First posted at Inside The Shoe
That certainly wasn't the game any of us were expecting, including Mark May. The offense struggled all game long, the special teams (at times) looked awful, and the defense was back on it's heels for the entire game what with the Spread formations and trickery by Toledo. Let's take a look at what went right and wrong for the Buckeyes on Saturday.
What Went Right
- Carlos Hyde rushed for 76 yards on 20 carries with 2 touchdowns, but he dominated for most of this game, pushing for extra yardage and giving that extra effort, which really payed off in the end. Hyde also scored the eventual game winner, running right up the gut from the 3 yard line and in for the score to give the Buckeyes the lead against the Rockets I'm sure due to his play in the past 2 games that when Jaamal Berry and Jordan Hall take the field again, Fickell will find room for this kid to get some yardage, most likely on short yardage situations.
- The secondary play for Ohio State was once again a big factor in on the defense. All middle to deep passes were covered very well, and Dominic Clarke and Bradley Roby did very well for themselves, and give some serious depth to this corner spot when Travis Howard returns to play. Some might argue that these 2 should be the starters, and Howard should earn his spot back, and I might end up agreeing with them. The final drive by Toledo was on complete lock-down as far as deep passing. They couldn't hit the men they wanted to, which lead to more pressure for a mistake to be made.
- John Simon as usual was a leader for this team. After playing decently in the first half, Simon had to leave the game for a while as he was cramping to an extreme. In that absence, the Rockets did well for themselves, although they did that all day anyway, and were able to have the ball on the last drive to give themselves a chance. Fortunately, Simon happened to return from the cramp to come in and play, and lead to his quarterback rush, which resulted in a bad ball from the QB on 4th down. Game over, Buckeyes win.
What Went Wrong
- Joe Bauserman went 16/30 for 189 yards and 1 TD. As I expected, against an actual pass-rush, Bauserman faltered under the pressure, and gave more questions than answers as to what the situation with the quarterbacks is. Fickell was impressed with him against Akron, and clearly made him the starter, as Braxton Miller didn't have one single snap the entire game. I did not see Bauserman complete more than 1 deep ball, and even the 1 deep ball he completed was only deep because the receiver ran up the field for more yardage. It's almost as if Fickell knows he can't pass, and so is fine with settling with consistent screen and bubble passes that don't work in an I-Formation. Things are going to go south very quickly in the W/L column, unless something changes here soon.
- The special teams for Ohio State has been a weak point the last 2 years now, and sans a Chris Fields touchdown, there were no bright spots. We had a blocked punt, a missed FG, and horrid kickoff coverage. Not to mention, Jaamal Berry didn't look anything close to the Jaamal Berry we saw returning last year, as he ran straight into his blockers, and just seemed overally slow. I'm not one to criticize Berry, and even I know that he didn't look too solid.
- Rod Smith has to hold onto the football if he wants to see time again this season. He had Ohio State's only turnover a week ago, and this time he gave Toledo one final crack at upsetting Ohio State. Even that might not be enough to get him on the field, though. The fact that we were trying to run the clock down so that Toledo could finally be put away and he fumbled (with one hand on the ball) shows he didn't truly know the situation. I'm not going to bash on the kid, it was a mistake and he's got a lot of talent. He's got to learn from this though, and can't let it happen in the future.