Buckeyes Need To Ditch First Quarter Blues in 2013

By Jeff Beck on July 22, 2013 at 2:00p
Stop that man

Ohio State didn’t have the opportunity to play for any titles last season, for better or for worse, the lack of expectations allowed the team to play loose, ultimately helping them rack up 12 wins in the process.

The rose-colored lens of an undefeated season often makes it hard to look back at a year objectively, but going over the season with a fine toothed comb reveals the aforementioned ability to “play loose” may have drifted into playing undisciplined at times, particularly in the first quarter.

Here’s a quick refresher. Remember this:

And This:

Believe it or not, the Buckeyes didn’t average a TD in the first quarter for all of 2012. Over the course of the season, the Scarlet and Gray mustered only 6.3 points during the opening 15 minutes. Even more shocking: the Buckeyes were losing or were tied after the first quarter in 5 of their 12 games (Miami, UAB, Nebraska, Purdue, and Penn State).

The slow starts certainly contributed to Coach Meyer’s early post-game soundbites, 

This after UCF:

"We're not where I thought we'd be"

And Cal:

"It's time to play Ohio State defense and that wasn't Ohio State defense at all"

UGHUrban's Slow Start Face

And UAB:

"You've got to think about where this team was, now. This is not a finely tuned machine right now, it hasn't been for a while. Obviously, there's some growing pains and it's not as easy. I thought we'd be further ahead." 

The team turned a corner against Michigan State, but that didn’t mean they abandoned their slow starts. Just a week later against Nebraska, the team was losing 14-7 to start the second quarter. The lead would have been larger for the Cornhuskers if not for a Bradley Roby pick 6.

Luckily for the Buckeyes, Meyer is incredibly adept at in-game adjustments, constantly pushing buttons until he finds the right combination. In the second quarter the Scarlet and Gray scoring average went up to 12.4 points. Additionally in the five games that saw the Buckeyes tied or losing after the first quarter, OSU was able to muster 77 points to the opponents’ 23.

In fact, the only game the Buckeyes saw themselves outpaced in the second quarter was in the last game of the season against Michigan.

Unfortunately for OSU, this season will be far more pressure-packed in terms of expectations. Getting off to slow-starts last year was enough to make fans’ hearts drop. Slow starts in 2013 could mean heart-attacks.

With the team finally able to play for all the marbles, will lackluster beginnings spell doom for a team with a target on their back? The only way to never find out is for the Buckeyes to ditch the sluggish starts and come out swinging from the get-go in 2013.


Comments Show All Comments

Buckeye Rocket Sci's picture

I think it will definitely mean more to start early this year. If we don't, a few things could ensure.
1) You let the team, who is already looking to take you out of NCG contention and break your winning streak, get that much more confidence and momentum.
2) You suffer from the humbling idea that you might not be as good as you thought and, thus, start to make bad decisions to try and fix it (though hopefully we'd have the senior leadership to prevent this).
and 3) You feed the trolls all year about how we aren't as good as our record (see last year's media).
Not one of these or any combination would be good and I hope that our seniors/staff are able to step-up and show the will to fight not only from the start, but also to the finish (since we also seemed to have struggles putting the game away like Indiana and TTUN).

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence" - Calvin Coolidge

Hovenaut's picture

Hoping the offense (passing game) being a little more polished will alleviate slow starts. The speed of the young guys should also help production.

The out of conference schedule offers a chance for things to get settled in.

Tough timing for this article, with all these preseason blues.

DeepSouthBuckeye's picture

I think the quick starts will be much more frequent this year. There are too many game changing play makers for it not to go up. There will be 6 players on offense on the field at all times that can score every time they touch the ball. I like our odds.
Good article. Shame it didn't get more attention with Bar Gate breaking today.

Loving all things Buckeye from SEC country in Alabama.

"How firm thy friendship....O-HI-O"

unholy bucknut's picture

This is something we definitely need to work on. I think we will see our guys coming out the gates a whole lot better this season. I look for all of our shortcomings last year to be strengths for us this year. Year two of the Urban Meyer era.

tampa buckeye's picture

Field position was terrible last year and was a result of sub par returners and coverage teams. That should improve.

pjtobin's picture

From A to Z we will see improvement, IMHO. I personally want to see better tackling. And better passing. I feel confidant I will be satisfied. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.