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Ohio State's offense is better but still a work in progress, per the film

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The offense put up 34 points on 517 yards of total offense, but they left a lot of points on the table.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The scoreboard read a seven-point win against the unranked Indiana Hoosiers, but do not worry Buckeye fans; it was better than it looked. Untimely turnovers and penalties have sputtered the 2015 Ohio State offense over-and-over again this season, taking points off the board that are making the games that should not be competitive, competitive in the fourth quarter.

Buckeye ball carriers have put the ball on the turf an astounding 14 times in five games, luckily losing only six of them. It gets worse through the air, as their two quarterbacks, a position that should be their advantage, have thrown seven interceptions. They have turned the ball over 13 times, tied for 117th in the nation.

On top of the turnovers, the team has played undisciplined by committing 20 penalties in the past two games. They have came at inopportune times, such as on Saturday, when Braxton Miller was called for an unnecessary chop block that negated a Cardale Jones touchdown pass to Ezekiel Elliott before the half. Jones had his most comfortable series of the season throwing the ball, capping it with a would-be touchdown pass before it was called back. The drive then resulted with a missed field goal and a deflated offense.

All three phases of the team did a lot of good things on Saturday and once the little things, such as turnovers and penalties get cleaned up, they will start to look like the well-oiled machine that fans and voters expected to see from the start.

Cardale Jones

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD pass Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
4 27 16 7 1 1 4 0 1
Pressured Sacked Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drops Intercepted TD run Defensive PI
4 2 2 0 0 1 1 0 0

*Tape passes do not count as attempts

  • Jones started off extremely well, he completed his first six passes (not counting tap passes) until he overthrew a Michael Thomas in the end zone on third down. The playcalling and tempo was good. He was in rhythm as a passer and showed confidence in the first half.
  • In the first half, Jones was 13-of-16 with all three incompletions coming on overthrows, the complete opposite of last week's abundance of underthrows.
  • Before Miller's chop block penalty that negated a touchdown pass, Jones had his best series of the season. He showed good timing with his receivers, rhythm and confidence on the drive. From there on out though, he did not look like the same player. He took a terrible sack before halftime and then at one point, he missed on three straight throws in the third quarter.
  • The red zone execution has became a major issue. Jones does not make quick enough decisions with more defenders in the short part of the field. I am not in favor of having J.T. Barrett come in to play quarterback in the red zone, but Jones has to get rid of the ball much quicker on shorter routes. He is constantly throwing late on the short, quick hitters. The forced, late and intercepted balls in the red zone cannot happen as often as they are happening.
  • Overall, I saw major improvement in the Glenville product and I expect another step forward next week.

Running Backs/H-backs

  • After the two-long Elliott touchdown runs in the third quarter, it opened up play-action. When the offensive line is rolling and opening up Elliott to the second level, good things happen. He creased two big runs in the third quarter which had the safeties coming down when they showed run, and Jones made them pay. He hit a couple of play-action passes, including the big one, which should have been the dagger to Michael Thomas. That sequence is what the Ohio State offense is supposed to look like with Jones under center. Great offensive line play, allowing Elliott to make plays in the second level, which then opens up one-on-one coverage on the outside, taking advantage of over aggressive safeties who are playing the run after getting gashed.
  • Dontre Wilson had his best game in a while. He had two receptions and he showed up as a decoy on jet sweeps and as a blocker on the perimeter. The back of his jersey was consistently downfield, playing until the whistle blew.
  • As mentioned above, Miller's chop block killed a big touchdown drive, but Coach Meyer still graded him as a champion, due to his blocking and his effort. He only touched the ball twice all day and he was a shoelace tackle away from creasing one. The offensive staff needs to figure out ways to use him, whether it is as a decoy running jet motion or properly using him in the Wildcat. Luckily, it is only week six and they still have time to figure out how to use the most electrifying playmaker in America.
  • I was wondering where Curtis Samuel's touches and snaps went because he has been one of their most consistent playmakers, but Meyer said he did not practice during the week due to back spasms. He should be back against Maryland.

Wide receivers

  • It was nice to see the wide receiver screen back in the game plan, even if it was only used two times. With the abundance of guys who play extremely well in space, it did not make sense that they went away from the perimeter screen game this season. Hopefully it is here to stay.
  • Thomas was consistent per usual and he should have had two touchdowns on the day. He ran a fantastic out route that Jones' missed badly.
  • Marshall had two very costly fumbles, that could have taken 14 points off the scoreboard. First, a lazy, unfocused effort with the ball in a key spot, in the red zone. Then, after he set the offense up with a good punt return and the chance to put the Hoosiers away, he fumbled away another big chance, leading to an Indiana field goal. Two inexcusable turnovers that swung the game in both instances. Other than that, I thought he had a great day as a punt returner and a solid game as a perimeter blocker.
  • It was awful to see Corey Smith go down with a broken leg. He has taken his lumps with big mistakes in the past, but he had been solid in his few games of action this season. Hopefully he can recover and get a medical redshirt for next season.
  • Parris Campbell should be back next week and he will get quality playing time with Smith on the shelf.

Tight ends

  • Marcus Baugh is getting more snaps every week and he had a nice block on Elliott's first touchdown run. He is quietly turning into an above-average run blocker and I am waiting for him to become the receiving threat he can be.
  • Nick Vannett has taken a step back from his solid past two seasons. This is his first time getting starter reps on a consistent basis and it has exposed him a bit. He has the experience, size and skill-set to be a complete tight end, he just needs to put it all together.

Defensive tidbits

  • Indiana wanted to take advantage of the soft interior that they saw on film against Western Michigan, but they ran repeatedly into a brick wall. The defensive line and linebackers were disruptive and made play after play. Raekwon McMillan led the defense with 14 total tackles before coming out of the game with a migraine. The starters on the defensive line combined for seven tackles for losses on the day and dominated the Indiana offensive line.
  • Coach Meyer named Tyquan Lewis and Adolphus Washington co-defensive players of the game. The former had 11 tackles and the latter racked up 12. Dominating numbers for defensive linemen.
  • Joey Bosa did not put up gaudy statistics but he was extremely disruptive as a run defender and as a pass rusher.
  • I thought the secondary had a shaky game, starting with Tyvis Powell. He had a drop on an easy interception and took a poor angle on Zander Diamont's touchdown run, He did not go downhill at full speed and slowed his feet, allowing Diamont to beat him to the edge and take it to the house.