Puntageddon: Mark of the Beast

By Ramzy Nasrallah on October 15, 2011 at 8:44p
67 Comments
Photo courtesy of Luke ZimmermanSetting up draw plays with draw plays
3 0 7 7 17
0 0 0 7 7

One week after a meltdown for the ages, Ohio State used the return of Boom Herron, the leg of Ben Buchanan and a defense that refused to fizzle to give Illinois its first defeat of the season.

The Buckeyes left Champaign with a 17-7 victory that included exactly one completed pass; a strike from Braxton Miller to TE Jake Stoneburner with less than a quarter left to play. Aside from that aberration, the rest of Ohio State's offense - a meager 228 yards in total - all came on the ground.

Ohio State's comical futility through the air almost overshadowed the victory itself, which belonged to a Buckeye defense that had Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase on the run all afternoon and kept the Illini off the scoreboard until only six minutes remained in the game.

The game began with a 33mph wind blowing the ball off the tee, forcing Illinois to have a special teamer hold it down for the opening kickoff. Ohio State had that wind in its face for the first and third quarters, so it was especially crucial to keep the Illini out of field goal range in both of those periods.

The Buckeyes immediately exploited the fresh legs of Boom Herron to drive down the field. He gained almost eight yards per carry on the opening possession, his first action of the season coming off of his extended Tatgate suspension.

Ohio State capitalized by scoring on a remarkable 42-yard Drew Basil field goal, which he hit by deliberately kicking it wide right and allowing the wind to drive it back inside the uprights.

Passing

  Cmp/Att Pct Yds TD Int Rat
Miller 1/4 25% 17 1 0 LOL

Rushing

  Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Herron 23 114 5.0 21 1 0
Hall 12 56 4.7 11 0 0
Miller 12 34 2.8 35 0 0
Hyde 4 3 0.8 6 0 0

Receiving

  Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Stoneburner 1 17 17 17 1 0
Not Stoneburner 0 0 0.0 0 0 0

Illinois went three-and-out on its first drive, aided by a nice pass break-up by Tyler Moeller on third down to force the punt.

The Buckeyes went three-and-out on the following drive, with Miller getting sacked on third down. Buchanan tilted the field in the Buckeyes' direction with a 53-yard punt and put the Illini back on their side of the field, with the wind.

Illinois' second drive was highlighted by a decleating sack on Nathan Scheelhaase by John Simon on second down. The subsequent obvious passing situation on third down drew a blitz from defensive coordinator Jim Heacock and Illinios' fourth down punt sailed into the end zone.

Ohio State's third drive began with a mix-up in the backfield with Miller and Herron colliding, resulting in a five-yard loss. Herron compensated on the next play, juking around Illini defenders for nine yards and putting the Buckeyes in a third and short situation.

Jim Bollman telegraphed the next play right into the teeth of the Illinois defense and the Buckeyes were forced to punt.

Buchanan then launched another terrific punt and gunner Zach Domicone ensured that Illinois would begin its third drive where the punt was fielded.

The first quarter ended with the Buckeyes up 3-0, holding a 50-30 yardage advantage and holding the ball for almost ten and a half minutes.

Illinois' first drive of the second quarter produced a nine-play sequence that concluded with Illinois punting into the wind from the Ohio State 34. The 26-yard punt "worked" and the Buckeyes got the ball on their own eight. It was the first of several curious Ron Zook coaching decisions.

After a Corey Linsley false start put the Buckeyes on their own four, Bollman deployed a classic walrusball strategy with three consecutive telegraphed inside handoffs that failed to put more space between the goal line and the offense or accomplish anything of consequence.

This forced Buchanan to punt from the end zone. Once again, Ohio State's MVP absolutely crushed the ball, putting Illinois back inside its own 41.

After forcing another three-and-out, the Buckeyes dove right back into Bollman's bread and butter of plays that contradict the most basic tenets of football, running draw plays despite not having completed a single pass and running play-action on third and five.

SIMON SAYS RUN FOR YOUR LIFESilver Bullets were swarming and Scheelhaase was on the run all afernoon (Getty)

This nonsensical sequence caused ESPN analyst Bob Davie - who despite his broadcasting and head coaching faults, was once a fine defensive coordinator - to wonder incredulously at what Bollman was trying to do. It made no sense and served no purpose, which is at least consistent with Bollman's playcalling catalog.

Incredibly, Ohio State went into the locker room at halftime having slightly outgained Illinois 105-95, holding a six-minute time of posession advantage and with two more first downs.

As predictable as the Buckeyes were, the offensive line - when it wasn't committing penalties - was getting a nice push and the defense was getting Scheelhaase and the Illini off the field quickly.

As was the case last Saturday in Lincoln, the second half began in great fashion for the Buckeyes: A Scheelhaase pass floated into the arms of Bradley Roby, who made some nifty moves to get to the Illinois 12.

On the very next play, Herron read his blocks, bounced outside and waltzed into the endzone for his first score of the season.

Down 10-0, Illinois responded with what was its best drive of the game to that point. They marched down the field, following Nebraska's recipe of picking on the middle of the field and exploiting Etienne Sabino in space.

However, that drive petered out on the cusp of field goal range once again, and the Illini punted to the OSU 12.

The Buckeyes drove the ball all the way to inside the Illinois 40, but were undone by another false start penalty and were forced to punt, forgoing what would have been 48-yard field goal into the wind (a significantly less controversial decision than what similarly occured last week at Nebraska).

The battle of punts entered the fourth quarter with Illinois having squandered both quarters of its wind advantage. That's when a sense of finality began to exert its grip on Memorial Stadium: Moeller forced Illini receiver AJ Jenkins to fumble and Storm Klein recovered.

The Buckeyes took advantage, with Miller hitting Jake Stoneburner for a touchdown on what was Ohio State's only completed pass of the game. Ohio State was now up by three scores after halftime on the road against a ranked opponent, which presented a similar circumstance to the catastrophe that transpired a week ago.

With Illinois running out of opportunities and time, Scheelhaase led the Illini down the field on a 16-play, 80-yard drive that produced their first points of the game and took seven minutes to complete.

The Buckeyes engaged clock-killing mode in predictably ineffective walrusball fashion, promptly going three-and-out and giving the Illini the ball back almost immediately, and with a short field.

But on the first play from scrimmage, Travis Howard jumped a Scheelhaase pass and picked it off to give Ohio State the ball right back.

However, three plays and minus 12 yards later, the Buckeyes were punting to Illinois again after having barely burned a minute off the clock.

The next time Ohio State plays Illinois, Nick Siciliano will be selling photocopiersOhio State's only completion of the day went for six. (Getty)

Illinois' final drive of the game began at the Ohio State 47-yard line with a little more than two minutes to work with, and Scheelhaase wasted no time in flinging the ball all over the field, hitting four different receivers on four straight plays in quickly getting the Illini into field goal range.

Refusing to yield to yet another comeback, the Buckeye defense dug in and forced a fourth down from the Ohio State 17 yard-line. Zook sent his field goal unit onto the field to cut the game to seven and set up the play of the game, an onside kick to...

HA HA JUST KIDDING. In what was 12th dumbest coaching decision behind 11 criminally stupid calls that Bollman had made earlier, Zook eschewed the needed scoring opportunity and took on the completely unnecessary risk of going for it on fourth down.

Scheelhaase's pass to Jenkins landed incomplete, and not even the least competent flavor of walrusball imaginable could rip victory from the Buckeyes' clenches. Ohio State finished the game in victory formation and the 17-7 win was sealed.

The win came in what is the 20th anniversary season of Illinois' most recent home victory over the Buckeyes, who have not lost in Memorial Stadium since 1991 when Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell was a senior at St. Francis DeSales high school.

With today's victory and Indiana's loss at Wisconsin, Ohio State has broken out of the Leaders Division basement and is now only two wins away from being in range of a Little Caesars Pizza Pizza Bowl bid.

However, if the stout Buckeye defense continues to deliver victories on behalf of the offense, the TicketCity, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas and Insight Bowls may also come into play as possible postseason destinations.

Obviously the sky is no longer the limit for this team, but considering Denard Robinson had as many touchdown passes against Michigan State as Joe Bauserman did, there is still plenty to play for in 2011. Who knows, maybe the Buckeyes could put together two completions against Wisconsin in a couple of weeks.

67 Comments

Comments

addman1405's picture

I heart your writing. hahahaha

baddogmaine's picture

We got our win the old fashioned way - we earned it. Wouldn't it be nice to say that? We played well compared to, we got a win most, including me, did not think possible. But looking at the game critically leads to a FIVE THOUGHTS not entirely complementary.

1. The story of the game was The Zooker. Luke Fickell is not a HC for a competitive Div 1 school but he was far and away the better guy patrolling the sideline. In fact, as bad as he has been this season, and it's pretty obvious I think he has been bad, I'm not sure that he has had a game in which he was so very very bad as Ron Zook was today. Zook's justification for not calling time outs at the end of the first half - that his offense was not looking good - does not pass the straight-face test. What can go wrong if your offense gets the ball back, Ron? If you fear an INT don't call a pass. You can't score if the clock runs out, and if you haven't scored and don't score you can't win, unless you're counting on penalty kicks following scoreless overtime. Not calling TOs when OSU is bleeding the clock in the fourth quarter is a rookie mistake - you need the ball back with as much time left as possible, so the TOs need to be called when you're on defense to preserve the time. Knowing that the Buckeyes would not be throwing much, ever, your defense was completely unprepared to defend any kind of draw play. But these were just the appetizers. Not kicking a FG when down by 10 with fourth down in the red zone and under two minutes left - a week after going for a 2 point conversion because you didn't know the score - is the kind of thing that could get a 6-1 coach fired and no one would complain. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the Zook.

2. Fickell deserves praise for keeping the team together, for knowing to call a defensive time out when the D is gasping. But there can be no excuse for a delay of game when punting at the end, for o-linesmen and the QB not being on the same page coming out of a time out so there will be no false start. And once again with the team close to but not in FG range he did nothing to get us into range. I don't mind the pooch punt on 4th, I do mind not going for five yards on 3rd. That is,  while I don't mind shelving the downfield pass (and paradoxically don't mind the pass to Stonie, IL was as surprised as I was), I do mind never seeing a screen, a short out, a short slant. He won a game, he's still not a HC, and no one should let the momentary euphoria make us forget that.

3. Welcome back Boom. It's not just that you got 114, it's that you created 114 yards often out of nothing. You were the positive star of the game. (And Buchanon. But it's Herron's moment now.)

4. Other than Boom our offense is still dreadful. The false start penalties are a plague. Adams' personal foul at the end might well have sent us to overtime had IL a real coach and the onside kick taken a perverse bounce. Other than the TD throw Miller looked nothing like a passer - today's game plan could probably have been carried out by either Guiten or Graham. We won, and our offensive and passing statistics are going to drop. It was as bad an offensive performance as we have had, and our getting a W does not make it any better.

5. The defense played lights out in the first half. They went into witness protection in the fourth quarter. If that sounds familiar it's  because once again they failed to clamp down for sixty minutes. Is it fatigue? psychological? decisions Heacock is making? The defense gets helmet stickers when it holds an opponent to under 100 yards in each quarter.

6. I wanted to do my own FIVE THINGS but Mike Adams needs a comment of his own. He's a senior, he missed the first five games of the year due to stupid behavior, this was his second game back, and he committed a personal foul in crunch time while yards away from the play. Luke probably still believes that we are playing for wins. In truth we are playing for the future, and the future will mean something only if the team learns and understands that for all its brawn football also requires brains. He may be the best offensive lineman we have but were I head coach I would put Adams on probation right now. Next really thoughtless thing he does gets him a seat next to Posey, without the assurance that he'll be back for the last two games. What Zook did was breathtakingly idiotic, but the worst play of the day may have been yours, Mike.

3cent's picture

I use to like this place, but some of you guys are starting to become too self righteous.

faux_maestro's picture

THIS

Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

NC_Buckeye's picture

I think what's going on is a compulsion to tear Fickell down so that the call for hiring Meyer can be justified.

BTW, I saw the gameday segment where Fowler, Herbstreit, & Corso interviewed Meyer about his interest in the tOSU job. His answer was evasive as you would expect it to be. But there was something not genuine about it too.

I hope you Meyer fanboys have a Plan B because there is something hokey going on as far as Meyer is concerned. Not sure if he's getting a kick out of all the attention or if he's angling for more money from ESPiN or if the Penn State rumors are true. But something's not right there.

sfgoody's picture

where have all the 'big picture' people gone?  are you seriously bagging on the defense?  the squad that gave up 7 pts and forced 3 TOs playing against a good young qb and the 'best wr in the b10, ' on the road? cmon. that's silliness.

and while the offense made me nervous, i mean, we basically said to Ill, 'we're gonna run down your throat every single time.  stop us.'  and they couldn't.  the false starts are maddening but this line is starting to gel.

finally, and i've been beating this horse for the last several weeks, how people are just so convinced that luke isn't HC material based on the limited body of work (with CRAZY out of his control elements in play) is mystifying to me. maybe he is, maybe he isn't.  he's coached 7 games. i understand the love fest with urban meyer and therefore the microscopic analysis of EVERY decision but honestly, is it too much to ask that we pull for the guy (and our team) for the entire season before we black list him?  just sayin...

sfgoods

NC_Buckeye's picture

+1000 on getting behind Fickell. He just beat the #15/#16 team today.

Good job Luke.

TLB's picture

C'mon, his penalty wasn't that bad.

You do remember our line the first 5 games without him, don't you?

Abe Froman's picture

Did anyone actually see the Adams penalty?  Don't think that a lineman driving a player 20 yards downfield and then driving said player into the ground would not viewed as absolutely outstanding, especially if he can't hear the whistle.  On the other hand, if he hit someone in the back 20 yds downfield, it is a huge difference. 

So, did anyone see it?

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

Menexenus's picture

I was at the game, and no one sitting around me saw it, nor was it on the video replay (shown in the stadium).

Real fans stay for Carmen.

AeroBuckeye2001's picture

I saw the play from my seats. He basically drove a lineman back 10 yds from the line of scrimmage and continued to push after the whistle. I don't think that warranted a personal foul IMO.

The Ohio State University Class of 2001
BS Aero & Astronautical Engineering

jenks's picture

That's frustrating. You don't want to tell him not to block, but you don't want a penalty 10 yards down the field after the play at a critical point. Oh well.

Jugdish's picture

I think Miller played great today. He was more confident and he had some decent runs. He is a true freshman and we beat an undefeated team. The Bucks gained confidence and most linkely will turn this into a good season with all things considered. Luke was more emotional and into the game. I liked how he handled himself.

Overall, I am satisfied with the win and of what it will mean to this team this year. All this experience will pay off really well next year.

Remember to get your wolverine spade or neutered. TBDBITL

mr.green's picture

We are building. Our conference losses have been to very good teams and we just beat another very good team.

Bruce's picture

"The Buckeyes engaged clock-killing mode in predictably ineffective walrusball fashion, promptly going three-and-out and giving the Illini the ball back almost immediately, and with a short field."

But there were runs mixed in this week, if I remember right.

#progress

From the 2007 HBO special ---->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI7x_DDPcLo

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Look, the play calling makes me sick.  No question this should be Bollman's last season (which is about 9 years too late).  But today he gets a pass.  The ushers knew what was coming, and Illinois still couldn't stop it.  Why pass?  They were running it down the throat of the defense all day and the few passes they called looked awful.  BIG on the road coming off that loss is not the time to try fancy forward passes when you don't have to.  The turnovers meant keep running.  Also, I am too lazy to look it up, but this had to be one of the quickest games played ytd.  OSU shortened the game with the play calls and it was the smart move this Saturday.

CGroverL's picture

I agree totally. I want Bollman gone a few years ago. I do on the other hand want to keep Fickell. I think that this kid will be a great coach given time. I know that TOSU is not the place for on-the-job training though so I do not hate the idea of letting him go. I just wish that he wasn't thrown in a septic tank and then Buckeye Nation didn't expect him to come out smelling like roses. I'm a plumber...so the septic tank talk....

You are right on point with your comment. Thumbs up!

Go Buckeyes....Beat Wisconsin!

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree. The coaching today, including the playcalling, was smart - win the surest way possible.

Meanwhile, people are rightly ridiculing the Zook, but mostly for the wrong reasons. Sure, I would have kicked the FG down 7-17, too. But, no, Zook should not have called TOs with less than 1 minute left in the FH and Ohio State on the 50, with a third and 18. Why? So, Ohio State can run the ball (and, who, knows maybe break one), ILL calls another TO. Okay, now Ohio State punts with the wind and ILL fair catches the ball on their own 10 yd line. What are they going to do then?

No, the Zooker was bad because, unlike the Ohio State staff, he seemed to be oblivious to the weather conditions. Apparently, though, our fans wanted Bollman to be just as oblivious as the Illini staff.   

William's picture

I agree with you to a certain point, but honestly 20-30 mph winds are not going to affect a 7 yard slant.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Maybe not on tight spirals but have you been watching Miller's passes lately. The wind is definitely going to affect what he's been throwing. The kid desparately needs a real QB coach.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

On a side note, I think today was foreshadowing Nov. 26. UM is who we thought they were.  We WILL be able to run on them and we WILL be able to contain Lil Wayne who is just as bad as JB when it comes to completing passes.  So there is always that.

CGroverL's picture

Thumbs up once again...maybe you should take Bollman's spot?

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

Menexenus's picture

Absolutely!  After today's game, I am totally convinced that we can beat scUM!  Let's make it 8-in-a-row!

Real fans stay for Carmen.

miggitymack's picture

Yay defense, you were great!  I heart you.  But in order to beat a Wisconsin or *gasp* possibly even a Michigan we're gonna need more than four forward pass attempts.  At least an occassional play action or something.

That or become Georgia Tech north.

Sorry, that's the best you get :/

Baroclinicity's picture

We won.  I don't care what the wins look like anymore.  Next up, Wisconsin.  Go Bucks!

osukdawg76's picture

I'm still trying to figure out how we were not only running draws without completing or, hell, even ATTEMPTING passes....yet the draw plays were kinda sorta working....

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.

 

 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Damn straight! It doesn't matter that the draw plays weren't supposed to be working in theory, becuase of our non existent passing attack; they were working in reality.

How about this theory? What the Illini front-7 knows how to do is get up the field - that's what they practice, emphasize in their techniques, etc. When Ohio State began the play with some faux pass-action, even though everyone in the stadium knew that we were going to run a draw, and even though the Illini coaches probably spent the entire game pointing out this tendency, they just weren't well prepared - or "wired" - to handle it?

And, if that's true, shouldn't Bollman and company get at least a little credit?     

madhatterhater's picture

It was kinda like a screen pass, but OSU just handed off. LOL

go bucks

Johnson's picture

Does anyone wonder how Boom earned 3 Buckeye leaves, without ever playing a minute?

chitown buckeye's picture

He was still part of the team and you get a sticker for each win...

"I'm having a heart attack!"

Jugdish's picture

Stickers are not for individual achievement but for team achievements.

Remember to get your wolverine spade or neutered. TBDBITL

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

Bollman will get a bonus in his next paycheck for this win. Woody had to love it. Actually OSU ran a pre-Woody offense and beat Zook, who we can always count on to screw up and get out-coached. We won't beat Wisconsin with that prehistoric offense.

Jpacub's picture

The bye week will help our offense mix it up a little against wisco.

osu alum living in Madison

RC's picture

LOL!  You were kidding right?

Jugdish's picture

By mixing it up you mean we might pass or run a counter?

Remember to get your wolverine spade or neutered. TBDBITL

chitown buckeye's picture

My two cents on Fickell...The problem I think many see in keeping Fickell is the fear that we truley dont know what he will do. Myself, I want Bollman, D. Tressel, Siciliano gone (as Im sure we can all agree) the only way I see that as a 100% guarantee is too start over fresh. Everyone who thinks Fickell should get a chance, what would you say if they hired him and he kept everyone in place? Would you still want Fickell as a our coach? It has been pure speculation by many fans that he will clean house and bring in his guys. The facts are he doesnt have any "guys". He may be very loyal to many on the current staff and I dont believe this is staff has the ability to be great. If you can guarentee me he willl make major changes to the staff I might be more open to him learning the job as he goes. However, I look at the possibility of having a load of talent with a fresh new staff and drual about where we could be 2 yrs from now.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

faux_maestro's picture

I'm only down with keeping Fickell if he cleans house on the offensive staff. I like the guy, I knew him a little in school through a friend, he seems like a good guy and a Buckeye through and through. But we need a competent offensive staff. Look at what a guy like Dana Holgorson has done. Ok. State was and in an offensive juggernaut after only one season with the same group that had been #61 in the nation the year before. West Virginia doesn't have the kind of talent we have (excluding the QB) and they put 21 (and should have been more) on a really good LSU defense. We haven't seen really good offensive coaching here since the mid 90's.

Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Just noticed 'Puntageddon'. Bonus points. Right there with 'the punt side of the ball'. Big smiley face.

Maestro's picture

A win over a team that had apparently figured out how to win games this year........and on the road to boot.  I'll take it.

vacuuming sucks

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I'm at a disadvantage for only having seen the fourth quarter, but I don't know if it's accurate to refer to our "comical futility through the air" given that we simply didn't try to throw (Miami and the Bauserman part of the Nebraska game would qualify as futile). But I agree that it's strange to continue to call slow-developing draw plays when the opposition isn't playing pass at all. For that reason among many others, I would be surprised if this game removes any heat from Bollman. 228 yards of offense won't win many games, even games where the opposition gives you the ball once in the red zone and once just outside.

But as for the defense, wind conditions or not, that had to be a first-rate performance, coming off the most miserable quarter-and-a-half stretch for the Silver Bullets since the first half vs. Florida. Thinking about this defense bringing back everyone significant apart from Sweat (and Nathan Williams returning too) is sweet indeed.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

baddogmaine's picture

Someone criticized mny first long post as being self-righteous. All I can take from that is that many readers are not interested in objective analysis, just basking in the glow of a good win over a good team. If that is the case my posts are rarely going to be popular. When a glass is half empty I point that out.

 

Our defense was brilliant for three quarters yesterday. Simply brilliant. But look at the fourth quarter. Really, look at it. Jenkins fumbled on IL' first 4th quar possession. I won't give that to the D, it was bad handling by the receiver, but it was good tackling and most of defense is doing the mundane so that good things might happen .So the defense allowed the reception but then got the ball. I'll call that a draw. Next possession IL went 80 yards aided by a pass interference penalty. Next possession was an INT that was more bad passing than brilliant coverage - in fact, the receiver was behind Howard. Giving up a long time-consuming drive might be all right but a long quick-strike can never, never be allowed to happen, but our defense had let that happen. Fortunately  the ball was underthrown. Then IL started at its 44 and drove effortlessly to our 17, where Zook had his senior moment. Otherwise the lead is down to 7 and if IL recovers the onsides kick it has the ball again with a couple of timeouts. So there were two turnovers but IL got 134 yards in a quarter. Going into the wind. In the third quarter of the Nebraska game, considered part of the real defensive collapse, the Cornhuskers got 120 yards. Our fourth quarter against Illinois was not good defensively.

 

I'm not being self-righteous, I'm being objectively critical. If you're okay with our opponent getting 120 yards in the fourth quarter and but for a coaching blunder getting within one score, when for almost all of the 4th they were down by three scores, then tell me to shut up. Otherwise, you join with me in saying that three quarters of defense is not enough, we need to be able to finish games.

 

awwwwwwop's picture

They may have scored a touchdown on that drive in the 4th quarter but it took them about 8 minutes too long to do so.  We were rushing three and dropping back into coverage to prevent them from making a huge play.  I think you read too much into the fact the entire defensive scheme changed in the 4th quarter to force them to take a ton of clock to try and score.  You also seem to forget that Zook had his moment when the OSU d forced him to make a decision on a 4th down that they caused. If they had that same drive in the first quarter I would have been worried.  Also, the Howard pick was good.  It seemed pretty clear to me that he made a better break on an underthrown ball than the receiver which probably explains why he was behind the receiver (because thats where the ball was).

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

baddogmaine's picture

No, it didn't take them eight minutes too long. It took eght minutes, and after the TD they had plenty of time left. And their next drive did not take eight minutes - it took one minute of clock time. And if Zook takes the FG and IL recovers the onsides kick IL has a bit over a minute, two timeouts left plus clock stoppages for first downs and OOBs, and we are in Malax time.

And yes, if our game plan is to completely rely on the defense to keep us in games then the defense has to stop the opponent before the opponent is in scoring range every time. Has to, bro. Might be unfair, but that's a discuission the defense has to have with the offense and HC. As long as the offense is one dimensional and ocassionally no dimensional the defense can not give up over 100 yards in the fourth quarter.

 

The question is fair: if the defense can play so well for two quarters (Nebraska) or three quarters (IL) what do we need to do to keep up the level for the whole game?

jenks's picture

I'm with the other guys here. If you want to pout about a victory all week, then be my guest.

awwwwwwop's picture

First: Do not ever call me bro. Second. It has become clear you do not understand defensive scheme and the fact that the offense would have to score, get an onside kick and then score again in less than 2 minutes is succeeding when you throw 1 pass completion.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

You can't expect the defense to hold every freaking time, bro.  When the offense is going 3 and out on every possesion late in games, it puts the D in a real bad spot.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

A lot of what you saw after we got up 17-0 was textbook prevent defense, which may be frustrating to watch as a fan, but as long as you're not doing it with a lead of a touchdown or less (and as long as you recover any onside kicks that are attempted), it has its uses. The idea is trading opposition yards for time. That one Illini TD drive took forever for them to complete, and while the preference in that situation is always to force a quick punt, I think allowing a ranked team one touchdown drive in a game is something that most coaches will accept. And that last Illini drive was even more of a pure prevent.

I do have to concur that the follies of the offense once we got into that prevent situation are harder to excuse. We could have had a first down on the first post-touchdown drive without the false start penalty (we gained 13 yards on our 3 runs). And while no one seems to know what Adams was up to on the play where he got called for the PF, common sense would indicate that it was something really dumb.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

baddogmaine's picture

I understand the teory of prevent defense. Not everyone likes it. The cliche on prevent defenses is that often they prevent wins. A prevent up only two scores and time still on the clock is an invitation for unhappiness. Look at the end of Auburn - Utah State this year. But even if a prevent has its time and place if your normal defense has played lock-down for three quarters why move away from it? It was working.

 

Back to the game and prevent. The one thing a prevent defense can never ever do is let a receiver get behind it on a deep route. Howard was beaten and the support was late. Had the ball not been underthrown that likely was a completion at our 20 with almost 4 minutes left. If you're going to play prevent THEN PLAY FREAKIN' PREVENT!!!

 

 IL had two drives in the 4th quarter, not just one. The first took a long time, but with six minutes left now down by 2 scores IL has plenty of time. Especially when the OSU offense isn't moving the ball and the OSU defense lets IL go from its own 44 to the OSU 17 in one minute without having to use up its timeouts. Yes, time was running out on Illinois, but a defense that lets the foe move 40 yards in 60 seconds is keeping the foe in the game.

 

40 yards in sixty seconds without using up timeouts. I've been following football closely for 30 years and I can not think of a reason why that is sound defensive strategy.

 

Let's celebrate the win, let's marvel at our defensive execution for three quarters, but if we don't figure out why we break down in the fourth quarter when we face an offense with a pulse we are at risk of re-enacting TX in the Bowl game, USC in the rematch, and Nebraska. If we do to scUM what we did to IL we are at great risk of losing!!

jenks's picture

I've watched Howard's INT a few times. In real time I thought he was beat and got lucky but the replays make me think otherwise. He was with the receiver then slowed to cut back underneath and make his play on the ball. It was a deep pass so the ball was in the air a while and that action seems conceivable.

awwwwwwop's picture

He did an interview with Rittenberg on the ESPN blog and said that he saw the ball was underthrown and undercut the receiver.  He probably wouldn't admit to being beat, but still worth mentioning.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

NC_Buckeye's picture

Have to say I'm really pleased with Basil and Buchanan. They were both on the numbers in spite of a bad kicking environment today.

Also as far as offensive staff, I have to disagree with calls for getting rid of Doc. He's the RB and Special Treams coach. Both units are performing at an A-/B+ range. That's better than any of the other offensive staff IMO (including Drayton).

millertime2011's picture

people may say miller had a poor game, when he got the chance to make the throw he didnt make the most of it, but in all honesty, sam bradford wouldnt look good if you didnt give him the chance to actually settle in there and find a rhythm.

 

But anyways, one of my biggest problems with our offense comes on third downs. 1st and 2nd downs we never run play options. However, on 3rd and 9 we run play options. WHO ARE WE FOOLING?!?!!?!?!?!?!! No team would actually be fooled by that. Running a play action in that situation is simply wasting time for Miller (or whoever the qb may be) to be able to read the coverage. I know I am beating a dead horse, but it's playcalling in situations like this that truly makes me wonder if bollman has any sense of playcalling strategy at all

BuckeyeChris's picture

After yesterday I am pretty well convinced that we have enough bad (terrible) teams on this schedule that our defense will be able to win us a few more 17 - 7-style slugfests. If those games include PSU and scUM then Wisky may well be the only L left on this schedule. Not that I'm not open to the possiblity of pulling that one off, too.

My "fear," then is that Fickell rides the high of beating scUM, going 8-4 and keeps his job....and BOLLMAN stays?!! 

I am profoundly torn. While I like Fickell and agree with those who say he may just needs to get his feet wet, I also embrace the idea of bringing in a new HC if for no other reason on earth than it ensures bringing in a new OC. 

As for yesterday's game... remember gang, this isn't much of a variation from Tresselball. We won A LOT of games during his tenure relying solely on our defense (Re: play calling). If the defense held, they won. If they didn't  ...they didn't.  The playcalling is still a mystery, but is that really anything new? 

I have dreams about OSU having the swarming defense and also having...just imagine...a  wide open offense that utilizes the talent it recruits!? Ahh...just imagine. 

As long as Bollman is the OC I am convinced our offensive talent will be under-utilized and our O-line will always be the glaring weakness of the team. I just hope that no matter how much success Fickell enjoys this year, he knows enough to upgrade the offensive coaching staff. 

Hoody Wayes's picture

The victory over Illinois is the closest Ohio State has come to coaching and playing as a team, this season. This combined effort was good enough, to win.

But, the Buckeyes also combine a 1-2 league record - typical of Indiana and Minnesota - with best-in-Ohio talent.

Somehow, a 1-2 Ohio State football team, has just become more dangerous. 

doodah_man's picture

Loved the comment that Scheelhaase completed more passes to tOSU receivers than Miller....

Jim "DooDah" Day
It is hard to play dirty against a man who picks you up.

Menexenus's picture

Yeah, that was pretty good...

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Buckeye06's picture

I think the progress this team has made since the Miami game is outstanding.  We were absolutely unable to do anything in that game, and our D was taking awful angles.  Our LBs still take some bad angles but I think the improvement has been noticable. 

With that pass to Stoney, I feel better about Miller being able to throw the ball if he has to.  We have 2 weeks to gameplan for Wisky, although that could be equal to a day for other offensive coaching staffs.  If we could just put a few screen passes into our offense I really think it could do wonders.  See for reference our screen to Stoney against Nebraska

CliffordTheBRD's picture

Winning ugly is fine with me. OSU won, Michigan lost, I for one am going to enjoy.

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

i've come to say 2 things

1. i'm 26 and i'm going to have a heart attack from Bollman's play calling

and 2. my man crush on Simon is solidified..dude was a swarming manbeast yesterday

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

RBuck's picture

Dammit Ramzy! Ever since you put the walrus tag on Bollman I can't get that song out of my head. Ook ook kachoo.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

bux_booster's picture

I think it was great that we got Vrabel.  I think Doc is a great coach, but I fear that he will be considered too much tied to the old ways and would be let go with a house cleaning.  I have not been a fan of Bollman's for a long time, even going back to the 2002 season, but each year, just when I am ready to really want him gone, the line surprises me and has a solid game. 

If Fickell does stay, and I hope he does, and he cleans house, how hard will it be for him to get real assistant coaches?  Are the best ones former HC's that got let go somewhere and are not very experienced asst's elsewhere?  How will the dynamic be with those how may have coached for 3+ years elsewhere and young coach Fickell?  Also, would a top asst who has never been a HC be interested in an asst job with tOSU with such an inexperienced HC as Fickell, especially if the coaching ranks have been cleaned out and it will be a year or two before the dust settles?  Our asst's in the past have moved on to better jobs elsewhere due in large part having been mentored by our very experienced HC's of the past and not due to the fact we are tOSU and have great athletes.  Sadly, Fickell cannot offer that.

If Jeff Rapp's report that there is dissention within the coaches room with the new guard and old guard, SOMETHING will have to be done.  In either case, I think it would be wise to shake Bollman's hand for many years of shared success and say goodbye.  I think that there must be a offensive line coach in the NFL that has recently been let go or tried their hand at an offensive coordinator position that did not pan out who might like taking high schoolers and taking them to NFL-level skills in 4 or 5 years and would be seen as a 'savior' at tOSU.

I also wonder if reaching further into the NFL experience pool might artificially prop up our likely drop in recruiting we will have for the next three years as we can point to the potential NFL skillset and pipeline.  I am not convinced that a great player will be a great coach, but I am sure that there are some former tOSU players that do have that capability.  It would be an interesting approach that allows Fickell to be HC, still be a mentor as he brings them aboard and would prove for soem VERY motivating pregame and halftime lockerroom speeches from the coaches.  By them being former tOSU players, I would hope that love for tOSU would help temper potential ego issues.  If not, Fickell could literally wrestle them for who gets the final call (just kidding).

I can actually live for a down season or two as lng as I see good play calling, execution and enthusiasm.  My enduring image of Bauserman will not be his cheerleader and coke vendor-threatening passes, but instead the brief camera shot when we are getting woodshedded by Miami in the fourth quarter and he is yucking it up on the sidelines. That is not a leader or competitor.  

How about Greg Frey, Tomczak or Kent Graham (that would be interesting with Taylor) for QB's?  (I wouldn't 'bet' Schlichter is available).  Tim Spencer is definitely loving Da' Bears, but wouldn't that be interesting to have him coach RB's with Evan there?  And coach Archie coach, with son Adam on the team.  What about our DB's from the past? Mr. Doss, are your missing the game?  He obviously is a leader. Mr. Springs, last year you were released, want to move back to Columbus? Antoine, are you tired of the NFL yet, you are doing great but is have been 12 years? Dustin Fox, tired of radio, do you have some interest? Mr. Gamble, we know you love to multitask, but it seems maybe you have some more freetime since exiting the NFL last year. And Ray Griffin, nephew Adam is a CB, what are you doing, care to play?  Could we find another motivated tOSU alum in Columbus who has some HC experience who loves tOSU and has intesity that may be unmatched that could work with Vrable and the Dline and LB's?  Don't get me started on wide receivers.  Punters? Andy? Tom?  Kicker's, Vlade, would like some side work while your deli does its job? It might only be a couple of years until the Nuge leaves Cincy although he is doing great.

I know this seems like a ridiculous approach, I just want to throw the idea out there and let the warrior nation have fun with it.

Also, what if the NCAA's harshness towards OSU as of late becomes so apparent that they actually back off a bit for the final sanctions? What if Gene is shown the door? What if 'show cause' does not get thrown on Jim Tressel.  Would you want tOSU to bring him back and have Fickell step back into his previous role and not losing face as a result?

jenks's picture

I think Doc is a great coach, but I fear that he will be considered too much tied to the old ways and would be let go with a house cleaning.

I agree. Unfortunately anyone who has ever listened to Mike Hart speak knows that since big brother could never work for little brother, Dick Tressel was clearly at fault for everything.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

First, if Fickell gets the head job permanently (and I still believe there's almost no chance of this happening), the Buckeyes won't have any trouble hiring assistant coaches. How many people out there are both 1) better than Bollman and Siciliano and 2) would regard being an assistant at OSU as a promotion? The list might run in the thousands.

But I don't agree with the idea of having an all-star team of ex-Buckeyes as a coaching staff. Especially after taking a chance on Vrabel this past year (and I think the jury is very much out on how he's doing), I think Fickell will need to hire guys with proven success as both recruiters and teachers. The job of developing Braxton Miller is way too important to be left to someone with no experience. That's essentially what we're doing right now, and the results are not encouraging.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

NC_Buckeye's picture

I've read a couple of complaints now about commenters who advocate coaches with Ohio State credentials. Somehow you guys believe that former players aren't going to measure up compared to the superstar assts out there that would "die" to coach at Ohio State.

First, I think you guys have delusions of grandeur about our program. Is it an attractive destination? Yes. Would superstar assts like Gus Malzahn, Paul Petrino, Mark Stoops, Norm Chow, or Jon Tenuta sell their kids to work in C'bus? Uh no... not so much. It's just a gig as far as they're concerned. Second, a place like Ohio State is just a stepping stone as far as these guys are concerned. If they produce as advertised, we'll have them for 2 or 3 years top. Make no mistake, ultimately they're looking for an HC position. Third, these guys don't understand games like the rivalry, or know how much we hate Penn State, or know how big a douchebag Bielema is. These are just another game for them.

I personally think if Fickell were to keep this job -- he should be reaching out to people he knows in the NFL. Anyone with Ohio State or Big Ten ties should get preferential treatment because they'll more than likely stick around for a while and they understand the significance of these games.

acBuckeye's picture

Ramzy, i may be incorrect, but i believe Roby recovered the fumble forced by Moeller. Klein had forced another fumble that the Illini recovered.

Great piece as usual. The constant play-actions on 3rd down leave me mystified. You aren't fooling ANYBODY with those.