Five Things: Michigan State

By Jason Priestas on October 21, 2007 at 10:00 pm
Tressel and WellsWells is learning to play with pain

Bea-nie!! Bea-nie!! Bea-nie!!
Bum ankle or not, Beanie Wells is a mother. The press reports may have minimized his impact in the victory over Michigan State, but whenever the team needed a play, Wells came to the rescue. He had a big run on each of the two crucial opening drives and his reverse field jaunt for 27 was Barry-esque. Then when the team needed to kill clock at the end, he was there again.

His patience as a back is something that cannot be taught. Yesterday was one of those games where Wells made his two very-capable backups look like walk-ons.

As good as the team has looked this season, they've done it all with arguably their best player at only 80% for the last month or so. If he gets into a groove during this stretch run, it will make Boeckman's life that much better.

The Best Defense in America
Do you think Ringer is wishing he were a Buckeye now more than ever? The way Animal, Freeman and the rest of the defense hounded him was beyond impressive. Here's Ringer's rushing total the last five weeks: 144, 145, 185, 203 and 49. Can you pick out the OSU game? He got a gift from the zebras or he would have had a fumble to his credit as well.

Laurinaitis continued his stellar play, but the unsung hero amongst unsung heroes on this unit could very well be Marcus Freeman. It's almost as if the two linebackers are having a contest to see who can lay the most wood each weekend. Freeman finished 3rd on the team in tackles and also had the key block to seal Ray Small's 21 yard punt return.

I realize it's nigh blasphemous, but is this unit better than the 2002 edition? 2005 was pretty sick as well, but this team, despite being so young, may be a more talented group than those other two defenses from what we've seen so far. Still a lot of football to play, no doubt, but...

The O-Line Has It Going
I'm not ready to indict the line for the two Spartan defensive scores in the 3rd quarter. It's not like Michigan State trotted out a bunch of cripples - they have some players. Sparty's defensive front was good coming in and the Buckeyes did a good job of neutralizing that for most of the game. Those two plays and the Wells fumble were just football plays. Sometimes your opponent is going to make plays, especially when they're a decent team like the Spartans are. That's just football.

Saint-Dic will be playing in the NFL next season and I'm just happy that this is the last time the Bucks will have to take him on. He broke the Big Ten record for forced fumbles when his 8th of the season came on the Boeckman hit. He stands just two short of the national record with four games to play.

Simply put, the offensive line has played exceptionally well for the past two months. There have been the occasional sack allowed, but what I see is a quarterback given a lot of time to pass and nice holes for the running game. I continue to have doubts about their ability to fire off on a 3rd or 4th and short situation, but you have to be happy with the body of work through eight.

A More Emotional Vest
Tressel is showing more emotion on the sidelines this season. There was the jig at Washington and several times over the past couple of weeks where he's been a little more animated than normal on the field, including a couple of instances against the Spartans.

Could this be something he took away from the BCS debacle? Have a little more fun with things, show some more emotion? Part of the healing process even?

One of the things I love about the Vest is that he never rarely says or does anything stupid. Those that have ever read FARK, realize that most people on earth are bad at this. I'm sure if the Senator lets loose a little bit more here and there, he'll do so in a dignified manner.

The 11W neckwear collectionThe 11W neckwear collection

Telecast Notes
The candid moment where Matta and Tressel were discussing the advantage of not having to worry about your tie length when wearing a tie was priceless.

As a victim of the "skinny side be longer than the fat side" myself one too many times, I can appreciate this benefit to wearing a sweater vest. The only downside is that I'm a good 20 years away from being old enough not to look stupid wearing one.

The promo for the ACC/Big Ten challenge got me salivating about something similar for football. The Big Ten and PAC10 would never do one because they'd fear jeopardizing the luster of the Rose Bowl, but the Big 12 would be a great candidate. Throw one of the cupcakes off the schedule of each team and then you can get: Michigan/Missouri, Ohio State/Oklahoma, Wisconsin/Texas and Penn State/Kansas.