Beyond the Hashes: San Diego State

By Chad Peltier on September 8, 2013 at 12:30p
Guiton didn't miss a beat

So that feels a little more satisfying, doesn't it? San Diego State was supposed to be a fairly formidable early season out of conference matchup, but the turnover prone offense kept this one at cupcake levels for the hungry Buckeyes. 

Last week the statistics assuaged many fans who were ready to write the season off after an actually solid first performance. This week's numbers instead likely just reinforce what you saw with your eyes: that the Buckeyes were hungry for perfection and the offense was in capable hands without Braxton.  

Differences in Efficiency

We all knew Kenny G was a smooth operator in limited spurts, but who knew that he could keep the offense humming through four quarters? The Guiton-directed offense was more efficient than last week's performance according to two efficiency metrics, including yards per point and points per play. 

Comparing our three metrics for efficiency, we see that the offense put up less prolific yardage totals, but was less prone to negative yardage plays and turnovers. The Buckeyes' yards per point totals improved over last week's 11.5, as did points per play at .588. 

These two metrics are highly influenced by both red zone efficiency, touchdown to field goal ratio, and turnovers, so it's easy to see why Guiton's relatively mistake-free day, combined with a perfect 3/3 red zone touchdown percentage, and fewer turnovers kept the offense ticking. 

  Yards/Play Yards/Point Points/Play
Offense vs. SDSU 6.4 (6.08) 10.6 (11.4) .6 (.516)

The defense was in many ways the mirror image, with the Silver Bullets having a slightly less efficient day according to yards per play, but a much better game when looking at yards per point and points per play. 

  Yards/Play Yards/Point Points/Play
Defense vs. SDSU 4.12 (5.08) 40 (15.8) .103 (.312) 

In fact, the defense's yards per point was over double its number against Buffalo (19.8), indicating that the defense did a great job limiting scoring considering the yards that the Aztec offense was able to put up. Again, the Aztec's four turnovers didn't help here (if only had SDSU kept Dingwell in longer!). 

A Pair and Three Spares

Back when Urban Meyer was first hired, the Florida blog Bourbon Meyer wrote Buckeye fans a primer on Urban's style of coaching. One of their pieces of wisdom was this about running backs:

Urbs won a lot of games with Florida using the running back as a tool, but either never used the tailback as a feature in the offense or never recruited a 20+ carry per game guy.

Urban seemed to prove us wrong last season by running Hyde early and often, almost becoming Urban's first 1,000 yard rusher. However, this week it seemed like Urban was more reluctant to consider Hall or any other back as the "feature back," distributing carries more evenly among the committee.

One week certainly doesn't make a trend – especially after Hall's 21 carries and 159 yards last week – but we'll have to keep a close eye on how Meyer utilizes running backs and whether Bourbon Meyer's warning holds up in coming weeks.

  Hall Elliot Wilson Smith Ball
RBSR 62% 67% 80% 67% 0%
It was not a good day to be an SDSU quarterbackThe defensive line had a great performance

Was the platoon style the way to go against SDSU? Probably, simply because it was a great opportunity to get younger guys some experience in an actual game, but also because all of the backs performed well according to the running back success rate (RBSR) metric.

Wilson hasn't broken off an 80 yard sprinting touchdown yet, but it's clear that he has the ability that everyone raved about during camp. Similarly, we finally got a chance to really see Elliot in action, and he made the most of his six carries.


Despite giving up 216 pass yards, I was impressed with the defense as a whole, which was noticeably better with Barnett and Roby back and a dominating defensive line.

  Tackles Sacks TFL FF INT PBU
Barnett 7          
C. Grant 6          
Perry  6         1
Shazier 5   1      
Reeves 5       1 2
D. GRant 4       1 1
Roby 4         1
Bennett 3 .5 1.5 1    
Spence 3 .5 .5      
Miller  2 1 1      
Marcus 2 1 1 1    

It's always good to see your linebacker core perform well, and especially Curtis Grant, who currently leads the team in tackles.

The defensive line rotated liberally (partly due to Adolphus Washington's first quarter groin injury) and was rewarded for it, getting a lot of production from guys like Steve Miller and Jamal Marcus. Noah Spence continues to make a name for himself as a pass rusher, leading the team with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 TFLs, as well as the most tackles for defensive linemen. I'm sure Washington will have something to say about this when he returns. 


  • It's never good to have more than two three-and-outs in a game, as more than two is highly correlated with losing. The Buckeye offense had two – one at the beginning and one at the end of the game. 
  • Similarly, four of the offense's twelve drives ended with less than ten total yards, which is much higher number than Herman would prefer. Two of those failed drives were in the fourth quarter. 
  • Bosa, Burrows, Trey Johnson, and Vonn Bell all made an impact as freshmen against SDSU.
  • For having "the best tight end tandem in college football," I'd really like to see the pair get more passes thrown their way. Heuerman in particular looks dangerous in the intermediate passing game. 
  • Both Guiton (92.9) and Braxton (96.2 for all of two plays) finished with over a 90 according to ESPN's Quarterback Rating (QBR). How many teams have backup quarterbacks that can manage a 92.9 QBR? 
  • The Buckeyes held on to the ball for 32:08 (compared to last week's 32:04), averaging 27.5 seconds per play (28.3 against Buffalo). 
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