Five Things: Indiana

By Chris Lauderback on November 24, 2013 at 2:30p
19 Comments
Ohio State established a new school record with their 23rd straight victory

For the 10th straight week, Ohio State scored on their opening possession and then never looked back in a 42-14 thrashing of Indiana on Senior Day in the Shoe. 

Establishing a new school record with their 23rd consecutive victory in addition to clinching a spot in the B1G title game, the Buckeyes once again leaned on Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde, who teamed up to record 435 total yards and six touchdowns as OSU scored the game's first 42 points. On the other side of the ball, Ryan Shazier lent an assist with a ridiculous 20 tackle performance that featured a school-record-tying five tackles for loss. 

With Baylor getting smoked last night in Stillwater, the Buckeyes are firmly planted as the #3 team in the BCS with much football still to be played. 

Next up for Ohio State is a date in Ann Arbor for The Game but before we turn our undivided attention to the Wolverines, Five Things takes a final look at a the win over the Hoosiers. 

D-P-O-Y, YOU AIN'T GOT NO ALIBI

I suppose I'm a biased observer but for my money, Ryan Damn Shazier locked up the B1G Defensive Player of the Year award with today's mind-boggling effort. 

The junior from Florida, who just might have played his last game in the Shoe, cranked out 20 tackles – including 16 solo stops – along with those five tackles for loss, to go with a sack, forced fumble and pass break-up. 

Shazier's 20 tackles were the most since A.J. Hawk put up a 20-spot against Wisconsin in 2004 and his 16 solos were the most since Tom Cousineau racked up the same total, 35 FREAKING YEARS AGO, in 1978 against SMU. 

Playing the best ball of his career, Shazier has been on fire the last two weeks in particular, totaling 36 tackles, 27 solo's, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. 

Did Shazier play his last game in the Shoe?

Two weeks ago against Illinois, he blitzed on what felt like every down and generally covered for 2.5 positions as the Buckeyes were forced to play without the team's 2nd and 3rd best linebackers due to injury. This week, he welcomed Josh Perry back but was still without starting middle linebacker Curtis Grant. 

Shazier looked like a kid either knowingly playing his last game in Columbus and/or put it all out there for the senior class. 

He paced the defensive attack as OSU built a 28-0 halftime lead, recording eight stops, one for loss, as the Bullets held Indiana to 2/9 on 3rd down and 1.4 yards per carry. 

His quickness both in filling the hole at the line of scrimmage and in roaming sideline to sideline have never looked better. I hate to think of the state of the linebacking corps next season if Shazier does turn pro but at this point, it's easier to make a case for him to leave than it is for him come back. 

READY FOR LIFTOFF

After rushing the football just 12 times combined against Penn State and Purdue, Braxton Miller has ran it 29 times total in back to back weeks against Illinois and Indiana. The result? His two best rushing performances of the season in which he's totaled 320 yards and three touchdowns on an astounding 11.3 yards per carry. 

The three touchdowns on the ground are one more than he had in all the previous seven games he played combined. 

His decision making on the read option has been much improved these last two games and yesterday he added a new wrinkle by looking probably more determined on the run than he ever has, playing like a man with a chip on his shoulder, or maybe like a man who thinks he might also be playing his last collegiate season.

Either way, Braxton keyed another quick start as he busted loose on Ohio State's opening drive for 41 yards on 3rd and 3 to set up a touchdown before ripping off a 37-yard run for a score on the next possession to make it 14-0, good guys. 

Braxton is averaging 11.3 YPC over his last 2 outings with 3 TD

On the way to 144 yards rushing, Miller was diving all over the field, landing on his head and generally showing off a bit after big plays, flashing a little more attitude that we're used to. 

Through the air, he managed to completed 65% of his throws (11/17) in sub-optimal conditions including a few drops and man was that 39-yard touchdown strike to Devin Smith in the back of the end zone perfectly placed or what? 

So far this season, Braxton has 19 touchdown tosses against just four picks and he's added another five scores on the ground, giving him 24 total in nine games. 

If Miller is thinking about potentially leaving after this season, he certainly looked like an inspired guy yesterday. Now, saying this as politely as I can because I've got nothing but X's and O's for the kid, I just can't see how it makes sense for Miller to leave early. No hate but he's got major durability issues and I think a full, healthy senior season would go a long way toward boosting his draft stock. Of course, even then he's still going to have front offices a little nervous based on a track record that dates back to high school of being susceptible to injury. 

In any case, Miller is playing some very good football at just the right time as the Buckeyes make a final push for a spot in the BCS national championship game. 

A FINE LINE

Playing in the shadow of one of Ohio State's finest offensive lines in recent memory, the defensive line continued it's strong play yesterday against Indiana. 

Michael Bennett was particularly active with three tackles for loss and two sacks as he generally set up shot in the Hoosier backfield. On more than one occasion, incredible quickness for a man his size allowed him to split two guys and knife into the backfield, including onne for a sack on 2nd and 6 for -8 yards, eventually forcing the Hoosiers, already trailing 21-0, to punt it away. He was also seen tracking laterally down the line of scrimmage to make a few plays from behind, something you know those NFL scouts love. In the last two weeks, Bennett has been a terror totaling 10 tackles, 4.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks. 

Bennett is climbing up NFL draft boardsBennett: 10 stops, 4.5 TFL & 2.5 sacks the last 2 games

Freshman Joey Bosa was also active again yesterday adding five tackles, 1.5 TFL and half a sack. He teamed with Tommy Schutt on a 3rd and Goal play on Indiana's first possession of the 2nd half to sack Nate Sudfeld, leading to one of two field goal misses for the Hoosiers and preserving Ohio State's 28-0 cushion. In his last two games, Bosa has 11 stops, 4.0 TFL and 3.0 sacks. 

Noah Spence was somewhat quiet yesterday with three stops and a TFL while a resurgent Adolphus Washington, thanks to improved health, added four stops, giving him 10 tackles and a half-sack over the last two weeks. 

In total, the four best D-liners on the team have totaled 38 stops, 11.5 TFL and seven sacks over their last two outings. Residually, their production has also assisted Shazier's outstanding play and given the secondary a lift as they haven't been asked to cover opposing receivers for quite as many seconds per dropback. 

Though I suppose there are many (rattling) keys fans could point to in determining what aspect of the game is most important to beating Michigan in Ann Arbor next week, I think a huge factor will be how this defensive line performs. If they can swallow up Michigan's struggling offensive line and bottle up the run game while getting consistent pressure on Gardner, it could be a turnover fest allowing Ohio State to cruise to victory. 

SLAP IN THE FACE

It really is a shame that Carlos Hyde isn't in the Heisman conversation. In playing just a hair over seven games thanks to an off-field issue that resulted in no charges and had nothing to do with NCAA violations, the terrifying tailback out of Naples has run for 1,064 yards and scored 13 touchdowns on a ridiculous 7.7 yards per carry. 

Over his last six games, Hyde has scorched defenses for 938 rushing yards, or 156.3 per game, with those 13 scores, good for 8.1 yards per carry. 

Back to his season YPC average of 7.7, that would be the best single-season mark for an OSU running back since Walt Klevay averaged 7.9 back in 1950 on just 66 attempts (Hyde's currently at 138).

Looking at the more modern-ish era of OSU football, Hyde's 7.7 mark would a full yard more than any other OSU running back since before Archie arrived in Columbus. In fact, since 1951, only four Buckeyes even averaged six yards per carry in a single season: Bob Ferguson ran for 6.1 per in '59, Archive went for 6.4 and 6.6 in '73 and '74, Calvin Murray averaged 6.5 in '80 and Robert Smith cranked out 6.4 yards per tote in 190. 

Yesterday's 117 yards with two touchdowns on a measly 6.5 yards per carry allowed him to become Meyer's first ever 1,000 yard running back and lately, the talk has shifted to where Hyde ranks among the great backs in OSU lore. That's a different post for a different day but at this point, since Archie, he's at least a lock as the 3rd best guy behind Eddie and Byars. That's pretty lofty company for a player with three huge games left to shape his legacy. 

I hate playing the "what might have been" game but if he had just stayed out of that trashy nightclub, he could've made a very realistic charge at being a Heisman finalist on the way to about 1,860 rushing yards (his season average of 133 x 14 games) which would've placed him 2nd all-time behind Eddie's own Heisman campaign when he racked up 1,927 yards in 1995. 

STRIKE FAST, STRIKE HARD, NO MERCY, SIR!

Ohio State has owned the 1st quarter this season, outscoring opponents 206-38 over the first 15 minutes of game time. They were back it again yesterday, scoring 14 points in the opening quarter, recording a touchdown in just 2:19 on their first possession of the afternoon followed up by a 2:02 drive on their ensuing possession. 

The quick strikes are nothing to the Buckeyes, both in 1st quarter success and in length of scoring drives. Yesterday, the Buckeyes registered six scoring drives – all touchdowns – using a combined 765 seconds for an average scoring drive length of 2:07. 

Their longest drive totaled 3:39 but sometimes you'll have that when you're forced to go 98 yards. 

The previous week against Illinois, the offense was even better, using 779 seconds across eight scoring drives, good for an average scoring drive length of 1:37. 

So, over the last two weeks, the Buckeyes have produced 13 touchdowns and one field goal with an averaging drive length of 1:50. 

With three games left to play, this offense already owns the single season school records for points (536) and touchdowns (73). 

If Ohio State can follow a similar blueprint this Saturday in Ann Arbor, forcing the Wolverines to play from behind, we could be looking at one of the most lopsided OSU victories since the '68 team pounded Michigan 50-14 in Columbus. 

19 Comments

Comments

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

We are starting to hit on all cylinders right now and it couldn't come at a more perfect time!  Flounder Hoke has no answers for Urban and the Buckeyes and I believe a woodshed beating will be in order next Saturday!  I've sat in that horrid AA stadium too many times when the Buckeyes came to town expecting to crush them only to leave empty handed - I doubt that is going to happen Saturday but do expect TSUN to put up a fight for a bit.  They will eventually acquiesce to the beating they will receive!!!

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

runu5163's picture

I wonder if Miller will come back with an almost entirely new o-line. Look what happened to Matt Barkley when he came back his senior year under the same conditions. When Baldwin was in for Mewhort last week, Miller had a tougher time. Hopefully, Meyer convinced Mavety to come to OSU and he can help out the blindside. I want Miller to come back, but I can understand why he may go.
 
 

TilstheHun3's picture

Buckeyes look amazing going into AACC... Hoping they embarrass the Weasels in front of their ashamed fans.
Senior Day was special. One of the greatest things about college football is getting to see new faces and each class gets to build their own legacy. However, one of the worst things about college football is having to say goodbye to guys like Hyde, Guiton, Bryant, Pitt Brown, Barnett, J. Hall, Philly Brown, Wood, Basil, Linsley, Mewhort, Norwell, M. Hall, Chris Fields, Roby, and maybe Shazier (who might have played himself out of coming back yesterday, though I hope not) and even possibly X-Brax (though I think/hope he returns).
This has been a memorable season in Columbus with a special group of guys. Go Bucks and Screw Blue!

What is this? A center for ants?!? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building?
 

MN Buckeye's picture

We delivered a beatdown on IN with 3 turnovers. If we can avoid that statistic next weekend, we should dominate.

buckeye_heart's picture

If it wasn't for missed games we would have both El Guapo and Braxton going to the Heisman ceremony with probably Braxton as the front runner after Johnny Football and Mariota's games this week.

hspbuy1's picture

Is Noah Spence playing LB now,or is he playing a hybrid position? seems like I saw him all over the field on D.

hspbuy1

Knarcisi's picture

We drop him into coverage sometimes ... Fick channeling his inner Labeau. 

Seattle Linga's picture

The thing I really liked about Tressel is that he would always save one huge play for "the game" and maybe when the game is in hand vs ttun he will pull out a few zingers to stretch the lead. 

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

Shazier looked like a kid either knowingly playing his last game in Columbus and/or put it all out there for the senior class.

 
THIS is what's giving me a tiny sliver of hope that he and Brax will be back. They were just honoring the seniors which would make perfect sense considering their strong character. Quietly keeping fingers crossed anyway.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Phillips.449's picture

Shazier did say in the post-game interview that he wanted Bryant to see his number out there making plays (or something like that).  I will assume that is what is going on and he is coming back until we hear otherwise! :)

SunRa's picture

RDS has very little to gain with a senior campaign.  He'll go pro, as he should.  Shazier has made steady progress from the beginning of last season to now, and has really turned it on late in the season.  His draft stock has never been higher. 
Braxton's status is more uncertain though.  He still has not reached his ceiling, but will be working with an unproven o-line.  Thoughts?

extemporary08's picture

In Warriner we trust

Hovenaut's picture

Oregon
Baylor
November - where champions emerge. Three games left, and I love where this team looks to finish. 
Kudos to the defense, and RDS - he has elevated his game. 

"Success - it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

If Miller did decide to turn pro, I'd certainly say, good luck, young man...but if he didn't already win the Heisman, I'd say, dang!  That guy there had a real chance to bring another Heisman winner to Ohio State and himself!
And don't think it isn't advantageous in life to be a Heisman winner. 

Knarcisi's picture

One thing I didn't like is that we put the ball on the ground 3 times. We need to clean that up. Go time, right now. 

alust2013's picture

One thing that makes me question whether Shazier will go pro is how Urban talks about him. Seems like a pretty selfless dude and seems to genuinely love being a buckeye. Plus he could be like Hawk, who had a similar season to Shazier his junior year and still came back. 

...and Michigan still sucks.

buckeyedude's picture

I've said it since before the season started: THIS is the year to make our run. There is much rebuilding to to next year. Or reloading as it may be. As many players as we lost last year, I can see us losing more this year, and players in critical positions.

 
 

Boxley's picture

I agree, and that is also the biggest reason that Brax would leave as well. He is going to get killed next year  unless we work a miracle on the O-line with 4 new starters. There is no way they will be as effective on O next years as they will this year.
RDS leaving is a killer, but why stay and risk injury. He will not be able to significantly improve his stats, so there is no monetary reason to stay (but I hope he does, that would make him the number one 2014 recruit)
We are looking at a 1-3 loss season next year with all that we lose in players this year. If that happens Brax will not have a chancve a t the Heisman and most likely be exposed to getting hurt again. His stock may be at its peak this year depending on how he finshes the next three games.
Look at it this way, if we win out get a NC, there is absolutely no way he comes back. Next year is going to have a significantly higher chance of not winning out, and a struggle with an all new O-line.
 

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

Buckeyeholicwompa's picture

Mind me if this has been gone over already but is there a possibility Christian Bryant can play in the bowl game??