Breaking Down the Trap Games For the Buckeyes in 2014

By Jeff Beck on May 5, 2014 at 1:00p

Trap games. They’re scary because…well they’re traps. They lie in wait; patient, observant, steeling themselves for the perfect time to strike. Usually that moment comes right before or after a huge game on the schedule. The trap game feeds on the look-ahead or the “whew we got through that” coast. Trap games are merciless, trap games are nasty, trap games are on the 2014 Buckeyes’ schedule.

Two tilts on the slate seem to fit the qualification. Unlike most years, both games occur after big matchups, at times when the Scarlet and Gray may feel they can congratulate themselves with a game where they don’t go full bore. If the Buckeyes fall down that rabbit hole, a third consecutive undefeated regular season could go up in smoke.

Trap Game No. 1: Cincinnati

The Buckeyes will face Cincinnati after tough tests against Navy’s option offense and the premiere OOC game against Virginia Tech. If the Scarlet and Gray make it through those two contests unscathed, there may be a notion the team can coast through Kent State and Cincinnati before kicking off the Big Ten season. That notion would be incredibly dangerous.

Cincinnati is a solid football team. In 2013 the Bearcats went 9-4, waxing Purdue and Rutgers then nearly beating Teddy Bridgewater’s Cardinals in overtime. In fact, the team was 9-2 before losing their last two games of the season against Louisville and North Carolina in the Belk Bowl.

The team certainly has some prime-time personnel and it starts with head coach, Tommy Tuberville. In just his first year, the former Ole Miss, Auburn and Texas Tech head man was able to continue the success of his predecessor Butch Jones. Tuberville is 139-81 as a head coach, won 5 SEC Western Division Titles, won an SEC championship, and completed an undefeated season at Auburn in 2004. He certainly has the chops to foster a winning tradition at Cincinnati, and a W against the Buckeyes in their own house would go a long way in doing exactly that.

This season, Tuberville will have former Notre Dame quarterback, Gunner Kiel at his disposal. Kiel sat out last year after transferring from the Fighting Irish and will be available to play this season. All signs point to Kiel grabbing the starting job, and if Cincinnati’s spring game is any indication, he may have won it. In the Bearcats’ scrimmage, Kiel went 17-22 for 300 yards and three touchdowns.

In addition the Bearcats will return their two leading rushers, Hosey Williams and Ralph David Abernathy IV. The duo combined for 1,173 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Cincinnati’s backfield is certainly shaping up, but it’s their defense that grabbed the headlines last season. The Bearcats finished the year in the top 10 in total defense giving up just 315.6 total yards per game. Yards were hard to come by, and points were just as tough. At season’s end Cincinnati surrendered 21 points a game, good enough for 14th in the nation.

Make no mistake, Tuberville will have Cincinnati ready to face the Buckeyes on September 27th. The question is: will Urban's boys be ready to take on the Bearcats?

Trap Game No. 2: Minnesota

After what will undoubtedly be B1G game of the year in East Lansing, the Buckeyes will travel to Minnesota to take on the Gophers. No matter what happens against the Spartans, there is a possibility the Buckeyes wont be ready to play this game. Beat Michigan State and they’re riding high, looking ahead to the B1G championship. Lose and you’ve probably got a team whose morale is in shambles.

Either way, the Buckeyes will have to lace ‘em up and fight the Gophers the following Saturday, and this isn’t your dad’s Minnesota.

Last season the Gophers went a surprising 8-5, reeling off a pair of four game win

M Leidner is Big
Mitch Leidner: Big Dude.

streaks before losing their last three games of the season. 2013 was certainly a step forward for a team that went 3-9 just two seasons ago.

Leading the 2014 Gophers will be sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner who looks to be a good fit in Minnesota’s read-option offense. The 6’4’’ 235 lbs Leidner doesn’t shy away from contact and rushed for 407 yards and 7 touchdowns last season on 102 carries.

Behind Leidner will be an impressive back in senior David Cobb. The Texas native led the team in rushing last season with 1,202 yards on 237 carries, becoming the first Gopher to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark since 2006. Cobb will get most of the carries, but redshirt freshman Berkley Edwards shined during the spring game. Edwards could help spell Leidner with junior Rodrick Williams.

On defense, the Gophers will return quite a few pieces from a defense that gave up just 22.2 points per game last season (good enough for 25th in the country). Defensive end, Theiren Cockran (led the team in sacks with 7.5) and linebacker, Damien Wilson (second on the team in tackles with 78) are expected to shine. 

Simply put, Jerry Kill's boys could do some damage if they put together a complete effort on November 15th. 

Trap games are the stuff of nightmares for teams looking to get their hands on the crystal football at season’s end. Good teams avoid them, mediocre teams swallow them hook, line and sinker. If the Buckeyes want to tally their third consecutive undefeated regular season, they can’t let up against Cincinnati and Minnesota. Both are in the process of setting their traps as we speak.


Comments Show All Comments

FROMTHE18's picture

UC will be a challenge for sure.

+5 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Based on what?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

-2 HS
UrbanCulture's picture

The reasons stated in the article

+2 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

They also got blown out by lIlinois.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Him1stftballl8er's picture

+1 this made me laugh. out. loud! Lol

The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools. 

route4buckeye's picture

Why does everyone think UC is a threat? They're not. At all. I'm predicting a pounding.

+3 HS
jpbuckeye's picture

I hope the team does have the same sense of (over) confidence. I think they do have the talent and coaching to win but sometimes a cocky attitude combined with facing a hungry team can override the adversity.

+1 HS
spqr2008's picture

UC always plays us hard, no matter what the talent differential is.  Look at the last time we played them in the Shoe.  Brent Celek went he man on our defense, and their defense was respectable.  We ended up with a good margin of victory, but a lot of points of that game were a lot closer than they should have been.


whobdis's picture

UC will be our first test for the 'new' defensive scheme..I am probably as eager for this game as any just to see how we handle a passing game. I expect some hiccups as the secondary will be adapting but this game will show us how much improvement we've really made. If our secondary can provide any semblence of press coverage..our dline should make it a miserable day for Kiel.


+2 HS
Buckeye06's picture

I disagree about Cincy being a trap game.

It's after a bye week, and it's a night game in the Shoe.  The guys will be ready to get after it again after 2 weeks of only hitting each other.  In addition, you can count on at least 1 player/coach from Cincy saying something about how "we believe we are the best team in Ohio"

More worried about Maryland honestly.  They have 2 legit speedsters on the outside, so our corners will need to be playing well. 

I agree on the Minny game...has me very concerned, but I don't think they can stay with OSU for 4 quarters

+16 HS
MacG91's picture

I think Urban will have them ready for UC. There is no way he will let them lose to his Alma Mater. The Minnesota game is the one to worry about. The MSU game will be very physical and Minnesota is also a very physical team. 


LouBuck35's picture

No Admiral Ackbar shopped on Tommy's head?  Missed opportunity.  I agree about Minnesota though - could definitely be a challenge.  I think everyone will be fired up and prepared for UC.

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

+3 HS
AndyVance's picture

No Photoshop Phriday phodder today, but I'm happy to provide a meme nonetheless:


+8 HS
CC's picture

I just can't imagine the Bucks not up for a night game.  The only way Cincy is even close is if the Bucks come out flat.  You know Cincy will have a chip on their shoulder, but assuming we aren't sleepwalking and Brax is playing it shouldn't be close.

Minn - yes it could be an issue after MSU.  I think we stomp them if we lose to MSU, I think we come out flat if we beat MSU and it's a game for 3 quarters.

The only games I see a real shot of losing are MSU and Michigan.  PSU will have about 8 scholarship players and just won't have the horses this year.

Oldschoolbuck's picture

If we lose to the Bearcats I may have to get a divorce! My wife's a UC alum - I would never hear the end of it!

OSUlewis's picture

Same here - planning on flying in from LA for this one though.

spacemonkey57's picture

Illinois beat UC by 28 points last year, Ohio State beat Illinois by 25.  Therefore due to Math Ohio State will beat UC by a minimum of 53 points.

+13 HS
Buckeye in Illini country's picture

If UC plays like they did against Illinois last year, we will absolutely destroy them.  They lost to Illinois; you can't be considered good if you've lost to Illinois within the last four+ years.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  "We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!"

+1 HS
rkylet83's picture

Trap or not, one thing for sure is Cincinnati will challenge our defensive backs all day.    

+1 HS
rock flag and eagle's picture

Tuberville is 139-81 as a head coach, won 5 SEC Western Division Titles, won an SEC championship, and completed an undefeated season at Auburn in 2004. He certainly has the chops to foster a winning tradition at Cincinnati,

Don't forget that Tuberville is also undefeated against Urban Meyer. 2-0.  In 2006, he handed Meyer his only loss of the season.  In 2007, he took the unranked Tigers on the road and beat Meyer's #4 Gators in the Swamp.  In both games, Auburn was lower ranked and an underdog. 

-1 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Historically speaking, Urban Meyer is supposed to go undefeated in year 2 of his tenure...but that didn't happen this year. Point is, I put almost zero significance in history based statistical facts such as the one you've pointed out as being predicators of future outcomes. UC is not Auburn. Your particular point (that Tuberville's 2-0 vs UFM) will be brought up ad nauseam prior to the UC game. He'll know what's on the line, should be fired up & will have the more talented (at least it would certainly appear) team - after a bye week, at home, at night. So I would hope OSU's perceived advantage due the aforementioned tangibles would outweigh any advantage, psychological or historical that may come with a 2-0 record. 

BTW, no disrespect intended - just countering your point.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

+1 HS
fear_the_nut70's picture

I refuse to see Cincinntucky as a trap game.  I expect us to beat them like a rental mule, given the talent disparity (I know this is the thing that some think make it a trap game--not buying it.  And please don't bring up the last narrow win, past games with completely different players and coaching regimes have nothing to do with this game).

+3 HS
alust2013's picture

Thank you. It drives me nuts when people cite all this historical nonsense that is literally completely irrelevant to a game just to have something to say. I don't see the Buckeyes losing by any means, but given a decent defense and an apparent upgrade at QB, I think it will be a competitive game, but will end up a 14-point or better win.

...and Michigan still sucks.

+1 HS
Buckeye in Illini country's picture

You know what really grinds my gears: when people, especially my fellow Ohioans, try to disparage the city of Cincinnati by saying it is a part of Kentucky (Cintucky or Cincinntucky).  We are Ohioans just like the rest of the state.

We are in OHIO!


Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  "We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!"

+5 HS
LouBuck35's picture

Then what is the reasoning behind the Reds honoring the UK basketball team's national title two years back?  Not saying I agree that Cincy is an annex of Kentucky - but that has always confused me.  It certainly doesn't help in the situation that grinds your gears.

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

Hovenaut's picture

Tuberville will have his team ready, and has his success against UFM, but I expect Gunnar Kiel to have a tough night (Noah Spence shakes off the last of the rust and plays angry).

I keep looking at that Minnesota game, in their house at what could be a big conference tilt. The Gophers could be in a great spot by then, provided they go up to Ann Arbor (Whore Island North) and find victory in late Sept.


cinserious's picture

To all those commenters saying the Bearcats will get blown out, I just hope the Buckeyes dont think like you and not be prepared. Then it truely would be a 'trap'. Michigan had all the talent in the world against app state, and they overlooked them. Gunner kiel was a top pro-style qb coming out of h.s. and committed to like LSU then Indiana and then ND. Urban is smart enough to not sleep on Tuberville and the Bearcats.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

+1 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Fans are suppose to be worried about a team that got blown out by Illinois? Really?

Unlike the App St game, the Bearcat game won't be the first game of the year.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

+1 HS
Hockey Buck's picture

Unless UC has a similar road trip like last year. See: Illinois.

CincyBuckeye31's picture

Obviously from my username I live in Cincinnati and I have been talking plenty of trash about that game.  People down here still do bring up the 2002 game and it drives me nuts (especially since UC lost).  Hopefully we don't run into any trap games and we make it to the playoffs unscathed.

+1 HS
Tom57's picture

I don't see Cincy as a trap either. It'll be a tough game, but it's hardly like we'll be surprised.

By the time we play them I expect them to look solid on both sides of the ball.

A trap game in my definition is one where the opponent is generally thought to be weak, but could surprise you, and is right before or after a tough game. Cincy is right before B1G play, but we open with Maryland and Rutgers who I expect will be regarded as weaker than the Bearcats.

Minnesota - after Sparty and Indiana - before TTUN fit the bill IMO.

Will in Arizona's picture

Virginia Tech is the game that scares me the most.  They are not a great team, but their defense is elite and we'll be breaking in players all over on offense.  I can definitely see that game being VT 13 - OSU 7, and VT finishing the year 7-5.

Knarcisi's picture

No one outside of the Seattle Seahawks holds us to 7 points. No one. 

+2 HS
ziplock007's picture
Dana Carvey as Ross Perot

I thought Tuperville looked familiar: Dana Carvey as Ross Perot



+2 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

We're going to kick both of their asses.  I hope we beat UC so bad that they stop claiming that we dodge them and actually start dodging us. 

Class of 2010.

otrain2416's picture

I know this may sound odd, but aside from UC I see our biggest trap game as TSUN. I feel like we could have a very good record coming into that game, while they may not. Obviously Urban hasn't had any problems with them yet but all the games have been extremely close and beating us may be all they have to play for. 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

+1 HS
OSUBias's picture

To everyone saying they don't see UC as a trap game: that's the definition of a trap game. One nobody expects to lose, one we win on paper 99% of the time, but when the boys take the field, inexplicable things happen. Purdue basically every year, last years TTUN team that never should have sniffed victory against us, Indiana 2 years ago, the list goes on and on. Teams rarely put their best foot forward every game in a season, trap games are games that set up for emotional let down (a very real worry given how tightly wound these boys are for a championship) or looking ahead to what appears to be a marquee game. 

So yes, we should beat both of these teams. But they could be tricky. Hence, most likely trap games.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

+3 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Yeah, but us fans being overly confident in the Buckeyes has nothing to so with it being a trap. Thing is, I agree with many here who see Minnesota as the truly dangerous trap game, where as I don't see UC as being a game OSU is not up for or completely pumped up about, & eager to play. I think they'll be viewed as a serious competitor, not to be taken lightly, with state pride on the line. A true trap game is one you should win but don't, due to overlooking or being exhausted from a close call the week prior. I happen to agree with those who think OSU will be totally focused & ready. So while I don't totally disagree with you, I'd say that a trap game comes from the team being overconfident/underprepared - not the fans. I believe this team comes out for this one raring to go, as does UC. I doubt it's a blowout, but have faith OSU handles business.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

+1 HS
OSUBias's picture

Agreed. I'm operating under the premise that the players have similar thought tendencies and tend to overlook the same games that fans do. So everyone saying "no way we won't be up for the UC game and destroy them" might be the same thoughts the players are having. And that is the type of thinking that happens in trap games.

trap games HAVE to be overlooked, by the fans/players/media, whomever. If they're not, they're just a regular game.

Shortcuts are supposed to be hard. If it is was easy, it would just be "the way."

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

HotSauceCommittee's picture

At this point, I am more worried about UC than VT. Trap game written all over it.

btalbert25's picture

I think people will discount the Bearcats simply because they are from Cincinnati.  At the same time, these same people will be worried about a game with Northwestern or Purdue.  UC is formidable.  Even when the Buckeyes have won by a pretty large margin the games weren't easy.  2006 and 2004 Buckeyes won pretty big, but those games weren't easy.  I think we all remember when unranked UC damn near beat the eventual national champion Buckeyes in 2002.  1999 the Bucks won by 2 TD's in a game that was a lot harder than it should have been too.  

Don't let your hate of all things Cincinnati or some silly bUCkeye state T-shirt cloud your judgement.  This is a nice out of conference game against a pretty good team with a good coach.  It could be close, or Buckeyes may just eventually win by a decent margin based on talent alone, but it won't be easy. 

+2 HS
cinserious's picture

This deserves 25 upvotes BTALBERT.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

btalbert25's picture

At the end of the day, this may end up being the "premier non conference game" on the schedule. 

Zimmy07's picture

I thought Minnesota was horrible last year - despite their record.  I think OSU should destroy them - The gophers can't throw the ball from what I saw in the games I watched.