Skull Session: Ohio State Dominates on Third Down, Why Wisconsin is a Noon Kickoff, and Urban Meyer Talks Running Up the Score in 2014

By Kevin Harrish on October 21, 2019 at 4:59 am
Garrett Wilson does some stuff in today's skull session.

Happy Monday! I hope you start your week as happy as this fellow, who may or may not have been my father.



Word of the Day: Busker.

 OWNING THIRD DOWN. Ohio State kicked the teeth out of another opponent this week, and as someone tasked with writing about each of these routs, let me tell you that it ain't easy to keep rolling out fresh angles about the latest lopsided win.

But even if Friday's game played out pretty much the exact same way as the six before it, we did learn something – Ohio State can be damn near perfect on third down, even if it's third-and-long.

From Dustin Schutte of Saturday Tradition:

The Buckeyes had no trouble converting on long 3rd down conversions against a relatively stingy Northwestern defense. It may not seem like much against a Wildcats team that now sits at 1-5 on the year, but it’s an aspect of the game that shouldn’t be ignored.

Part of Northwestern’s defensive strategy against Ohio State — actually a big part of it — was to force the Buckeyes into 3rd-and-long situations. Pat Fitzgerald wanted Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins and others to make big plays in crucial situation. The Bucks had the Northwestern head coach facepalming before the first half ended.

Ohio State converted on five of its first six 3rd down attempts on Friday night, almost all of which would be defined as “long” situations. Here’s the breakdown of those six 3rd downs:

  • Converted: 3rd-and-7 at OSU 33 (10 yards)
  • Converted: 3rd-and-7 at OSU 46 (7 yards)
  • Failed: 3rd-and-8 at OSU 14 (0 yards)
  • Converted: 3rd-and-2 at OSU 33 (2 yards)
  • Converted: 3rd-and-15 at OSU 30 (20 yards)
  • Converted: 3rd-and-8 at NW 48  (14 yards)

That's about as demoralizing as it gets. I mean, what do you do about this?

We've been talking a lot about how this team has yet to face real adversity and we keep waiting for it to happen, but every week I just get a little more convinced that the reason it hasn't played a close game yet is because it's just too damn good for that.

When they're just routinely picking up 3rd-and-7s and leading the nation in scoring defense while giving up just eight points a game, no, they won't play many (any?) close games.

 NOON? If you're one of the many rightly wondering why the hell one of the biggest (non-The Game) games of the Big Ten season is being played at noon on Saturday, I have a very simple answer for you, and it's the same reason why Ohio State's public execution of Northwestern was on Friday night.


See, Fox makes money when people watch the network. And they think that if show their best game at noon – with CBS playing its best at 3:30 and ESPN at 8:00 – then the most people will watch their network.

So far, it's working.

I was upset about the early kickoff time initially, but I've since realized I truly do not give a damn when Ohio State plays football, so long as they're curb-stomping the teeth out of whichever unlucky opponent is on the docket.

Plus, noon is truly a perfect slot to battle a consistently above average Big Ten team, which is what Wisconsin is, was and always will be. Thank you to Illinois for the reminder.

 RUN IT UP. In the spirit of Wisconsin week, Urban Meyer got real candid about something everyone knew, but you never really expected to hear him talk about – he ran up the damn score against the ground creatures in 2014.

Meyer said he didn't agree with it and that he thought it was wrong, and that's very class and noble of him. However, watching the Buckeyes recreate the Doolittle Raid on the nation's top defense with a third string quarterback was probably a top-10 night of my life and I have absolutely no remorse that Meyer kept dropping bombs.

 REAL RECOGNIZE REAL. Chicago Bear David Montgomery got a peak at a future colleague on Friday night, and he uh, liked what he saw.

What makes you think J.K. Dobbins can play in the NFL?

*Gashes one of the nation's top defenses for a 68 yard run*

FYI, Dobbins is 53 yards away from his third-straight 1,000-yard rushing season, which I would say is pretty solid for his eighth game of the season.

 ANOTHER ONE. Hey, Michigan lost to a top-10 team again.

I think the biggest indictment on modern Michigan football is that I don’t even really react when Michigan loses big games anymore. It's just what's supposed to happen at this point.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. Bed bugs once ate bat blood—so why do they bite us now?... The badass WWII squadron of female pilots known as the "night witches"... A student hacked into a school district computer system to gain competitive advantage in a water gun fight... Scientists discover a new phenomenon called "stormquakes"... Hey, there aren't actually 38 people currently looking at the flight you're trying to book...

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