Hi kids. First off, apologies for being fairly scarce here and on SB Nation proper this past week. Sometimes, life has a way of reminding you that time management skills, for all their value, can't account for times when you need 28 or 29 hours in a day, or 9 days in a week.
But enough of that. Let's talk football. I'll readily admit I was really nervous heading into Happy Valley. OSU was about as shaky an 8-0 as a team could be, for one. Secondly, Penn State has been playing a better all around game than anyone else in the conference for the last month or so. Finally, how would Braxton Miller perform after getting his bell rung pretty good against Purdue?
Yeah, so much for all of that. OSU shook off early offensive and special teams ineptitude and came back to dominate Penn State during one of their famous 'White Outs', and walked out of Pennsylvania with Penn State Trampled Under Foot:
Factory air-conditioned, heat begins to rise
Guaranteed to run for hours, mama, it's a perfect size
Talkin' 'bout love
Talkin' 'bout love
Groovin' on the freeway, gauge is on the red
gun down on my gasoline, believe I'm gonna crack your head
Your Penn State Ass Whippin' SMR follows.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Ryan Damn Shazier, LB: Wearing the #48 in honor of a friend of his that passed away, Shazier had one of the best games of his career. He had a two sacks, seven tackles, and an interception returned for a touchdown that really changed the complexion of the game. Phenomenal effort from Shazier all night long.
Jake Stoneburner, WR: I have been griping for about 8 games now that somebody in the WR corps needed to step up and make a play. Finally, Stoney did. Penn State had narrowed it to 28-16 on a relentless 18 play drive, and there was plenty of time left for the Blue and White to make a run. That PSU TD had the crowd energized, and a 3 and out could've really gotten Happy Valley rocking. OSU converted an initial third down, and then on the subsequent 3rd and 4, BOOM, 72 yard TD catch and run. Ball game.
Braxton Miller, QB: His athleticism cannot be denied. His running ability is just this side of ridiculous. We'll talk about the other half of his game in a minute, but man, I could watch this kid run all day long. His 1 yard TD run that was more like a 5 yard TD run that had 34 or 35 missed Penn State tackles was a thing of beauty that I would argue maybe 5 or 6 guys in the country could pull off.
The Makeshift Linebacking Corps: Between Zach Boren, Nathan Williams, and freshman Noah Spence, the duck tape and bailing wire that the coaching staff has had to use as triage for the OSU linebackers worked pretty well tonight. As a matter of fact, this was the best defensive effort by the Buckeyes since the last three quarters of the Miami game. They did a great job neutralizing Penn State's tight ends until the game was pretty much decided.
Special Teams: Urban Meyer is, without question, one of the best college football coaches in America. He is beginning to make me think he is also, without question, one of the worst special teams coaches in America. I mean really, I can maybe...maybe...see one blocked punt a year, but this is becoming a weekly occurrence. For a punt formation, what's so terrible about putting 7 guys foot to foot on the line, one guy deep, and two gunners on the edge? That's right, NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT AT ALL. It's worked for 50+ years. Quit being cute with this sliding punter bullshit, and your linemen splits that you can drive a truck though. Fucking terrible.
Buy: Braxton Miller as a runner: He is a legitimate Heisman trophy candidate as a runner. He's fast, shifty in space, and has a gear that few people can match in the open field. He also has a nose for the end zone that is flat out impressive, as we saw against PSU. His 135 yards rushing and 2 TD's against one of the better run defenses in the conference speak for itself.
Sell: Braxton Miller as a passer: Sorry, it's time to call this as it is--he's awful as a drop back passer. He had two passes early in the first quarter that could've easily been returned for touchdowns, and after dodging those bullets, he overthrew a WIDE open Philly Brown for what would've been an easy TD pass. If his 135 yards rushing speak for themselves, so does his 7/19 passing.
Buy: OSU as a legitimate BCS player if...you know. This is still not a complete team, and I kind of giggle when I write that. Because imagine what Ohio State will be like when they are. Still, this is a team that, if the defense comes around like they did tonight, could go to the Rose Bowl, or any BCS bowl save the national championship game and win.
Sell: Gene Smith's continued employment as AD: Unfortunately, we won't get to find out how they would do in either a conference championship game or BCS bowl this year thanks, in large part, to Gene Smith's myopic view on what the NCAA would do to OSU in the aftermath of the Tattoo scandal. Oh well, AP NASHUNUL CHAMPIONSHIP Y'ALL!!
I have to be honest--coming in to this season I thought that OSU would be about 8-1, headed to a 10-2 record, and coming in to this game, I honestly thought that with as well as Penn State had been playing combined with OSU's shaky defense and a Happy Valley 'White Out', this was a bad combination for the Buckeyes. Yet, after a terrible first quarter and a blocked punt for a touchdown going against them, Ohio State pretty much dominated Penn State.
And the scary thing is, we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of how good this team can be.