Don't Look Back in Anger

By Ramzy Nasrallah on September 4, 2013 at 11:15a
63 Comments
You again. Damn it.

Ohio State somehow failed to eclipse the 60-point threshold on Saturday. It was coitus interruptus for a significant number of scoring binge fantasies that had been pulsating ever since spring practices concluded.

Making matters even more humiliating, the Buckeyes sputtered merely hours after Indiana (!) piled up 73 against Larry Bird's hot dog water-scented alma mater and shortly before Oregon scored 66 against the afternoon shift from an arts and crafts store based in Salem. Both conquests were paid generously for their services.

The Buckeyes' tryst partner Buffalo was well-compensated but not nearly as cooperative, souring Ohio State's 13th consecutive victory and disappointing Urban Meyer, who still has yet to meet or exceed what his exact same roster is capable of doing on gaming consoles in basements across his home state.

That first game of the season is always heavily scrutinized, and for good reason: It follows 38 weeks of excruciating foreplay. The last time Ohio State played a football game, Gangnam Style was still in heavy rotation. Only the Michigan finale is salivated over longer.

The key difference is that those Michigan games are remembered forever while the season openers are barely remembered in October.

To wit, two years ago the Buckeyes opened against Akron under Luke Fickell and pitched a very impressive 42-0 shutout to bring a satisfying conclusion to the miserable offseason that refused to end. Ohio State rolled up 517 yards of offense and held the Zips to 90 yards and zip points. 

It was set to be a brave new era featuring Tressel talent but without the burden of a Tressel offense. Some bold and daring scribes even made abstract comparisons between the Joes Bauserman and Germaine.

One Saturday later, the Buckeyes were outgained by Toledo. The week after that they flew to Miami and scored two field goals on 209 pitiful yards of offense. Ohio State gained fewer yards in its second and third games combined than it did in its debut, which was already long forgotten.

We really shouldn't have to compare this season's premier to the historical shit show of 2011 for context. However, in light of the angst over a 40-point 460-yard afternoon where the roster operated minus-15 scholarship players and deliberately Tresselballed the final three quarters it seems like an elegant alternative to saying calm your panicky ass down.

Here's Paul Myerberg of USAToday and 11W Roundtable fame: Save us with something truthful and poignant:

Hmm, last October the real Buckeyes almost lost to Purdue. Thanks for nothing, Paul.

Forget about real teams arriving fashionably late: This angst is about Ohio State accumulating points at a pace and quantity that matches your expectations. It's about your scoring binge fantasy that only grew more erotic following spring practices.

We got to taste that rainbow for 15 sexy minutes: Braxton Miller went deep. Jordan Hall galloped through space. The Buckeye offense sliced through the Bulls with boring precision and when the first quarter ended it was already 23-0.

You took off your pants. We all did. Fifty by halftime seemed realistic. Fifty is nifty.

Noah Spence did not have a dozen sacks Saturday. Shameful.

Then the second quarter happened and you got one miserable touchdown. You didn't get your 50 by halftime. You only got 30. Only 30 points.

The Buckeyes eventually sleepwalked their way to 10 more and landed on 40 to open the season with a 20-point victory that was never in doubt for a second. And you felt cheated. We all did.

Maybe it was that scoring binge fantasy, or perhaps it was that fleeting moment when we all believed the Buckeyes would be going for two following every touchdown this season. 

Perhaps it was Dontre Wilson failing to score on each of his first three touches as freshman Michael Wiley had done in 1996. Wilson failed to score even once. Is it too late for a redshirt?

Wiley's 1996 team scored 142 points in its first two games, meaning the Buckeyes would need 102 against San Diego State to keep up that pace. It was the most exciting September in 50 years. They eventually settled down and averaged a respectable 31 per Saturday the rest of the season, finishing in Pasadena.

But the real excitement that sprung the '96 team as well as the 2002 BCS title team (five more points in its opener than the Buckeyes had on Saturday) was not as much about their scoring binges as it was about who was scoring. New guys in unfamiliar jerseys were crossing the goal line: Wiley, Germaine, David Boston, and then Maurice Clarett and even Craig Krenzel, who brought a conspicuous end to the Steve Bellisari era.

Conversely, on Saturday Ohio State's touchdowns were scored by two players (Jordan Hall and Chris Fields) who committed to Ohio State when Todd Boeckman was still the starting quarterback, and Devin Smith who we saw plenty of last season. Those scores were served up by the two grizzled veterans under center.

Those guys are all Tressel recruits. You've already seen them score plenty of times. Where were the new guys? Where are our new, faster touchdown scorers? 

Somehow college football isn't linear or as predictable during the season as it is in May or in magazines, but if there is a positive indicator to Ohio State's season 60 minutes into it, it's what we saw Saturday: Veterans were doing the scoring. Veterans were making the plays.

Dontre Wilson failed to score even once. Is it too late for a redshirt?

On the other side of the ball, Buffalo was literally handed seven points and held to two yards of rushing per attempt. For all of the angst over Armani Reeves filling in for Bradley Roby, the Bulls only had 185 yards passing.

The Buckeyes significantly outgained them both on the ground and in the air with fewer plays and understandable - yet unacceptable - complacency. You wanted fireworks, gaudy point totals and new faces in the end zone. Instead you got leg cramps, scrupulous scoring and weathered upperclassmen handing the ball to the officials.

This wasn't coitus interruptus after all. This wasn't even foreplay. It was appetizers. Cool your jets, Senator. It will all happen in due time.

63 Comments

Comments

Bruce's picture

Our sacrificial lamb fought back! The nerve!

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

CC's picture

That should read "MACrificial".

Mizzillion's picture

Excellent. Well done, as always.

OSU_undergrad's picture

Literary masterpiece.

lipguard's picture

Great article, I don't get why everyone was up in arms over Reeves' play.  It was his first start, he did a decent job, and he will get better.  We have all been spoiled by Roby and his play, but Reeves will be just fine in due time. 

droessl's picture

I'm not calling for Reeves to never play another snap, or any other hyperbole, but I think "decent" is a bit too kind for his performance on Saturday. Yes, he was giving up a fair amount of height to the opposition, but multiple missed tackles, giving up a touchdown, and a personal foul is a disappointing afternoon of football IMO.  

lipguard's picture

I understand you're not calling for him to never play again, but anything less than decent is unfair I think.  The personal foul was very disappointing, and a few missed tackles, but I believe that will come with more practice honestly.  It seemed as if he was trying to prove something on the field instead of just playing his game.  This was week one, he will be fine, everyone missed tackles, but again in due time he will be perfectly fine.  And remember, he was asked to play off the receivers, the D didn't play much tight man coverage in the game, so playing the coverage he is asked, he is going to give up yards.

droessl's picture

Sounds like we're saying very similar things, just with a marginally different take.  The missed tackles thing (across ALL football) might slowly drive me insane. 

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

In other words,

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

Unky Buck's picture

Couldn't have said it better myself!

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German Buckeye's picture

Agree Ramzy, would have liked to seen our "faster touchdown scorers" score also.  All will be well if we post a 60 spot on SDS this weekend and the Urban recruits do some of the work. 

jthiel09's picture

"You took off your pants. We all did. Fifty by halftime seemed realistic. Fifty is nifty."
Bless you Ramzy, your articles are equally parts insightful and hilarious.

JT

TNbuckeye91's picture

Actually i never put my pants on that morning.

Baroclinicity's picture

Pants-less Saturdays get an upvote every time.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

ATXbucknut's picture

It's just that I was hoping to be in a blissful, drunken stupor by the second quarter.  As it were, I had to stay sober enough to see the TV until late in the 4th. Oh the humanity.

faux_maestro's picture

I was in a drunken stupor by 11am #stepupyourgame

Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

Chief B1G Dump's picture

I mean, lets be real here...We hear all this coach speak about 1 game at a time, blah blah blah.
If someone is trying to say that the coaching staff is not thinking/planning ahead and keeping things somewhat vanilla against weak(er) OOC opponents while also planting seeds for down the road...then that person doesnt know diddley squat.  The 2 point conversions Meyer went for are all about burning up teams practice time in having to prep for that.  There are most certainly wrinkles for each opponent added and/or removed from the playbook every single week.  Our scripted plays worked perfect against Buffalo.  After that, it was just human nature and plain old growing pains to let them back into a game that was already 23-0.  If that's a Penn State or Wisco or M*ch, I have to believe we open up the play book and shred these fools. 
No excuses, but when you dig deeper, we had injuries, suspensions and plenty of patchwork units.  Seasons, ebb and flow, you play with who you've got.  Yes, I would have liked to pound SUNY Buffalo by 70 but am mildly impressed that a 20pt win that was never in doubt is a cause for concern.  We have things to work on and it is evident in that game.  It's a win that serves as a smack in the face learning tool which is always better than a loss learning experience. 
This article is well done (as all of Ramzy's are) and we can pass judgment after a much larger sample size...on a macro level as well.  We should improving every week and I fully expect us to get it going and for players to find their roles.  I could go on for an entire novel here but I will just say, we're in pretty good hands.  We're 1-0 and still in striking distance.  All good in the hood...so far.

Baroclinicity's picture

Great read, Ramzy.  You're my Wonderwall.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Unky Buck's picture

Ha, by the end, I totally forgot about his Oasis title reference...nice one.

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USMC11917's picture

You know everyone has been miserable about the game played Saturday. I have said little about it. I don't think it was all that bad. There were mistakes and missed opportunities. The things I am most upset about are the things that should have been prepared for. The cramping issue is an issue that was apparent last year too. I don't know what the hydration policy is but we have a health/fitness trainer, maybe we need to look into someone experienced in the realm of high quality H2O?

Oyster's picture

Wait for it, GIF to follow by a sticker hound in 3, 2, 1...

Earle's picture


Couldn't resist.  My kids watch this sometimes.  It is absolutely awful.

Unky Buck's picture

No need for stickers...I'm just doing it as requested :)

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Oyster's picture

It figures it would be you two that respond first...

Breakawayspeed's picture

Nailed it!  Such drivel, the need for massive explosion of points to prove your high ranking.  23-0 and then they scum to heat ,cramps and inexperience in that order.
 
What?  Do we need 80 this Saturday to hold on to that #2 ranking?  Maybe, but I'll settle for everybody just getting a little better.

bigbill992001's picture

I know its only week #1, but like it or not, with our schedule, we NEED to be no worse than #2 ranked to get to the NC game.   And, that mean style points count.   After the 1st quarter the coaches MAY have let off the gas, but Brax looked anything but Heisman.   A pick-6 and that fumble down to the goal line could have been a disaster.   And, vanilla or not, he struggled to complete just 3 passes after that.    He HAS to play better and I'm sure he will.

BucksfanXC's picture

Did we expect anything less of the fanbase? I think we got the reaction we should have expected from the game we should have expected.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

hit_the_couch's picture

My homer ego took a shot after they got halfway to the 80 points I predicted. No worries, the homer ego is back this week and will predict 63.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

USMC11917's picture

Talking about planning. There has been no mention of Heacock and his involvement. He still working with us? Aside from the cheap points, 250 something yards of total Offense isn't that bad. The defense made some mistakes and missed tackles but overall I can live with those numbers and 13 points. We have no idea what this Buffalo team will do this year. Maybe they will pull a Navy 2009 (Guessing the year).

FitzBuck's picture

I never put pants on Ramzy!  Pants are reserved for teams from the 4 major conferences.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

ChazBuckeye's picture

I'm glad you wrote this...too many ppl are freaking out about the outcome of last weeks game.  I'd say let this Saturday and many more play out before OSU get's too much criticism. It won't matter where they're ranked in weeks one through 12 when the second week of December rolls around.   

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

Denny's picture

I thought the point of being a fan of sports was to be as unreasonable and reactionary as possible.

Taquitos.

BucksfanXC's picture

You just went so meta.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Denny's picture

Don't challenge me to be as meta as possible. In that scenario, we all lose.

Taquitos.

nm_buck's picture

Yep the New Recruits didn't make any impact at all.  Guess UM will have to pull a Tress... and win his NC with his predecessor's recruits.
Redshirt 'em all!

Citrus's picture

Gotta use sarcasm font

CUBS's picture

This was a very good read. We share similar opinions. Well done.

Baroclinicity's picture

Upvote to help get you to the 100 threshold.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

roamingbuckeye's picture

It wasnt so much that they came up short of my scoring expectations or the less than hoped for input from our untested superstars. What had (note past tense) had me worried Saturday was that if we are going to play fluff games and win, I want to WIN. All we have heard all offseason from the rest of football world is how weak our schedule is. I just have a horrible vision in my mind of us running the table In the regular season along with, say ...oregon (or take your pick) along with a 1-loss Alabama and not getting to the NC because we "struggled against teams we shouldnt have struggled against and got lucky in some big games." And you know that would be the narrative.
...however, after a few beers and a few hours I calmed down and am once again ready to give UFM the benefit of the doubt and trust in him to lead this team where It should go

"I just cant wait to play football." -UFM

McFate's picture

Great article, but I'm not sure I buy the "never in doubt for a second."
With the score 30-20 and Buffalo about to take possession at the OSU 1, mid third quarter, there were a lot of OSU fans holding their breath.
On the penalty that negated the fumble, it looked to me like both players had their hands on the other's facemask.  That is typically called on the defender, but what if it hadn't been?

RoweTrain's picture

Had the penalty not occurred, Braxton would have been ruled down by replay (his elbow was clearly down) and we would have had the ball at the 5 yard line. You could also make the case that if Mack hadn't used hands to the face, would he even have gotten to Brax at that particular time, causing a fumble at all as a result? All hypothetical.

lax20's picture

When the Buckeyes play a season of games close to the vest(no Tressel pun intended), they seem to have that magical successful season.  I find the season that they literally destroy all their opponents, with the exception of one(if you are a Buckeye diehard for many years, you know what I mean). That one game derails the unblemished season.  GO BUCKS and just win.

hodge's picture

B-b-but my fantasies, Ramzy...
THEY WERE SO DAMN EROTIC.

Citrus's picture

You had me at "coitus interruptus." Bravo!

I had trouble with Buffalo during my recently completed Xbox season. Strangely, the better the team, the better my D played and the easier it was to score points. Scored 50 on 'Bama in the NCG. If NCAA 14 equals real life get ready for a shock when Carlos Hyde wins the Heisman despite Brax throwing for 697 yards 6 Tds in a single game. 

AirForceNUT's picture

My team lost to Buffalo in the opening game lol
 

Jack Fu's picture

While I agree with the thesis of the article, my issue is that there is no "calm your ass down" relayed to the legions of fans in the preseason just flat-out assuming that this is going to be one of the best OSU teams of all-time. I agree that people metaphorically running around screaming "the sky is falling" after Saturday's game need to be told to temper things a little bit. I also think the people this summer yammering about how this team might score 100 points in a game this season should (or should have) been told the same thing.

pjtobin's picture

I was pleased with what I watched. I guess I know that a a ugly win is better than a beautiful loss! Maybe that's just me?

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

rhutchjr's picture

I feel the same as most of you (who took my toy?). But zip it! The judge will enter his verdict after a couple more practice sessions (games, joke). We need to be ready by 9-28-13. The first real game that starts the season. Coaches & players need to do there thing until then. If we fall down then it will matter for now a +20, +30, +40 who gives a s**t. GO BUCKEYES!

Toledo, a good place to be FROM

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Nicely done sir!  Nicely done!  I think you hit the nail on the head!  We have been salivating all throughout the off season and through spring practice waiting for Urban to unleash the BuckiKraken.  We got a taste of it and then... flat soda!  Now that we're all a bit more realistic with our expectations - I think we can relax a bit and enjoy the ride! 

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

cinserious's picture

The buffalo game had me feeling like jason biggs 'edging'

Gone ham, be back soon...

lakejamesbuck's picture

The only concern I have over the Buffalo game is the way all of the talking heads are burying the Buckeyes and telling everyone who listens to these idiots ( I am guilty) that the Bucks are not even top ten...How much can this hurt the good guys when recruits and polls hear all of their commentary? It seems as if style points are becoming more and more important every year.

Paulillo's picture

Good article that provides some much needed perspective for some fans. I wish we could find some middle ground between the sky is falling when we don't score 100 points and the Panglossian view that our flights to the Rose Bowl should be booked. This article is another step in the right direction.

Jugdish's picture

I used to hate coitus interruptus but now its football season.

Remember to get your wolverine spade or neutered. TBDBITL

73buckeye's picture

There is a positive side to playing not so great in the first game. Imagine how bummed we'd all be if the Bucks had scored 100, and turned out to have played their best game of the year. They have room to improve and much bigger fish to fry down the road. Having those "perfect" game(s)  somewhere in the future against NW, Wisky, TTUN (twice?) and in the MNC game seems much more satisfying to me than blowing the wad early against Buffalo. Patience,  grasshoppers.

ernie

BuckeyeSouth's picture

Because Urban Meyer fosters a competitive environment it's his fault that we're all disappointed by scoring 40 and winning by 20.

Embrace it.

hspbuy1's picture

Nicely written Ramzy!  Next game up!

hspbuy1

Poison nuts's picture

Gangnum Style is no longer in rotation? I'd like to apologize to all the fans for saying "well - that's it - looks like they (Buffalo) won't be scoring today." Seconds later, came their first score...my bad.
Seriously though, although I thought out loud about Kenny G as the starter in a forum post recently (which was not dissatisfaction with Braxton or the team - I was just talking football), I am 100% confident in the QB, the team, & the coaches & didn't take the Buffalo game as a sign that all is lost. Of course I'd have preferred a 70 point blowout but you can't always get what you want...My hope is that they are firing on all cylinders by the time they play Cal but I do suspect SDSU will be feeling some pain come Saturday.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

saltybuck61's picture

Right after I read this article, I went to run some errands. As soon as I start my car a song comes on the radio. Take a guess what song it was.