Well, that was...interesting. Hey, a win is a win is a win, but it seems that OSU has been regressing since their week one win. Coming in to week 3, there were a couple of disturbing trends that OSU needed to fix, such as a lack of pressure from the defensive line. That was fixed for today, but the mental checking out, or whatever it is that happens at some point in the second quarter and doesn't get fixed until sometime in the fourth, continued today.
And it almost cost the Buckeyes the game.
But to their credit, Ohio State dug down, made some big plays late, and came out with a win. But out on the edges, there's a darkness with these lapses that could cost them a win, and cause the town of Columbus to asplode.
Cause tonight I'll be on that hill 'cause I can't stop
I'll be on that hill with everything I got
Lives on the line where dreams are found and lost
I'll be there on time and I'll pay the cost
For wanting things that can only be found
In the darkness on the edge of town
In the darkness on the edge of town
Blue Chip Stocks:
Devin Smith, WR: Smith is quickly becoming The Man in the wide receiver corps, if he isn't already. He's made big plays in every game so far, and when he got behind the secondary and iced the game with his 72 yard TD reception, it was the culmination of a 5 catch, 144 yard, and 2 TD receiving day. His first TD reception was a 25 yarder that he just went up and got, and put OSU back on top late in the first quarter.
Braxton Miller, QB: When you look at his statline, you kind of go 'meh' in terms of completion percentage, but that doesn't really tell the story. He threw 4 TD passes, scored the opening TD of the game when whoever was running his XBox controller went 'L1-R1-L1', and made some huge plays when he needed to. Yeah, there's room to improve, but when you take into account his general lack of experience and the fact that he's a sophomore, you just smile a little bit wondering what's coming next. It's early, but he might be the version of Terrelle Pryor that fulfills his almost limitless potential.
Ryan Shazier, LB: Shazier had a great game, registering 10 tackles, forcing a fumble, and he also registered a sack. Other than Miller, Shazier was the one player I was looking most forward to seeing this season, and he's living up to expectations. He's a fierce hitter and a sure tackler, and is emerging as a leader on defense.
John Simon, DE: Simon has had a quiet start to the season, but made his presence known today. He was bringing it from the outside almost all afternoon, and registered his first sack of the season. His statline wasn't that impressive, but he jumped out a lot more watching the game today than he had in the first two games.
Johnathan Hankins, DT: Like Simon, Hankins had been relatively quiet until Saturday. He had 6 tackles and a big sack in the fourth quarter. Hankins was getting a solid inside push all day, and it was nice to see the big guys on the defensive line assert themselves. Let's see more of it.
Bradley Roby, CB: There was a lot to be desired with the defense today, but I thought Roby had a very good game. Had a big sack early in the game, and should've had a pick 6 that might have completely changed the tone of the game. Still, Roby has been the best looking defensive back so far in 2012.
The Overall Defensive Effort: How does Brendan Bigelow get 160 yards rushing on only 4 carries? Seriously, WTF? One run was a ridiculous individual effort, but the other runs were straight into the teeth of the defense, which was nowhere to be found. And on his 81 yard highlight reel, at least three guys near him just quit on the play when it looked like he was down. Had they finsished, it would've been a two yard loss. His 59 yard run in the fourth quarter that drew Cal even, Bigelow went off tackle and was virtually untouched.
The Zombie Walk: It's happened in every game, and it's lasting longer and longer with each passing week. On Saturday, OSU didn't snap out of it until well into the fourth quarter, after they had fallen behind. I get that you're not going to score on every possession, and you're not going to shut out every opponent, but when one unit struggles, the other has to step up until the other side of the ball gets straightened out. It's not happening, and if it keeps up it's going to cost OSU a game or two.
Buy: The Return Of Jordan Hall. It was good to see Hall come out and play a good game. He carried the ball well, took pressure off of Miller having to run the ball, and restored some sorely needed depth at the tailback spot.
Sell: Why No Bri'onte Dunn? Not that I wasn't pleased seeing Hall back in the lineup, but Dunn was named the starter, and it sounded like he was going to get the bulk of the work. Yet come gametime, Hall got almost all the carries. Very weird.
Buy: The New Offense. I love it. I love the aggression, I love the up tempo, I love the big play potential.
Sell: The Time Of Possession Disparity. In games like today, when he offense either scores fast or goes three and out, the defense is going to get gassed. Like they did today.
Buy: Miller To Smith. This is going to be as fun to watch as Smith to Ginn.
Sell: The Stupid Penalties. Make a nice play on offense, get called for a personal foul. Get a big sack to clinch the game, get called for a personal foul. Loved Urban Meyer's response when asked at halftime about the stupid penalties. "Don't be stupid." Yup. Pretty much sums it up.
Hey, 3-0 is 3-0. We should all be happy about that, and I still see a lot more positives than negatives. This team is still young and feeling itself out, and it's fun to watch Miller get better and better each week. The defense needs to get more consistent, but I saw some good things today in terms of pressure from the defensive line, some big hits, and some big plays. But the run defense must get better, and the overall pace of the game has to get better.
But we'll take it.