Beyond the Hashes: Penn State

By Chad Peltier on October 27, 2013 at 12:30p
El Guapo was not guapo to the PSU defense

I expected an Ohio State win in the 10-17 point range – comfortable, but showing definite signs for improvement. Instead, the Buckeyes shocked Penn State, the rest of the Big Ten, and bettors everywhere by blowing the doors off of Penn State.

The Buckeyes reached and then blew past statistical milestone after milestone, so here are a few to get you warmed up. The fourth-largest crowd to ever enter the Shoe (105,889) saw the nation's longest win-streak extend to twenty games. That record crowd also witnessed a ground offensive (408 yards) unseen since November 4, 1989 against Northwestern (456).

Further, Braxton tied his career high for touchdowns in a game with five while moving in to fifth all time for passing touchdowns with 39. The Buckeyes were also efficient, not turning the ball over for the second week in a row, while not allowing a hundred-yard rusher yet on the season (Belton had 98).

Below I'll break down the offensive and defensive performances in turn.

The Offensive Blitzkrieg

  Points/Play Yards/Point Yards/Play Ex. Play Turnover Red Zone %
OSU .977 (.818) 9.76 (10.8) 8.84 (8.90) 5 (9) 0 (0) 100%

You could argue that Herman buttoned down the offense as soon as Kenny G came in during Ohio State's third possession of the third quarter (or even halftime), so I calculated these numbers for both halftime and the entire game in parentheses. Here are my observations:

  • The Buckeyes ran 43 plays in the first half; they scored 42 points on those plays.
  • Even in clock-killing mode in the second half, the Buckeyes still managed to dominate every relevant offensive statistical category. The Buckeyes went from scoring approximately a point for every snap of the ball to 4/5 a point per snap.
  • Part of the team's identify this season has been fast starts on offense that have allowed the Buckeyes to dictate the tone and pace of the game. The Buckeyes had a 14-0 lead in the first quarter yesterday (and were working on a third touchdown) and have outscored opponents 143-38. This not only speaks to Meyer and Herman's pre-game preparation, but also partly explains the high number of pass attempts and yards by opponents – they're trying to play catch up from the beginning of the game.
  • It doesn't get more perfect than 100% – the red zone scoring percentage for the Buckeyes. Part of the reason why the points per play statistic is so high is because the Buckeyes always managed to red zone drives into scoring drives (and not ones involving Mr. Basil).
  • The Buckeyes had six explosive plays against Florida A&M and nine against Penn State. Braxton put on a scrambling clinic when he wasn't throwing pre-half time darts to Corey Brown, while Hyde, Hall, or any other running back gashed the Penn State defense on the ground.
  • Speaking of running backs, Hyde had a running back success rate of 94%, including his first thirteen carries in a row. Only five of Braxton's eleven carries were efficient, though he did add an explosive 39 yard touchdown run. Eight Buckeyes received a carry against Penn State and seven of them had yards per carry averages over 6.2. Rod Smith finished with four carries for ten yards.

How to Play Defense

EzE will haunt Big Ten defenses for years nowThe future is extremely bright at running back for Ohio State

As great as the offense played last night, the defense's play probably warmed the hearts of even more Buckeye fans.

Apart from a ridiculous Alan Robinson highlight film catch and run (and run and run) against the second string defense, the Silver Bullets largely lived up to the moniker.

I predicted that Hackenberg would have a career day against the secondary, with a stat line like 300 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Instead, he finished with 112 yards and two interceptions, with a 4.9 yards per attempt average.

The Buckeyes won the two important margins, turnovers and explosive plays, 3:0 and 9:2 respectively. This means that not only did Ohio State end more Penn State scoring opportunities, but got points more quickly when they did have the ball.

  Points/Play Yards/Point Yards/Play Ex. Play
OSU Def .189 25.5 4.82 2
  • The defensive staff deserves a lot of praise for shutting down a fairly impressive Penn State passing game (and completely making tight ends a non-factor!), which made Penn State's offense sputter unpredictably. The offense was able to mount four long drives (one of which was a single big play), but they were sporadic and random.
  • The Bullets took away 21 yards on four sacks, with two by Spence, one by Shazier, and another by Adolphus.
  • Ohio State was actually ranked 13th in the country in opponent third down conversion rate (at 30.2%), and that trend continued, with the Nittany Lions only getting eight of sixteen.
  • In addition to Spence's two sacks, he ended with four tackles, three tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. While Spence was notably brilliant, Shazier continued his (fairly) quiet excellence, leading the team with ten tackles, one sack, one quarterback hurry, and one TFL.
  • Vonn Bell and Trey Johnson were two of the young guys to score some minutes on defense, with both snagging three tackles. Cam Burrows also saw time, recording a tackle.
  • It wasn't all roses for Armani Reeves, whose hesitation was partly to blame for Allen Robinson's long touchdown catch of the night (though it's pretty much the entire defense's fault for that clown show of a play!).

In summary, the defense was able to consistently pressure Hackenberg and Ferguson, limited any consistent drives from the Penn State offense, and forced Hackenberg in to 4.9 yards per attempt. We likely can't expect this excellence every week, but Fickell and Withers (and Roby!) deserve plenty of credit for devising a solid game plan to limit both big plays and long scoring drives. 

We'll have more analysis later in the week when we review charting data, so consider volunteering to chart a quarter or two.


[Photos: Kirk Irwin Photography]


Comments Show All Comments

ScarletGray43157's picture

It was a great win for many reasons.  This PSU team has given up more than 40 in their last three games for the first time in their program history for a reason, so we need to keep it in perspective and buckle down for the rest of the ride.  Four regular season games to go, the B1G Championship Game, and a bowl game.  A lot of work left to be done, and if the team keeps showing improvement, a lot of success is reachable.
Go Bucks!

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

whalewars's picture

I was wondering if any of you 11W guys has done any analysis of the NCAAF rankings to see how much bias does or does not exist? For example, what happens to B10 team rankings when they lose to unranked teams teams vs. the same analysis fir other conferences?  Has any team, other than OSU, ever gone undefeated and dropped in the rankings? Has any Sec team ever won, like 76-0 and dropped in the rankings? How many spots do sec teams, on average, gain for beating a ranked opponent vs. other conferences gaining for beating a ranked opponent? How many spots are lost for losing to a higher ranked opponent in each conference? I think it might be interesting to see if one of you guys did some analysis!

Dublin68's picture

Hyde now has 88 carries without being stopped behind the line of scrimmage 

ScarletGray43157's picture

According to SECSPN:
"Saturday against Penn State marks Ohio State's 7th 50-point game in less than 2 seasons under Urban Meyer... The Buckeyes had 6 such games under Jim Tressel from 2001-10."

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

kmp10's picture

Because I'm obviously OCD and like things uniform and complete I have a question for the 11W community: Why is the stripe on Carlos Hyde's pants when OSU wears the Pro Combat uni different than everyone else on the team??? Look at it (if you're anal retentive and let the littlest things bother you). His pant stripe is from last years Pro Combat pants and the rest of the team has the much improved and sweet looking wide black outer stripe. I'm off to take my Xanax...

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Hyde wasn't the only one wearing those pants. Kenny Guiton had them on as well.
...and to be blunt the newer three wide stripes is not a good look. The complete mishmash of striping between the helmet, jersey sleeve & pants is just all around bad design.

zbd's picture

So OSU beat one of the worst teams in the worst league in college football.  

Chad Peltier's picture

When we played Florida A&M? Yes.

Bamabucknut's picture

My hats off to the defense of OSU .The coaches and the players showed everyone they can play OSU dfense...and dictate to the other teams offense.

Ethos's picture

the highlight of the game for me was when BOB was hunting down and screaming at the RB that fumbled.  I laughed my ass off.

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

00Buck's picture

Revenge is mine sayeth the LORD..........  but in anothers words  "HOWWWWW  SWEET IT IS " !!!!!!!!!!!  It's funny, nut getting out of bed this am, I for the first time in a long time (that I can remember......I did not watch the game recording....  I for one remember how I felt when the red on the head, like the noodle of a poodle Mcgloin.....  shook his fist at our defense after PEEEEEEWWWW state scored the last TD...... Last night for some inexplicable reason, I felt remorse.....  remorse for JoPA.......  I met JoPA, and shook his hand..... He was a good man, a scapegoat for the state of PA's sandusky's witch hunt......  I hope PEEEWWWW finds a way to correct the injustice to Joe Paterno... (IF an idiot says he was at fault for not reporting) you have to understand in our generation what happened at PEEEWWW was something that proper people did not talk about......  In essence he was prosecuted for outdated ethics.........  Thanks Penn State for a great game, and now we are even for being shell-shocked....... I love College football, and I still believe once ethics are removed......  we won't have football anymore, just a bunch of girls wearing PINK !    Thanks 11W for allowing me  sic   An older generation fan, the opportunity to voice my opinions here.........  Buckeye=  Tough nut to crack

Upon this Rock, I build my house....and Let no man put asunder

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Trying to make sense of your rambling, but even Joe Paterno remarked that he should have done more.  No excuse for a powerful individual like Joe Pa to have been involved in enabling that horrible person.  Maybe better if you stick to analyzing the game and not picking at that scab.
Also, in what way did PSU give us a "great game"?  And the pink comment, nothing wrong with supporting breast cancer research and cure, you apparently suffer from some feelings of inadequacy.  "Once ethics are removed" ... what on earth is that supposed to mean?  Wow.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Give Fickell a raise!
OK, $600,000 a year is probably enough ... well then ... uh ... good job Coach Fick!

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

bergy22's picture

Armani Reeves = Anderson Russell the sequel
Feels like he just gets totally abused out there. Lots of time to turn it around though

darbnurb's picture

Fire Fickell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EDIT: Sorry, this was suppose to be posted on last week's thread.