Five Things: Arkansas

By Chris Lauderback on January 6, 2011 at 6:00a

It was worth the couple dozen extra gray hairs I'm sportin' after another heart stopping edition of Tresselball and little did I know, I hate Ryan Mallett much more than I gave myself credit for. Seeing dude kicking his legs at my Buckeyes after tackles/sacks was infuriating and hilarious at the same time. Like he really wants a piece of Cam Heyward. Whatevs. Much love to the seniors and thanks to the entire program for another impressive season. Sure, we all had designs on a national title but dammit, that's hard to accomplish. Despite falling short of the ultimate goal, it's hard to argue against another one loss season, a win over Michigan and another BCS bowl victory. The Golden Era continues but alas, I'm reaching the end of another season of Five Things. At least it's going out in style.

Cam Gives nay damns

I love Cam Heyward. I love how passionate he is about Ohio State. I love that he came back for a chance to win a title. I love how amazingly welll he has represented his team as captain and just how classy he was when talking to Rece Davis, Dr. Lou and Snark May about his Herculean effort and his love for Tressel and Ohio State. I love that despite not having the kind of production we all thought he would in his senior season, he saved his best for last.

Admittedly, I could be caught up in the moment nor do I know how you effectively rank it but I don't think I've ever seen a more passionate all-out performance from an Ohio State football player.

His stat line speaks for itself: six tackles, 3.5 TFL, a sack, a pass deflection and two hurries. More than that, it was the timing of his exploits and his ability to play through injury helping OSU overcome a putrid 2nd half performance from the offense and special teams to escape New Orleans victorious.

He got it going on the first series nearly sacking Mallett on 3rd and 10 forcing a punt. On Arkansas' fourth possession, he almost sacked Mallett again on the 1st down bomb attempt in which Chekwa was injured then busted through the line stopping Knile Davis for a two yard loss five plays later on 2nd and 2. Two plays later, on 4th and 1, Cam read pass over the middle and swatted Mallett's attempt forcing a turnover on downs keeping OSU in front 14-7. After the Buckeyes made it 21-7 on the ensuing possession with TP finding Dane on a 15 yard toss, Heyward abused a double team and stopped Davis for a three yard loss on 2nd and 1 pushing the Razorbacks into a tougher 3rd and 4 which they failed to convert leading to another punt and an eventual 28-10 halftime lead.

With Arkansas swinging momentum early in the 2nd half having cut the lead to 28-13 with 9:14 left in the 3rd quarter, Cam went back to work following a Buckeye 3 and out deftly shutting down a 3rd and 8 slip screen attempt to Joe Adams with a nifty tackle resulting in no gain and another punt.

After Mallett countered a 47 yard field goal from Devin Barclay with a perfect 22 yard strike to Jarius Wright and a subsequent two point conversion to D.J. Williams cutting the Buckeye lead to 31-21, the OSU offense went three and out before Ben Buchanan got off another turd of a punt giving Arkansas the ball at midfield to start the 4th quarter. With much of Buckeye Nation in panic mode, Heyward delivered again with a sack on 2nd and 6 from the OSU 34 yard line pushing the Razorbacks out of field goal range and into a 3rd and 13. The Buckeyes blew up an attempted screen and the defense held once again behind Heyward's surge.

Of course, the offense couldn't answer, surrendering a safety cutting the lead to 31-23 forcing the Bullets immediately back onto the field. Petrino's crew quickly added a field goal trimming the lead to 31-26 and the offense again sputtered, turning the ball over on downs after Boom fumbled on 4th and 1 giving Arkansas the ball at the Buckeye 37 with a shade under six minutes to play. Cam made his presence known on the first play blowing past Wade Grayson off the right edge resulting in a holding call moving the Razorbacks back to the OSU 48 facing 1st and 21. Mallett couldn't dig his team out of the hole leading to a punt setting up another stalled OSU drive and the heart stopping blocked punt that gave Arkansas 1st and 10 at the OSU 18 needing a touchdown with 1:09 remaining in the epic showdown. Two plays later, Solomon Thomas rewarded Heyward and the rest of the seniors with The Interception to secure the win. Cam's performance should go down in OSU history as one of the most dominating ever by a D-Lineman. Mad props.

Fate is great

How insanely wonderful was it to see all five members of TatGate make significant contributions to the victory? I know some of you are still holding strong with the notion these kids shouldn't have played but I just can't agree. Now, as I've said numerous times, I also have no shame in admitteding I'm a win-first guy who could care less what he nation thinks of our program. I honestly think it's the result of being a Yankee fan. You not only get used to having folks wrongfully or misinformationally (is that a word?) hate your team, but you evolve to truly relish it. I love the fact much of the nation hates Ohio State football. How great is it that no matter where you go in the country, you can spark up a convo about college football and inevitably that person will have a strong opinion about your team? It's a great thing if you ask me. It creates an us against the world mentality that not only reaches you, but also the players. It's like a built in chip on the shoulder. They hear the talk. Most might not say what they really feel in front of the cameras but they are salty about how people question Tressel's handling of TatGate, Mo C or Troy not to mention the criticism Tress and the program face as a result of getting smoked in two title games or even whether or not the team deserved a shot at LSU.

Obviously, the haters like Andy Staples are firing away but I say bring it on. They wouldn't be talking as much if today if not for Terrelle Pryor's MVP performance, 87 yards rushing and a TD burst from Boom Herron, a 43 yard TD catch and 70 total receiving yard from DeVier Posey, some blocking from Mike Adams helping the Buckeyes take a big first half lead, and the play of the game from an afterthought in the whole TatGate mess. I'd rather listen to all these experts on their morality high horses and take joy in their anger that these five were so instrumental in victory than face the alternatively karmic "we told you so's" in defeat. Maybe I'm a bad guy. That's fine. My team just won the Sugar Bowl and exercised 0-9 in the process. Plus, I know in my heart Tressel truly does have the best interest of his players and program at heart. That's good enough for me. Spew your venom, haters. It only makes us stronger.

The enigma that is jim tressel

I love him. I hate him. I love him again. Oh, dammit, back to hate. Such is the life of a Buckeye fan watching Jim Tressel navigate his way through a big game. The mysterious Vest started the game like his hair was on fire going no huddle and calling four pass plays (3 attempts) on an eight play drive capped by Dane's magical dive for six. Then, the maniac in the sweatervest dials up an onside kick - not even four minutes into the game - prompting me to call for a drug test. Next, he rediscovers the tight end position designing some sexy plays resullting in completions to Stoneburner and a 48 yard quick hitting Picasso to Fragel as the Buckeyes jumped in front 21-7 with 9:53 left in the first half. Two possessions later, he calls two bombs on the same drive with Corey Brown getting tripped on a 2nd and 5 attempt before TP hooked up with Posey for a 43 yard score on 2nd and 10 giving the good guys a 28-7 lead with 1:59 left in the half. Tressel's offense maintained it's balance (19 pass, 20 rush) while piling up 338 first half yards averaging 6.7 per rushing attempt while TP hit eight different receivers. Maybe it wasn't as wild as it seemed to me but I didn't expect no huddle, a 1st quarter onside kick, sick wrinkles to Stoney/Fragel off play action and deep passses combined.

Of course, even with the eye popping first half strategies, I was smart enough to know a 28-10 halftime lead could only mean one thing - playing not to lose - aka Tresselball. Somewhat in Tressel's defense, his tendency to button it up was helped along by Arkansas' punter, Dylan "Breending", who was appropriately surnamed as he was clearly the result of forced breeding featuring DNA of Ray Guy and Reggie Roby. The dude's 4th quarter stat line saw him pin OSU at their own 4, 14, 4 and 17 yard lines respectively. Falling into his predictable mode after the first 4th quarter punt, Tress fell back on Boom between Boren/Adams despite 300 Razorbacks expecting the play resulting in a safety. The next possession began at the 14, still with 8:47 left, as Tressel clung to his lead milking clock with six rushes on seven plays. The enigma did go for it on 4th and 1 at the OSU 37 but Boom fumbled and Boren recovered it short of the sticks. I personally liked the move but was a little surprised Tress didn't opt to punt it away.

The Bullets responded recording a gigantic three and out giving the ball back to the Buckeye offense at the 4 yard line with 4:33 remaining. Tressel correctly and obviously called seven straight runs though the 3rd and 5 call of Boom up the gut was a little unimaginative. Still, it's impossible for me to fault The Vest since TP had just hobbled back out after missing 2nd down getting his ankle taped. However, on 4th and 3, Tressel's spread punt formation and back line were bowled over by the Razorback rushers resulting in what could've been a fatal punt block. I get it, sh!t happens sometimes but for a coach who goes out of his way to slobber over the imporatance of the punt, this simply can't happen up five, deep in your own territory with just over a minute remaining in a BCS bowl. Now, don't you all go gettin' riled up, I'm just wondering what you were honestly thinking at that moment? Was Tressel in your cross-hairs?

Even before the near disastrous 4th quarter, the Buckeye offense flamed out in the 3rd quarter as Tress became predictable, totally getting away from the agressive first half approach. I'm curious, with a 28-10 lead going in, where you okay with that? The Buckeyes ran 14 plays, running nine times with three of the five pass attempts coming on 3rd down. The rolled up 3rd quarter result was 52 yards as Arkansas outscored OSU 11-3.

Bottom line, I heart Jim Tressel as much as the biggest Vest lover out there but even with the expected 2nd half Tresselball, he was still in full enigma mode to me. I dunno. The game just had a Twilight Zone feel to it at times but in the end, Tressel delivered a win with the usual class, grace and respect that the detractors were once again determined to overlook.

pryor's Big night

As someone who has grown increasingly tired of Pryor's act in front of the cameras and off the field in general, I still want him under center for as many games as possible because he gives Ohio State the best chance at victory. His on field effort Tuesday night can't be disputed even by the biggest TP hater as the kid racked up 204 yards passing (13/19) with 2 TD and another 52 on the ground (8.7 ypc) as the Buckeyes jumped out to a 28-10 halftime lead.

I was concerned he'd come out trying to do too much but he calmly stepped into a 13 yard dig route to Philly on 3rd and 7 of the opening drive and smartly scrambled for 34 yards on 3rd and 9 before the fumble that Dane converted for six. Clearly, he needed to tuck the ball away but the fumble wasn't the result of pressing. He simply began to stumble and didn't feel the trailing defender. Bottom line, he was 2/2 on 3rd down conversions and gave the Bucks a quick 7-0 lead. The next drive started a little sketchy with Pryor staring down Dane before tossing high, nearly getting picked in the process, but he recovered nicely converting 3rd and 10 after stepping up and left in the pocket before hitting Stoney for 14 yards. Two plays later he unleashed a confident laser to Dane on a crossing route for 31 yards and Boom scored two plays later to make it 14-7.

Probably my favorite play of the night occurred two possessions later on 3rd and 8 as TP read the defense at the line of scrimmage and called an audible. He then dropped back, saw the blitz coming, stood in the pocket and delivered a perfectly placed ball to Dane, taking the hit just before a well covered Sanzenbacher hauled in the 15 yard TD catch. Beautiful.

Pryor drove the Bucks into field goal position the next time out but Barclay was wide left from 50 yards. After the Bullets turned in a 3 and out, Pryor accounted for all 68 yards on a six play scoring drive that saw him convert another 3rd down via a nine yard out route hookup with Posey. Three plays later, TP dropped back and found Posey on a 43 yard scoring strike.

Pryor was just 1/6 in the 2nd half but with the aforementioned predictability in play calling, he wasn't exactly put in many spots to excel. When it was over, he amassed 221 yards and 2 TD passing with another 115 on the ground (7.7 ypc) with zero turnovers.

Even better, though still far from a polished public speaker, Pryor made numerous efforts to convey his apologies to the team and fans alike. He spoke of the seniors and his willingness to take his medicine before returning as late as game six next year. Even if it was just him reciting the company line, that's better than what we had to witness as the drama unfolded over the last few weeks with his seemingly disinterested comments about the sanctions and the unwanted media spat with Herbie. I understand why he did what he did with regard to Herbie - the true adult should not have fanned the flames - but the best response would've been no response.

We've been down this (im)maturity road before so I don't want to make too much of it but damn it felt good to see him appear to show some humility when speaking to Holly Rowe and to the crowd while on stage.

how's my dictate?

While the offense might've slipped into a play-not-lose coma, the defense played aggressive football all night long, doing their best to dictate the action instead of letting Mallett sit back and pick apart the depleted secondary.

The first half saw the Bullets hold the vaunted Arkansas attack to 3/9 on 3rd down and 3.3 yards per carry leading to just 10 points. No question the D benefitted from some slippery Razorback hands but some of that could be attributed to disrputed timing thanks to a front four that got pressure that was further aided by blitzes from all angles as Heacock didn't have to concern himself with Mallett escaping the pocket and racing downfield.

After an opening 3 and out, the defense surrendered a TD on Mallett's 2nd possession which started at midfield thanks to the failed onside kick. Travis Howard had decent coverage on Mallett's 17 yard TD hookup with Joe Adams but failed to spot the ball in time to make a play on a great throw. Knile Davis got rolling on the next Arkansas possession but the D line got great pressure on 2nd and 9 leading to a Dex Larimore sack before Nate Williams got excellent pressure forcing a 3rd and 17 incompletion. A turnover on downs followed with Cam's deflection on 4th down and the ensuing Razorback possession saw Adams drop a 3rd and 4 pass. The Bullets kept coming with Dex and John Simon recording back to back sacks on Arkansas' sixth possession of the half but Ohio State would surrender a 13 play, 83 yard FG drive to end the half with a 28-10 lead.

Allowing 10 points via a FG capping an 11 play, 52 yard drive and a seven play, 75 yard TD drive on two of the Razorbacks first three 2nd half possessions, the Bullets got back to a swarming approach in the 4th quarter that allowed just three points over the final four possessions despite Arkansas having obscene field position starting at midfield, their 44, the OSU 37 and finally the OSU 18.

The fact the d-line and Heacock's blitz packages were able to force Mallett to get rid of the ball provided cover fire for a secondary featuring true freshman Christian Bryant fresh off foot surgery and Dominic Clarke, a little used redshirt freshman out of Maryland helping the Bullets hold Arkansas to their 3rd lowest scoring output of the season.

Senior Ross Homan led OSU with nine stops while fellow senior Devon Torrence added eight with a forced fumble and pass breakup. Keeping in theme, Larimore played large in his final game with six stops, a forced fumble and two sacks while swan-songers Brian Rolle (six tackles, 1.5 TFL) and Jermale Hines (five tackles) offered support.


Comments Show All Comments

robert goulet's picture

The last "thing" is the biggest.  On paper, that Arkansas offense against our depleted secondary should have won the game for them.  Instead, the defense is the reason that the game was won.  It was a polar opposite from the Florida & LSU games where the defense made good offenses look great.

Yep - it still feels good.

buckeyedude's picture

I think most importantly, Cam and Dexter's pressure on Mallett and the Arkansas O-line took tremendous pressure off the OSU secondary. The Buckeyes were playing with almost no experience back there.

And I just don't understand how any Buckeye fan could have wanted the Tat-gate players benched for any part of that game. How many games is Cam Newton sitting out? I hope the OSU appeal gets the punishment reduced from 5 games to 3 or 4.

And I agree completely Chris: let the haters hate the Buckeyes all they want, while we keep winning. Where was USC this year? Texas? Florida?

Wish I could have been in the Superdome chanting, "SEC! SEC! SEC!" when the Buckeyes were up 28-7.

I had a bad feeling in my stomach at the end of the 2nd qtr. when the Pigs got that field goal.  The predictable happened. Momentum swing.

Dane saved Pryor's ass, IMO. If not for that fumble recovery in the EZ, it could have been a totally different ballgame. It was HUGE, HUGE I tell you, for Ohio State to score first and quiet the Pig fans.

I do like the fact that TP apologized over and over to "Buckeye Nation." The kid made a mistake. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. It's not that $hit happens to people in life, it is how one responds to that $hit. Not the best public speaker though. If the NFL doesn't eventually work out for him, he can forget about a stint in the broadcast booth, aka, Eddie, R. Smith, Herbstriet.

And I agree Robert Goulet(I thought you were dead!), the OSU D showed up and played 4 qtrs, unlike the Wisconsin game.

I think Cam Heyward should have gotten the game MVP, with a runner up to Dane Sanzenbacher.



JT's picture

I'm ok w/ the play calling in the second half but not happy with the punt alignmnent at the end and how many steps did Ben take before punting?  That was brutal.

I will miss these seniors - thanks for the memories....

RunTellMatt's picture

My Big Ten logo redesign link at MycroBurst:

Thanks to whoever posted the link yesterday about the contest. 

flipbuckeye's picture

That is nice. The different shade of blue for the 2 isn't working though.

Kurt's picture

Chris, thanks for your critical analysis of another night of schizophrenic Tressel. My friends and I were seriously banging our heads on the table in the bar we were so appaled by the lunacy. I'm still shaking my head bc I know if there was another minute or two on the clock, Arkansas would've won.
Also, great point about the defense's aggression all night. Fickell and Heacock deserve boatloads of credit for this entire season. Despite injuries and offensive incompetency we only dropped one against Wisconsin. But that makes me wonder, if Tress didn't have lights out d all the time, would he call plays more like he did in the first half?!


At this point, we all know how things will go with a big lead after halftime.....  bottom line is Tress wins over 82% of the time he is on the field and Tuesday was no exception.  Would you rather look cool and have a sexy offense and lose 3-4 games/year or be pissed off, frustrated and cofused losing 1 game a year and winning 6 out of 9 BCS games (7 out of 11 in Bowl games).  I will take the latter and just accept things for what they are and enjoy winning. 

The moron NaySayers(Mark May, Jesse Palmer, Greg Doyel, etc.....  ) all look really stupid picking against OSU year after year after year and being WRONG.  The best way to deal with these morons is to just keep winning with class and make sure to point it out every now and then in interviews-- let the country know who the Buckeye Haters are and call them out.

You know it killed Mark May to have to sit at that podium with the Buckeyes.  He sooooo  wanted to be sitting up there with Arkansas and talking about how another SEC team's speed beat OSU.  He had his knee pads ready for Ryan Mallet and Bobby Petrino and it never happened-HA!!  I loved how Dane Sanzo got up on the podium and shook Lou Holtz's hand and said nice to meet you.  He totally stiffed Mark May...... awesome!!!    Go Bucks.

buckeyedude's picture

Agreed, Palm Beach! I was pounding my coffee table laughing when Dane shook "Dr. Lou's" hand and totally ignored May. Love it, love it, love it. Dane's a smart kid.



The_Lurker's picture

That performance by Cam Heyward is the most inspired I've seen by a single Buckeye defender since Chris Spielman against #1 Iowa in 1985, and the most inspired total defensive effort since the Fiesta Bowl/NCG against Miami. Everyone brought the wood all night long. The offense and D worked together in the first half, and in the second half it was up to the defense to protect that lead. They are well-versed in Tresselball and I'm sure they knew what they were facing in the second half. They responded, even though I think they got caught playing pass-first a few times, giving Knile Davis a big statistical night.

Heyward was the true MVP of the game, though I have no problem with TP getting the trophy (his offensive stat line was pretty sexy).

My Top Five Sugar Bowl Performances by OSU:

1. Cam Heyward - two words: Beast Mode
2. Terrelle Pryor - Playmaker
3. Dane Sanzenbacher - Too bad someone kidnapped him at halftime
4. Dex Larimore - Maybe his most inspirational game ever
5. The combination of Jake Stoneburner and Reid Fragel Rock - SURPRISE!

Honorable mentions to the entire secondary, DeVier Posey and the O-line.

buckeyedude's picture

"Too bad someone kidnapped him at halftime" What?
C'mon, The Lurker! R U kidding me?! That's all you have to say about Dane? If not for Dane saving Terrelle's ass on the first OSU TD, it could have been a totally different outcome. Give some love to my boy(young man) Dane.



O-H Kee Pa's picture

Putting aside what was at stake in both games (because obviously a national title trumps all), which is the more compelling football game: '02 NCG or '11 Sugar Bowl?


NOTHING beats the '02 Natl Champ. Game!

O-H Kee Pa's picture

I suppose the '02 NCG still has a slight edge for the David vs. Goliath undertones and the OT drama. However, the Sugar Bowl is not that far behind. Both games are complete mindfucks.

robert goulet's picture

Interesting question.  Do we still contemplate the fact that we were big underdogs in the NCG?  It's hard to top a 2OT game where 5 different plays could have been the final play of the game, but a fumbled 4th & 1, 3 & out, blocked punt, INT combo in the final 5 minutes is a good place to start.  The timing and rollercoaster of emotions was a lot like the 1st OT: converting 4th & 12, missing on 4th & 3, the flag, and the ensuing TD.  Arkansas making a comback adds a great element but here's my deciding factor.  At no point on Tuesday, whether it was 28-7, 31-13, 31-23, or even after the punt block, did I think we would lose.  I was still confident that the defense would actually keep them out the end zone.  In the NCG however, I thought we were dead until the flag came out.  Rising from the dead narrowly ekes out surviving multiple headshots, whether self-inflicted or not.

buckeyedude's picture

You have a way with words, Mr. Goulet(I thought you WERE dead!)!



Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

Two ironies.  First, that since our DBs were so depleated, we had a backup DE drop into coverage and get that game clinching interception.


Second, how can the same coach, that goes balls to the wall with his aggressive Defense for four quarters, go into such a shell offensively?????  


For an old school guy, he sure forgets that old saw...Dance with the girl that brought ya.

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

Arkansas Buckeye's picture

Razorback sports talk radio yesterday was all cuddles and warmth for the Buckeyes.  They rightly so disrespected the rest of the conference.  But callers were shocked at how the Buckeyes were able to keep up with the EssEssCee speeed.

There were also callers giving respect to the Buckeye fans.  It seems like at least one school in the SEC finally sees us as more than a bunch of big slow elitist yankees.

So I take back all the bad things I said about them.

Thank you so much, guys.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

The_Lurker's picture

That's great to know, AB. Thanks for reporting back with that. Everyone in Nawlins seemed to have good things to say about Hogs fans, so maybe they aren't the troglodytes I imagined. When your opponent's fans are giving you props, that says a lot to me - both about our team and about their fans.

BuckeyeChief's picture

Still trying to catch my soon as my Daughter came in from school yesterday, I replayed the final sequence and let her watch the post-game; she was thrilled...

Waiting for to add the Championship hat and tee to the store, so I can order them...I am taking the familiy to Disney this summer, and I have vowed to wear it during the trip through SC/GA and FL with both middle finger blazing up.

That's cool that Arkansas radio was giving our guys props and all; I didn't have a problem with their fans who didn't come over and troll, and from all accounts where cool to hang out with on game day.

"2014 National with it!!!"

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

That cuz they aren't really an SEC school-they are a homeless SWC school

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.


So true....  they are actually a better fit in the Big-12

noppers's picture

They did have the Championship hat for sale here but it looks like they sold out pretty fast.  Not sure when Nike is going to put them up on their site.

BuckeyeChief's picture

Quick thoughts from the game:

1. Arkansas O-line looked very fat and sloppy, they got gassed; is that how we looked vs. Florida?

2. Their wideouts dropped everything big, but on short catches for 1st's, made sure they spouted off. I guess we where supposed to fall apart after they mouthed off and reminded us they where in the SEC.

3. My GOD Cam was a f*cking beast.

4. The last 5 minutes took a few years off my life.

5. Wisky> Arky?

6. The beast is off our back; SEC fans can coulda/ woulda/ shoulda, we can do that all day with the LSU game.

"2014 National with it!!!"

Run_Fido_Run's picture

To be fair to JT, two points:

1. The OL had a rough(er) 2H. Ark got the momentum and was getting lots of penetration. Very few play calls, no matter how creative, will work when your OL is getting beat like that.

2. TP started to grip in the 2H, which is closely related to the OL problems, as TP was running for his life. But the point is, don't blame it all on Tresselball. Chris stated that TP "wasn't exactly put in many spots to excel" in the 2H. Good point, Chris, but you make it after spending the previous four paragraphs expounding on all the awesome plays TP made on 3rd and 8/9 in the 1H. In big games like this with excellent competition, QBs are regularly put into tough spots and the great ones just make plays anyway. TP made plays and was awesome in the 1H, but he lost some mojo in the 2H.

I've been an ardent supporter of TP all along, but he does seem to be a rhythm player whose condidence/flow goes really hot or really cold. If/when he can ever stay hot for longer periods while keeping the cooler moments to luke warm, then he truly will be one bad mofo.      

The_Lurker's picture

I agree that TP is better when in rhythm, but I'm with Chris on the tough spots he was in in the second half. These were related to field position (mostly), and our average distance on third down seemed about double what it was in the first half (especially after the Shugarts holding penalty). When your only passes are under duress on third down, it will affect any quarterback's accuracy and efficiency. It appeared to me we were using more max protect sets in the second half too, which gave TP fewer targets, but I'd have to go back and re-watch to be sure, since I wasn't focusing on that.

Arkansas seemed to gamble a bit in the second half and they guessed correctly a lot, which speaks to the loss of play calling imagination after halftime. They were run blitzing into our left side gap on first down to stop Herron, leaving us in predictable play calling downs, and getting that totally bogus (IMO) safety.

One note on that safety - people keep using the excuse that if Herron had broken free for a TD and they called it back, we'd be livid. Well, perhaps, but I'd have also thought we got away with murder if he did it and the refs didn't call it back, because to me it seems clear that when you are getting pushed backward from the 2 to a few yards back into your end zone, that your forward progress has been completely stopped. How many yards backward is enough to warrant the whistle? Four or five should be plenty, IMO.

yrro's picture

I can just imagine the wheels turning in Tressel's head, too. What was working against their defense was the hurry up offense with lots of deep passes on first down. This is the exact opposite of the kind of offense you want to use if your goal is to preserve a lead! It's fairly high risk for an interception or a 3-and-out, and it burns little to no time off the clock.

For those who say that given another couple minutes Arkansas would have won, the whole point of Tresselball is that they never get those minutes. If we went to a throw it deep quick offense and *still* went three and out, we're lengthening the game that much more for them.

On the other hand... their defense and special teams really stepped up in the second half. Normally our "run constantly" shell mode still produces some reasonable drives, but they bottled up Boom and kept us in third and long passing in bad locations on the field. Also, practically every Arkansas punt landing inside our five, *plus* a blocked punt, does not fall into a normal distribution of events. Tresselball works because it requires the other team to play perfectly to beat you, playing uphill against the best defense in football. Even with that exceptional effort by their defense and special teams, a couple dropped passes and an interception doomed them.

Hell, even with all of that, if Pryor doesn't get injured (and therefore we likely are able to run for a first down on the drive before the blocked punt), or Boom doesn't have his first lost fumble this season on fourth down, we likely win the game with no drama.

builderofcoalitions's picture

This is a great defense of Tresselball. It works and requires the other team to play perfectly. Even with the rare Boom fumble and the sudden rash of injuries, Arkansas didn't have enough time to pull off the win. It's tough on the fans, but it works almost every time.

Because we couldn't go for three.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

The best aspect of Tresselball (when executed properly) is that it gives the other team false hope.

The_Lurker's picture

With that line, you just won the internet.

Kurt's picture

That's only half the story: it requires us to also play perfectly.  That's why a blocked punt nearly cost us the game.  You come out firing and go up 28-10, you keep firing, keep the pressure on the other guy to play other-worldly to catch up.

yrro's picture

How many games has Tressel lost when he led at halftime? How many times have coaches lost because of big-play interceptions or giving teams time to get back into the game?

Tressel does not lose those types of games! He loses games where he gets behind early and does not have the offense to make up. But then, most coaches lose the games where their number one weapon (in Tress's case, his defense) is being completely nullified.

Also, it doesn't require us to play perfectly. In this case, we had pretty major mistakes (penalties calling back a long run, a safety(!), a fumble on a first down that would have nearly iced the game, a blocked punt, an injury to our star quarterback, as well as the injuries to half of our starting secondary). And we still bled the clock out. If you take away almost any one of those mistakes, this game has no drama whatsoever and Arkansas doesn't even get within a touchdown.

builderofcoalitions's picture

Funny thing about the tat5 playing is that if Ohio State over-recruited like the entire ESS-EEE-SEE, whether or not the suspensions happened might not have mattered. Granted, Pryor would be hard to replace, but every SEC team seems to have a competent backup QB, loads of linemen, a stable of RB's, as well as too-numerous-to-count speedsters on the outside. If OSU doesn't play those five players, they can't compete. The margin of error is much smaller for Ohio State (or any Big 10 team) than it is for the SEC. Eventually, the NCAA will step in and put a stop to this practice. That or athletes will realized they're being used by SEC coaches and opt to sign with teams that actually have intentions of playing them.

I'm OK with the 2nd half plan to run clock. My problem is that when Arkansas started to turn up the heat as a 2nd half adjustment, Tressel didn't counter. There should have been misdirection or play-action plays that could have slowed the Razorbacks' insane pass rush and their overloading of the box on obvious run plays. I wouldn't have blamed Tressel for running it 90% of the time in the second half with a three score lead, but he should have had something in his back pocket to counter Arkansas' defensive adjustments.

I'm OK with Pryor's game. He wins a lot and often atones for mistakes. He's rarely the reason Ohio State loses (which again is rare). However, I really wish he'd stop talking. He is maybe the least articulate Buckeye I've ever heard in front of the mic. I was glad to see the senior captains in the post-game interview with Reece, Holtz, and May. Those guys all came across as smart and humble examples of Buckeye greatness. Oh, and did anyone else catch Lou Holtz reaching into his wallet for a business card to give to Dane?

The defensive adjustments throughout were genius. Typically, teams play soft when their secondary is depleted, opting to stay away from man coverage, but OSU mixed it up. The pressure provided by inspired DL efforts and masterful blitz packages covered up the inexperience on the back line. That and those young pups played lights out. Also, I noticed Arkansas didn't throw Hines' direction very often. He was involved, but they obviously didn't want to watch him blow up pass plays the way he did against Iowa and Michigan.

Because we couldn't go for three.

yrro's picture

I agree that a little more variety after the Arkansas touchdown would probably have been better. I think if they'd just marched down the field Tress would have loosened up, but they had to fight so hard for every point (how many field goals did they have?), he has to assume that the buffer would be enough. It was, but only barely.

buckeye33's picture

BTW..Doran Grant commit is a little icing on the cake. There are a couple of others still out there that could make this a great recruit class.

Ignatius Hoya's picture

Cam is the man.  Those six captains are the best.

I'm just looking forward to TP's Decision Show on ESPN when he decides to take his "talents" to the NFL, wearing his dumb Miami Heat hat.

Hoya Saxa!

Buckeye in Athens's picture

Dude, hating on TP is so last week.

BuddhaBuck's picture

Anyone have video of Mallett stepping on Cam "Ironfist" Heyward?

Don't text while driving.

labuck's picture

Just a question here and dont know if it is possible but what if TP played basketball this winter?  Is the suspension only for football or is it for all sports?  With Witherspoon out because of academics I think they would have a spot and Matta only has 9 players on scholarship, I believe.  TP was a good basketball player in h.s. as well.

I dont know just a thought.  Could this be the plan they have to get him back on the field at the beginning of next season?


nice thought... ain't gonna happen

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

'02 NCG > '11 Sugar Bowl

2011 Sugar Bowl Victiory - EPIC *

* <The League reference> Seeing Pryor take two knees to seal our program's first bowl win over the SEC gave me a Victory Boner.  No homo... </The League reference>

2002 Fiesta Bowl / BCS National Championship game - EPICEST **

** Witnessing that game from the 50 yard line w/my mother and father and seeing Tress and Co. lift the crystal ball IN PERSON makes me biased.


Also, I think Ironhead was our 12th man on Tuesday night....

"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

O-H Kee Pa's picture

It really is incredible that in the span of the last 10 years (keeping in mind the 100+ year history of OSU football), Buckeye fans young and old have gotten a chance to witness some of the greatest games in OSU history (Holy Buckeye, '02 NCG, 2006 OSU-UM, and the '11 Sugar Bowl to name a few).

slippy's picture

Can we stop giving Adams credit?  He was terrible in that game.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

I wouldn't say he was "terrible" (JB was much worse). However, I don't think we would be any worse off next season with Hall or Norwell at LT.

Chris Lauderback's picture

From what I remember, I thought his run blocking was okay but agree his pass blocking was much more suspect. It's a little harder to evaluate the 2nd half because Arkansas stacked the box but we kept on running right into the thick of it to burn clock.

slippy's picture

I guess I was mostly referring to pass blocking.  I remember at least 3 separate plays when he threw lookout blocks.  And one play when he couldn't even muster that.

Denny's picture

Here's what really bothered me in the second half and w/r/t the playcalling: Tressel seemed to be panicy. After that second series, he went into bleed-the-clock mode. Classic Tresselball. And it didn't work, at all.

So he went 180 from that, and tried an uptempo, no huddle. Which didn't work, AND gave them more clock.

Yes, I'd like to have my cake and eat it too.


Type G's picture

I couldn't agree more with your write up about Tress. When that punt got blocked, the camera panned to Tress, who had this very worried and disbelief look on his face, I was just thinking we absolutely CANNOT lose this game, especially after how we played in the first half. My immediate next thought was, if we do happen to lose Tress would get a world of hate the day after from the masses, and some of it warranted as evidenced by the conservative play second half. But I'm definitely in the "love him, hate him... he can be the greatest coach or the worst" camp, but a win is a win and more the sweeter over the SEC.

Coming out of the timeout, did anyone else catch Pryor get pissed at Tress for not opting a QB sneak on that 4th/1 where Boom fumbles? Arkansas was probably predicting a sneak as well, but if TP has managed to pick up some unbelievable 1st downs on some 3rd and longs just plays before, I think it's a no brainer to put the trust in him and let the kid ice the game for you. A 6'6" QB should be able to pick up that one yard in his sleep.

"No time for love, Doctah Jones!"

Matt's picture

I also was initially gunning for the TP sneak.  Then the camera panned to the field and I saw the line of scrimmage.  I realized that the distance was way too far for a sneak, given the way Arkansas had been blowing through our line in the second half.  The call for Boom to leap the pile was the right call.  And it's worth noting that not once in Boom's entire Buckeye career had he fumbled the football, prior to that play (in approximately 450 carries). 

Type G's picture

Yeah, good point about Boom. The guy has fly paper hands like Dane. Speaking of, anyone know where the latter is projected in the Draft? I'm really hoping he gets a chance.

"No time for love, Doctah Jones!"

buckeyedude's picture

Did anyone catch Mike Adams dropping the the "Mother F'ers" bomb on national TV, after the game? They panned away quick. I couldn't believe it when I heard it. Was kind of laughing at the same time though.

I know someone else had to have heard/seen it.



Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

Arkansas was lined up to absolutely deny the sneak.  They had pinched down on the center and would imagine they were slanting down too.  The sneak was no guarantee.  How often does Boom fumble?  It was the right call; just executed poorly.


And there is the point.  Your job as a coach is to put your kids in a position to succeed.  But, its still up to them to execute.

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.