Hitting Rewind: Offense vs. Penn State

By Jason Priestas on October 28, 2008 at 7:00a
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This makes me feel a little better

One of the things that The Meshed One touched on Saturday night was the need for Ohio State to further diversify their offense -- break out of some tendencies. A lot of us have been beating that same drumbeat for a while and probably hardest in the direction of You-Need-To-Call-Some-First-Down-Passes. Well, how'd we do against Penn State in that category? Chris rounded up the first down calls and at first glance, the play-calling was pretty agreeable, really:

On first down, Ohio State called 11 runs and 12 passes.

Nothing wrong with that. But three of those passes were spikes to stop the clock. We're sitting at 11/9 all of a sudden, which still seems reasonable especially given the Purdue masterpiece that was fresh in our memories.

But what if we remove the 1st downs from the three drives in which passing was required (and expected)? That would be the last drive of the first half, started at the OSU 39 with 1:33 to play, and the last two drives of the game. The first of those came immediately after the Devlin touchdown and the Buckeyes with the ball at their own seven and needing a touchdown with a little over six minutes to play. The second of those drives, of course, was against a prevent defense.

So that leaves the meat of the game -- six drives independent of clock or score. In those drives, there were we still have the 11 runs called on first down, but the number of passes has shrunk to four. The Buckeyes passed on first down just 26% of the time. And this was with the running game stuffed from the start.

When diversity was shown, it worked. Pryor was sacked on one of those called passes, but finished 2/3 for 23 yards on the other first downs in that group. But the playcalling is the equivalent of sending the players out on to the field with their shoes untied. I'll say it again: the guy calling the plays should be thinking of the quickest way to get into the end zone and not about a punt you're trying to setup in the next series.

Anyway, the pickings were pretty slim this week, so instead, just some running commentary on a couple of shots

Maybin sets the tone on the first play of the game by blowing by Browning. Penn State would work him all night long by lining up wide on him. I could be getting soft, but I hold out hope that Browning will become a good tackle. He's only a soph and Maybin is as good a defensive end as you'll see at this level.
Sanzenbacher is pretty wide open on this 3rd and seven pickup from the Buckeye six yard line. It was a huge play, coming up after the Lions had downed a punt on the Ohio State three and Beanie was held to three yards and no gain on the first two plays of the drive. The coverage was blown after Dane came in motion to the left side putting three wide receivers on that side of the ball against Penn State's zone defense.
After a false start set up a 3rd and nine, this Robo completion was a huge pickup and kept the series alive for the Buckeyes to go on and tie the game at three. Definitely a good spot, this is as forward as his progress would get. No worries, the zebras would get the Buckeyes back later on.
Scirrotto gets there a tad early on this huge 33 yard reception by Robiskie on the last drive of the first half. That blur you see is the incoming ball.
The payback. This is the 2nd down play before the fumble and it was marked just short of the marker (with no measurement). The ball is in Beanie's forward arm.
One bad play in six starts. You can't ask for much more. Just a hell of a play out of Rubin, really. There was a ton of daylight past Rubin, but he did have Pryor by the other hand, so there's no saying if the play would have broken for big yardage had the ball not been popped.
Team player.
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