeline in the talent-rich state of New Jersey.  You can expect to see a lot of rugby-style tackles from the Scarlet Knights’ defense.  A lot of man to man defense.  A lot of press coverage.  I am not going to discredit Ash’s ability to turn a team around and I don’t plan on starting.

imgresWhat if I had told you that sure, we lost Chris Ash to Rutgers, but we gained a former Rutgers Head Coach of 11 years and a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach in Greg Schiano?  Well, it happened as quickly as Ash left for the Rutgers job.  Greg Schiano basically built his career up from the dust during his tenure in Piscataway, New Jersey.  He wasn’t known for flashy offenses, but he had a reputation for coaching high-caliber, highly effective defenses.  He mirrors the defensive scheme that Coach Ash left behind.  They both play man coverage and place their corners on islands.  They both preach hard-nosed defense that covers opposing Wideouts for the duration of the play, so the front seven can put additional pressure on the Quarterback.  The only difference?  Coach Ash wanted to minimize big plays by shutting down the opposing offense, forcing punts.  Coach Schiano craves and wants takeaways.  Now seeing how Ohio State’s defense is leading the nation in takeaways and scoring defense, I think they responded accordingly without any dropoff in production.

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J.T. Barrett will go up against a Rutgers defense that is giving up  362 yards per game, 180 through the air and 181 on the ground.  J.T. Barrett and his offense average about 545 yards in total offense, 239 through the air and 306 on the ground.  That is well over the averages that the Rutgers have been giving up after three weeks into the young College Football Season.  Barrett is completing 67% of his passes, averaging 8.90 yards per attempt. He has 650 passing yards with 10 touchdowns against one  interception.  Barrett, being the Dual-Threat that he is, has 159 rushing yards for three scores.  The Slobs are also gelling together and they have given up two sacks in the season.  The Slobs are young, but minus the penalties, they will grow into their roles as the season advances.  They will be prepared to grind out the meaty, more difficult portion of their schedule during the last half of the season.

Chirs Laviano will be the starting Quarterback, opposite of Barrettchris-laviano-2. He has an almost identical numbers compared to Barrett.  He has 647 passing yards with 5 touchdowns against two interceptions. The only difference is Laviano isn’t a Dual-Threat Quarterback. Laviano comes into the game with a 52% completion rating which isn’t good by any Head Coaches standards.  Add that to the fact that he has been sacked 8 times, let’s just say that he might not like what the Silver Bullets have in store for him once he visits during Homecoming.  He will look to take care of the ball and feed Robert Martin the rock to soften up the Buckeye Defense.  It is easier said than done, but you never know in College Football.  Things don’t always go according to plan and they MIGHT come in with a massive chip on their shoulders after they opened up as 38 point underdogs to start the new week.

imgres-2The “Basic” Defense comes into the game after a convincing and satisfying win in Norman against a Sooners team that began the season as the #3 team in the nation.  The Silver Bullets are back and they are feeding off of the mindset of Greg Schiano.  They are looking for the takeaways and they sit at +11 and the #1 in the Nation In Takeaways.  They will be going against a Rutgers offense that has struggled, so the results will vary, but I am feeling like since it is Homecoming at Ohio State, all bets are off.  The Silver Bullets will look to put the pressure on early and often, forcing Laviano and his offense to struggle mightily.  With no dependable Offensive Lineman on the roster, the Scarlet Knights might endure another long game.  For what it’s worth, the Buckeyes are giving up 278 yards per game, 176 through the air and 102 on the ground so we will see if the Rutgers can get something going against a stout and loaded Ohio State Defense.

julian-pinnix-odrickThe Rutgers Defense is the polar opposite of the Ohio State Defense.  They were lit up at Washington to open up the season and they currently are sitting at 2-2 coming into the game.  The defense surrendered a total of 42 points combined to Howard University and New Mexico which doesn’t bode well for the Scarlet Knights because Ohio State is averaging 56.7 points per game through 3 games.  They have a few sacks and interceptions, but they came during garbage time and against sub-par teams. The Rutgers will be tested early and often.  I expect J.T. Barrett and company to run in down their throats until they find passing lanes, then before you know it the Buckeye reserves will gain some valuable playing after the game gets out of hand.

Prediction:

J.T. Barrett:  245 yards with 3 touchdowns, 7 rushes for 1 touchdown

Mike Weber:  104 yards with 1 touchdown

Curtis Samuel:  120 yards receiving with 1 touchdown, 10 rushes for 70 yards and 1 touchdown

Noah Brown:  4 catches for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns

Buckeyes Defense:  4 QB Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 2 Interceptions with 1 going for six

Although this will be a game early, the Buckeyes will blow the doors off and at least approach their season average for points per game.  J.T. Barrett lights up the Rutgers Secondary, Mike Weber grinds out the clock and gets his second score of the season, Curtis Samuel acts as the Swiss Army Knife once again and Noah Brown puts another helpless Defensive Back on a poster.  The Silver Bullets swarm and engulf Laviano forcing pressure from start to beginning.  Forcing him to make costly turnovers early and often.  The Defensive Unit surrendered two offensive touchdowns last week to the Sooners and they will be looking for redemption against the Rutgers.  The Rutgers line flounders once again and Baby Bosa garners another sack to make big brother proud.  The knockout blow will be a near deathblow and let’s just say Coach Meyer’s Special Teams Unit makes a play this week.  I don’t know who it’ll be, but I am calling for a blocked kick or punt or even a kickoff or punt return.  Maybe I am expecting too much, but it has been a while.

Final:  Ohio State over Rutgers 55-12

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Recruiting Tidbit:

Mr. Ohio State Danny Clark has just decommitted from the Buckeyes after finally accepting the fact that he was no longer the future at Ohio State.  Clark had been committed for quite some time and it is truly sad to see him go, but I wish him luck with whichever team he chooses to play for.  Crystal Balls have been in Kentucky’s favor, but we will see.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in the BIG 10..  Maybe playing for Coach Ash in Piscataway.  That would be crazy, but for now he will re-open it up.  His spot is now up for grabs and there are still a lot of fish in the recruiting ocean for Ohio State to catch.  Maybe Ohio State uses it to add another Playmaking Wideout or another Linebacker or Defensive Lineman.  Who knows and the recruiting world is unpredictable.  It is another interesting thing to follow as the path to National Signing Day appraoches.

 

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Ohio State vs. Oklahoma Highlights

Buckeyes Have Sooner Fans Thinking Super Bowl

Oklahoma Sooner fans went to bed last night thinking the “what if” game so well known to Browns fans. Every week since before the Roman Empire, Browns fans have, win by win, imagined their team in the Super Bowl if only a handful of things went in the opposite direction.

Last Sunday in Philadelphia, a tipped interception instead falls harmlessly to earth, Robert Griffin performs like a normal quarterback and hits a wide open Andrew Hawkins for a touchdown and Cam Erving actually takes a peak back at his quarterback instead of flipping an exchange into the Schuylkill.

Elimination of some small bad luck and fixing the fixable and voila, no need to go for a touchdown conceding first down late in the game. Browns win! Week after week, two or three changes.

Browns in payoffs! Super Bowl baby!

Just as they did a few weeks ago, Sooner fans stared at the ceiling all night. More than a few had to ponder a simple change in fortune. And only on fourth down. Is that asking too much?

By the middle of the first quarter, with no score on the board, the Sooners at least were winning the momentum battle. They drove right down the field deep into Ohio State territory. A doink on a chip field goal attempt was offset by a stern defensive effort which had stopped the Buckeyes once and had them fourth and three from long field goal range.

Urban Meyer, who believes anything inside the 50 yard line is potential four down territory, called a time out. As the Buckeyes lined up, Curtis Samuel went in motion from the left, but stopped to line up right, next to JT Barrett in a three backfield set. Motion by tight end Marcus Baugh to set a left edge failed to tip off the defense. The resulting 36 yard Samuel scamper turned a potential defensive stop into a Buckeye opening touchdown.

After the ensuing kickoff the Sooners were driving again behind the slicing power running of Joe Mixon. But at the Buckeye 33 the Sooners found themselves facing a fourth and three. Against just a basic Ohio State defense, no problem for the talents of the other-worldly Baker Mayfield, right? Unfortunately, a deflection of Mayfield’s pass to the right by a blitzing Jalyn Holmes landed softly into the hands of Buckeye Jerome Baker who steamed 68 yards for the pick six. The Buckeyes’ fourth of the year.

Two Sooner fails on fourth down, two Buckeye touchdowns. Fourteen points.

After a 35 point first half Buckeye explosion—the worst ever surrendered to a visitor to Norman—the Sooners had managed to maintain a halftime deficit of eighteen and were approaching midfield in the fourth quarter. On cecond down, Mayfield went deep but Marshon Lattimore had the call measured all the way. Acting more as receiver than defender he completed what was ruled a diving interception inside the Buckeye ten yard line.

Unfortunately, the glee in Norman when the interception was disallowed on review soon turned to gloom. After a third down conversion fail, the futility of fourth down once again faced the Sooners. A Mayfield sack in his own territory advanced Buckeye field position by over 50 yards from where the Lattimore interception would have had them. The Buckeyes could only convert the windfall into a field goal, but the momentum had been stopped, the game effectively won.

An additional fourth down failure was to come, but the first three, had they merely gone the other way, could have very possibly have put the Sooners up by four—in the world of Browns’ fans.

Of course this ignores the fact that the Buckeyes took their foot off the pedal on offense in the second half, it ignores a potential Buckeye response, and it ignores that better teams perform on things like fourth down and weaker teams don’t.

But a win of the mind is a win nonetheless.

Just ask any fan of the perennial Super Bowl Champ Browns.

Game Recap: The Ohio State Buckeyes vs The Oklahoma Sooners

 

 

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Revenge is a dish best served cold.  Coming into the game the Buckeyes lack of experience was the biggest question mark, but most  if not all questions were answered after a 42-21 throttling from Ohio State.  J.T. Barrett and company showed up and did their part for the majority of the game.  The biggest slight came from a Backup Quarterback Kendall Austin, who was once a Buckeye target, who stated that the Buckeye defense played a “basic” defense and that Baker Mayfield would light them up.  He even had the audacity to say that if he had the chance, he would likely do the same.  I guess you should “say less” as most Buckeye defenders had stated.  I hoped that you had the opportunity to showcase your skills against our “basic” defense, but you never got the opportunity.  Even if you did, Raekwon McMillan and the Silver Bullets would’ve feasted on your soul and in the land of the wolves, you cannot stop the pack.

imgres Zone 6 member Noah Brown torched every Defensive Back that attempted to cover him en route to his stellar performance. Brown, who returned after suffering a severe leg injury, came back with authority.  Brown was always a good player, but tonight he took a step toward greatness as he caught 5 passes for 72 yards and 4 highlight reel touchdowns.  He looked unstoppable.  He caught passes over helpless Defensive Backs and around them too.  Literally!  He was destroying the opposing defenders and although he only caught 5 passes, the damage had been done and you could see the dejection in their eyes. The crowd that was once filled with energy lacked the spark that made their home field one of the most intimidating and nasty road environments.

CSThe crowd noise died as J.T. Barrett hit them with the silencer, the hammer to silence their critics.  Curtis Samuel had another good showing.  He racked up 118 offensive yards and a touchdown on a 36-yard scamper on 4th and 1.  That was a bold move that swung the momentum in the Buckeyes favor.  The Buckeyes ground game wore the Sooner defense down as they were pushed around for most of the game, but they would occasionally make a play to halt the Buckeyes offensive attack.  Mike Weber churned out another 100-yard performance rushing for 123 rushing yards.  The Buckeyes were moving the ball at will, but the Sooner defense stood their ground and forced the punt.
iThe Sooner got the ball back and attempted to convert on 4th and 3, but the “basic” defense stiffened up and forced another turnover to take the 14-0 lead courtesy of Jerome Baker who filled in for banged-up Dante Booker.  It is getting fun seeing what forgotten recruit steps up and makes an impact whenever their number is called.  The Buckeye defense lost their most experienced player in Gareon Conley, but his replacement Redshirt Freshman Damon Arnette filled in just fine.  Like I had previously stated, the Buckeyes are deep at just about every position, on both sides of the ball.  The talent is definitely in place and the future looks brighter and brighter as the season goes on as the Buckeyes added two additional forced turnovers for the season, which now stands at +9 and they have gathered their 4th pick-6 of the year.  They held Oklahoma to just 226 yards passing and 178 yards on the ground which is below their average after two games.  “Basic” stuff.

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The first true road test for the young Buckeyes had gone as quickly as it gone and Buckeye Nation is happily sipping their tea.  This comes as a pleasant surprise as I thought it would be much closer than it ended up becoming and for that, I am thankful.  I am glad that the Buckeyes used their visit to Norman as an audition for the College Football Playoff Committee and upstaged and outright embarrassed the home team on their own turf.  I would recommend not throwing stones from your glass house at a sleeping giant.  I hope the Playoff Committee was paying attention because these Buckeyes are the real deal.  They are building great recruiting classes to make up for the players that will leave or that are bound to leave.  Speaking of recruiting #1 Safety Jeffrey Okudah was on deck for an official visit, but he used it to preview both teams and how they run their defenses.  I think it is another resounding win as the defense stifled Oklahoma throughout the game.  Sure the Sooner scored two offensive scores, but the game was already in hand.  Okudah will likely announce around signing day, but I think the Buckeyes helped their cause.

 

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Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Oklahoma Sooners

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After two weeks of games in the books by both teams, their highly anticipated matchup with enormous College Football Playoff implications, is upon us.  Ohio State and Oklahoma were voted as two of top Blueblood programs in college football.  Both considered as college football royalty and both programs have illustrious and storied histories filled with Hall of Fame coaches, elite players and multiple championships between the two programs.  Both coaches will looks to add to their legacy and they will go out there to secure a win at any cost.  This is an exciting, yet scary matchup for either team considering the circumstances in which both teams are in.  This game will also have a recruiting flare to it because the Buckeyes and the Sooners are vying for the same prospects on the recruiting trail.  This is a high stakes, high pressure game and I am predicting an unforgettable atmosphere for the fans and the players on both sides of the spectrum.

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Ohio State Buckeyes:

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The Buckeyes enter the competition with Oklahoma 2-0 and are looking for another win to solidify their CFB Playoffs resume.  Ohio State returned J.T. Barrett, Pat Elflein and Billy Price from last years team.  They are breaking in three new Offensive Lineman and sometimes their youth and inexperience show along the perimeter.  Couple that with a true freshman Guard in Michael Jordan (not his airness), it will take some time to get use to Barrett and the way he surgically operates the offensive juggernaut that Ohio State possesses.  The lone question I have is can the younger members of the Buckeyes O-Line block the talent of the Sooner defense?  Are they ready for the bright lights and the bump up in talent level?  The Buckeyes are also attempting to find a suitable replacement for now Dallas Cowboy, Ezekiel Elliot in the offensive backfield along with a host of new offensive toys at receiver.  Mike Weber is the new Cadillac Back at Ohio State and after his first two games, most Buckeyes fans cannot help but feel the excitement because he has the potential to be great.  That and with the emergence of Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson, the future looks bright as the depth at receiver is something that a hardcore College Football fan cannot deny.  They have reserves that can start at other schools.  Division I schools.  That says a lot and as players are recruited, sure they wait, but they are developed under the close and watchful eyes of the coach staff so their dreams could be realized once they receive their shot.

CS 4Case and point, Dontre Wilson.  He sat behind Braxton “B Button” Miller and was in and out with injury and once he was healthy enough to contribute he hasn’t looked back.  He even performed the patented Buckeye Spin last week against Tulsa.  It shows that the coaches can develop the talent into games and into men.  Even if they want it to happen as soon as they arrive on campus, they need the patience to develop and follow the plan laid out in front of them by their position coaches and often times with help from their parents who have bought-in to the program and to the coaches that represent the university.  Barrett and his array of weapons have amassed 1759 total yards on offense and Barrett accounts for 498 of those yards through the air for six touchdowns and 85 of those yards for 3 total rushes for six.  Samuel isn’t too far behind with 162 yards and a touchdown on the ground and 14 receptions for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air.  Weber pitches in with 36 carries for 228 yards and a touchdown and Wilson went for 66 yards on the ground with a touchdown and 75 yards through the air and 2 touchdowns.  Needless to say, the Buckeyes have a potent offense that could explode at a moments notice.  Just give them the opportunity and the talent on the depth chart will show no matter who is placed in the game.  Like I had mentioned, there is talent at the top and bottom of the offensive two deep and it is just about patience and opportunity.  The next man up mentality reigns supreme in the land of wolves.  With 21 offensive scores in the books, can the high-octane offensive attack keep up their end of the bargain against a tough Sooners defense?

z-osu-d2Ohio State began the season against the Bowling Green Falcons and the Tusla Golden Hurricanes, only returning 3 starters on defense, Middle Linebacker Raekwon McMillan, Defensive End Tyquan Lewis and Cornerback Gareon Conley.  Although they aren’t the big name programs, they both pack experienced and potent offenses that can put points on the scoreboard and do it quickly.  There had been a lot of speculation on how Coach Meyer and his staff would adapt and overcome the mass NFL Draft exodus that occurred after the 2015 season.  With multiple vacated spots on both sides of the ball many discounted Coach Meyers ability to reload stating that the inexperience would cost them greatly.  So far through two games against potent offenses, the young Buckeyes defense proved that they have the talent and depth to succeed.  Sure, it was against Bowling Green and Tulsa, but last season they racked up the points and yardage and finished the season ranked 6th and 21st in the nation in scoring offense and 4th and 13th in total offense a season ago.  The talent between last seasons team and this years is not as dire as most would expect it to be.  The talent that they lost is irreplaceable, but Coach Meyer and company always seem to get the utmost best from their players who are patiently waiting in the wings for their opportunity.  Getting younger isn’t always a bad thing because you will watch them develop, but at Ohio State, if you can play and you show the willingness and determination, you will play for the Scarlet and Gray.

z-osu-mlbThe defense is young and inexperienced, but they have only allowed 1068 total yards in two games.  Sure those aren’t good numbers, but I feel that they will improve upon as the season goes on as they learn to play with each other.   They have held the previous two opponents to a 21.9% 3rd down conversion rate and have only allowed 2 field goals on offense.  They have held opposing signal-callers to a 47.4% completion rating without surrendering a score to the opposing offense.    The run stopping ability shows as the Buckeyes opponents are averaging 2 yards per rushing attempt and a total of 65 yards rushing per game.  The lone touchdown was a pick-six on an errant pass from J.T. Barrett.  The Buckeyes boast a stifling defense that has allowed 216 yards per game and has taken the ball away a total of 9 times and is +7 in turnovers this season.  They gathered 7 interceptions, 3 for scores, forced and recovered 2 fumbles to go along with their 4 sacks.  The Silver Bullets allowed 151 yards through the air and 65 through the ground as they looks ahead to their showdown against the Sooners and their high octane offense.  Safety Malik Hooker, who attempted to leave the program due to insufficient playing time is the newly minted playmaker on defense registering 3 interceptions, one of which was for a score.  Oft-injured Cornerback Marshon Lattimore made the most of his opportunity against Tulsa when he picked Senior Quarterback Dane Evans off twice, one of which went for a touchdown.  Lattimore was hurt for the majority of his Buckeye career and at full health, he showed the coaches that he can be that playmaker that he once was in high school.  Gareon Conley also pitched in with a pick, ripping the ball away from an unsuspecting receiver.  True Freshman Rodjay Burns also made an impact when he took a Bowling Green pass 75 yards back to the house for a score.  Playmakers exist on every level and although they have a lot of new starters, Raekwon McMillan is there to ensure that the new Bullets are up to speed and up to standard.

Oklahoma Sooners:

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The Sooners come into the game 1-1, with their lone loss coming courtesy of former Urban Meyer Offensive Coordinator, Tom Herman and his Houston Cougars.  The Sooners opened the season up as the #3 ranked team and they lost in heartbreaking fashion during the home opener.  They followed up their poor showing with a offensive onslaught on the visiting UL Monroe Warhawks and rebounded with a resounding 59-17 victory to prepare for Ohio State when they come into Norman.  Like all true away games, I fully expect some form of shenanigans from the Sooner faithful and from what I had heard, it will be a Stripped Out Crowd.  I don’t know the exact details, but to each their own I guess.  The Sooners have tallied up 1708 total yards on offense, 160 total yards less than the Buckeyes.  Oklahoma scored 7 touchdowns through the air and 4 on the ground.  Baker Mayfield leads the offense accompanied by his version of smash and dash, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.  The account for a combined total of 956 yards and 8 touchdowns of the 1033 and 18 offensive scores.  That is a ton of points and yardage.  The Sooners also have the ability to spread defenses with their spread attack.  They have a big bodies, deep threat in Mark Andrews who stands at 6-5, 250 lbs and at one time while he was in high school, he had high interest in Ohio State prior to committing to the Sooners.  Fate has brought both of these teams together for a showdown of the victor and the loser on the recruiting trial.  Andrews caught 5 passes for 157 yards and 3 scores.  Dede Westbrook is another stellar talent and he has caught 12 passes for 103 yards.  Nick Basquine is also capable of scoring, catching 3 passes for 80 yards and a score.  The only thing in question for the Sooners is can their young Offensive Line keep Baker Mayfield upright?  The Sooner O-Line has given up 8 sacks for -38 yards in two games and with the Ohio State defense that thrives in pressuring the Quarterback, we will just have to see if they can gameplan for the constant pressure that Ohio State is known for.  Oklahoma definitely has weapons and this game will be the true test for Ohio State’s young defense.

z-ou-dOn defense, the Sooners have given up a total of 1651 yards to opposing offenses.  They have held opponents to a 59.7% completion rating and a 2.4 average on the ground.  The Sooners are -1 in the turnover difference with zero interceptions and 2 recovered fumbles.  The Sooners have given up 25 points per game and are looking to right the ship against a dual-threat Quarterback in J.T. Barrett.  Oklahoma has only managed to sack opposing signal-callers four times and that is just as much as the Buckeyes have gotten to the Quarterback, so it evens out in the end.  On third down the Sooners are giving up the conversion 47.8% of the time, which isn’t too shabby.  They have returned few starters after the loss of Eric Striker and they are just as young and inexperienced as the Buckeyes.  Linebacker Jordan Evans, Hybrid Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Defensive Backs William Johnson and Ahmad Thomas will be leading the charge racking up 50 tackles, 2 sacks and a fumble recovery between the four of them.  Another recruit that was won over by the Sooners is Ricky DeBerry, one of the few recruits that got away from the Buckeyes.  Who will end up making the key stop, the momentum swinging play?  Who steps up to stop the Ohio State offensive attack?  This is as high stakes as you could get and the game is going to be electric.  With the home field advantage, the Sooners defense looks to salvage their season by upsetting the 3rd ranked Buckeyes in from of their home crowd.

Prediction:

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I am truly torn.  I am a homer and I would love Ohio State to beat the snot out of the Sooners, but this feels like an ambush waiting to happen.  I am a humble fan and I want to remain objective and non-biased so I am predicting a close game throughout.  The Quarterback duel will be epic.  J.T. Barrett will dice up the shaky secondary for 300+ yards and 2 scores finding Samuel and Wilson for scores, but Baker Mayfield will match and exceed the passing total with 340 and match him with 2 scores of his own.  Barrett will give the defense fits with the read option burning them for 100 yards and a score.  Mike Weber will eat yardage early and often as he looks to soften up the defense and set them up for a play action deep pass.  Weber will churn out another 100 yard performance with a touchdown.  The Mixon/Perine combination will succeed in the beginning against the Buckeyes and gouge the defense for huge chunks of yardage.  They will combine for 125 yards and 1 scores.  Samuel and Wilson will find ways to make plays and they will combine for 150 yards.  A newcomer will reveal himself to the nation, I am not sure who it will be, but he is coming.  Andrews will be blanketed the entire game but he will overpower the younger DB’s but won’t score.  That will leave opportunities for Basquine and Westbrook to score with one of them finding the endzone for a score.  The Buckeye defense will seal the win with a pick-six or a key stop to end the game.  Hooker will get a pick and the defense will sack Mayfield twice.  The Oklahoma defense picks Barrett off twice and sacks him once.  This will be a good ole’ barnburner (WWE’s J.T. voice), but the suspense will be consistent throughout.   The crowd noise will be a factor early forcing the younger players into false starts, but they will get through it as the game goes on.

Final:  35-28 Ohio State

 

 

 

 

Recap: Tulsa vs. Ohio State

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Well, it was a warm, sunny day but the swirling winds had hindered the Buckeyes offensive attack for the majority of the afternoon.  With thunderstorms looming and the weather becoming more and more of a factor this was definitely not what I or most of us Buckeye fans wanted to witness.  Although that isn’t a great excuse, the Buckeyes have no real excuse and they need a resounding win to further amplify their confidence prior to the showdown with the Oklahoma Sooners.  This game definitely did not go according to plan as the mighty Buckeyes showed their youth and struggled mightily against an experienced Tulsa offense and a defense filled with Juniors and Senior looking to upset the home team and shock the world.

First Half:

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Marshon Lattimore, the oft-injured and forgotten man in the secondary came up huge for the Buckeyes.  On the first offensive play for Tulsa he made an acrobatic catch for the early interception. The Buckeyes only managed to get a field goal, but a turnover was ideal due to the poor game conditions.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the Tusla’s Head Coach decided to throw the ball, in the rain, prior to the first half ending, but I will take the end result as Marshon Lattimore was the recipient of another turnover and he returned it for 40 yards the pick-six.  By the way, was I the only one who saw that nasty block by Malik Hooker?  It is wonderful seeing the defense as a whole block downfield to ensure the maximum level of yardage is taken and with Hooker and Baker blocking downfield, accompanied by a caravan of Silver Bullets, he was bound to get into the end zone for the timely and sorely needed touchdown score.

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Speaking of Malik Hooker, he reeled in his third interception of the season, but this time was different, seeing that the previous two were acrobatic and amazing interceptions.  This time around he flat out read the opposing Quarterback and took it in for six points, successfully establishing the swing in momentum and giving “juice” to the Buckeyes defense who was getting gashed by Tulsa’s high-octane offense.  Tulsa ran the same group of plays repeatedly because they were seeing great success with them early on in the game, but once that was identified the defense pinned their ears back and let loose.  Hooker came in tonight tied for first place in the nation for interceptions, but with this, he is now in sole possession in first-place.  He has proven in two games that he is the playmaker that the Buckeyes secondary needs for them to unleash blitzes by the front seven.

imgres-4Sam Hubbard, Joey Bosa’s replacement came up huge with a sack on 3rd and long.  He stopped the momentum dead in its tracks when the Buckeyes were reeling.  With the first half over and the Buckeyes in the lead, the Buckeyes defense looks to carry over the momentum for a second half that will look different after the weather took a turn for the worse.  Thunderstorms have the Buckeyes in a holding pattern and until they take the now wet and muddy field, we will have to see how the Buckeyes defense will adjust and react.  I am thinking that they will turn up the heat a little bit to seal the game.  The Buckeyes seem to be looking too far ahead to the game at Norman so hope they can take care of business and work out the kinks on both sides of the ball because the Sooners will be an early test in a young season.

imgres-2J.T. Barrett struggled mightily during the first half, only being able to muster up 69 yards through the air and 8 rushes for 16 yards.  The weather has negatively impacted his ability to air it out and with the weather taking a turn for the worst, I am not sure if the second half will be any different.  I understand that the weather is bad and that you are trying to be conservative, but you need to play it smart for the rest of the game.  If that is running the ball down the Tulsa defenses throat, then I hope that the Offensive Coordinator calls more running plays to get Barrett into a rhythm because he needs it prior to Oklahoma.  He definitely is making the correct plays, but he needs to get better and there is always room for improvement.  I look for the Buckeyes and Coach Meyer to run the ball in the second half.

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While filling in for banged-up Sean Nuernberger, Tyler Durbin has been a pleasant surprise for the Buckeyes and during the first half of the game, nailing a field goal early on for the 3-0 lead, then another one to break the 3-3 tie late in the first quarter.  Durnin also nailed two extra points for the two defensive touchdowns that have extended the Ohio State lead.  With the constant weather delays and with the terrible field conditions, I am assuming that the Buckeyes will not be looking for long range field goals and that they will play Tressel-ball for the duration of the game.  I hope I am dead wrong, but we will just have to wait and see if Coach Meyer and company will do once the lightning vacates Columbus.

Second Half:

imgres-7The second half started almost like the end of the first, except that this interception wasn’t returned for a touchdown.  To open up the second, Gareon Conley was credited with the takeaway, ripping it away from an opposing Wide Receiver.  What a way to open up the second half after a lengthy break due to the thunderstorm delay.  The Silver Bullets, namely the secondary have been all over the place and unless Tulsa flat out gives up throwing the rock, they could be waiting to make the next big play.  Although the loss of Eli Apple hurts the team in regards to experience, they retained Gareon Conley who has the leadership capabilities to lead a young, inexperienced secondary.  And if we were to gauge what he has provided, I think he has succeeded with showing them the ropes and nuances of playing defense in the secondary at Ohio State.

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The second half offense was much more productive than the first half offense. J.T. Barrett started the half with a rushing touchdown and he received a monster block from Curtis Samuel.  Later in the 4th, J.T. rushed for another score and the Buckeyes offense and defense started imposing their will on the hapless Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.  Dontre Wilson has really come into his own in the second half.  He began the second half with a 27 yard return and he got by a defender with the patented Brax Spin.  Then he followed that up later in the second half when he blew past defenders for a 21 yard gain on the ground before he capped it off the drive with a 5 yard rushing touchdown.  He showed us how elusive and quick he can be and I for one am happy that he finally found a place within the Buckeye offense.  Coach Meyer has shown his ability to find players that fit his offensive scheme and with the many weapons at his disposal, he will look to build on this for a date with the Sooners.

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Running Back Mike Weber showed the grit and determination when running the ball tonight, occasionally running full speed, light feet and power.  He racked up 92 rushing yards on 17 carries and he is constantly finding ways to improve as he grows as a man and as the “cadillac back” at Ohio State.  He replaced the great Ezekiel Elliot and he can only improve to surpass Zeke. Weber scored his first touchdown in the second half and his number through two games aren’t eye popping but he will continue to improve as the season progresses.  With a hostile environment in Norman next week, we will see Weber tote the rock more often, unless Coach Meyer and his offensive staff wants to air it out to prove a point.

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The Silver Bullets denied the Golden Hurricanes the entire second half with their stiffling defense.  In the second half they had 2 more takeaways.  A pick by Conley and a fumble recovery by Tyquan Lewis.  Nick Bosa was destined to sack the Quarterback again, but the slippery ball slipped out of his grasp and it was all she wrote.  The Buckeyes showed that their defense may be young, but they will be hungry and eager to prove that they belong in the National Championship conversation.  They have a tough road game ahead of them and if this is any indication of things to come, they look to be scary good.  Youth is a problem, but the talent is there and it shows.  Let’s hope both units will hit on all cylinders.  Onto the next one.  Go Bucks!!!

 

 

Preview: Ohio State vs. Tulsa

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PREVIEW:  TULSA vs. OHIO STATE:

With week 1 in the books for Ohio State, we can only look ahead to our next opponent.  Yes, technically the week isn’t over yet, but it is for Ohio State.  So like farmer Fran said, “You live to fight another day.”  The Buckeyes not only lived to fight another day, they were afforded and had earned some well deserved experience that will hopefully stick with them throughout the season.  Bowling Green was Coach Meyer’s first coaching stop and he surely has not forgotten where it all began.  The Buckeyes featured a bunch of young, unproven talent and for what its worth, they look pretty good.  Youth in spread throughout the roster on both sides of the ball and during the game they showed their worth to the nation and to the coaches.  Understandably, it was against Bowling Green but a win is a win and at least it is a Division 1 team and not a Division 2 team.

The Falcons featured a high-powered offense, slightly similar to what Meyer had built during his time there and with a young defense at hand, Urban and company let the young wolves loose to see what they are capable of.  The young Buckeyes defense were up to the task as they annihilated the 4th best team in total offense and 6th best in scoring offense.  Tusla will provide another high-powered offense that finished 13th in total offense and 21st in scoring offense in 2015.  The Buckeyes and the Golden Hurricanes have never met on the gridiron and this will be another test for the young defense.  The Tusla Head Coach, Phillip Montgomery was present as an Offensive Coordinator for Baylor and Houston so I think that it is safe to say that they should expect a lot of hurry-up offense and no-huddle sets.

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Senior Quarterback Dane Evans returned for one more year and he looks to cut down on mistakes this season.  Evans has the ability and the experience to successfully run the offense this season.  He understands the playbook and has been around the system long enough to operate in it.  The Golden Hurricanes return a trio of experienced Wide Receiver in Keevan Lucas, Josh Atkinson and Justin Hobbs.  Lucas returns from a knee injury that had sidelined him last season, but he looks to have a huge year a year removed from injury.

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The biggest elephant in the room is can the new-look Offensive Line gel quickly enough after losing two key players after the 2015 season.  They are breaking in a new batch of linemen and we will just have to see if they can survive the season with little to no experience and against the talented Buckeyes, this will be their stiffest test early-on in the season.  It will give the Tulsa coaches the opportunity to measure and gage their talent and to see the capabilities of their kids.  The front seven will constantly pressure all five members to see if they make any mistakes and I wouldn’t put it past Coach Schiano to send one of his many Defensive Backs on a blitz to also test their mettle and capabilities.

2aD’Angelo Brewer is a shifty runner who can break it for huge yardage at any given moment during games.  He is deceptively fast and is capable of catching passes out of the backfield.  He will be going up against a young defensive line that is in sore need of a replacement at DT as Tracy Sprinkle suffered a season ending leg injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season.  Ohio State has the talent waiting in the wings and as long as they buy in to what Coach Fickell and Coach Johnson are preaching, I see them playing lights out for each other and for the aforementioned Sprinkle.  We will see if he is up to the task and if he can break past the vaunted Ohio State defense.

 

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The Golden Hurricane defense is another story.  They are lacking proven playmakers, but they have a lot of boom-or-bust players that take high risk, high reward literally.  We will see how the pieces fall next weekend but here is some food for thought.  The Tulsa offense has the tools to put up points and put them up quickly, but the defense is their Achilles heel.  If the Buckeyes shut down their offense like the Bowling Green game, the sleeping giant will wake once again and crush the team that woke it up.  Tusla’s defense is lacking in playmakers and we will have to wait and see if the Buckeyes can put them in horrible situations to exploit the inexperience.

Prediction: 

With all things considered and the lack of defense on the other side, I expect J.T. Barrett to move the ball at a frightening pace.  J.T. will finish the game with 260+ yards through the air with nearly 100 yards on the ground with 3 passing touchdowns and two rushing.  Mike Weber will drive the ball down their defenses throat for a cool 120 yards with a touchdown.  The defense will sack Evans at least 5 times with at least one more defensive touchdown and Evans will throw a pick to Hooker.  Hooker is special and he looks to become a key cog in the secondary.  The Buckeyes will steam roll Tulsa in style and continue their offensive onslaught in preparation for the Oklahoma game:

Buckeyes 56  –  20  Tulsa

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Bowling Green Highlights

Recap: Ohio State v. Bowling Green

OSU v. BGU 2

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If you expected a tightly contested game at The Shoe, you should be ashamed of yourself for ever doubting the potency and potential of The Ohio State Buckeyes.  In what seemed like a flash, the Buckeyes began the offensive onslaught and unleashed hell on the Bowling Green Falcons.  Yes, it is easy to be skeptical after witnessing what the Buckeyes lost after the Fiesta Bowl victory against Nortre Dame, but like most teams Coached by Urban Meyer he simply rallied up the troops that were waiting in the wings and turned them loose to see what they do.  It worked.  The Buckeyes had replaced playmakers on every level of the offense and defense.  They had no choice but to lean heavily on the players who stayed for leadership and for continuity purposes.  Although I see it as a learning process that will occur throughout the season this is a good sign of things to come.  With the date against Oklahoma on their own home turf, the Buckeyes need to rally around each other and play lights out, to build up their confidence, to buy in, so they can adequately prepare for a true road test against the Oklahoma Sooners.  So until then we can see the younger players grow into their roles and we can do nothing but hope for the best.

Recap:

PICK 6Well the rust and cobwebs showed during this play.  J.T. Barrett rifled a pass to a well covered receiver and Brandon Harris took the interception and ran it in from 63 yards out for the pick 6.  This really angered the sleeping giant in Ohio State and this was the beginning of the end for the Falcons.  The interception will be the only touchdown that the Buckeyes will allow for the remainder of the contest.  This is the only turnover of the game.

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K.J. Hill found blew past the Bowling Green defense and hauled in a beautiful pass from J.T. Barrett for a 47 yard touchdown pass.  Remember when I said they woke up a sleeping giant?  Yeah, with the ground game working it was only a matter of time when the Buckeyes find their rhythm.  Hill finishes his first game of the season with a respectable 58 yards on 2 receptions and a touchdown.  Not bad at all.

DW2Dontre Wilson, the forgotten H-Back had himself a game.  He finished with 5 rushes for 36 yards and 3 receptions for 37 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Wilson overcame injury to finally see some reps.  He will grasp at this as long as he can stay healthy and it isn’t a bad way to start the 2016 season.  Hauling in a 25 yard and an 11 yard pass from J.T. Barrett.

CS 4Curtis Samuel is the Swiss Army Knife of this years Buckeye offense.  He was singled out by Coach Meyer and he has proven that he is ready to be The Weapon that Urban Meyer covets.  He had also been picked to become the BIG Breakout player and he proved that he is ready and he is worthy of that title.  Samuel was all over the place.  He caught a slant and took it 79 yards for a touchdown, a 21 yarder for six and had a 12 yard run for his third and last touchdown of the game.  He finished with 13 carries and 84 yards on the ground and 9 catches for 177 yards through the air for 2 touchdowns.  He looks the part and lets hope that this is just the beginning.

NB 2After the injury from last season, Noah Brown wanted to start off on the right foot.  He, like most of the young playmakers on the team showed out and in a huge way.  He went to have a good game and looks to be back in form prior to the severe injury.  He finished with 3 catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.  I know that it is against Bowling Green, but confidence is huge and with the Buckeyes gaining more prior to week 3, the showdown at Norman will be manageable and they will not be rattled.

DMFreshman Demario McCall showed out as well during garbage time.  He racked up 54 yards on the ground with a touchdown and 1 catch for 36 yards and another touchdown.  Meyer can really recruit to maximize the potential and yet again, it is showing.  Hope the rest of McCall’s freshman campaign can be like this but we will have to wait until another blowout occurs.

JBWell he came back for a reason and with the Buckeyes having a ton to prove, he showed the nation what he and the Buckeyes are capable of.  With no more Quarterback controversy in the wings, he set out and after the initial turnover, he recovered quite nicely.  He finished the game 21/31 for 349 yards through the air with 6 touchdowns and 30 yards on 6 rushes and another touchdown.  Not a bad start for a Quarterback who was left out of the Heisman candidates list prior to the season even starting.  Also, Mike Weber, the new Cadillac Back at Ohio State, yeah he is good.  Weber finished without a touchdown, but he racked up the yardage, running with power and speed.  He ran for 136 yards and I feel that he will only get better and be depended on when time needs to be ran off the clock.

MH2We found another playmaker that will add to the tradition at Ohio State.  Malik Hooker was another diamond in the rough and he proved he was worthy of a starting spot on defense.  He had a circus catch interception in the first half and during the second half, he stole took the ball away from the receiver for his second of the game.  He will be needed to breathe new life into this young defense and it is sure looking good for the time being.  Rodjay Burns also had a pick, but he took it 75 yards for the touchdown to all but seal the deal.  The young secondary is looking lethal and is gaining steam and it is truly exciting.  Baby Bosa, Nick also got into the action and sacked the Bowling Green Quarterback for his first of the season.  In other news, the cheap shot dealt to Defensive Tackle Tracy Sprinkle was a costly one.  Sprinkle suffered a severe leg injury and his season is now done and he will be out the rest of the year.  I hope that he recovers quickly.

It was fun while it lasted and now onto Tulsa week.  The Buckeyes showed the lethal combination of ground and pound and attacking the air.  The Buckeyes have risen and they can only improve from here and with Oklahoma in two weeks, they will use every game prior to get everything prepared for the big game.  And seeing how Houston just upset Oklahoma, we can all but expect a hostile crowd and environment at Norman.  Signing out, but before I do GO BUCKS!!!