Ohio State football: Charting the offense, Penn State

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the weekly look at the snaps played by Buckeye skill position players, while analyzing the way they were utilized.

The offense flat out dominated and put up 63 points versus a pretty good Penn State squad. Unlike last week versus Iowa, they started out fast, leading 42-7 at halftime and running 43 plays. As expected with the score out of reach, the snap counts looked more like they did versus Florida A&M than they did in the first few games of conference play.

Here is this week's player participation report:

Quarterbacks Number of plays
Braxton Miller 57
Kenny Guiton 14
Cardale Jones 7

  • With the pressure of winning the Heisman off of him, as was alluded to during the week, this is the Braxton Miller that Buckeye fans were looking forward to seeing all off season. His statline: 18/24 passing for 252 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His knee seems to be doing better as well, as he rushed the ball 11 times for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
  • The past two weeks Miller is 40/51, a 78.4% completion percentage. He is in full control of the offense and looks very comfortable in the pocket, it is amazing to see his progression in the pocket from last season.
  • As was noted on the broadcast, Miller is making time with his feet in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield looking for the open receiver. The last two years Miller would have tucked the ball and ran on a few plays but he is playing with a swagger and confidence with the ball in his hands that we have never seen before from him.
  • The first drive of the second quarter was excellent. The offense picked up the tempo and ran the ball right down the Nittany Lions' throats, snapping the ball very quickly and tiring the defense out. They don't need to run 100+ plays per game like Oregon or BYU, if they pick a few times (OSU defense forces a three and out or after a quick turnover) a game to pick up the tempo, it will do wonders for the offense.
  • Coach Meyer has talked about using both quarterbacks on the field at the same time and it was unveiled in the third quarter. Miller was split out to the left as a wide receiver while Guiton was in at quarterback in an empty set. Guiton took the shotgun snap and reached the endzone from two yards out. Will this formation be seen at another point this season?

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Running Backs Number of plays
Carlos Hyde 44
Dontre Wilson 17
Jordan Hall 14
Rod Smith 9
Ezekiel Elliott 5

  • Carlos Hyde was his usual self, rushing for 147 yards on 16 carries, a 9.2 yard average.
  • He gained positive yardage every time he touched the ball, so give credit to Hyde and to the offensive line, which has opened up huge holes for him. Not only does he run over defenders, but he showed his wheels off on this long touchdown run.

  • The offense ran out of the Pistol Formation only five times, the lowest total of the season.
  • Dontre Wilson played his most snaps of the season, he only touched the ball three times on offense but he was much more involved in the game plan this week than ever before.
  • Wilson lined up in the slot nine times, out wide once and at running back seven times. The formation which was showcased last week with Hyde and Wilson flanking Miller works well and it gives the opposing defense a triple threat of speed, power and explosion to defend against.
  • Jordan Hall looked healthy again and will be a valuable back up to Hyde as the season wears on. Wilson seems to be taking on the role that Hall was supposed to be in before the Hyde suspension but he is a perfect back-up with a different running style for Hyde.
  • The post- Hyde era will be just fine with Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott, both are studs.
Wide Receivers Number of plays
Devin Smith 55
Corey Brown 48
Chris Fields 34
Evan Spencer 32
Kato Mitchell 18
Brandon Ojikutu 16
Frank Epitropoulos 14
Peter Gwilym 5

  • These receivers may be the best blocking receivers in all of college football. Each and every game they spring eachother on screens or spring the ball carrier for huge gains.
  • When Evan Spencer went out of the game, Chris Fields came in and played extremely well. All season, Fields has been excellent in the red zone and has blocked great on the perimeter, this continued versus Penn State.
  • With the rest of the starting receivers in, Fields played in the slot nine out of 17 snaps.
  • Brown played his first 28 snaps in the slot, when Spencer went out of the game he played eight out of his final 18 snaps on the outside.
  • The walk on's got to play an entire fourth quarter of a rivalry game, under the lights, at the 'Shoe... Great moment for them.
Tight Ends Number of plays
Jeff Heuerman 45
Nick Vannett 21
JT Moore 2

  • The offense came out attacking the perimeter with Heuerman lined up in the flex position 16 out of his first 38 snaps and in the slot 10 of his first 38 snaps.
  • With the Buckeyes running the ball so effectively, the tight ends did not catch a pass but they did their work in the trenches and on the perimeter, opening holes all night.
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