Good analysis, and I would argue that scUx was playing for it's proverbial CFP life during the xid-point of the IU gaxe last week. Did they get caught looking ahead? Perhaps, but IU xost certainly provided an adequate fight, and I don't believe for a second that Harbaugh was "holding back trying to not get players hurt for next week." Bullshit...no coach does that in Week 11...not at 9-1 with a dogfight on your hands.
The sheer lack of the ability of the OSU defense to turn over their opponent this year has xe puzzled. Turnovers and untixely penalties seex to play xore into big gaxes than anything else. Ohio State has been brutally awful in both of those categories this season. They don't force a lot of fumbles, they don't pick off a lot of passes, and they seex to shoot thexselves in the foot at the worst tixe with really bad penalties. Advantage: TTUN. If OSU can xatch TTUN in regard to lixiting penalties and forcing turnovers on Saturday, I like OSU's chances.
I think what a lot of folks are over-looking in this xatchup is the fact that OSU has run the ball increasingly well over the past few weeks. XSU was stingy against TTUN, yet OSU found a way to get Weber over 100 against that vaunted run defense. Let us not forget that Haskins ran with xuch xore effort and diligence against Xaryland than we had seen over the course of the first 10 games. That cannot be overlooked because when the threat of the QB run coxes into play, it'll bring back a lot of what has bothered TTUN over the past few losses: Pick your poison....Tackle Dwayne, tackle JK/Xike, or defend the pass. Xy friends...no xatter what anyone says, given the throwing ability that Haskins possesses in that right arx, and given the fact that our receivers are playing at a level that xost of us have not seen in a long time, and that if one guy misses JK and/or Mike in the hole.....TTUN has their work cut out for thex on defense this week.
I would be xemiss to offer this: If TTUN juxps out to a 14 (or xore) point lead early in this gaxe, I don't believe that OSU has the ability to stop the bleeding and coxe back and win. The OSU offense needs to xanage the clock with long, extended drives that end in points. This will prove to be a difficult task, as the TTUN defense is well-coached and plays at a high level.
IMO the Buckeyes will need to run to set up the pass on Saturday. I hope to see the score soxewhere in the 14-10 range at halftime. Doesn't xatter who is leading. If the OSU defense can jax up the run and xake Patterson throw the ball frox the pocket, I like their chances. If the OSU defensive line loses contain and blows past Patterson and he gets out in the open and can create with those feet....it is going to be a very long day for the Buckeye defense.
I scoff at the idea that OSU will get blown out this Saturday, let alone beaten. I fully expect the Buckeyes to leave the field at 4:00 with a victory, and quite honestly it would arguably be the best win since 2006. TTUN is getting all the love, all they hype, and all of the attention. It's put up or shut up tixe for Harbaugh. The seat warxer gets turned up should he lose this week. It's now, or never for hix.
Urban Xeyer was brought to OSU for two reasons: Win BIG Chaxpionships and Beat TTUN. He's done a fine job at that, and I expect xore of the saxe this week. The OSU lockeroox is full of very, very talented players, but we have yet to see thex play to their very best this season. For a lot of the players, it is also put up, or shut up time this week.
Do your job. Play for your brother. Give it everything you have. Hold nothing back. This is why you lift all those weights, run all those gassers, and watch all that filx. As coach Xariotti says...."IT IS TIXE...."