The Ohio State offense ran nine plays in the First Quarter, 19 plays in the Second Quarter, 21 plays in the Third Quarter and 12 plays in the Fourth Quarter for a total of 61 snaps for the game. The Buckeyes' went 1-10 on 3rd down efficiency and 0-2 on 4th down, both unusual for the Ohio State offense.
|Quarterback||Number of plays|
- Braxton Miller continued his three game passing slump, completing eight out of 21 pass attempts for 101 yards and a touchdown. After showing great improvement in the middle of the year, Miller's accuracy has dipped since the start of the Illinois game, going 38/82 passing (46%).
- Although Miller missed the majority of his intermediate throws, his wide receivers had trouble running intermediate routes and gaining separation on defensive backs. Miller has said that he will probably be coming back to school and hopefully he will spend another summer with QB Guru George Whitfield.
- Miller was his typical self rushing the ball, making defenders miss and extending plays for huge gains. I disagree with the play-calling though as they went Miller-happy on the perimeter too much (which I will talk about later) and it became obvious to the Michigan State defense.
|Running Backs||Number of plays|
- Out of Carlos Hyde's 56 snaps, he carried the ball only 18 times, his lowest total in a competitive game since his 17 carries versus Wisconsin.
- Hyde lined up in the Pistol Formation nine times and lined up at receiver a season-high six times.
- My biggest question is, why did Coach Herman go away from what got the Buckeyes 24 straight wins? They have had success using their power running game between the tackles with Hyde for the past two seasons and they had success during this game. Why go against your "bread and butter" plays in the biggest game of the season? Meyer constantly calls his offensive line the best in the country, so were they that afraid of the Spartan front seven?
- After taking the lead late in the 3rd Quarter, Hyde ran the ball four times, Miller ran the ball six times and passed the ball seven times. In past big games when they got the lead, didn't Coach Herman feed Hyde to bleed out the clock and gain first downs?
- As I talked about before the game, Michigan State was susceptible up the middle and that is where Hyde did most of his damage in the 3rd Quarter, when the Buckeyes dominated the game.
With the offensive line staying on their blocks and getting on the MSU linebackers, Hyde read his blocks and got ten yards on the carry.
Two plays later, Hyde came out and Jordan Hall came into the game. Lined up in the Pistol Formation, the offense continued to dominate the Spartan front seven.
Once again, the line opened up a huge hole and got a lineman downfield on Max Bullough. Hall gained huge yardage on the play and the Buckeyes eventually took the lead. This would be the last drive that Coach Herman would rely on his running game, even though they gashed the Spartan defense down the field.
- Overall, the coaching staff did not put the team in the best position to win on Saturday, due to the lack of trust in the offensive line to win the majority of their battles with the Spartan front seven and also the continued obsession with attacking the perimeter.
|Wide Receivers||Number of plays|
- The passing game as a whole was not very good, a lot of balls weren't accurately thrown and the receivers could not gain separation on the Spartan defensive backs, especially on future first rounder Darqueze Dennard.
- The Spartans' expected the deep ball and were not fooled by play-action, Corey Brown got behind a defensive back once but the ball was underthrown, resulting in an incomplete pass.
- The Buckeye wideouts did a great job blocking on the perimeter though, extending plays downfield.
- Brown played 52 snaps on his injured leg (stress fracture) and really showed his toughness by playing the past few games while injured. Now we know why his snaps were limited in the past few games (excluding Michigan) and why Hall was returning punts at times.
- Evan Spencer needs to hold onto this 3rd down ball, which would have resulted in a first down in the 4th Quarter:
|Tight Ends||Number of plays|
- After showing the two tight end set five times versus Michigan, they only ran it once against Michigan State. They used it in short yardage and goal line situations throughout the season but we did not see that on Saturday.
- Heuerman had the big reception to set up the field goal late in the 2nd Quarter but did not catch another ball. The lack of an effective play-action limited Heuerman to make plays in the seam.