Five Things: Ohio

By Chris Lauderback on September 20, 2010 at 6:00a
Terrelle Pryor logged 270 yards total offense and 3 TD (photo: Jay LaPrete)

Pryor's Record Setting Day

I know. Those two interceptions were horrendous but I personally don't have too much of a problem looking past them considering the timing. The Buckeyes were in front 34-0 with :14 left in the half when Pryor tossed his first pick of the year, a totally haphazard lob into heavy traffic intended for Taurian Washington. The throw capped three straight poor plays by Pryor. The first came when TP missed badly attempting to find a wide open Dane Sanzenbacher for an easy six. Facing 2nd and 10 from the OU 22 on the next play, Pryor inexcusably took an 8 yard sack setting up the INT to close the half. The line collapsed but it happened right in front of him and he failed to scramble or throw the ball away. Again, poor decisions and execution all around but up 34-0 against a team that had mustered about 43 yards of offense to that point, I can see why Pryor got a little sloppy. I personally felt that should've been the end of the day for TP but he played four more series in the 2nd half featuring an underthrown double clutch toss to DeVier Posey on 3rd and 7 to kill the first drive. Two possessions later, Pryor's second INT came by way of another underthrown ball, this time intended for Dane, although I'm still confused as to how Dane, Saine and Posey were in the same 10 yards of space. Pryor noted in the post game that he failed to look off the safety but with three Buckeyes running routes in the vacinity, the play was junk to begin with. I still say we should all feel safe knowing Pryor's mindset would've likely been different if in a dogfight against a legit opponent. And this is coming from a guy that took a full two years to finally embrace Pryor as a quarterback. I mean, dude went 104 plays (rush or pass) before his first turnover this year. I'll take it.

In between those few shenanigans, Pryor was busy completing 16 straight passes to set the school record helping him to a gaudy 17/20 in the first half. Now, trust me in that I saw the same laughinstock of a secondary as you did but he got the job done. Though he completed most of them, he's still a little shaky when throwing the short to intermediate routes, especially over the middle. Some of that is a lack of touch that will hopefully come over time while another factor is Tressel pretty much disallowed TP from throwing anything over the middle - except the bomb - during his first two years.

Pryor again looked to checkdowns consistently (maybe even a little too much) and he scrambled with a purpose to the tune of 5 first half carries for 36 yards and a score. I came away very impressed with a couple throws, specifically a 2nd and 7 connection to Stoneburner for 12 yards while rolling left on the drive that would put OSU in front 10-0. On the next offensive series facing 1st and 10 at the OU 48, Pryor hit Posey in stride on what became a 35 yard reception after calmly standing in the pocket and scanning the field. Finally, on 2nd and 7 from the OU 30, Pryor again used his feet to create space by rolling left then stepping up and into a perfect 21 yard strike to Dane setting up the Stoneburner's first collegiate TD reception two plays later to make it 27-0 good guys.

Pryor also moved up on the school's all-time total offense list passing Archie for eighth place. Pryor recorded 270 yards of total offense and now stands at 5,695 and counting and he's now 22-3 as a starter. For good measure, Pryor's 14th game with at least 200 yards total offense moves him into a tie for 5th place all-time.

Not all is rosey, however, on the Offensive side of the ball

Despite Pryor's big day, the offense still has some areas of opportunity. The offensive line has been somewhat under the radar this year as the Buckeyes have blown out two opponents in between the sound beating delivered to the 'Canes however there are some issues that need repaired. The line surrendered an unacceptable three sacks against a bad Ohio team with both Adams and Shugarts showing up in my notes. The rushing attack was also somewhat stifled as OSU managed just 3.9 per carry with 41 carries going for 158 yards. This after averaging just 3.7 against the 'Canes. First down carries by the RB's also seem to be struggling a bit. It's a small sample size but on the five 1st down carries in the first half, OSU tailbacks managed just 7 yards. Against Miami, the RB's had 18 1st down carries for 55 yards, good for a paltry 3.27 per tote.

Adding to the concern is the rushing-disappearance of Brandon Saine. He followed up a 12 carry, 17 yard performance against Miami in which he went 8 for -5 on 1st down with a pedestrian 12 carry, 48 yard showing against the Bobcats. Is the line just not blocking as well for Saine? Or, is it more likely that there aren't gaping holes on most snaps and Saine is more susceptible to dance behind the line looking for the 'big one' whereas Boom is more of a grinder who spends less time in the backfield when the line hasn't produced a large seam yet doesn't present the same home run threat? For now, it appears to be the latter but the bottom line is that the big boys up front need to more consistently create room for the RB's to run.

Silver Bullets continue to dominate

The defense did what it should do against outmanned opponents - destroy them. In the decisive first half, the Bullets were unstoppable causing Bobcat drives to unfold this way:

  • 2 and out (Moeller INT)
  • 3 and out (5 yards)
  • 3 and out (-11 yards)
  • 3 and out (6 yards)
  • 2 and out (Fumble: Williams/Homan combo)
  • 2 and out (Fumble: Cam)
  • 4 and out (Hey, a 1st down!)
  • 4 and out (Turnover on downs)

Nathan Williams and Ross Homan were particularly filthy early on. Williams made a stop on the first play of the game setting up Moeller's INT then the pair accounted for all three tackles on OU's second possession. Homan then ended Ohio's third possession stopping a QB draw on 3rd and 22 for -1 yard. The next OU series saw Williams stop a 2nd down run for 2 yards before Homan straight blew up a screen forcing a punt. Then, on the fifth series, Williams and Homan combined to cause/recover an OU fumble on 2nd down setting up a TP to Stoney connection for a 27-0 lead. They had plenty of help with Cameron Heyward recording a fumble recovery and a safety and Moeller's aforementioned INT to go along with three stops, a forced fumble and 1/5 TFL's.

For the game, the Bullets held Ohio to seven first downs, 2.5 yards per carry, 9/17 through the air with two picks, 158 total yards (3.3 per play) and 2/10 3rd down conversions.

Broken record that is poor special teams

There's no question that Posey-bro's kickoff return for a TD was correctly called back due to a block in the back but the play still served as a microcosm of what's wrong with the KO coverage. First, Basil's kick was a line drive although I give him some credit for finally getting the ball inside the five yard line. Once Dorian Bell was illegally blocked, Aaron Gant still had a clear shot at Posey but he took a circular route and ended up whiffing badly allowing Posey to scamper the rest of the way untouched. Maybe Rolle and Hines need to become full time special teamers again to stop the bleeding. Basil did put the next two KO's near the goal line but again they were line drives. Following those two deeper kicks, the next two only reached the seven and 14 yard lines, respectively. There's no question Ohio State is having issues maintaining lane integrity, shedding blocks and making tackles but there's no denying the problems are starting from kickoffs being too low and too short.

Since we're apparently not suffering enough watching KO coverage, the special teams god added a new wrinkle this week as the Buckeyes had a punt blocked. The pathetic display saw OSU line up with seven men spread out on the line of scrimmage with three men stationed in front of Buchanan. First, the line blocked absolutely nobody allowing five Bobcats to approach the three-man back line. The problem was compounded when, with five rushers to choose from, both Garrett Goebel and Adam Bellamy blocked no one. That's not even a sarcastic comment. I've watched the tape five times and to see both Goebel and Bellamy strike out is painful. But, it all starts up front and my thought is if none of your front seven are going to block anyone, it might be wise to at least bunch them together instead of spreading them out laterally over roughly 30 yards. Unbelievable. When will the madness end?

Injuries Challenge Depth and Experience

As of this writing Sunday night, I've yet to see anything definitive from the university but Devon Torrence, Travis Howard and Donnie Evege were all injured to varying degrees. Torrence came back in the game and appeared fine. Howard is rumored to be the most severely injured and he clearly looked to have something wrong with his shoulder. He was holding it like a separation or maybe a busted collarbone but I guess we'll have to wait and see. The message boards claim it's not that serious. Let's hope. Howard would be a notable loss in the secondary as he served as the primary backup to Torrence and saw time in the nickel. The loss of Howard should mean we'll see more of redshirt freshman Corey Brown and maybe sophmore Zach Domicone and/or freshman Christian Bryant.

Already without C.J. Barnett for the year, the Howard injury was further compounded by a dislocated elbow suffered by Evege. Papa Evege said Donnie could be out several weeks which is a blow for the already limited KO coverage team.


Comments Show All Comments

E-roc's picture

Grade: B+... Offense - Good (DeVier FTW). Defense - Nasty (welcome back Tyler Moeller). Special teams - special (short bus special). We could use Shaun Lane and Aaron Pettrey right about now.

Side note - did anyone else notice just how classless the Ohio U. band was? I think they tried to play over TBDBITL on every play in the 3rd quarter.

I also just saw the replays of their mascot acting like a d-bag. Grow up kitten. Go back to your litter box.

...and they wonder why they're just a little brother football school in the state of Ohio....

tomcollins's picture

Little brother might be granting them too much.  There are several programs above even them in the state below Ohio State.  More like distant baby cousin.

Chris Lauderback's picture

E-Roc --- I see the mascot has been banned from any future Ohio U. mascot activities. What a tool.

Dean's picture

Video of the mascot incident:


Pretty unbelievable, dude could get into some legal trouble for assault & battery if Brutus wanted to pursue it...

buckeye33's picture

BTW..Notice Jake Stoneburner on his first collegiate touchdown ?  Catches the ball and turns to give to linesman, as if he's been there before. ! Classy kid.

dmurder's picture

Amazed at the lack of rushing we could generate. I saw no berry, or hyde?

Boom, i hate to say this but you keep proving me wrong! Even though I still think you are the 3rd, or maybe even 4th best back we have in that deep backfield.

From a coaching standpoint:

I wonder why we play certain rb's when you know they are going to get squezzed out of pt in the future, I think we should be giving necassary snaps to the younger backs for the future?

Why the hell was the 2nd string qb in the game on the 3rd or 4th series? Just thinking TP still has some growing to do.

Thoughts on the defense:

I will take them over any defense in the country! Including that sorry ass alabama team who played DUKE. Our defense was lights out once again, and does anyone have any updates on sweat?

"We have always had the best damn band in the land, now we have the best damn team in the land"- Jim Tressel 1-03-03

EJ's picture

I'm fine with giving some quasi meaningful snaps to bauserman, otherwise if TP is injured he will have to come in without much game experience.

osujake9's picture

I would much rather see Guiton get some snaps. Unless I'm missing something I would much rather see him go in if TP went down.

Buckeye Ben in Tampa's picture

i agree that it should be Guiton over Bauserman. Manly because he can come in and the offense can be ran the same way. Also, if Braxton Miller is the future, it makes more sense to transition from Pryor to him with Guiton for a year to keep the mobility at QB instead of going from Pryor to a pocket passer to Miller

741's picture

You may have noticed that in that 3rd or 4th series when Bauserman came in the game it was the entire 2nd team offense - not just Bauserman - that rotated in for that drive.

OHIOST1087's picture

Definitely agree about the run game: 3.7 ypc... AGAINST A TEAM FROM THE MAC!!!! Also agree w/ DMURDER about the carries for the younger backs... this game and next week (EMU) should be their sure chance of earning playing time... Why didn't Berry (hardly) play?

Why don't we have a special teams coach? (In other words: who is in charge/failing at their job of coaching special teams?)

[Sidenote: Glad to see Iowa's special teams are as "special" as ours are so far this year]

Again: 5/14 on third down (36%)... good thing we play Eastern Mich (another MAC team) Saturday

Basil: Call the Cincinnati Bengals and ask for a Mr. Mike Nugent.

Stony: Classy.

Kyle's picture

Saine is too dangerous and fast to not have on the field but maybe he ought to be getting more looks as the 3rd receiver and less time at RB.  He just seems to struggle this year in getting meaningful yards and doesn't have the pop that Boom brings.

Natty Light's picture

Saine is only good as a prototypical 3rd down back

he can block ok, and is excellent as a recieving back on wheel routs or doing a dig in front of the linebackers.  He is also fast enough to run draw plays successfully


boom/hall/berry are much better for our normal 1st/2nd down runs.  "Dave" or zone runs require you to follow a blocker patiently, make cuts, and squeeze through smaller holes quickly.


I think the coaches are trying to get saine/boom to emerge as excellent backs before shifting work to the younger guys...

Bucksfan's picture

I give the Bucks an A- through the first 3 games.  Let's not kid ourselves...we've spent the last 9 years of our life fooling ourselves that special teams plays a role that's akin to 1/3 of the game.  While it's of course a big deal, it's just not 1/3 of the game, not when your offense scores points and your defense forces turnovers.  Playing great offense and defense is what delivers comfortable wins.  So far, the Buckeyes are playing some of the best offense and defense in the country.

So, the difference between an A- and a B+ in my mind is simply the fact that the offense resembles their potential.  We spent all offseason saying the name Stoneburner.  They're throwing to him.  All offseason we questioned whether the Rose Bowl was an abberration or if it was Pryor's new par for the course.  I'd argue he's even better.  Setting a record for consecutive passes?!  By an Ohio State QB?!  Joe Germaine?  Nope.  Troy Smith?  Nope.  Art Schichter? Nope.  Terrelle Frickin' Pryor...a running QB...has the record for consecutive completed passes.

So, I'm glad the Buckeyes are playing this well.  Maybe we're so used to bitching about their shitty play in the early goings over Tressel's tenure that we just don't know how to enjoy good, high-scoring football.  This is the best I've ever seen the Buckeyes look coming out of the gate, and they are their own worst enemy.  Special Teams is fixable, and the problem is NOT the point-scoring part of special teams.

Natty Light's picture

offence is not amazing.  we should be scoring many more points with the field position we are starting at from turnovers.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

We are a descent team thus far. A lot to improve on though. And effing Iowa. Really? Arizona is not that good...I don't care what the PAC 10 homers say.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

DotThei's picture

Arizona did what Miami almsot did to us: win the game on just a few big (if not lucky) plays. A blocked punt for a short field, a kickoff return for a TD, and an INT for TD all led to 21 easy points. The game may have been very different if it had been low scoring throughout, as I've seen the 'Cats crumble and give up time and time again. That being said, Zona gave one back to the Hawkeyes and then marched down for a winning score. Can't deny the impressiveness of that. Iowa looked very tired from the late time and heat. And, man, that o-line got blown to shreds at the end. In my book however, Iowa will end the season clearly the better team.


Bux Fan in Toledo's picture

I graded them at B- so far.

Defense has been lights out. O-line needs to push around teams the caliber of Ohio. We should have 200+ yards rushing the football. Running game is not productive as it was the last 5 games of '09.

TP much better except for the 2 ugly picks on Saturday.

Special teams - add a blocked punt to the laundry list of poor execution. Our returners (Hall and Berry) have been very good. Coaches need to figure out a way to account for all rushers on punts and field goals. (BTW, I HATE the spread punt formation.)

And I disagree that special teams aren't one third of the team, especially when they are giving up more than 50% of the points scored. These mistakes could come back to haunt us later on this season.  

DotThei's picture

Pretty solid game all around: B+. It would be an A- if it wasn't for the continual special teams snafus (flags or no flags).


The thing I love about TP this year is his pocket presence. Watching the game again, he always feels where the pressure is coming from and adjusts himself accordingly. His eyes are down field; his footwork and shoulders balanced. Yes, he makes some lame throws, and they seem to be when guys are the most open. He's just not much of a touch thrower--yet. As for the late second quarter INT: Pryor was forcing it as he knew his playing time for the day was winding down. He wanted that one last TD toss, bad. I like that. And that's a kind of mentality I'd like Tress to embrace in the fourth quarter. This season may very well end with several worthy championship teams--Bama, OSU, Boise, Oklahoma/Nebraska, possibly others. We need to emphatically state our case for being one of them.


I don't share everyone else's hand-wring over the offensive line and running games. Yes, the O-line remains a unit that needs to improve. But that is ALWAYS the case with Bollman's guys; they never get their act together until the end of the year. I would've replaced this coach years ago, but it's clear he'll stay as long as Tressel is around and the means a long freakin time. And keep in mind that Ohio brought back some defensive experience up front and at LB this season. Their weakness was in the secondary and that's what we rightly exploited.