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Ohio State saves their most dominant offensive performance for last

The Buckeye offense showed their full potential as they dismantled Michigan on Saturday.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

It took 12 weeks to finally see a complete and dominant offensive effort, that most expected to see throughout the 2015 season.

With coach Ed Warinner up in the coach's booth, the offense ran with tempo as they established the run game, executed the read option to perfection and went over the top to take advantage of single coverage.

This performance came with mixed emotions. It is always good to blow out your arch-rival in the final regular season game of the year, but it came a week too late and it cost the team a playoff bid. Should Warinner have been up in the booth the entire season? Who knows. The team thought they could flip the switch against Michigan State, but it never happened and the Buckeyes will most likely be the first team out once the dust settles.

Everyone knew this offense had the potential and more than enough talent to be great, it just took too long to finally come together.

What could have been.

J.T. Barrett

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD pass Scramble Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
15 16 9 6 1 1 1 1 1
Pressured Sacked Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drops Turnovers TD run Defensive PI
1 1 1 1 0 0 0 3 1

*Tap passes do not count as pass attempts

  • Barrett tucked the ball 15 times on designed quarterback runs, compared to 11 against Michigan State. The difference? Versus Michigan, they were called in the flow of the game and they were not forced like they were against Michigan State. Also, more zone read was run against the Wolverines, rather than quarterback draws and quarterback power.
  • The pressure numbers were also a major improvement compared to last week, where Barrett was hit seven times and pressured four times against Sparty. Hats off to the offensive line and the signal caller.
  • The big difference between this game and the previous eleven, was the third-down play calling. They got away from the obvious designed quarterback runs, and utilized a new formation with Curtis Samuel and Jalin Marshall used as flex backs, sort of in the Wing-T formation. Ezekiel Elliott was taken off the field a couple of times and their playbook expanded to new sights on third down. They converted 7-of-13 on third down and kept the Wolverine defense on their heels throughout the afternoon.
  • The offense consistently attacked Jim Harbaugh's well- coached, pro-style defense with a variety of play calls. The offensive line opened up holes and had their most complete game of the season. They attacked the edge with speed option and power read, reminiscent of the playoff run. Once they established the run, the safety crept into the box and they attacked downfield. Ohio State ran an offensive clinic in Ann Arbor.
  • Here is Barrett running the power read to perfection. Barrett holds the ball at the mesh point while waiting for the read defender to commit to Elliott, before pulling the ball and following his pulling guard for a big gain. Barrett performed this on multiple occasions throughout the afternoon.

Skill positions

Elliott noted on Twitter that he ran the hardest he has ever run, and it showed. He sliced through gaps and per usual, initiated contact with the would-be tackler. He carried the ball a season-high 30 times and averaged 7.1 yards a clip. He benefited from excellent blocking by his offensive line, tight ends (see below), receivers and reads by his quarterback, but he also made yardage on his own by breaking tackles and out-running defenders. Elliott also showed why he is the most complete back in the nation with two devastating blocks (above) that we have become accustomed to. Appreciate Elliott's final game Buckeye fans, as he will go down as one of the greatest to ever don the scarlet and gray.

A big match-up heading into 'The Game' came on the perimeter with Michael Thomas facing off against cornerback Jourdan Lewis. Lewis came into the season as Pro Football Focus' top rated cornerback, but he struggled against Thomas. Thomas was targeted four times, catching two passes for 50 yards, and forcing a pass interference on another; Lewis broke up the final pass, but could have been flagged for it. On Thomas' 38-yard reception, he roasted Lewis off the line with his quickness and beat him vertical for a nice over-the-shoulder grab. Thomas has played himself into a first or second day NFL Draft prospect and his tape against Lewis will only help him during the draft process.

With the power read working wonders, it was time to suck up the defense backs and hit Jalin Marshall over the top. They called a play-action off of the same power read look that ripped off a couple of big plays earlier in the game.