Oklahoma Debriefing: Buckeye Offense Can't Get Going & Baker Mayfield Carves Up Ohio State's Secondary

By Kevin Harrish on September 10, 2017 at 8:35 am
Oklahoma beat Ohio State in the Horseshoe.

Turns out, Austin Kendall may have been on to something; he was just a year early.

Baker Mayfield came out Saturday night and lit up Ohio State for 386 yards and three touchdowns while the Buckeye offense came out flat, only mustering one touchdown and settling for three red zone field goals.

It was a decisive victory for the Sooners, but it honestly could have been worse if it wasn't for two fumbles, a turnover on downs and a missed field goal in the first half. The Buckeyes were in the game for far longer than they should have been, but were unable to take advantage of the gifts.

Ohio State took the loss, and Baker Mayfield planted an OU flag in the middle of Ohio Stadium.

Let's debrief.

The Short Story

The game was artificially close throughout the first half thanks to turnovers and missed opportunities from Oklahoma despite the Sooners drastically outgaining the Buckeyes. Ohio State seemed to have success early in the second half, but it was short lived. Oklahoma retook control and dominated the fourth quarter, rolling to a 31-16 win in the Horseshoe.

What Went Wrong?

Oh boy, we don't have that kind of time, but we'll take a shot.

Offensively, the Buckeyes looked stale. There was no rhythm, no tempo and no chunk plays. In addition, Ohio State failed to score a touchdown in the red zone three different times, settling for field goals on each occasion.

Defensively, Ohio State played about as well as was reasonable. Despite a drastic difference in time of possession, the Silver Bullets kept the Buckeyes in the game for quite a while, holding the Sooner offense to just three first-half points and 17 points in the first three quarters. Still, it wasn't exactly what they wanted. Baker Mayfield threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns while only getting sacked twice.

Simply put, Ohio State got beat. The Buckeyes got out-coached and out-executed.

Silver linings

  • It's very, very early. Ohio State lost one game to a very good team and has plenty of resume-booster games on the horizon. It's far too early to write off the Buckeyes' playoff chances.
  • Ohio State is still undefeated in the Big Ten
  • The defensive line still looked very good despite only finishing the game with two sacks.
  • The Buckeyes won't face a better offensive line all season.
  • Ohio State has five relatively easy games to sort out its offense
  • J.K. Dobbins is an impact player as a true freshman.
  • If both teams win out, the Buckeyes could have a chance for revenge when it matters most.

Who Earned a Buckeye Leaf?

Offense: Drue Chrisman

Admittedly, there really aren't a lot of choices here, but Drue Chrisman was about as good as you could ask on Saturday night.

In his second game as Ohio State's punter, Chrisman boomed four punts, averaging 45.8 yards per attempt with a long of 52 yards, and he downed all four of them inside the 20 yard line.

There's really no world where you want your punter to be the offensive player of the game, but that's where we're at.

Defense: Sam Hubbard

It's hard to single out one member of the defensive line as an MVP, but we'll give it to Sam Hubbard this week because he seemed to be giving Baker Mayfield the most trouble.

Hubbard finished with one sack, two tackles for a loss, one quarterback hurry and six total tackles. He was instrumental in making things difficult for Mayfield as he spent much of the game on the heels of the elusive Heisman hopeful.

Hubbard had one play in particular where he was the unblocked man on a zone-read and he somehow managed to take away both the handoff and the quarterback keeper. The guy is a freak athlete.

Plays of the Game


There weren't very many great offensive plays in this one. Ohio State managed just 16 points on 350 yards, scoring just one touchdown

Thankfully, Austin Mack provided the Buckeyes with at least one memorable moment on the offensive end of the ball, pulling down a fantastic, sideline catch.

Mack left the game with a head injury immediately following the catch after he hit his head on the turf, making it all the more impressive that he held onto the ball.


It's kind of shocking to think about now, but Ohio State actually held a 13-10 lead midway through the third quarter with Oklahoma backed up deep in its own territory.

Then, Nick Bosa did some Bosa things.

The younger Bosa did his best impression of his older brother, but instead of throwing a Penn State running back into Christian Hackenberg, he threw an Oklahoma center into Baker Mayfield, then chased him down to finish the job.

At the time, it seemed like a huge play. The Sooners had to take the next snap from their own end zone, but they escaped, then punted back to the Buckeyes. Ohio State had a chance to add to their lead and force Oklahoma to play from a two-score deficit, but they couldn't get anything going offensively.

Biggest Surprise

Oklahoma finished with one more sack than Ohio State. The Buckeyes entered the game with what many considered the best defensive line in the country against a pass-heavy offense and were only finished with two sacks.

Of course, the unit was going against probably the nation's top offensive line and one of the most elusive quarterbacks in the country, but I expected more pressure out of the unit than they provided.

Jim Tressel's Least Favorite Moment

Jim Tressel sat down beside his wife, Ellen, Saturday evening after a long day of birdhouse making. Each fall, the pair build a few new birdhouses to put outside for the coming autumn and winter.

This year, Jim made a beautiful three-hole, mahogany birdhouse while his wife completely outdid him with a oak house complete with decorative wood burning on the sides.

They were more than pleased with their creations and decided to reward herself while a nap while Jim elected to spend the evening relaxing in front of the old tube TV, watching his beloved Buckeyes.

The game began even better than Tressel expected – tied 3-3 at the half with the Buckeyes utilizing their new weapon at punter quite extensively. Ohio State got off to a quick start in the second half too, but then things took a turn for the worst.

Oklahoma took control of the game and cruised to a 31-16 victory, at which point Ellen woke up from her nap and asked her loving husband how the game turned out.

"Ellen, I just don't believe it. Ohio State hit all three of its field goal attempts and downed all four of its punts inside the 20-yard line and still lost," Tressel said. "I do not know what more they could have done."

Biggest Blunder

There were plenty of blunders in this game, but we're going to call out the play selection at a key point in the game.

With the game tied 10-10 midway through the third quarter, after Oklahoma had just answered a Buckeye touchdown with a quick touchdown of their own, Ohio State was driving. J.K. Dobbins rattled off three-straight runs of over eight yards, then Austin Mack made a great catch for a 31-yard gain to the Sooner seven yard line.

Cue the blunder.

The Buckeyes called two predictable J.T. Barrett runs followed by a low-percentage pass and settled for a field goal. That was one of three times Ohio State settled for a field goal inside the red zone, but was probably the most important.

Underrated Things

Dobbins Does a Dude Dirty

Some poor Oklahoma linebacker thought he was going to tackle J.K. Dobbins in space, then Dobbins put his foot in the ground and shook him like a bad Etch A Sketch drawing.

Braxton Miller had his spin move and hesitation step, but Dobbins has one of the best juke moves I've ever seen. That defender is still looking for his jock strap.


Midway through the third quarter, the Ohio State offense was moving down the field with rhythm and tempo – really the only time that happened all night.

Oklahoma was not having it, and a lineman faked a cramp to slow the Buckeyes down, and gave a little smile and wink as he came off the field.

Let's be clear, every team does this to slow down an opposing offense. Hell, Ohio State did it last week. But the wink put this one over the top.

It was Over When

Baker Mayfield led a four-play, 92-yard drive to take a 17-13 lead after Ohio State squandered a chance to take a two-score lead. Oklahoma took all the momentum and dominated the Buckeyes the rest of the game.

Biggest Question Going forward

What is Ohio State going to do to fix the offense? Luckily, the Buckeyes have about five games before they face another real challenge in Penn State, which gives them plenty of time to improve. But improvements must be made.

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