Recap: #3 Michigan (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) vs #2 Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten)

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The sheer magnitude, excitement, and dread of this game as it quickly approaches.  The #2 Ohio State Buckeyes and the #3 Michigan Wolverines will have just their second Top-3 matchup in the series between the two teams.  This will be another epic clash between the rivals.  There is a lot riding on for both teams. Both Ohio State and Michigan need a win to stay in the College Football talks.  Ohio State needs a win and a Penn State loss to represent the Big Ten East for the Conference Championship game.  Michigan needs a win to be the East’s representative for that same game.  This game, The Game is pretty much an elimination game.  The winner of this contest will hopefully keep their playoff hopes alive.  The loser, will be eliminated from the equation.  This will be as intense as it can be and the entire fanbase and sports world will keep their eyes on this game.

imagesThis game started with both teams eagerly waiting to see what the other would do.  Ohio State sent the defense out after they deferred and they forced a punt on their first time on the field. Ohio State, on their first possession, moved the ball quickly against the Wolverines defense.  They moved well into field goal range, but the pressure was too much for Durbin as he pulled it wide left.  On Michigan’s third possession, they put up the first points on the scoreboard.  Three punts later, the Buckeyes pinned the Wolverines at the Michigan 6-yard line and Malik Hooker snatched his 6th interception of the season for a 16-yard pick six.  The Wolverines were unfazed as they took the ball into the Buckeye red zone and punched in a touchdown at the 1-yard line, retaking the lead. As the half ended, the Buckeyes trail 10-7.  The Jekyll and Hyde Offense is scaring me, hopefully, the Buckeyes can gather themselves for a battle because so far, the defense looks good, it’s just the questions of the offense that overshadow their achievements.  I will keep calm and keep the faith, and the Buckeye Captains will ensure that they are ready in the second half.

imgres-6What a bit of karma.  Buckeye fans always taunt Jabrill Peppers about not having any interceptions.  Guess what?  He got his first, and against the Buckeyes.  Granted it was on a tipped pass, but he got it.  The Wolverines took it to the Buckeye 1-yard line and the Buckeyes Defense recovered a critical turnover that could’ve put this game out of reach. Davon Hamilton saved the Buckeyes, but unfortunately, Meyer gambled on the fake punt and it backfired.  The block wasn’t there and Johnston was stopped short of the line to gain.  On the ensuing drive, Hill scored his second touchdown of the game extending the lead to 17-7. Another couple of punts later, the Buckeyes get their third turnover of the game, gathering their third turnover to yet again, swing the momentum.  A couple Michigan penalties later, the Buckeyes are deep into enemy territory, they plug it into the endzone.  Mike Weber, a Detroit native, brought the Buckeyes climb back into the game on a 1-yard Running Back dive.  Michigan still leads 17-14.  After forcing another Wolverine punt, the Buckeyes got the ball back on their 16-yard line.  J.T. Barrett will attempt to gain some momentum after the defensive stop.  Let’s hope the playcalling can move the ball.  The momentum was short-lived as the Slobs have allowed 5 total sacks so far with 12:03 left to play.

nick-bosa-sam-hubbard-cde7494434fa9a5fThe Rushmen Package along with this stout Ohio State Defense is keeping it close.  Nick Bosa, the younger brother of Joey Bosa, made his first sack in this rivalry.  Ohio State forces another timely punt and the ball is back in the hands of J.T. Barrett.  After a dropped pass in the numbers to Parris Campbell, Barrett used his legs as he saw an opening in the middle and gained 41-yards to put the Buckeyes in scoring position to either take the lead or at least tie the game.  The drive ended on another missed field goal by Tyler Durbin, who has missed his first two field goals, during this game.  The defense needs to make another stand to preserve some time for J.T. Barrett to orchestrate another offensive drive.  The theme of another forced punt has returned for more face time and Barrett comes out to get another drive going inside of their own 20-yard line. They’ve had many chances to take the lead, and if Durbin made those kicks, the Buckeyes would be enjoying a 3-point lead, but the pressure of the game has obviously gotten to him.  Hopefully, he has the opportunity to redeem himself.  With a couple of seconds left on the clock, Durbin got his chance, his last shot for redemption.  With the Buckeyes trailing by a field goal, Durbin lines up for another attempt, and he kicks it through the uprights to tie the contest.

images-7Overtime, overtime.  As the overtime quarter begins, my heart is racing, my blood pressure is off the charts.  I am sure the rest of Buckeye Nation is in the same boat.  The Wolverines won the toss and chose to play defense to begin the extra period.  To start the overtime, Samuel takes the option play inside the 1-yard line.  Shortly after, J.T. Barrett scores on a QB draw.  The quick strike mentality strikes again.  Now, we will depend on the Silver Bullets and the Scarlet Curtain to seal the deal against our most bitter rivals. The crowd is roaring and the place is rocking.  Let’s see what happens.  The Wolverines respond accordingly as they tacked on a field goal.  The Wolverines were on the verge of securing a win, but J.T. Barrett and Curtis Samuel came up huge for the Buckeyes.  Barrett took a loss during the first two plays, then Samuel pulled off some crazy run that ended a yard short.  J.T. Barrett was nearly stopped on a key 4th and 1, but his momentum brought him over the marker for a key first down.  The next play, Samuel took it for 15-yards on a mini option play for the game-winning touchdown to secure a 30-27 win against their most bitter rivals.  Raekwon McMillan needed to play today and he ended the game with 16 tackles.  The Slobs played poorly as they allowed 8 sacks in the game. Improvements will be made and now it’s just a matter of seeing what happens at Happy Valley.  Enjoy the win and hopefully, the staff gets more good news in the recruiting game.  Go Bucks!!!  And for what it’s worth, I was fairly close as I predicted a 24-21 score.  I was a little off, but a win, especially against this team is worth the stress.

Preview: #3 Michigan (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) vs #2 Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten)

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Hate week is upon us and after narrowly escaping East Lansing with a win against a struggling Spartan team, the Ohio State Buckeyes are on a collision course against TTUN.  This game is the definition of what a rivalry is and what it should be.  High stakes, high reward, high pressure to secure another win in this series.  Rivalry week is the best week in College Football.  Hands down.  This years installment of The Game will feature two Top-3 teams in the nation.  This will be the second time in the series, where both teams are ranked, and in the Top-3.  The last time?  The last time this happened was ten years ago when The Game featured the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes at home against the #2 ranked Team Up North.  This game was played in high stakes fashion as the 42-39 win helped the Buckeyes stay undefeated and into the BCS National Championship Game, coincidentally against an Urban Meyer coached Florida Gators team.  Flash forward ten years later, we have another high stakes game with huge College Football Playoff implications. #2 Ohio State will be wearing the LeBron Soldier cleats against the newly minted, #3, Jordan Branded Team Up North.

imgres-5Last week, we saw a Buckeye team that barely walked out of East Lansing with a win.  A one point win.  I am a strong believer in “a win is a win”, and no matter how ugly it was, it is still added into the win column.  The Buckeyes gave up huge chunk plays, early and often, only to stiffen up in the red zone. The coaching staff leaned on J.T. Barrett to move the sticks and with help from Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel, they won the game.  On TTUN’s side of things, they also won, but not as big as some thought they would win.  They played at home and beat Indiana by 10, with a final score of 20-10.  Yes, it is a double-digit lead and win, but TTUN could have scored more.  I mean for what its worth, Ohio State faced the same team and beat them 38-17 after struggling in the first half.  Indiana is a tougher team, and they tend to improve year after year.  We cannot judge it accurately based on both teams’ performance against a 5-7 team, so we will just have to wait and see.

unnamed-9I cannot emphasize how great this rivalry has been to me as a die hard fan.  I think back at it, I lived in Guam for most of my life and I was introduced to College Football in 2005 when I joined the USAF, and I have been a fan ever since.  Now?  You would think that I was from Ohio.  The passion and the affinity I have for the Buckeyes is very hard and too difficult to explain in simple words. This rivalry has ruined holidays for me and it stresses me out. This week has killed my soul a little bit because I do not want to lose to TTUN.  This year will break the record for Number of Times Major Rivals met ranked in the Top 5 (11), edging the Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas (10).  This game, The Game, is usually a high-pressure game, with both teams clawing, fighting and scrapping the entire game for bragging rights.  As long as I have been a fan, I have seen great games that add to the tradition for both schools.  Seasons are made or ruined in an instant and during this weeks game, the emotion of the game will be electric because so much is on the line.  I can’t undersell the importance of this game.

unnamed-6The Ohio State Big-3 on offense, J.T. Barrett, Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel will be leaned on heavily.  I cannot emphasize this enough as Coach Meyer often shrinks down his playbook to do enough to win.  During The Game, with the crew from College Gameday and with a laundry list of highly ranked and touted recruits, and a ton of talented blue-chip prospects, I would hope that the offense starts off strong and continues it until the end.  A lot of eyes will be on this game and the stakes are the highest that it has been in a long time.  J.T. Barrett will need to move the stick early and often against a team led by upperclassmen.  Jabrill Pepper and Jourdan Lewis will look to shut Barrett down by pressuring him early and consistently.  The Slobs need to almost play a perfect, penalty free football game, and this is where it gets interesting.  Ohio State has two experienced Slobs in Senior Pat Elflein and Junior Billy Price. After those two, you have a Junior in Jamarco Jones, a Sophomore in Isaiah Prince and True Freshman Michael Jordan, who played High School Football up north in Plymouth.  Jones and Prince are prone to penalties, often holding on to defenders to keep Barrett upright.  Elflein and Price also tend to earn flags, so we will see if they could work as a cohesive unit to control the line of scrimmage and to protect Barrett.  Mike Weber will also be leaned on and he is one of three starters for the Buckeyes, who played up north in high school.  He needs to be fed like Zeke and Hyde to control the clock.  I will say that Curtis Samuel will also need more than the 8 touches he had during the Spartans because things looked bleak for a little while before they went for two.  Noah Brown and Dontre Wilson, and the rest of the Zone 6 will also need to get separation against the opposing Defensive Backs.  The team cannot be one dimensional as TTUN ranks in the Top-5 in just about every defensive statistic in the nation.  Ohio State is in the Top-5 in most rushing statistics this season.  Hopefully, they play with passion because this game is really important.  Maybe Coach Meyer and his staff have some bulletin board material because I saw an excerpt from an interview with Peppers with him saying that “Ohio State does not do anything over the top that they cannot handle” and that “it is nothing that we cannot handle.”. I hope they have some plays  that they have stashed away, that will unleash havoc on those Wolverines.

imagesThe Basic Ohio State Defense needs to show up this week. Last week, the Buckeyes faced a pro-style offensive scheme, that is similar to or close to what TTUN runs.  Two Tight End sets with a steady dose old school, big boy football.  L.J. Scott nearly beat the Buckeyes by himself and the team needs to focus on wrapping up the ball carrier and not overpursuing or overshooting plays.  We saw that a ton against the Spartans and they will need to play a flawless game like the offense to get the win.  Jake Butt, Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson will be the trio of receivers that the Silver Bullets and the Scarlet Curtain will have to stop.  The Rushmen will have to stop De’veon Smith and the Running Back platoon that TTUN has.  This will be a test as the TTUN’s Offensive Line is pretty good.  There are a lot of variables that could change with injuries, fights, and ejections.  The biggest question would be which Quarterback will they face.  John O’Korn played last week and he did good enough to win.  Wilton Speight, the starter for the majority of the season, was injured during the loss at Iowa, and his status is unclear at this point.  There are reports that he is out for the season with a broken collarbone, but his head coach refutes those stories.  Mind games or not, we cannot take this team lightly, and I doubt that they would, but it wouldn’t hurt to know.  Until we do, we will have to prepare for both.  It will be interesting to see if Malik Hooker matches up against Peppers, since he plays both ways.  I am sure that the jet sweep will be used a lot, stretching the defense to open up holes.  You truly never know and hopefully a Buckeye legend or Senior Captain will inspire each unit to maintain the dominance.

Prediction:  Buckeyes over Wolverines 24-21.

 

Recap: #2 Ohio State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) vs Michigan State (3-7, 1-6 Big Ten)

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Ohio State faces a Michigan State team that is having a rare down year, but that won’t mean that the Buckeyes won’t take them lightly.  As I mentioned in the preview, Coach Meyer versus Coach Dantonio duel and they both play for keeps.  They have won two games a piece and they are both sitting tied at 2-2 during their stay at their respective schools.  This game will be another battle in the trenches as both teams look to get a win.  Both the Buckeyes and the Spartans are locked-in and ready, but the weather could prove to be a hurdle for both teams.  For now, during the pregame festivities, the snow did not come, but it could make an appearance later in the day during the game.  Coach Meyer has a tendency to get uber conservative with playcalling if that happens.  Hopefully, he can buck the trend and go for broke because TTUN comes into Columbus, so any momentum would be positive.  The team as a whole needs to gain some confidence and momentum and if they have to run through the Spartans to gain it?  Then so be it.

imagesWell this is certainly not the start that Buckeye fans would like to see.  A two-play drive that the Spartans effortlessly executed to go up 7-0 early in the game.  They caught the defense off guard as they did the Wisconsin end around by R.J. Shelton that gained 11-yards and then they executed a well-timed double screen pass to earn the touchdown that went for 64-yards.  Definitely, not a good start, but I will stay positive.  The Buckeyes first drive ended in a sack and then a punt that pinned the Spartans on their 4-yard line. The Buckeyes stiffened up and forced a punt.  This will be another heavyweight fight, another brawl until the bitter end.  This looks to be a good one.

imgresThe Buckeyes started rolling as they were getting more settled in.  The next drive was in the hands, or should I say the legs of J.T. Barrett.  He noticed that the Spartans were spread too thin, trying to contain Zone 6 members, and he took the run every time they called that defensive play. To finish the drive, Barrett hit Samuel on a post route for 24-yards where he beat the double downfield.  It is starting to heat up.  The Silver Bullets forced another punt and Barrett goes back to work on another Quarterback run for another first down.  Sadly, the Buckeyes ended up punting as well.  When the second quarter started, Michigan State kicked a field goal and the Buckeyes chipped in one as well.  The defenses are playing with the passion and fire that you would expect both teams to play with.  On Michigan State’s next drive, Ohio State secured their 16th interception of this season.  It goes to show that they are athletic at every level and a Linebacker in Chris Worley surely proved in once again. The play was sorely needed, but after the play ended, Jaylin Holmes was on the floor and was injured during the play.  Hopefully, it isn’t a bad one, he is one of the emerging stars on this young Buckeyes Defensive Line and a key piece for Coach Johnson’s Rushmen package.  On Ohio State’s possession, the Spartans forced only the second red zone turnover of the season.  Of course, they do!  I dread playing the Spartan’s because of games like these, but I will continue to stay positive.  The Buckeyes forced a punt, but trouble almost hit as Samuel muffed the punt in the Buckeyes own 3-yard line.  This game is surely filled with suspense and drama, and I am hoping for a score to ease my tensions a bit.  At the half, it is 10-10 and the Buckeyes get the ball to start the second half.

imgres-3The second half began with consecutive punts.  Strong defensive play on both sides was evident as the struggle to hold the line rages on, but eventually, someone had to make a play.  Someone had to break a big one.  Mike Weber broke through for a 52-yard run that put him over 1,000 rushing yards for the season.  Weber is the third Ohio State Freshman, at the Running Back position, who broke the 1,000-yard barrier and he joins Robert Smith and Maurice Clarett as the only ones to accomplish that task. Hopefully, Meyer continues to feed the beast.  You would think that coach would emphasize the potential fake punt play.  Well, he did not think they would go to that so early in the 4th, but it worked as a defender took it 25-yards for the first down.  The moral victory was short lived though, as the Buckeyes forced a punt on 3rd and long by gathering their first sack of the game, courtesy of Sam Hubbard.  Michigan State came right back at Ohio State as L.J. Scott racked up huge chunks of yardage before scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run.  Coach Dantonio then decided to go for two, for their first lead in a while, but it failed and was intercepted by Erick Smith.  The defense has been slacking, but the young Buckeyes make big plays during big moments, and this was needed.  The defense ended the game in a big way, as Tyquan Lewis pressuered O’Connor on their last possession in the game and it forced him to underthrow the ball into the waiting arms of Gareon Conley for Ohio State’s 17th interception.  This is why I love College Football.  Although, we all wanted a blowout, I understand that we can’t win it all.  The Spartans came to play today and they showed it.  We will need to shore up the defense and play better as a team.  There were a lot of overpursued plays and missed tackles.  We are now entering the final week of the regular season, and you know what that means.  I know that it is early and I will not start until we officially begin the week.  So, for now, enjoy the hard earned win and Go Bucks!!!

 

 

Preview: #2 Ohio State (9-1, 6-1) vs Michigan State (3-7, 1-6)

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Ever since Coach Meyer began his coaching career at Ohio State, Coach Dantonio was always that thorn in his side.  Year after year, the Spartans find a way to be uber competitive against the Buckeyes, and they have certainly played spoiler in contests against the Meyer and company.  Head to head?  Meyer and Dantonio are tied with two wins each.  An even 2-2 record that has created a rivalry against the entire state that sits up north.  This rivalry has decided the BIG 10 East representative the last couple of seasons and even if the Spartans are 3-7, don’t expect them to lie down and take a beating.  For some reason, they almost always are motivated by their Head Coach, a former Ohio State Assistant Coach.  He will look to once again, ruin the Buckeyes hopes and dreams as the Buckeyes travel to East Lansing to face a struggling Michigan State team on their own home turf.

imgres-5This was Coach Meyer’s first taste of defeat at the hands of Michigan State in the BIG 10 Championship Game and it still hurts. This was the beginning of the rivalry as Michigan State went on to play in the Rose Bowl representing the conference at the end of the year.  The Buckeyes didn’t miss out that much because they went on to face a potent Clemson offense to end the season, but caught a loss as Braxton Miller injured his shoulder during the game.  Coach Meyer’s only two game losing streak.  Think about that for a second.  The losses to Michigan State and then Clemson was his first consecutive game loses in his now five-year tenure at Ohio State.  Since then Meyer has not lost two consecutive games or two games in a season (KNOCK ON WOOD!).  Coach Meyer is 59-5 over his coaching stint at Ohio State.  He has a National Championship and has fielded highly competitive teams.

images-1Here was another loss at the hands of Michigan State.  As the Spartans knocked in a last-minute field goal to upset the Buckeyes who had championship aspirations.  This time they fell to a kicker and a team filled with Ohioan outcasts that resented the fact that they were overlooked by the Scarlet and Gray when they were high school prospects.  This game is fueled by pure emotion as the Buckeyes can’t sign every Ohio prospect.  They are delighted to play spoiler every time these two teams play each other.  This has lead to the Ohio State coaching staff fabricating a code word that aggravates the Buckeyes because they heard it constantly.  “GO GREEN” constantly being said, day in and day out would become a nuisance and it would make me angry too.  This game will be about getting the win.  The Buckeyes are focused on Michigan State.  This will be another classic, but with a variety of new players on both ends.

images-8The Slobs will dictate how the game goes.  They have to establish themselves against a stout, but young Spartan Defensive Line.  Last year, the Slobs were getting manhandled by the Spartans and they pretty much shut down the Buckeyes Offense.  That and the lack of Elliott touches was puzzling as it resulted in a close loss for the Buckeyes.  The whole Offensive Line will be the focus and the key to winning the game.  You have to win in the trenches and as long as I have been watching this series, whoever controls the trenches usually wins the game.  This will be the best time to earn their keep as this line is much younger than the TTUN’s Defensive Line.  So, if they want to continue building the confidence and momentum, they should find a way to dominate or there might be another meme coming for Coach Meyer.  Buckeye target, Josh King anchors the Spartan Defensive Line along with a host of experienced Linebackers like Andrew Dowell, Riley Bullough and Chris Frey.  This will be a tough task to contain them because they are good in both passing defense and they excel at rushing the passer.

imgres-7Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel are a pair of playmakers that Coach Meyer needs for this game.  They need to thrive and make plays to keep the potent offense afloat and dangerous as usual.  Weber needs to win on the ground and on dump-off passes and Samuel needs to find a way to break a big one on the “No Fly Zone” remnants.  Again, this defense is young, but their strength lies in their pass rush.  They have returned more than enough of their Linebackers from last year and they will look to repeat the trend from last year.  Not only do Weber and Samuel have to succeed, Zone 6 members need to find a way to separate from the Defensive Backs to make plays.  They flat out need to get open.  They showed some improvement against Nebraska and Maryland so I hope they show more signs of life to help the Buckeyes’ cause.

imgresThere will be a steady dose of J.T. Barrett during the game.  He will receive a ton of reps to develop himself into a more prolific offensive weapon.  He rarely has to run lately, but if he needs to, I don’t see him hesitating to extend drives and keep the offense humming.  Barrett has been more dependent on his arm and with the season quickly coming to a close, he will look to improve his skills.  Last week, he threw for nearly 253 yards, for 2 touchdowns and ran for 47 for another 2 scores.  Balance, is the name of the game with this young Buckeye team and with youth at just about every position, I feel the need to take a huge step forward or another level, is needed to come close to their or to exceed their true potential.  J.T. Barrett will have to manage the game and play a perfect game.  His Offensive Line would also need to block for their Quarterback for him to succeed.

img_3645Lastly, the Silver Bullets and the Scarlet Curtain need to show up for this contest.  I am hoping the Defensive Line can hold up and dominate the Spartan Offensive Line.  The Linebackers need to clog the run and pass lanes and just flat out wreck havoc and cause chaos.  The Scarlet Curtain need to cover those short drag routes because I have a funny feeling that they will try to use some plays that Wisconsin used against the Buckeyes.  They will need to play a perfect game and Michigan State’s prized recruit and former Buckeye target, Donnie Corley is becoming a rising star in the Spartan passing attack.  Another Buckeye target, LJ Scott is also rising and he has become the workhorse of the running game.  Tyler O’Connor is the starting Quarterback but Damion Terry is still there as well, so expect both Quarterbacks to get some playing time to confuse the defense.  R.J. Shelton also returns as he looks to make plays against the opposing teams’ defense.  We will see if they are up to the task as this will be another good one and another close game.

Prediction:

I want to believe that the Buckeyes come into East Lansing and blow the doors off from the get-go, but I will stick to my conservative roots and predict a close one.

Buckeyes over Spartans 35-24.  

 

 

 

Recap: #5 Ohio State (8-1, 5-1) vs Maryland (5-4, 2-4)

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Today’s game against the Maryland Terrapins would feature a new alternate uniform created by Under Armor dubbed Red Ops.  Seeing that they are the home team and knowing that Ohio State usually wears white during away games, good on them for trying to at least intimidate the Buckeyes and to impress the recruits that are either guests or that are watching from the stands.

imgres-3 The game started fast for Ohio State as they took the ball 71-yards on 7 plays to the end zone.  J.T. Barrett and his offensive weapons found ways to convert over and over again.  He hit his receivers constantly hit them for huge chunks of yards.  He hit Noah Brown for 22-yards and Marcus Baugh for 11.  Throw in some tough running yardage from both Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel and by the end of the drive Samuel capped it off with a 2-yard touchdown run.  On Ohio State’s second offensive possession, J.T. Barrett finished a 4 play drive and raced for 56 total yards to score on another short run into the end zone.  Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel also continued their dominance on the ground as he broke off a huge run for 28-yards and Samuel broke a 16-yard scamper.  The third possession ended in another punt and Maryland did score, but they only managed to get a field goal.  On the fourth possession, it was the Samuel show.  He was the focus and the playmaker that Barrett searched for and he finished a 4 play, 68-yard drive with a 36-yard reception courtesy of J.T. Barrett to secure a 21-3 lead as the first quarter ended.  Also of note, The Slobs gave up a sack in the first quarter, but the Silver Bullets had one as well.  So far so good, but I hate seeing Barrett go down, but the improvement is there.

img_3770In the second quarter, it became the J.T. Barrett show as he took the Buckeye Offense for 63-yards on 8 plays to cap off another short touchdown score to increase the lead to 28-3. He balanced the output on this drive as he used a mixture of his young playmakers to move the offense.  He leaned on a dose of Weber, Baugh and even K.J. Hill who all chipped in to move the ball.  Barrett also helped as he converted a third down on a 16-yard rush.  Tyquan Lewis opened up the second with Ohio State’s second sack of the game as he got to Caleb Rowe prior to stopping Maryland dead in their tracks as The Silver Bullets shut down a 4th and 1 on their own 39-yard line as they turned over the ball on downs on their first offensive possession of the second quarter.  The Buckeyes then proceeded to do the same on a short 4 play, 9-yard drive that was also turned away on downs, but this time at the Maryland 30-yard line.

img_3603This game displayed stop, after stop, after stop.  Once again, Marshon Lattimore intercepted another pass, bolstering the Scarlet Curtain’s interception tally and giving Barrett another possession to redeem himself after being stopped on 4th down on their previous drive.  Weber started pounding the rock gaining 2, 6 and then 23-yards on three straight runs.  After a false start penalty, J.T. Barrett hit Samuel through the air and Samuel finished the drive off with another 5-yards run for another short rushing touchdown, pushing the lead to 35-3.  Jerome Baker stopped another Maryland possession on a sack that saw him untouched, increasing Ohio State’s sack total to 3 prior to the half.  The Buckeye Offense has been on a tear as of late and after they received the punt, Weber took the ball 11-yards on 1st down, Barrett then hit Parris Campbell for 13-yards and Dontre Wilson for 33-yards and then 8-yards for another easy touchdown through the air.  Raekwon McMillan is an animal as he tracked down the Maryland Running Back and sent him to oblivion as he forced a fumble on 1st down.  Jalyn Holmes picked the ball up securing the Buckeye Defenses second takeaway of the game.  Unfortunately, the Buckeyes had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and they were backed up, but Tyler Durbin kicked his longest field goal of the season of45-yards for their last score of the half pushing the lead to 45-3.  The defense is also doing their part and during the first half, they held Maryland to 0-7 on third down conversion attempts, which helps build up their confidence.

images-7On Maryland’s first offensive possession of the game, they used their third different Quarterback to get some playing time and to change it up a bit but had success with the balance to begin the half, but the Silver Bullets stopped them once again on another time on 4th and short.  On the Buckeyes first offensive play of the second half, Demario McCall took the ball 32-yards on a dump off pass.  Barrett took a couple of hits and the line needs to keep him upright, but after another Durbin field goal, the lead has swelled to 48-3.  The second possession of the game the Buckeyes drove the ball down the field to work on the passing game.  Dontre Wilson got hurt momentarily, but he walked off after he got up.  Mid-way through the third quarter, Joe Burrow was inserted into the lineup along with Demario McCall and McCall capped off the drive with another score on a 3-yard rush.  The Buckeyes got another stop on 4th down after surrendering another.  This time they stopped it with a sack courtesy of true freshman Malik Harrison.  The future is bright as the third quarter ends with the Buckeyes still on top 55-3.

imagesAfter Coach Meyer sat J.T. Barrett prior to the third quarter ending, Joe Burrow took the reigns and he shows a ton of potential.  He has the ability to do both things to keep the future bright at the Quarterback position.  Burrow logged his first touchdown pass with a 25-yard touchdown strike to true freshman Binjimen Victor, who nearly had his first of the season last week against Nebraska.  This time he broke free and reeled in a 25-yard pass from Burrow for his first score of this year.  The 4th opened up a lot of opportunities for the younger players.  True Freshman Keandre Jones and Jonathan Cooper have made some plays so far in the last stanza of the game.  Jones is flying around with Booker’s old number, 33 and Cooper just logged his first sack of his career.  The defense did their job as well as they held Maryland to 45-yards rushing and 133-yards through the air for a grand total of 176 total yards.  The Buckeyes will now journey to East Lansing for a clash with one of the teams from up north, but until then enjoy the 62-3 win and GO BUCKS!

 

Preview: #5 Ohio State (8-1, 5-1) vs Maryland (5-4, 2-4)

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This weekend will mark just the second time, to where Coach Urban Meyer and Coach D.J. Durkin face off against each other on opposing sidelines.  Last season would be the first official clash between the two, who are quite good friends, both on and off the football field.  Meyer has always showed a shine to Durkin who worked as one of his key assistants, as some form of Defensive Coordinator.  Last season, Durkin was to Defensive Backs Coach for TTUN’s secondary that ended up getting roasted by the Buckeyes.  This year will be completely different.  Durkin is now the Head Coach of the Maryland Terrapins and he is looking for a signature win and what better way to get one by defeating the mighty Buckeyes?  I do not think that would be the case and although plausible, it is highly unlikely as the momentum is in the Buckeyes favor after the 62-3 thrashing of previously #10 overall ranked Nebraska.

imagesJ.T. Barrett comes into the game unscathed.  The Slobs did their part and prevented Barrett from taking unnecessary hits and sacks.  So far, Barrett has shown flashes of his former self and he dominated through the air in last weeks tilt against a good Nebraska Blackshirt Defense.  He finished with 290 passing yards and 4 touchdowns and 8 rushes for 39 yards.  He found his rhythm and hit 8 different receivers throughout the game.  Spreading the ball out to his young crop of receivers and finding them on his second, third or fourth read was effortless.  With the protection of the entire Offensive Line, it made for a highly productive day for everyone.  Mike Weber racked up yardage on the ground and once through the air.  He tallied 87 total yards and a rushing score before aggravating his bum shoulder, and as a precaution, Meyer sat him in favor of true freshman, Demario McCall who showed some speed as he rushed for 73-yards on 16 carries.  Curtis Samuel sparked an offensive onslaught as he touched the ball less than 20 times (13 touches) and he ended the contest with 41 rushing yards and 137 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.  This week, the offense will look to build momentum for the two teams from up north.  This won’t be super easy, but it will determine a lot and measure their progression.  The date with the Spartans and the Wolverines will be the tougher games, but for now we look toward Maryland.

untitled11The defense looks good.  The Scarlet Curtain and the Silver Bullets have done a wonderful job so far, and that is a testament to the staff and the way they teach their kids.  Last week, the defense pulled out all the stops as they held a Top-10 Nebraska team that is capable of scoring to only a field goal.  They stopped them twice in the red zone on fourth down and asserted themselves throughout.  The Scarlet Curtain also scored twice of interceptions, furthering Nebraska’s demise.  They look to beat up a Maryland team who is searching for a starting Quarterback after their starter suffered an injury last week against TTUN, Durkin’s former boss and team.  We will have to see what they could manage to do once they face this young Terrapins team that in floundering during Durkin’s first year at the helm.  This game will likely feature a ton of young DMV prospects, these elite prospects most likely are considering both Maryland and Ohio State at this point, and I am sure the Buckeyes would want to put on a show for them.  It will be Coach Johnson and his Rushmen against Coach Durkin and his staff.  We will see who wins out on key DMV based recruits.

Prediction:

I don’t want to go too crazy, but barring Hills being available, I will predict a win for Ohio State 42-10.  If Hills isn’t a starter and Pigram gets the nod, Ohio State will try to contain a different Quarterback and it will give Maryland a bigger chance to put up points.  So my final score prediction will be:  Ohio State def. Maryland 45-16

 

Recap: #10 Nebraska (7-1, 4-1) vs #6 Ohio State (7-1, 4-1)

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During the patented Scarlet Out at The Shoe, this game is indeed another game to that the Buckeye Head Coach and his crew would like to improve their deficiencies offensively and their inability to stay consistent on the defensive side of the ball.  This is another battle of two Top-10 teams that are vying for a spot in this season’s College Football Playoff and even though they are at home, the Buckeyes cannot take this Cornhusker team lightly.  Both the Buckeyes and the Cornhuskers come in with identical records at 7-1 and both are currently 4-1 in conference play.  Both teams suffered one loss, Ohio State suffered their first loss to Penn State at Happy Valley and Nebraska fell to in Madison.  How would things go for both teams during this clash of two teams with rich histories and traditions.
imgres-1The Silver Bullets started out with a bang.  They set the tone with another pick-six courtesy of the Scarlet Curtain member, Damon Webb.  The play began when Raekwon McMillan tipped the pass enough to alter the trajectory, then the Nebraska Wideout attempted to secure the catch, but the mistakenly tipped it straight up into the air into the waiting arms of Damon Webb who showed off some of his sweet juke moves as he took it to the house for another pick-six.  Tommy Armstrong attempted to make the tackle but whiffed on it.  This makes it a team record 5th pick-six of the season and it looks like they are primed to have another defensive showing during primetime.  On the next possession for Nebraska, they took it deep into the Red Zone, but their drive stalled and they ended up taking the points and kicked a field goal.  The Buckeyes gave up some splash plays, but they stifled the Nebraska Offense when they were in a good position to score.

imgresThe Buckeyes Offense looked good in the first half imposing their will on the vaunted Blackshirt Defense of Nebraska.  They looked to be in sync and the Offensive Line play showed improvement ensuring J.T. Barrett remained upright.  J.T. Barrett is a magician, making plays while on the run.  He found Terry McLaurin in the back of the end zone after scrambling for his life.  The Buckeyes are showing signs of returning to form as their skill players on for the offense seem to be gaining some confidence in their abilities.  McLaurin is young and he has had an up and down season so far, but the young man finally made a play that put the Buckeyes ahead of the Cornhuskers.  The Buckeyes finished the first quarter with a 14-3 lead and they look to get the ball into the hands of their playmakers at Wide Receiver as J.T. Barrett has hit four different receivers to build the lead over the Cornhuskers.

images-5In the beginning of the Second Quarter, the Buckeyes opened up the playbook a little more, the Buckeyes are noticeably looking to take deep shots to the end zone.  Zach Smith must have gotten into his Zone 6 members by the lack of offensive productivity beyond Curtis Samuel, Noah Brown and Dontre Wilson.  They are getting open due to the overall balance of the playcalling.  I, for one, am pleased by the amount of consistency and effort that I have seen so far and I hope that they can continue this effort into the rest of the season.  Zone 6 aren’t the only members of the team that has been succeeding because the Offensive Line is doing their job and it is amazing to see them play with this type of intensity.  Mike Weber benefited from The Slobs as he scored on a 23-yard dash to the end zone.  Curtis Samuel isn’t doing so bad either with 36 rushing yards midway through the First Quarter.  True Freshman and prized recruit Binjimen Victor almost made a circus catch on a third and long.  He failed to maintain control for his first score of the season and it would’ve been huge for the Buckeyes.  The crowd would have gone wild, but another missed opportunity–for the Buckeyes to dish out the knockout blow, but I am sure that Coach Meyer and Zone 6 Coach Zach Smith will find a way to put him in a position to make an impact.

imgres-4During football games, it is natural to talk trash and have some fun with it.  The gambler Dontre Wilson muffed another punt as he was looking ahead, trying to find a lane for the return.  Nebraska took advantage of the great field position as Tommy Armstrong Jr converted a 3rd and long and he was hit out of bounds by Malik Hooker.  He was knocked out at the Ohio State 24-yard line, but after landing he laid there motionless and most likely unconscious.  There was a long delay, but the medical staff was being cautious and they tended to the fallen Cornhusker.  He left after all precautions were done and he was packed into the ambulance with his father and they set out to the local hospital to see what had occurred and if he suffered any major injuries.  Hopefully, with some prayers, he will be okay and healthy, but for the time being a backup quarterback will have to take the reigns.

imgres-2After play had resumed, Senior Quarterback Ryker Fyfe comes in on a 4th and 1 play.  They attempted to trick the Buckeyes on a QB scramble, but Tyquan Lewis relentlessly pursued him and got the sack to turn the ball over on downs.  The Silver Bullets are playing with a fire that I haven’t seen in a while and as they turned away the Blackshirts, they drove the ball into Nebraska territory and well into the enemy red zone.  Curtis Samuel has been the playmaker for the Buckeyes as he was the guy that converted most of the first downs for the Scarlet and Gray.  J.T. Barrett and Curtis Samuel capped off the first half with Urban Meyer’s patented jump pass to Curtis Samuel to extend the Buckeyes lead to 28.  The Buckeyes finished off the half with a 31-3 lead and they will receive the ball at the start of the second half.  J.T.

imgres-3The Buckeyes began the second half with a bang, just as they did to open up the game.  On their first play of the game, the Buckeyes devised a plan to get Samuel more yardage and they succeeded on a one-play touchdown drive that is the longest pass downfield of the season.  It was well worth it as he beat the man to man coverage and the safety that was assigned to guard him on a well thought out play action pass that literally froze the defense in place and before they realized what was about to happen, it was too late as Samuel blew past the safety for the easy score.  The Silver Bullets picked up where they left off as they shut down the new quarterback after just three plays, forcing another punt.  Mike Weber came out determined to surpass the 100-yard mark as he ripped off another long run, but he seemed to have sustained an injury after being tackled onto his bum shoulder.  J.T. Barrett finished the drive with another touchdown on a comeback route to Noah Brown.  Tommy Armstrong Jr returned from the hospital during the drive and with some great news and no major injuries.  He came in with some urgency as he looks to return to his teammates to hopefully give them a boost and some sorely needed energy.  The crowd gave Armstrong a warm welcome as he returned to his teammates.  A true showing of respect and sportsmanship.  It seems as if Dontre Wilson’s punt returning duties were revoked as both Curtis Samuel and Demario McCall have taken punts for the Buckeyes.  Dontre Wilson is good at returning punts, but he likes to gamble way too much and I feel like it is a smart move for the coaching staff moving forward because, after this game, they play at Maryland and at East Lansing before playing the last game at home against TTUN.  This game has been fun and unexpected, but it’ll build momentum and confidence in the team as a whole.

imgres-4The Scarlet Curtain has struck again on another tipped pass for a score as Malik Hooker brought it back to the house on pure instincts, avoiding the entire Nebraska Offense and practically untouched.  He took it 48-yards for The Silver Bullets’ sixth defensive score of the season.  The pick-six was the last play for Ohio State after three quarters.  With a 55-3 lead, I Coach Meyer will give the younger players a chance to add to what has been an impressive game for the older players.  Hopefully, we get a glimpse of the future of the next generation of Buckeyes.  The defense made another stop well within their red zone as they stopped Westerkamp from converting a fourth down.  He avoided Craig Fada, a reserve Linebacker, but couldn’t break the tackle of the safeties that had converged on him.

imgres-5As predicted, the reserves went out and it didn’t take long for Joe Burrow to cap off another offensive possession with a score.  Burrow deceived the Nebraska Linebacker as he rushed for 12-yards for another Buckeye touchdown as he put seven more points on the scoreboard.  The playcalling prior to the score was focused on two offensive playmakers, K.J. Hill at Wide Receiver and Demario McCall at Running Back.  They are developing into quite the playmakers and after the close call with Weber, Coach Alford wants to see what the true freshman can do during garbage time.  The Buckeyes finished the game 62-3, a resounding win against another Top-10 team.  Here is a telling statistic, today, the Buckeyes scored on 8 of their 9 offensive possessions. The lone stop was when Burrow and the backups bled the clock.  They had two interceptions for scores which extend their school record to six for the year.  This game was something to revel in, but they will travel to Maryland next week, but for now they will enjoy this victory.  The crowd was into it the entire game and they made so much noise it shook the cameras in the stadium.  Homefield advantage was finally what it should be and hope it shows up again during the clash with TTUN.  Another note worth mentioning, this game had a many blue-chippers present in the game and with this showing, I feel like the Buckeyes took full advantage of it.  The atmosphere was lively and loud, they introduced another alternate uniform combination and both the offense and defense lived up to the expectations for this game, putting up 62 points and holding Nebraska to just 3.  A stellar performance that could seep into the minds of the blue-chip recruits that were present, especially Shaun Wade, who is mentioned as the recruit that might get away from Coach Meyer.  We will have to see what recruiting news unfolds after the recruits take it all in.  Great win.  Go Bucks.

Recruiting Reconnaissance: Scarlet Fever at the Shoe

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The game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers will be another Top-10 battle between two potential participants of the College Football Playoffs, but there is another reason why this game is of such importance.  There have been significant battles on the recruiting front between the Buckeyes and the Cornhuskers.  There is that and the rivalry between Wide Receiving Coaches that has been brewing frequently enough to cause a stir on both fronts.  Zone 6’s own Zach Williams and Nebraska’s Keith Williams have been dueling for star wideouts from various recruiting battlegrounds and this is a battle to keep your eyes on.  The recruits that they are vying for are Donovan Peoples-Jones, Trevon Grimes and Keyshawn Johnson Jr.  They both have one of the previous three named in their respective classes, but Peoples-Jones is still deciding on the two, as he took the time to visit these two schools earlier this season. So far Peoples-Jones is hard to read and he has recently released a Top-5 list that did not include Nebraska, but in recruiting that means nothing.  Wide Receiver isn’t the only position Ohio State and Nebraska are dueling for, they are also going head to head for Calabasas California’s own Darnay Holmes, a highly sought after Defensive Back prospect.  Nebraska and Johnson Jr are both trying to continue the pipeline into Nebraska’s future plans, but I don’t know if he will end up in the Scarlet and Gray due to the limited spots in this years class, but you never know.  There is also another possibility to where Bubba Bolden wants to join the Select 17 as well.  The Buckeyes are trying to get at least two more Defensive Back prospects after National Signing Day, but it will depend on if Ohio State misses out on the bigger names on what is left on their recruiting board.

Here are the current Ohio State Commits:

    • Josh Myers
      Josh Myers Miamisburg (Miamisburg, OH)
      OT 6-6 306 0.9928 10 3 1
    • Commit 1/25/2015
    • Wyatt Davis
      Wyatt Davis St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA)
      OG 6-5 310 0.9902 15 1 6
    • Commit 6/24/2016
    • Trevon Grimes
      Trevon Grimes St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
      WR 6-3 202 0.9890 17 4 3
    • Commit 8/22/2016
    • Shaun Wade
      Shaun Wade Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, FL)
      CB 6-1 177 0.9886 20 4 5
    • Commit 1/12/2015
    • Chase Young
      Chase Young DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)
      WDE 6-5 225 0.9857 30 2 1
    • Commit 7/22/2016
    • Tyjon Lindsey
      Tyjon Lindsey Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
      WR 5-9 161 0.9823 36 6 1
    • Commit 8/22/2016
    • J.K. Dobbins
      J.K. Dobbins La Grange (La Grange, TX)
      APB 5-9.5 199 0.9804 39 1 6
    • Commit 3/6/2016
    • Isaiah Pryor
      Isaiah Pryor IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)
      6-1.5 195 0.9742 46 5 8
    • Commit 7/27/2015
    • Tate Martell
      Tate Martell Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
      DUAL 5-10.5 203 0.9712 56 2 2
    • Commit 6/12/2016
    • Brendon White
      Brendon White Olentangy Liberty (Powell, OH)
      ATH 6-1.5 200 0.9455 112 3 2
    • Commit 10/2/2015
    • Amir Riep
      Amir Riep Colerain (Cincinnati, OH)
      CB 5-11 185 0.9410 125 14 3
    • Commit 7/23/2016
    • Jerron Cage
      Jerron Cage Winton Woods (Cincinnati, OH)
      DT 6-1.5 275 0.9097 227 14 9
    • Commit 7/21/2015

Here are the remaining targets left on their Big Board:

Here is the list of visitors via 24/7’s Buckeye affiliate:  Bucknuts.com:

Saturday, November 5, 2016 (7)

Other notable players visiting today:

Class of 2018:

  • Jaelen Gill, RB
  • Jermaine Eskridge, WR
  • Jackson Carman, OL
  • Rasheed Walker, OL
  • Dallas Gant, LB
  • Christopher Oats, LB
  • Cameron McGrone, LB
  • Derrik Allen, DB
  • Christian Tutt, DB

Class of 2019:

  • Jaylin Simpson, DB
  • Jashawn Sheffield, WR
  • Stephon Herron, DE

Hopefully the atmostphere and the nifty new uniforms, along with the Scarlet clad Shoe secures a commit or two after the game.  Hopefully it motivates the team enough to make them play angry.  I do not predict a commitment, but it would surely help the cause when it gets closer toward signing day because the Buckeyes coaching staff is starting to build relationships with the players from the 2018 and 2019 classes as they look to get a head start and finish the 2016 class strong.  As always I am hoping for a strong showing and an angry team.  Go Bucks!!!

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Preview: #10 Nebraska (7-1, 4-1) vs #6 Ohio State (7-1, 4-1)

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I cannot stress to you, the sheer importance of this game at this stage of the aging College Football Season. I guarantee you that Coach Meyer and his staff are addressing the importance of this game and they are establishing and setting the tone early and often to get their players ready for gameday.  Reestablishing and reawakening that killer instinct that has laid dormant after their visit to Norman Oklahoma.  I want to see this occur once again and I am certain that the Buckeyes would love to reawaken the beast within.  This, by no means, will be another easy win.  This will be a fight!  Both teams will fight tooth and nail until one of the two buckles under the bright lights of The Shoe.  Both Ohio State and Nebraska have identical records so far this season and the loser of the two will surely hurt their College Football Playoffs chances afterward. If I were to choose out of the two, I would say that it would definitely hurt the Buckeyes more so than the Cornhuskers.  Judging by the two-team race in the West Division between Wisconsin and Nebraska, their odds split at 50-50 with Minnesota and Iowa nipping at their heels and jockeying for position.  Ohio State, on the other hand, suffered a loss to a division foe in Penn State and TTUN is currently at the top of the East Division food chain at this point of the season.  The loss certainly doesn’t harm our chances and we cannot be counted out just yet, but if chaos happens (and in College Football, as long as I’ve been watching, it happens frequently a la Penn State!) and tie-breakers and stuff like that need to be used, we need to stay atop our game for the rest of the season.

images-7The Buckeyes will play host once again and they will welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers into The Shoe and it has been four years since the Buckeyes and the Cornhuskers met on the gridiron and with the stakes being as high as ever, both teams will look for any edge that is out there at this point of this season.  Both teams will look the stay in the Playoff conversation as the first official list was released yesterday and both teams are within striking distance of making the big dance IF they keep improving and flat out, winning. This game will be different and it is almost as exciting as the dark night at the shoe.  This game will feature two things that will look to give the Buckeyes more of an edge, to add to their advantage of being the home team during the game.  This game will dazzle and amaze, and with the first Scarlet Out of the season, the Buckeyes will look to turn the tide and bring the pain.  Not only will the Buckeyes unleash the Scarlet Out, they will also honor a former Buckeye Alum, Chick Harley, with a new alternate uniform and they look to honor the undefeated 1916 Ohio State team of old.  I, for one initially thought that this was a drop off from the black alternates, but the helmet altered my former thoughts and I love them now!

imagesJ.T. Barrett will be faced with another tough, hard-nosed BIG 10 defense and the Nebraska Defense is another stout defense that has been held 5 out of their last 7 opponents to less than 20 points per game which resulted in wins.  The two that scored more than 20 points in a game against Nebraska? They went 1-1 in those games.  A win against Oregon and a loss to Wisconsin, not too bad.  I was stationed in Nebraska for 8 long years and man they love their team.  I hate their team just as much, but not even close to the scorn and hatred to TTUN, but their Blackshirts are pretty good. They always manage to field good, if not great defenses.  Look at the past games against the Buckeyes during their first years in the conference.  The Cornhusker upset the rebuilding Buckeyes after Coach Tressel left that was coached by Luke Fickell.  The Buckeyes lost by a touchdown to the new kids on the block.  34-27 was the final and I hope that Coach Fickell remembers every second of that horrid season. We should thank them though cause it brought Coach Meyer in and five years later, he has only lost one hand worth of games and has a National Championship to add to his repertoire.  His first year he handed the Cornhuskers a 63-38 whooping to extend the series to 3-1 all-time against the Cornhuskers.

images-12This will be a battle of the Blackshirts against the Scarlet Curtain.  Flat out.  Two Top-15 Defenses will go toe to toe in what could be another epic battle and defensive struggle.  The Buckeyes field a team that is ranked #6 in the nation in both playoff standings and in scoring defense surrendering 121 points this season.  The Cornhuskers are ranked #10 in the playoffs standings and 15th in scoring defense giving up 147 points total.  Ohio State is #6 in total defense averaging 295.5 yards per game and Nebraska comes in at #20 with 342.1 yards per game.  Ohio State ranks #4 in the NCAA with a +10 in the turnover margin and Nebraska is #24 with +5 in the turnover margin.  Both defenses are even at #24 with 16 turnovers gained so far this season.  Both teams have stout Defensive Lines, but opposing teams get the ball out quickly as both teams are in the middle of the pack in the sack department with Nebraska at #51 with 19 sacks for the season and the Rushmen are #63 with 17.  The Buckeyes edge the Cornhuskers in the defensive touchdown category.  They are ranked #2 in the nation in defensive touchdowns with 4 and Nebraska is #19 with 2.  This will be a battle and a test of wills and this will likely be the focus of the game.  Ohio State is allowing 15.1 points per game to Nebraska’s 18.4.  This will be a fierce and intense battle.

images-4Both offenses will certainly have their hands full with the defenses that will oppose them.  This will be a battle, but both offenses can create huge splash plays from time to time.  The Buckeyes field a formidable offense with playmakers such as Curtis Samuel, Dontre Wilson, Noah Brown, Mike Weber and J.T. Barrett.  On the other side, the Cornhuskers have Quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Running Back Terrell Newby and Stanley Morgan Jr at Wideout.  Both teams are averaging a ton of points per game.  Ohio State is averaging 42.6 per game, while Nebraska is averaging 32 points per game.  That is #10 and #49 in the nation in scoring offense that will test each the opposing defenses to secure a win.  The edge in offense goes to Nebraska because of their Offensive Line has allowed just 6 sacks total this season which is good for #5 in the nation.  The Buckeyes are #27 in the nation with 12 QB sacks allowed which is telling and a key concern for the Buckeyes moving forward.  Hopefully, they can scheme around the Blackshirts and rebound from the scare against Northwestern and you have to expect that the loss in Happy Valley still remains in the back of their minds, but they won’t outright say it aloud.  I think they will have the added motivation because of the Scarlet Out and the sweet new unis.  It is all about execution and poise during duress.  This will be a battle throughout and with another Top-10 duel, they will look to shake off the cobwebs and dust.

Prediction:

I am certainly way off with my predictions, never coming close to the final in most instances.  Sometimes I hope and pray, but it is one of the things that makes College Football special.  This will be a defensive battle throughout.  The offenses will make key and timely play when they need it and a key defensive stop will fuel the Buckeyes late in the game to secure another Top-10 win to keep them in the College Football Playoff conversation.

Buckeyes over Nebraska 38-27

Recap: Northwestern vs Ohio State

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A week after suffering their first loss of the season, the Buckeyes are back in The Horseshoe and they will be taking on the Northwestern Wildcats.  This game started off with a defensive stand that resulted in a Northwestern punt on their initial possession.  How would the wounded Ohio State Offense as a unit?  The Ohio State Offense has yet to score on their first possession of the game would this be the turning point? The Buckeyes responded and they finally have their first score of the season on their first drive of the game. The play calling was creative and sudden, just the way I like to see it.  J.T. Barrett looks like a different QB and he was quick on his release and he was decisive when involved in the passing game.  He took the ball from the Ohio State 6-yard line and took it 94 yards on 9 plays on the opening drive.  Mike Weber is doing work, he has 63 yards on 9 carries for two scores.  J.T. Barrett finished the half 14 for 21 and 129 yards.  He looks sharp but as the game wore on the playcalling became predictable once again.  Checkdown after checkdown, false start penalties, and another sack allowed by the Offensive Line.  Consistency isn’t what this Buckeye team is known for, but I believe they will improve as the competition rises.  The Silver Bullets and the Scarlet Curtain are doing well.  McMillan tipped a pass and Damon Arnette made a heady play and intercepted the ball and it resulted in a Durbin field goal.  The Rushmen have another sack added to their repertoire and they look to impose their will during the second half.  The Scarlett Curtain nearly had another pick, but it was bobbled by Ward.

The second half came and another batch of questionable and uninspiring playcalling on both the offensive and the defensive side of the ball.  The offense is banking on the speed option at a mind-numbing rate and so far it has been stopped dead in its tracks.  This year, I think both Offensive Coordinators are looking too far ahead than the task at hand.   They are auditioning for Head Coaching gigs elsewhere and it seems like they are just going through the motions this year.  The creativity is gone, the lack of a passing game, the constant swing passes and checkdowns overshadow what would’ve and what could’ve been another great year, but we are stuck in this alternate dimension with poor and predictable playcalling.  At this point, I am willing to try out Joe Burrow because Barrett seems to be disinterested in making an impact through the air.  It is sad to say, but I am about done with this year.  The stress that I feel watching these games, close games, that shouldn’t even be close, it hurts my heart and my soul to see my Buckeyes underachieve and lose themselves in mediocrity and terrible playcalling.  The defense is the same, Jerome Baker gave up on a pass that resulted in a touchdown pass to one of two Wildcats that the Buckeyes man to man defense can’t seem to contain or stop.  The nickel corner keeps getting beat and it is disappointing and a fall from grace from where the Buckeyes were at the beginning of the season.  Oh, in the middle of the 4th quarter, Barrett and Samuel finally become less predictable, well kind of, and score a touchdown on run down the middle. They also managed to pass the ball on a deep ball to K.J. Hill for 30+ yards on a pass play.  Finally, the Buckeyes score in the second half, finally answering the two scores that the Wildcats have earned in the second half.  Label me a pessimist, but it is not looking good.  We are too predictable, not as creative and we are as basic as they come on both sides of the ball.  I would love to see the Buckeyes prove me wrong, but since that Oklahoma game, what the heck happened?  Did we get too cocky?  Did we take the foot off the gas pedal?  I certainly think so, it pains me to see them struggle, but it shows my love for the sport and the teams they field yearly.  I am getting tired of barely surviving and with yet another close win, I still have yet to see the killer instinct that they used to have, the swagger and the sheer intestinal fortitude to take over games.  This 24-20 win is not what I like to see and we Ohio State fans have been too spoiled over the years, but the talent did not take a dive.  They just need to step up and show out.  Hope they fix things on both sides of the ball and open up the playbook.  The creativity needs to return for the whole game, just not on the opening drive.  We will see what the Buckeyes are made of when Nebraska comes into town and it should be another Top-10 matchup IF they go into Camp Randall Stadium and take care of business.  Until next week and hope I have better things to say about our team.