11W RoundTable: Penn State

By David Sokol on October 26, 2012 at 10:00a

As the Buckeyes keep the ball moving, Eleven Warriors keeps churning out the RoundTables.

"So happy you're okay"Urban has to be thrilled about Braxton being OK

This week, our special Dubster Analysts feature Jason and Alex. I would like to thank them for their participation.

If you didn't already know, the Buckeyes roll into Penn State this weekend for an awkward 5:30 start time that should be one of the top games of the evening.

Ohio State's overtime victory over Purdue was full of twists and turns. What are your current thoughts on the Buckeyes with four games remaining?

Jason: I think this is a team that's young, banged-up and is still learning how to win. It doesn't understand the importance of starting fast and it certainly struggles with putting teams away.

That said, they're learning these things (the hard, slow and ulcer-inducing way) and through eight, they're unbeaten. That's a testament to the staff and the heart of the team. I don't know that I've had this much fun watching a Buckeye football team in years.

And to think, it's all a warm-up for next year, the mythical Year Two of the Meyer cycle.

Alex: I think Ohio State is a team that is continuing to learn throughout the season and is adapting to not only a new coaching staff, but also to unforeseen circumstances such as injuries to all three units of the team. That being said, they are also the beneficiary of what I will call an "easy schedule". Sure wins at Michigan State and home against Nebraska were quality, but other than that the schedule has been weak, which has been a good thing for this team to grow. The final stretch of the season will be very difficult and I am interested to see how the Bucks come out of it.

Dave: I just want the team to do whatever will help them most for next year. The team is still super young, which only means great things for the future, but I feel like the Buckeyes should be more risky: Blitz way more often, throw way more deep balls... Hey, I'm not Urban so I'll let him do his job. I think he knows what he's doing.

After Braxton Miller was whipped towards the ground with a near horse-collar tackle that forced him out of the game, explain what kind of confidence you had in Kenny Guiton to lead the Buckeyes to victory (you can use a 1-10 scale, 10 being the most confident).

Jason: It's weird, because I actually had a lot of confidence in Guiton based on what he had shown in the two previous games coming on in relief of Miller. That confidence took a nosedive of sorts when he threw the interception on the deep pass intended for Stoneburner, but I was glad to see him rebound to win the game for Ohio State.

Alex: From everything we have heard, Guiton is a fully capable back-up and had proven to be just that in the previous games he had entered for Braxton. In fact, Guiton made three "relief appearances" prior to the Purdue game and all three times the Buckeyes scored touchdowns. Because of that, I would say I had about a "6" or "7" on the scale before a ball was even snapped to Guiton. That certainly changed after the first two possessions he was in the game, but once he led the team on the game-tying drive, I felt very confident (an "8" or "9") in KG's ability to win it in overtime.

Dave: Given the situation of being down so late in the game, I initally was feeling about a 5. However if Guiton had been dubbed the starting QB going into the weekend and had a time to prepare, I would have felt much better. He did the job so the confidence is definitely higher.

Penn State has been a hot team as of late, actually gaining many votes in the AP Poll after winning five in a row. Besides cleaning up the defense, what must OSU do differently this week to come out of Happy Valley with a win?

Jason: The key to winning this game is Ohio State starting strong. Penn State is outscoring opponents 66-0 and is averaging nearly 10 minutes of possession time in the first quarters this season. That's insane.

If the Buckeyes let Penn State jump out to an early lead, Beaver Stadium will only get louder.

Alex: I actually pegged this game as a loss from the start of the year, as I thought the fact that this is PSU's de facto bowl game, a night game, a white out, homecoming, and that they consider us their biggest rival set the stage for the upset. Now that we are 2/3 of the way through the season, Penn State has established itself as a legitimate team, with a nasty defense and more than efficient offense. I think OSU needs to play a complete offensive game and not have any periods of stalling like in past games, utilizing both Braxton's arm and legs to keep the PSU defense on its toes. On defense, OSU needs to improve its ability to defend passes to the boundary, and limit the amount of plays where a linebacker is in man coverage.

Dave: Just score points. Keep the defense off the field. I know everyone would love to see the Buckeyes hold PSU to a few points, but at this point, just win games. If it has to be 55-52, so be it. A win is a win.

If you had an AP vote, where would you rank the Buckeyes? What about the Big Ten (SEC, Big-Ten, PAC-12, Big-12, Big East)?

Jason: I think 9th is about right. Looking at the eight teams ranked ahead of Ohio State, they'd all be favored over the Buckeyes at a neutral site. If the defense was playing at a level anywhere near what the offense is playing at, then I think we'd have a case for a top five team, but it isn't.

Hit me, not BraxtonPerhaps the RBs will get more touches this week

As for the Big Ten, it's terrible this year. The two teams in poll position for a Rose Bowl berth, Michigan and Wisconsin, each have two losses and we're not even into November yet. Nebraska has a loss at UCLA and was blown out in Columbus.  Iowa has losses to Iowa State and Central Michigan (!!), while Ohio State and Penn State are on probation. Not a banner year for Jim Delany's kids.

Alex: I'd probably have the Buckeyes somewhere from #7-#10, just by default. They are the only 8-0 team in the nation and that is not just by luck, so as long as they keep winning they deserve to be in the top 10. As for the conferences, this year I would say the SEC is still on top, followed by the Pac-12 (even though they play little defense), the Big 12 (even though they play no defense), the Big Ten, the ACC, and then the Big East.

Dave: I personally don't think they should have dropped (from seven to nine). How many teams are actually better than they are? Sure, you could make an argument for a few one-loss teams to be ranked ahead of them, but they're undefeated and this weekend measures their eliteness in my opinion.

As far as the conference goes: it is a down year for the Big Ten, but I'm not worried about the future. OSU should be in the top-10 every year, Michigan should be a top-20 teams, then the conference will have a scattering of other top-25 teams.

For those in doubt: Is the B1G a full blown basketball conference?

What do the Buckeyes need to do in order to slow down QB Matt McGloin?

Jason: The fact that this dude is having a great year speaks volumes to Bill O'Brien's quarterback coaching skills. O'Brien has taken a former walk-on with no discernable pocket skills and turned him into a slinger that leads the Big Ten in completions, is 2nd in passing yards and touchdowns and 3rd in efficiency rating. Clearly the work of a miracle worker.

On Saturday, he'll go against the 16th-worst pass defense in the nation (we see you, West Virginia, holding down #120). I never would have imagined I'd be saying this, but there's cause for concern against McGloin.

Alex: We have had a good time poking fun at Matt "Excessive Moxie" McGloin in the past, but he is no laughing matter this year. Bill O'Brien has done an excellent job developing McGloin into a quarterback who makes the throws he's supposed to make and manages a great game, but credit also goes to McGloin himself, as he dedicated himself to film study this off-season which has helped in him making great strides in his game. That being said, the name of the game is pressure. The more time McGloin has to go through his progressions, the more yards your defense is going to give up. Penn State rarely goes down field and a lot of their passes are in the short-medium range. Put some pressure on McGloin, maybe even blitzing corners or safeties, and force him to beat you over the top, rather than to the sideline or down the seams.

Dave: Bring the pressure, hurry him and hit him. If the Buckeye defensive backfield continues to struggle dropping into coverage, why not blitz often?

How many points will Penn State score against the OSU defense?

Jason: Low 20s would be nice, but I fear we'll see high 20s, low 30s.

Alex: As mentioned before I am taking Penn State in this game (against my heart), as I think they will exploit OSU's weakness of boundary defense with screens and swing passes, as well as against the linebackers with a set of really solid tight ends. I see Penn State scoring somewhere between 27-31 points to win this game.

Dave: 24-28 points.

Bonus: Does Braxton rebound from injury and a low statistical game to re-enter the Heisman discussion this week?

Jason: Yes.

Alex: Despite me thinking PSU will win, I do think Braxton will bounce back. I have it Penn State 31, Ohio State 27, so I think Braxton will have a line that goes something like: 14/21 for 168 yards with a touchdown and an interception through the air, while also running for 138 yards on 23 carries with 2 touchdowns. Unfortunately I don't think that will be enough, as I see the PSU defense shutting down Hyde, Smith, and the rest of the Buckeye rushing attack and getting the high scoring (for PSU) victory.

Dave: He had an off game with a nonexistent fourth quarter (injury) and he's still discussed on the list of Heisman contenders. One big game in the next few weeks (I'm talking one of his standard 16/24 attempts, 190 yards passing 2 TD, 155 yards rushing 1 TD) and he'll be back to the top of the list.

Tune in next week for the 11W RoundTable: Illinois


Comments Show All Comments

QBYBuckeye's picture

I get annoyed at their inconsistency, then I look at the two-deep roster and marvel at their youth.  My question, "Which underclassmen will emerge as leaders for next year to replace Sabino, Simon, Williams, and Boren?"

New York Buckeye

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Hopefully some combination of Grant/Perry/Marcus/Spence.

QBYBuckeye's picture

Bennett, Hyde, Shazier, Roby, Hankins?

New York Buckeye

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Assuming Big Hank does indeed stay.

M tots's picture

I've never understood all the hate for McMoxie... The ability has always been there. Remember the 1st half of the OSU-PSU game in 2010? He had the Terelle Pryor led Buckeyes down 14-3 at halftime, in Ohio Stadium. Sure, he proceeded to throw 2 pick-6's in the 2nd half, but that's kind of my point. If he could ever limit those turnovers (which he's done this year) he is an above average QB.

buckeyepastor's picture

 He's always had a "Tebow" sort of energy, but without the "Tebow" leadership to back it up, which made him look immature as a player.  This year, as others have said, he has really come a long ways as a player.  

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

William's picture

We have the 8th ranked rushing attack in the country. I'm confident that we'll score plenty against Penn State. However, I'm not confident that our defense will stop Penn State on offense at all. 

AltaBuck's picture

It will be interesting to see how the tOSU D defends on 1st down plays. I would hope they play aggressive. Not necessarily blitz but to press their receivers to disrupt timing in their short-medium pass offense. If they can force PSU into 2nd and 10s and 3rd and 8s, etc., the Dline will have the opportunity to get to McMoxie and force some TOs.
Edit: Spelling

I am Groot - Groot

BuckeyeSki's picture

Soooo, who did you think was gonna win this game again Alex?
In all seriousness, I'm not worried about this game like most seem to be. tOSU shows up to play against State Penn always, especially in HV. This is basically the de-facto division championship game and the players know it. Can't wait, as my State Penn hate cup is about to floweth over.

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Alex's picture

haha sorry I have just had a TERRIBLE feeling about this game since before the season...when PSU dropped their first two I kind of changed winds and thought they'd be lucky to win 4 games this year...look at them now though and they are solid....I think this comes down to the end and can go either way...hope my gut is wrong

TatumRuled's picture

If the D Line lives up to its potential - and does what Cam Heyward did in Happy Valley 3 years ago - OSU will win.

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum                       

O-H Kee Pa's picture

If the forecast holds up (wet conditions), it only slows their offense down and plays into our hands. Also, if you read the preview on Black Shoe Diaries, we're going up against the best LB corps in the country, which is obviously par for the course for Linebacker U (sarcasm). They really think we're going to be nothing more than a minor disturbance, and should roll over us easily. I'm not saying we're going to win, but damn do I hope we punch (not literally) every single one of their plays in the month on every single play.

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

I think we have to start fast to have a chance. If we can hop out to a 10-0 lead and put the pressure on McGroin I think we have a good shot. If we show up on offense like we did last week, we will lose. If we show up on defense like we have all year... we lose. We are going to have to play a darn near perfect game to win. Hyde has to be huge for us, I'd like to see the tight ends make some big plays as well.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

For once this season, I'm not as worried about the D as I am about the special teams and O. If our D pitches anywhere close to the same game that they did against Purdue, I like our chances. If our special teams play like they did against Purdue, we'll probably lose. If Marcus Hall is his usual self, it doesn't bode well for our running game. Against MSU and Nebraska, though, Urbz has had us ready to go with the razor sharp intensity that he's known for. We'll bring it.

Idot08bojangles's picture

I feel like this is a super cliche thing to say, but I feel like Ohio State has a habit of playing to the level of their competition. Have for years. Now that may have something to do with the opponent having the mindset of "We have to play our best game in order to take down the big dog", or if it's the Bucks thinking "We can skate through this week, we are the big dog". But even against high quality opponents (save 1.8.06) they seem to up their game.
Maybe this is naive, but it's an idea...I am sure they all see this as a big game, so I predict the get pretty amped up for it and play well...

Scarlet and Grey until the day I die.
idotter: September 27, 2008. OSU vs. Minnesota

JasonBuck's picture

They (on blackshoe) definitely think that they're going to roll us.....of course they're the most dillusional fan base in America, so I suppose I'm not totally shocked.

chicago12's picture

I am with this comment...ohio State has a habit of playing to the level of their competition. We will play much better in this game on both sides of the game. I am optimistic again...we will win!

buckeyepastor's picture

Agree.  We haven't played a lot of strong teams this year, but when the lights were brighter and the attention bigger (MSU and Nebraska), we showed up in a big way.  Braxton seems to rise to the occasion so far in his career (see last year vs. Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan) maybe even more so than Pryor did.  
The first quarter will tell us volumes.  If we show up and execute well on offense and have sound fundamentals and tackling on defense in the first quarter, I like our chances to escape with a win.  If we start out sluggish and spot them a couple of scores, this is not a team or an environment that we're likely to overcome.    
If we're close through the first half, down but within a score, we can win this game.   We can't win it in the first half, but we can lose it.  

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

45OH4IO's picture

I think tOSU's best chance on D is to limit the tight ends. The safeties need to come down with some elaborate coverage schemes to help the LBs on the TEs. Maybe force some picks that way. Force them to beat the corners over the top or bubble screens. Probably will have a few big plays as usual, but if the D can confuse McNuggett into a few turnovers, that will neutralize the bubble screen plays.
and for the record, my Kenny confidence level was 7/10. I was a little worried about Brax, but also excited to see what Urban had been hyping about all year! Honestly, Id rather have him inthis week and let Braxton rest, record be damned. But if Miller is healthy, fine.

whobdis's picture

I agree with Dave..in many ways we are playing for next year. I really wish some of the FR linebackers would get some time. Otherwise we go into next year with similar issues. Even if they make mistakes..hopefully they learn now. We've had few blowouts so we've had much less 'devlopment' time for the younger guys.
As for PSU..not saying it's a 'key' but we need to keep the ball. It seems we either score or it's 3 and out. Keep the ball for awhile..even if we don't score it rests the D and keeps their offense off the field.
Great job guys..love your site.

scrappled's picture

Interesting part to me is PSU's TE's on OSU's LB's, which will probably cause Fickell to really crowd the intermediate stuff.  Can McGloin hit a few deep throws if that happens?  Sketchy, but we'll see.  He hit one after a big KO return on the first play of the second half against Iowa. 
I think that's where the game is won or lost, along with Brax's effectiveness and ability to handle the noise.  There's a weird confluence of events that has caused the build-up to this game to be like the 2005 game.  The program and fans have been beaten down, and now there's this weird, semi-inexplicable revival leading up to the biggest game on the schedule.  The stadium is going to be juiced
Anyway, good luck y'all.  Except you.  And you.  And everyone else.

gobucks5413's picture

With Zeke Elliot and Marshall coming in, and with retaining Hall with the redshirt...It's gonna be amazing how quickly we transform from not having playmakers to all of a sudden, not having enough footballs to go around.

Larryp713's picture

I agree with Dave's comments... If the Buckeyes want to be 9-0, they are going to have to roll the dice this week. Blitzes and zone drops to confuse McGloin into a couple of turnovers, and a lot of variety on offense. Need to avoid the lulls and keep the pressure on. I am excited for this game, and though my brain agrees with Alex's assessment, I think this team is capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat. I don't know if I can wait 36 more hours... Go Bucks!!!



Arizona_Buckeye's picture

In Urban we trust - I think OSU rallies around each other in a hostile crowd and goes into HV and kicks their ass!  That is my story and I am sticking with it until tomorrow night.  Personally, Urban and company know of the 4 tight ends and our weakness at LB so my guess is they are going to make it their mission to throw everything at McGloin to rattle him early and often.  Press em up on the line and throw the kitchen sink at the offense.  If we're going to go down, I'd rather go down blitzing and being aggressive than passive and getting picked apart!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I think OSU's d-line wins this game... Turn them loose and let them get to McGroin... If Spence were to be let loose, I could see him with multiple sacks and maybe even a forced fumble... We can't give McGroin time to make reads... We need to hit him early also.