Feeling Better. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
So after a 49-0 payback soul cleansing against the Boilers we are now left to face the rest of the season. It was a nice win – TP got his redemption for his meltdown at the hands of Purdue last year, our defense dealt a shutout after being manhandled even with backups filling in at some spots – hell, the running game even looked better. It felt good to watch the team play better and rack up some points. There is just one thing – it was Purdue.
Now I am not saying that beating Purdue is not a good thing, it is. But we are Ohio State and we are supposed to beat Purdue in football. That is the main reason why it stung so bad last year….we lost to a team that we shouldn’t have. So dealing them a beat down a year later (and in the Shoe) is not something to scoff at because every opponent needs to be taken seriously or they can sneak up on you but at the same time is it no reason to carry around a banner of dominance like everything is fine. It was good to bounce back and give everyone that warm fuzzy game winning feeling again, but does not erase what happened in Madison. Nor does it immediately put us back in contention for a NC or even a Big Ten title. So let’s keep things realistic.
The shutout was something our defense (and fan base) needed for sure. From a confidence standpoint it meant a lot to come out and dominate, even with all the injuries they persevered and delivered. Well done. Homan is still out this week for Minnesota most likely but Sweat filled in well. Hines didn’t miss a beat at Star and Gant was solid stepping into his role at safety. Johnson showed signs of life with a pick against the Boilers but remains visibly inexperienced. The injuries continue in this unit with Corey (Pitty) Brown going down with a serious leg injury that not only will knock him out this season but also keep him out of spring ball as well. Damn someone make it stop.
Did enjoy that first drive against the Boilers a lot for sure. Right down the field, power runs, Boom stretches in for the score. Very nice. The rest of the day the ground game kept on going – mostly through Boom who ended up the day going for 74 yards and two TDs in what looked to me to be a firm statement on being the #1 back from here on out. Hall and Berry are a must to work in but Boom has been running with purpose lately. The line played well save a couple whiffs by Shugarts on Kerrigan. The #94 from Purdue is a great talent but at the same time Shugarts should be able to get a hand on him. Word is that his ankle injury is hampering his performance in which case I hope he sits out against Minnesota. Norwell has played well enough in his place, and he and Mehwort being healthy makes them even better options. I find it interesting that after our loss to Purdue last year the running game really got in gear and carried us the rest of the season – now the week after we lose to the Badgers we run the ball well. Let’s keep it up boys.
Aside from two really poor throws after the game was in hand Pryor played a great game. It is weird how he can become disinterested at times and stare down a receiver. However, there was a different play where I noticed how much he has grown. He was flushed out the pocket and on the run, and before he got sacked for a loss he threw the ball away. It was the right play. Instead of trying to do something amazing he lived to fight another day without the loss in yardage. Now the next step for him is to know that is the right play when you are up by five TDs, down by five TDs or in a tight game on the road. The funny story from Tressel’s press conference is that Bauserman actually has a higher QB rating than TP in the conference from a numbers only standpoint. And that is honestly pretty funny.
Rumors have swirled all week about Sabino burning his redshirt this week and getting some playing time. I can only guess that this is for special teams. Hopefully this is not something like Homan’s injury being more serious than we think. Regardless is kind of sucks that we have missed out on eight games of his services. However – he will most likely bring some stability to coverage units with hits like this. Sure could have used him against Wisconsin.
This week we face another confidence booster that cannot be overlooked in the Brewster-less Gophers. It is another night game – which I am quickly becoming less than a fan. The good news for Buckeyes is that the Gophers team was rudderless before, and now they are without their head coach. As long as we come in and play as angry as we did against Purdue. All will be good.