Plain and simple – he was truly born to be the Buckeye coach.
It is so interesting how quickly the tone of the Buckeye faithful can turn around. After Illinois it was the talk of the Buckacolpyse but now after TP’s record setting Saturday and Tressel getting hitting the century mark in career wins as Buckeye head coach all at the expense of Indiana in a 38-10 stomping – once again hope has sprung eternal. It also helps that after Alabama fell to Spurrier’s Gamecocks that as of Sunday the Buckeyes sat at #1 in the AP poll. But regardless – the fever that had cooled off is raging once again among the Buckeye Nation.
Before I get into the game – I first want to give some love to Tressel. I cannot say that I have never been frustrated with some of the play calling in a select few games, but this guy straight up gets it done. 100 career Buckeye wins, National Championship, a fistful of Big Ten Titles, Heisman winner and a program that is the class of the country. Sure – there have been some games that have hurt but no one would I rather have running the show than JT. He has created a culture of winning around that program and his ten year run will be tough to match, as fans we should really think about how amazing these past years have been next time we go through a 24-13 win and freak out.
The game was not what I anticipated but awesome all the same. What was at one time thought to be a decent Indiana passing attack seemed to wilt under the heat brought up front with Williams being a terror all day long. Doss and the other receivers never really got going and our secondary rarely appeared out of position. Chappell was harassed most of the day and ended up with around 100 yards passing – about 30% of what he had averaged on the season. It wasn’t until late in the game with the Buckeye backups in that they made it in the end zone, and even then it was after a couple suspect penalties against the Silver Bullets.
Offensively any thoughts about TP’s effectiveness after he went down at Illinois were put to rest when he dropped 334 yards through the air and 3 TDs on the Hoosiers. Even though the word is that he is 100% and the pop he heard in Champaign was his knee brace I am not sure he is as explosive as he normally is from a mobility standpoint. Sure – he didn’t need to run much with mostly drop back pocket passes being called and no designed run or spread option plays – but the couple of times he did scramble it didn’t seem 100%. I fully think that if he had to run he could, which is great news for this week when we head to Madison. But either way – any debate about Pryor’s passing ability should be put to rest now – weather permitting he can sling the ball with the best of them and he is proving that by continuing to rewrite Ohio State record books.
At receiving Posey shook off the Illinois funk and Sanzenbacher continues to be good for a solid-awesome performance each week. But the big story was that all of Saine’s touches came to him through the air. It has long been discussed on several blogs and forum sites that Saine should be working more out of the slot given his penchant for dancing too much on running plays and the fact that he has great hands. On Saturday it was as if the coaches finally said okay and lined him up in the slot several times. The results were 4 catches for 84 yards – one being a 60 yard bomb TD catch which he showed great concentration hauling the ball in. Good stuff.
The one down aspect was the continued sputtering of the ground game. A look at the stat line and it seems to be a decent showing with Boom 12 carries for 68 yards but if you take away the 39 yard TD scamper in the first quarter you are left with 11 carries for 29 yards. An under 3 yard average per carry is not good. Spielman was announcing the game and pulled no punches on the line once again – calling them out on all the penetration that Indiana was getting. But the backs have to shoulder some of the blame on this as well – sometimes they do not hit the hole and seem to easily brought down. Hall only ended up with three touches which was strange considering that he seemed to be the #2 back during the game. Then again when you are shredding the opponent through the air you don’t really need to run, but that may not be the case when we head to Camp Randall this weekend. I have a feeling we will need to grind out some yards in Madison.
Ah yes – back at #1 in the AP again. Feels good and feels weird at the same time. The target on our backs just got a little bigger. I do find it interesting that although we are first in the AP, the first BCS projections came out with the Buckeyes at #5 due to the flux capacitor computer formula calculating strength of schedule. I actually really like this – it will help give the team a little more motivation with the whole “no respect” angle. After all – the AP ranking doesn’t really mean squat when it comes to the BCS National Championship.
– Carlos Hyde got some carries with the backups and looked really strong….right up until a fumble in the red zone. See you next year.
– Jamaal Berry continues to impress in games with inspired running on offense and special teams. Would like to see more of him with first team.
– In a bizzaro role reversal Bauserman actually played better than Guiton in the fourth quarter. Guitton forced a pass which ended up a pick.
– Spielman announcing was priceless. Griese was kept off balance of his anti-Buckeye trip with zingers from Spielmen like “robots are taking over the world” response to 3D, and “I learned this out of the crib” response to football knowledge.