First posted by Brady, at Inside The Shoe
What a game to select as my only trip to Columbus for football this season! I'm not claiming to be a genius as any Buckeye fan would've picked the Wisconsin game if put in the same situation but damn that was F'n awesome! That trip was everything I could have hoped for and more. I got to party like a rock star the night before in my killer pilot costume, tailgate my ass off behind the varsity club in a private party, watch our freshman quarterback become a star right in front of my eyes, witness one of the great moments in Horseshoe history and watch fat Wisconsin children dressed in cow outfits be taunted on the way out of the stadium.
What more could you ask for? Sure I ended up with a hangover that lasted two days and a hoarse voice from yelling all night but those were just minor inconveniences. The magic and excitement of Buckeye football is back... for another week at least. So how did OSU come out on top against the Badgers? Let's hand out some game balls to those who were able to help the bucks come out on top.
Booooooooooom Herron- The crowd was all over this chant the entire game and for good reason. Boom ran hard all night and was pretty much the only consistent weapon for OSU on Saturday. It was a helluva weapon though. Wisconsin did not have an answer for Herron, especially in the 2nd half. There were many occasions that he was only getting 2-3 yards on first down but it was still positive yardage. Even though we all would like to see 5 yards on first down the Badgers were never able to bottle him up behind the line to force Ohio St. to throw on second down. The offensive line definitely had a part in Herron's huge night but the majority of those yards came from Boom's sick moves, surprising speed and brute strength. We really missed this guy during the first half of the season.
Defensive Line- Johnny Simon was the standout in this group but the whole unit played really well. Most bloggers, including myself, noted that OSU had to get pressure on Wilson for the Buckeyes to have any shot in this game. Mission accomplished my friends. OSU ended the night with 4 sacks but there were a number of hurries and hits on the quarterback that didn't show up in the stats. Wilson looked hurried and didn't get the chance to hurt us with his feet which was a huge bonus. The 2 Wisconsin fans in my section kept yelling for him to run but there was nowhere to go. Must have been the giant cheese heads blocking their vision. He did end up with some long throws but that was more coverage breakdowns in the secondary than it was lack of pressure from the D line. This group was also solid in stopping the vaunted Wisky running attack. I just can't say enough about these guys.
Luke Fickell- I still don't think he is coming back for another season but you could probably sway me if OSU can win out. This was definitely his best performance as head coach though. Luke from 4 weeks ago would've never gone for it on 4th down at the one yard line. I might not have even gone for it there considering we had been stuffed the previous 2 plays but Fickell threw caution to the wind and sent Herron back into that mass of bodies. One juke-out-of-your-jock later and Boom was standing in the end zone with 6 points instead of 3. That was a HUGE play. Too many times in the past Ohio St. settles for field goals. You can't expect to win big games like this with freaking field goals. I tip my hat to Fickell for having the balls to go for it along with handing it off to Boom instead of getting cute and trying to pass it that close to the goal line. Good show sir!
The Fans- Yes I am going to pat myself on the back. I only do this because I can't pat the other 105,000 fans that were there on the back. Holy shit was it loud in there! I haven't been to a sporting event in a long time where it was that loud. Little kids were literally covering their ears around me on some of those late third downs. It was a really cool sight to see. I have been to numerous games at the Shoe as well as a ton of pro Football and Baseball stadiums. Nothing and I mean NOTHING compares to the atmosphere of the Horseshoe on a Saturday night. The scene in that place after Miller heaved his last pass into the end zone will live with me forever. I am getting chills just thinking about it again. It was really nice to see that the fans hadn't given up on this season and we were all rewarded for it.
BRAXTON- I was really impressed with the young guy on Saturday. It was still apparent that the coaches were hesitant to call passing plays but we really didn't need many of them. When combined with Boom, the two rushed for nearly 300 yards on a top 15 team. It was amazing to see the progress he has made over the past month. I can't begin to imagine the adrenaline that is rushing through your veins when a 18 year-old is in front of 100,000 screaming fans against a team like Wisky that was on national television. That is something very few of us will ever get to experience. The kid apparently didn't feel any pressure. If he did it certainly didn't show up. I can't remember any really bad decisions made by Miller during the game.
Plus, the story that surfaced of his wink and "don't worry coach, I got this" before the final drive is the stuff of legend. I really think he's starting to get it and this may be the beginning of another great quarterback run at Ohio St. All of a sudden, the Buckeye's are back in the race for the division and a shot at going to Indy for the title game. We must win out and some other dominoes need to fall but it is well within reach. It's amazing what a few good wins and one monster game at home will do for your season. Just a month ago I had to be talked off the ledge but now I'm scoreboard watching and breaking down opponents. It has been a trying season but it can still end positively for OSU. Indiana and Purdue are up next before the season ends with Penn St. and Michigan. One week at a time boys... one week at a time.