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Was "Struggling" Against Rutgers a Good Thing?

+15 HS
MiamiBuckeye's picture
November 18, 2019 at 4:49pm

Now before anyone objects to the word "struggle" in this context, I want to point out that it's in quotes for a reason. By any objective measure, Ohio State dominated Rutgers, and if we had kept the first stringers in the whole game, we would have easily covered the spread. 

That said, Rutgers slowed down our 1st team rushing attack more than any of us would have expected, and they made our 2nd and 3rd string teams look highly suspect at times. This wouldn't have been an issue, except Rutgers has been so amazingly bad this season that even in garbage time we should have been able to sweep them aside with the dregs of our roster. The lowest-rated kids on our roster are at least on par with Rutgers' best, after all. 

So what happened? Was it a lack of focus? Was it Rutgers finally showing some spark against the big bad Goliath? 

Whatever it was, for the first time since the first quarter of the Wisconsin game, our Buckeyes struggled. Our O-line was putrid in rushing attempts for stretches of the second half, our d-line got very little penetration on key passing downs, the backups were giving up flags like it was 2017 again, and our backup quarterbacks looked...well, like they'd transferred from their respective schools for good reason. 

This was, easily, the least dominant performance against Rutgers I can remember. 

And yet I think this is a good thing. It's good because we needed to see some cracks in the armor if Day and the other coaches were going to know what needed shoring up before the Penn State game. Better to have our weaknesses (such that they are) exposed in a no-risk situation than in a big game with our playoff and conference title hopes on the line. 

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