I was listening to some Mizzou fans this morning on the radio discussing their beat down of Iowa State on Saturday. They were thrilled that the Tigers ran the ball 58 times on Saturday and that Henry Josey (averaging 10 yards per carry this season) finally carried the ball a season high 19 times. They suggested that the coaching staff might have finally listened to the public cries to do what the team does best.....run the ball. While I doubt the motivation behind the coaching decision was public outcries, it seems that something changed in their offensive strategy.
Far from suggesting that Ohio State only throws the ball an average of 4 times per game for the remainder of the season I also have absolutely no problem with how the game was called against Illinois. It resulted in a victory and it focused on what the Buckeyes do best. It resulted in 4.1 yards per play for the game. That number is pretty pedestrian by any measure of offenses in modern football, but once again it worked for THAT game. The Bucks never trailed and there was absolutely no reason to risk an interception on a windy day.
By contrast Illinois threw the ball 34 times on Saturday. For the game they averaged 4.1 yards per play. They trailed for 55 minutes, and they turned the ball over 3 times. They lost.
Illinois completed 20 passes on Saturday for an average of 5 yards per pass attempt. Of those 20 completions 6 of them went for 4 yards or fewer. So of the 34 passing attempts only 14 of them resulted in gains of 5 yards or more. By contrast Ohio State had 21 running plays that gained 5 yards or more and 1 pass play that gained more than 5 yards. Illinois had 11 running plays that resulted in 5 yards or more gained. Total offensive plays gaining 5 yards or more were 22 for Ohio State and 25 for Illinois.
It was windy, OSU never trailed, and Miller and the receiving corp are a work in progress. Why throw? Just cuz isn't good enough for me. You play to win the game not to appease public outcries or to pad stats. Move on Buckeyes, Bucky is next. Revenge is a dish best served cold and by running the ball.