My Favorite Buckeye Memory: A First Post By Our Newest Writer @WesPatterson23

My favorite Ohio State memory would have to be in the fall of 2012 when Ohio State took on the mighty Purdue Boilermakers. This was Urban Meyer’s first year with the Buckeyes, and our sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller (Who was my favorite football player ever at the time) was becoming very well known amongst all fans and opposing teams. Even though I thought this would be an easy win against a lousy opponent, I was still excited to be able to see Urban Meyer, his so far undefeated team, and my favorite player, Braxton Miller, live for the first time.

I woke up early that Saturday morning of the game and began the 2 hour journey from my KY house to the Horseshoe in Columbus. After a drive that lasted forever, I made it, and decided to race on over to the pre-game Skull Session. When I entered into St. John Arena I walked right up into the front row seats, and thought I was going to have the best seats in the house for this exciting event. After about five minutes of sitting there, and mostly seeing people leave rather than enter, I finally realized I actually missed the skull session, and I felt like an idiot.

After that huge disappointment, I headed over to the stadium to get my seats and watch warm-ups. Eventually, the game was set to begin. Purdue got the ball first and looked ready to get beat. In one of the first plays, Purdue took advantage of our first-time starter at Linebacker (Zach Boren who had just been moved from fullback) and threw a TD pass to go up 6-0 (PAT was blocked). I could sense the shock in the crowd because of how early that happened, but nobody was too worried. After a couple of drives that ended in no points, Braxton finally scored to give us the lead at 7-6. “All will be fine now” was the thought from everybody. No, Purdue returned the next kickoff for a TD giving them the lead at 13-7. In the 3rd, Carlos Hyde pounded it in to regain the lead at 14-13.

Soon after that point is when the real action began. One of the scariest moments for all Buckeye fans at the time occurred. Braxton went down.


That’s truly when everybody’s mindset moved to the point that we could lose this game. Unproven and somewhat unknown QB Kenny Guiton would have to step up.

Later in the 3rd, Purdue scored again to go up 20-14. Soon after that, they even forced a safety on us to go up 22-14. I couldn’t believe I actually decided to go to a game where we were going to be upset by Purdue, and all my friends who are Ohio State haters were going to give it to me. Worst feeling in the world.

Late in the game, there was a glimmer of hope, but Kenny G threw an interception with only two minutes left in the game, and Purdue would surely finish the game from that. Everybody was shocked, and most people decided to leave and beat the traffic. I was so close to leaving as well, but I reluctantly stayed and decided to watch us lose.

We ended up getting the ball back, and Kenny G took the field once more. With less than a minute to go, he makes a clutch 34 yard throw to Devin Smith that puts us in the redzone. At this point, the crowd was starting to shake, and I could see everybody who was trying to re-enter the stadium. Then, with 3 seconds left in the game, Kenny Guiton threw a TD to Chris Fields making the game 22-20! Obviously, we had to go for the 2 point conversion, so we weren’t too excited just yet.


The ball snapped, Kenny rolled to his right, nobody was open, he couldn’t run or throw, the game was over, or so I thought. He then looked back to his left and threw to a wide open Jeff Heuerman in the end zone. The game was headed to OT! I knew the game was over from there, we couldn’t be beat with all this momentum we had just gained. Carlos punched in a score, and we held them from scoring. The game was over, we had won! The legend of Kenny G was born.

PPOwGb4 Image courtesy of 11W

I was standing in that half-empty stadium screaming my lungs out pumped that we just came back and beat Purdue. Carmen Ohio was so sweet that Saturday afternoon in Ohio Stadium, and that ride home was so relaxing knowing we got the W. Even though it was a scare against Purdue, it was the best memory I have of Ohio State.

Random Thoughts On Ohio State @ Navy

1. Will Ohio State’s Offense With J.T. Barrett Look “Guiton-ish” At Navy? – Coach Meyer stated that the Ohio State offense would look more like it did last season when Kenny Guiton was quarterbacking Ohio State when Braxton Miller was sidelined with an injury. With Miller out for the entire 2014 season, and Barrett a redshirt freshman making his first collegiate start on the road, will Ohio State’s offensive coaches pare down the offense to make it easier for Barrett? Look for a strong emphasis on the Ohio State running game to make Barrett feel even more comfortable as the new leader of the offense.

2. How Will Ohio State’s New Defensive Scheme Fare At Navy? – Navy’s triple option offense can keep the best of college teams off-balance, let alone a team that is adopting a more aggressive approach and has new starters within the linebacker and secondary positions. As so few teams run the triple option, it is very challenging for scout teams to simulate it adequately, thus the defense may not be completely prepared to defend the triple option in a game. Ohio State is bigger, faster, and stronger than Navy, but look for this game to be closer than Ohio State fans expect and want.

3. Which Of The Freshmen Will Play At Navy? – Coach Meyer has been pointing out how many of the freshmen have had their black stripes removed from their helmets, representing that these players are now considered ready to play and contribute for the team. While I believe many of these players may still wind up being redshirted, it would not be surprising to see many of the freshmen contribute on the special teams units.

Prediction: Ohio state wins on the road against a worthy and tough opponent in Navy. I see it Ohio State 35, Navy 17.

2013 Ohio State @ Purdue: Exercise, & Exorcism, Are Buckeye Goals

Congratulations to Ohio State on winning its twentieth straight game, against a well-coached Penn State team, 63-14. I believed Ohio State would win, but I certainly did not expect such a dominating victory. For a team in need of an impressive victory in the eyes of the voters, Ohio State delivered with a strong statement to the national television audience. On a side note – as someone who watched with complete dismay in 1994 as Penn State dismantled Ohio State 63-14, I found this to be deliciously delayed payback, as Ohio State put 63 points on Penn State.

Up next for Ohio State? A trip to West Lafayette, Indiana, and a 12pm EST kickoff against the Purdue Boilermakers, televised by Big Ten Network. While a casual Ohio State fan may look at Purdue and chalk this game up as an easy win, it will not take long for Coach Urban Meyer to get the Buckeyes focused upon what lies ahead.

Ohio State fans certainly can recall how the Buckeyes have lost the last two trips to West Lafayette, in 2011 and in 2009. As a matter of fact, Ohio State lost at Purdue in 2004, as the Troy Smith era was just beginning, and who can forget how Ohio State pulled out this victory in 2002 to keep its national championship dreams alive?

To put it in perspective, Ohio State’s last victory at Purdue was this 23-7 victory in 2007. I am guessing Coach Meyer and the coaching staff will gladly take a comparable victory over Purdue.

Considering Halloween takes place a few days before, and how Ohio State has struggled in West Lafayette over the past several visits, an exorcism might be on the Ohio State coaching wish list. Other items I will be watching?

Can Ohio State Come Out Strong Two Weeks In A Row? – Ohio State attacked Penn State at the onset of the game, taking a 28-0 lead before Penn State even knew what hit them. Conversely, Ohio State struggled out of the game against Iowa the week before. Can Ohio State maintain its aggressive style of play at Purdue?

Play The Backups Considerably – Holding a dominant lead in the third quarter allowed Coach Meyer and the coaching staff to play backups such as Kenny Guiton, Jordan Hall, and Ezekiel Elliott. Above all else, I would hope to see the backup offensive line play the entire second half, if possible. In 2014, Ohio State loses four starters along the offensive line; the Purdue game could be an excellent opportunity to get these players valuable game-time experience.

Rest The Starters For The Stretch Run – Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, Devin Smith, Noah Spence, Ryan Shazier, etc., are all playing well. Once and if a commanding lead has been established, I am hoping the coaching staff gets the starters out of the game. Not only am I concerned about getting the backups valuable game-time experience, I want to see the starters fresh for the remaining games @ Illinois, Indiana, and @ That Team Up North. Avoiding injuries are key this time of the season, as Ohio State gears up for the final conference contests.

Ohio State has won twenty straight games. To win twenty-one, exercising its starters and backups may allow the Ohio State coaching staff to exorcise the demons of games past at Purdue.

Ohio State @ Northwestern – Play It Like Tressel

Congratulations to Ohio State on beating a solid Wisconsin team, 31-24. Ohio State seemed to take its foot off the gas in the second half (more on that later), but a win over a team like Wisconsin is always a good thing. As someone who was in attendance in Ohio Stadium for the victory, I would characterize the win as somewhat underwhelming. I would not be so harsh as the below tweet, but it gives a good analysis of what it felt like sitting in the stands during the second half ~

Braxton Miller returned to the starting lineup, showing little to no ill effects from his MCL injury.  While I agree that Miller’s running abilities and elusive skills are a tremendous asset, I would prefer to see fewer designed quarterback runs.  From my perspective, Miller would be far more dangerous on passing downs, scrambling if a play breaks down or a receiver is unable to get open.  Even Coach Meyer stated that Miller carrying the ball 22 times is too much.

It seemed to me, and perhaps I am mistaken, that Ohio State’s offense under Kenny Guiton seemed more balanced than when Braxton Miller played versus Wisconsin.  Guiton is not nearly the running threat that Miller is, and there were far fewer designed quarterback runs for Guiton during his games than for Miller versus Wisconsin.  Also, Guiton seems to run the option better, forcing the defense to commit to the pitch, where Miller is more inclined to turn upfield on a quarterback keeper.

I am not advocating a quarterback change, or trying to incite a controversy.  I would simply prefer fewer designed quarterback runs, especially for a quarterback coming off a MCL injury, and better offensive balance.

Regarding the designed Ohio State second half slowdown versus Wisconsin, I did not have as much of a problem with the conservative approach Ohio State decided to implement.  Ohio State focused on shutting down Wisconsin’s running game, and forced Wisconsin to go the length of the field to score in the second half.  Punter Cameron Johnston was consistently able to land punts deep in Wisconsin territory.

I do not have a problem with a conservative approach.  I would argue that conservative does not have to mean predictable.  Against Wisconsin, first and second downs were usually Braxton Miller designed runs (see up above), which would lead to third downs where Ohio State would sometimes convert.

Do you want to run the ball and chew up the clock?  Absolutely.  I would simply argue that with backs such as Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall (who should have played more versus Wisconsin, by the way), it is possible to be conservative yet not predictable.

Feel terrible for Christian Bryant with his injury at the end of the game.  I am hopeful Ohio State explores the medical redshirt option for Bryant, even if Bryant is not granted one by the NCAA.

As for Bradley Roby…let’s just say that being projected as a first round draft choice does not mean that you will be a first round draft choice.  Roby needs to rebound, starting with Northwestern.

On to Northwestern.  With Bryant’s injury, the likely starter will be Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown.  Brown was a highly touted recruit in the 2009 class, and this will be Brown’s opportunity to claim the starting job outright.

Heading up to Evanston, for another night game, another nationally televised game, versus an undefeated Northwestern team, what is the approach Ohio State should take?

Play Northwestern how former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel used to play Northwestern.

What does that mean?

Ohio State played Northwestern from 2001-2008, losing at Northwestern in 2004.  While Tressel’s teams usually played Northwestern well, it seemed as though the loss in 2004 to the Wildcats seemed to spur the Buckeyes to play with a true killer mentality from 2005-2008:

Ohio State should come out, ready to go against Northwestern’s mediocre defense.  While Northwestern has a solid offense, Ohio State should be up for the challenge, even with the loss of Christian Bryant in the secondary.  I will go Ohio State 56, Northwestern 31.

No Controversies With Florida A&M

Congratulations to Ohio State for passing its first road test of the 2013 season against California with flying colors. Traveling across the country to California, facing a team with a developing and fast-paced offensive attack, as well as starting the backup quarterback, Ohio State rose to the challenge and won the game impressively.

Coming home to face Florida A&M, Ohio State fans can rest easy that this is a game that should present no concerns for the Buckeyes before B1G play begins. If you have heard this legendary story regarding tickets, the point is that this is the Ohio State game that should provide any fans the opportunity to find tickets easily. Even Gene Smith recently stated that this is a “challenging” game that may prove difficult to sell out for Ohio State.

Below are my wish list items for Florida A&M:

1. Rest Braxton Miller, and play Kenny Guiton versus Florida A&M: Not trying to fan this into a quarterback controversy, but I am of the opinion that resting Braxton Miller would be in the team’s best interests for the 2013 season. A sprained MCL will only get better with rest. If Braxton Miller is not deemed 100%, rest him.  Kenny Guiton is doing fine piloting the Ohio State offense. No need to put Miller in against Florida A&M and risk further injury.

2. Ease Carlos Hyde into playing time: Hyde will be understandably anxious to show what he can do, after serving his three game suspension. Instead of rushing Hyde into the lineup, I would hope Ohio State would play Hyde after Ohio State establishes a strong lead over Florida A&M.  Happy to see others, such as Beau Bishop, agree with me on this point.

3. Play backups the majority of the second half: More than likely, this game will get out of hand very quickly; Ohio State could possibly be up by forty points at the half. My hope would be to play the starters the first series of the third quarter, then turn the reins over to as many backups as possible ~ Cardale Jones. Warren Ball. Ezekiel Elliott. Rod Smith. Insert the backup offensive line, as Ohio State will lose four starters after this season. Nothing can take the place of actual game experience, and this may be one of the best opportunities for extensive game experience for these units. Play as many redshirt freshmen as possible; these players have already been redshirted, and can only get better by playing. Keep the starters healthy for the B1G games on the horizon. I have been advocating this philosophy for the first few weeks of the season, and others like Ben Axelrod seem to be thinking the same thing ~

Along those lines,

4. Last call for redshirts: If there is a member of the highly-touted freshman class that has not earned playing time yet, why waste a valuable year of eligibility? Even Coach Meyer has stated that Bri’onte Dunn and Michael Thomas may benefit from a redshirt year ~

Think back to 2005, when Ohio State played Brian Robiskie. Robiskie wound up playing sparingly in 2005, with only one catch. Yes, Robiskie concluded his Ohio State career in fine fashion, but Robiskie would have been better served by the previous coaching staff by using 2005 as a redshirt year, allowing Robiskie a chance to play in 2009.

In 2014, Ohio State will have Rod Smith, Warren Ball, and Bri’onte Dunn as running backs. While I am certain Dunn would like to play, it would probably be best for Dunn and the program to save a year of eligibility for 2014.

Look for this game to be over quickly.  Ohio State should have no problem racking up the style points that have eluded them so far this season.

“Put Me In Coach”

osuHelmet“Oh, put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;

Put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;”

~ John Fogerty, Centerfield

I realize that I am mixing sports metaphors here, as “Centerfield” was written about baseball, and this article is about Ohio State football, but please bear with me. No, this article is not being intended to serve as a voice of doom and gloom for this upcoming week’s contest against California.

For the first two weeks of the 2013 season, Ohio State has held commanding leads late in the game, and has won convincingly. While this is not surprising to me, what is surprising is how the coaching staff is not using these opportunities to provide the backup players, especially on the offensive side of the ball, some game-time experience.

For example, in game one against Buffalo, Braxton Miller suffered cramps, and was ably replaced by Kenny Guiton. When Miller was able to return into the game, Guiton went back to the sidelines, and Ohio State remained in complete control, defeating Buffalo 40-20.

Late in the contest, with Buffalo clearly defeated, Braxton Miller was in the game. Why not give Kenny Guiton even more playing time?

Versus San Diego State, Ohio State was forced to play Guiton, with Miller suffering a knee injury early in the game. Again, Guiton played well.

Winning the game against San Diego State 42-7, Guiton was in the game, well after the game was decided. Why not use this opportunity to give playing time to Cardale Jones?

I could make the same argument regarding players such as Warren Ball (only carried the ball twice against San Diego State), or Bri’onte Dunn (no carries yet this season). Yes, I understand that Jordan Hall, Dontre Wilson, Rod Smith, and Ezekiel Elliott all carried the ball against San Diego State – why not give players such as Ball or Dunn playing time late in the contest?  I even tweeted something along those lines ~

A case in point – notice how Ohio State’s defense has seemingly substituted many defensive backups into the games, and the benefits that this has provided Ohio State’s defense…

My article may seem alarmist or overly pessimistic by Ohio State fans, but please keep in mind the following points ~

1) Even Coach Meyer stated in his press conference on 09/09/2013 that Braxton Miller was a “day to day decision” (see below). Yes, I have complete confidence in Kenny Guiton.

What happens if Miller cannot go versus Cal, and Guiton is hurt during the game? Now Cardale Jones, or J.T. Barrett, enter into the Cal game, with NO game experience. And that scenario could have been completely avoided, by playing them late versus Buffalo and San Diego State.

2) Yes, I understand that it will be difficult to keep all of the running backs happy. Yes, I know that Dunn has not played because Dunn has not played on special teams. But think about this – running back depth is something to protect, not take for granted. I can certainly recall many seasons when Ohio State seemingly had to scramble to find capable running backs – is 2003 too far back for people to remember?

My point is, players can go down to injury quickly. Considerable depth can be eliminated very easily. Play as many players as possible, to provide experience if needed.

Ohio State Looks To Run With, Then By, The Bulls In 2013 Opener

Trying to forecast a final score, or what will happen decisively in game one of the college football season, is an exercise of confidence that I do not possess. There are so many factors involved, especially against an unfamiliar opponent as the University of Buffalo Bulls, that it would be easy for someone to read this blog post after the game and say, “What was he thinking?!?”.

Here are some things I will look for in the 2013 season opener versus Buffalo ~

  • Ohio State’s rushing attack: During the 2012 season, QB Braxton Miller ran far more frequently than I preferred, and I surmise Coach Urban Meyer preferred. With a deep arsenal of running backs (Jordan Hall, Bri’onte Dunn, Warren Ball, Ezekiel Elliott), as well as hybrid players such as Dontre Wilson, I wonder how Ohio State will be able to involve as many of these players versus Buffalo.
  • Ohio State’s front seven defensively: Replacing the entire defensive line, as well as two linebackers, will be of concern to me, as the lack of experience can only strengthen throughout the season. How effective Ohio State is able to shut down Buffalo’s running game, as well as pressure the passer, will be areas watched in the season opener.
  • How many freshmen or newcomers will play for Ohio State: Coach Meyer has stated players such as Wilson, Elliott, defensive linemen Michael Hill and Joey Bosa, and new punter Cameron Johnston will all play versus Buffalo. Will there be others? If so, who, and how much will these players play?
  • The maturation of Ohio State’s passing game: Miller has supposedly improved from 2012, according to reports from Ohio State’s coaching staff. Will Miller’s mechanics be on display versus against Buffalo? Will Miller demonstrate the ability to find secondary options, versus just taking off with his legs? Conversely, will Miller demonstrate his maturity of not forcing passes into covered areas, while making positive yardage if all other options have been closed off?
  • How many backups will play: My rationale in this thought is how critical it is for any team to develop battle-tested depth throughout the team. As soon as Ohio State has developed a strong lead, I would hope to see backups along the offensive line, as Ohio State will lose four of its five starters for the 2014 season. How about playing backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, in the event Miller is injured at some other point in the 2013 season? How about playing Cardale Jones, the second backup quarterback, to get Jones some valuable playing experience?

Ohio State is heavily favored, and should win this game easily. While winning is always the primary objective, other goals should always be pursued to help develop Ohio State into a true national championship contender.