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There's no way to sugar coat it. The Ohio State offense vs. Hawaii was a mess

See how the lackluster offensive showing played on tape.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a very short week with a limited playbook, the offense all-in-all, looked uninterested against a far inferior opponent. The quarterback play was average, the receivers did not help, and the offensive line did not bully a weak defensive line. Let's take a look at what went wrong on Saturday.

Cardale Jones

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD pass Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
1 23 12 6 0 1 3 2 0
Pressured Sacked Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drops Intercepted TD run Defensive PI
6 3 2 2 0 1 0 0 1

  • Bill Landis of created an awesome chart, where he recognized that out of Jones' 12 completions, five of them came on the jet sweep. The passing game never woke up on Saturday, due to slow decision making by the quarterbacks, the wide receivers not getting open against a poor secondary and the offensive line not allowing the quarterbacks to get comfortable for much of the day.
  • Coming off of a short week, playbook was very basic for this game, but it should have been executed against the average-at-best Hawaii defense.
  • On the first offensive snap of the game, Jones made a very good decision in the read option. The read option has been non-existent in Jones' first four starts, but he showed that he has the ability to utilize that portion of the playbook.
  • Jones was accurate throughout the first quarter, completing five of his first six passes.
  • He lacked focus on third-and-10 on the first drive of the second quarter, when he fumbled a snap that hit him in the hands.
  • After taking back-to-back sacks, Jones was benched in favor for J.T. Barrett at the 7:23 mark of the second quarter. He completed six passes on nine attempts, but his focus and decision making lacked on his final drive before being taken out of the game.
  • Coach Meyer decided to go back to Jones after the half and it resulted in one of the worst offensive quarters (third quarter) of football since Meyer became head coach.
  • After a Darron Lee strip-sack in the third quarter, the offense had the ball at the Hawaii 6-yard line. Jones fumbled the off-line snap by Jacoby Boren for a 4-yard loss. Then, Ezekiel Elliott ran for a seven-yard gain before the entire offensive line was dominated on third down, which resulted in no gain for Elliott. Not scoring from 6-yard line, especially against that defense, is inexcusable.
  • To start the fourth quarter, Michael Thomas had two steps on the cornerback, but Jones underthrew him, which resulted in defensive pass interference. If he led Thomas, it would have been six.
  • Jones needs to hit Curtis Samuel on the numbers here (above). It is too easy of a throw not to convert, with no defender within 15-yards of Samuel. This short yardage rub-route combo is a staple in the Ohio State playbook and it needs to be automatic, especially when it is this wide-open. Samuel might have been able to make the catch, but this is on Jones to make it as simple as possible for the receiver.

J.T. Barrett

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD pass Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
1 15 8 7 0 0 2 0 1
Pressured Sacked Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drops Intercepted TD run Defensive PI
3 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0

  • When Barrett came into the game in the second quarter, he surprisingly did not provide a spark to the offense.
  • Barrett's second pass was uncharacteristically forced to Miller on a swing pass. There were two defenders covering Miller, and Barrett never took his eyes off of him, before throwing an incomplete pass.
  • Barrett completed a few passes when he came in to relieve Jones in the fourth quarter but the game was essentially over.
  • This was Barrett's chance to really provide stability to the sleepy Ohio State offense, but even he could not do so on Saturday.

Running backs/ H-backs

  • Even with shaky offensive line and quarterback play, Ezekiel Elliott put the offense on his back. Elliott earned every single one of his 101 yards and three touchdowns. He made the most out of a poor day by the usually consistent offensive line (which will be explained later) and displayed a great, physical effort.
  • You have to really like the creative ways in which the coaches are using Miller. He took snaps in the Wildcat formation alone and he was in the backfield with Elliott running read option. The Miller and Elliott duo in the backfield will create a lot of scores for the Buckeye offense this season. Look for Miller to throw out of a run-pass option in the upcoming games.
  • Miller, Samuel, Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson all played a good amount of snaps at H-back. It might have been one of the many factors as to why the offense could not get into a rhythm, but it will get figured out during the easy part of the schedule. Every single one of them possesses big-play ability.
  • Samuel had a terrific game and he has shown more quickness this year, compared to last year. He has also shown consistent and reliable hands, when targeted in the passing game. The sophomore is a true weapon in both the running and passing game.
  • Marshall showed off his vision and quickness on a 24-yard scamper on a jet sweep. Although he did miss a block on the goal line in the second quarter, that would have been an Elliott touchdown on an option play; he had a solid first game.
  • There was a five-wide receiver set which included Elliott, Nick Vannett, Marshall, Wilson and Michael Thomas. Elliott showed great patience, completing a pass to Thomas for the first down.

Wide receivers

  • Michael Thomas runs the best routes, gets the most separation and right now, he is the only true wide receiver option on the perimeter, outside of the H-backs. He needs to be more involved in the offense.
  • The two young wide receivers, Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, did not show up on the offensive stat sheet but both had great games on special teams. The better they do on special teams, the more snaps they will get on the offensive side of the ball.

Tight ends

  • The two-tight end set of Marcus Baugh and Vannett has been good in short yardage situations. Here they are creating a crease for Elliott to convert on fourth down.
  • When it hit the fourth quarter, the coaching staff went to two-tight end personnel and they responded by being physical in the run game.
  • I would like for Vannett and Baugh to be more involved in the passing game, but right now they are the last options.

Offensive line

  • This is the worst performance by the Buckeye offensive line since the 2014 Virginia Tech game. But unlike the Hokie game, this was not due to being unprepared or under-coached, it was due to a lack of execution against a far inferior opponent. The Buckeye offense was limited to an anemic 5.3 yards per play.
  • Here are some offensive line "lowlights":
  • On the picture above, the entire line got stood up and dominated by the Hawaii defensive line on third-and-goal from the 3-yard line. As noted above, the offense could not punch the ball in from first-and-goal from the 6-yard line.
  • In the above photo, the defensive end knifed through the B-gap, which is why Taylor Decker let him go. Billy Price needs to be aware and switch over to the B-gap, which would have allowed Jones to step up in the pocket, rather than scramble out of the pocket.


  • The defense was flying around on Saturday and dominated a well-coached Hawaii offense. Hawaii quarterback Max Wittek finished 7-of-24 passing, with two interceptions and two fumbles. They made the afternoon extremely uncomfortable for the talented signal caller.
  • Like we all expected, Joey Bosa made his mark in his return. He had a couple of pressures and looked good against the run. Here he is showing his strength on a bull rush:

  • Vonn Bell had an outstanding game. He registered an interception, a fumble return for a touchdown, three pass breakups and he seemed to be involved on every pass play. He dropped two would-be interceptions, but he showed why he is considered to be one of the best ball-hawking safety's in the country.
  • Gareon Conley had the receiver blanketed on his second quarter interception then he made a terrific play on the ball, deflecting it into Bell's hands for an another interception. He has played very well across from Eli Apple and he registered two pass breakups on Saturday.
  • Lee made a mistake on the roughing the punter penalty, but he is constantly praised for his aggressiveness, which is what makes him the great player that he is. He finished the game with four tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble inside the Hawaii 10-yard line.
  • Bosa and Lee coming off of opposing edges equals an absolute nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.