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The Ohio State offense was sloppy against Tulsa, just like the weather

The Buckeye offense went vanilla in stormy weather.

Tulsa v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

In a driving rainstorm, the Ohio State offense gave fans flashbacks to last season. They were ultra-conservative, running the read option on seven of their first eight offensive plays to no success. They also did not cash in on good field position early, which could have demoralized Tulsa right away. Let's just hope that they were trying to limit game tape for the Oklahoma coaching staff, and Ed Warinner and Tim Beck did not take a time-warp back to 2015.

Here’s the breakdown:

J.T. Barrett

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrow Throwaway
11 26 13 8 1 3 1 0
Pressured Sacked Hit Pass break-up Batted down at LOS Drops Turnovers Defensive PI
4 1 3 2 0 1 1 1

*Tap passes do not count as a dropback

  • The biggest number here is the 11 designed runs. It seems that whenever the offense starts sluggish, the game plan is thrown away and they just default to Barrett's legs to bail them out. The staff needs to remember that Joe Burrow has had limited experience and they need to limit Barrett's carries. They did a good job of limiting his designed runs against Bowling Green, but they fell back into the trap on Saturday.
  • Other than running the ball, Barrett was not asked to do much. The reads were simple and they did not really stretch the field. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and it was due to the harsh weather conditions.
  • Barrett’s lone turnover on the afternoon came on the mesh point of the zone read. The mesh point is when the quarterback makes his decision to pull the football and run, or hand the ball off to the ball carrier. Barrett typically makes sound decisions at the mesh point, compared to a guy like Braxton Miller, who would predetermine his decision.
  • The passing game was pretty sub-par, except for this throw to Curtis Samuel. Barrett hung in the pocket, took a big shot from a defender and put it up for Samuel to come down with it.
  • Overall, vanilla play-calling really limited Barrett as a playmaker and as a distributor versus Tulsa. Expect the offense to open back up in Norman.

Running backs/ H-backs

The running game started a little sluggish with Mike Weber at tailback and I’m surprised it took so long to get Samuel involved. The electrifying playmaker did not touch the ball in the first quarter and it took until the third quarter to get him involved in the zone read. He quickly energized the stadium and the offense when he touched the ball here:

On Barrett’s touchdown run — coming off a designed QB sweep — Samuel looked like Ezekiel Elliott as a lead blocker. Barrett followed Samuel to the edge, where Samuel made a terrific cut-block on the outside linebacker, leading Barrett to the end zone.

The biggest scare of the day game with only 6:05 remaining in the game, when Wilson scored a touchdown on a sweep. It looks like Wilson — who’s had a terrific season thus far — might have tweaked his foot that has sidelined him for almost two seasons. You can see it after he cuts up-field, he slows down, hobbles past the goal line and then has trouble stopping. If Wilson misses the Oklahoma game, that would be a major blow to this offense.

The Wildcat looked good again and it’s being used at the correct time, which is a good change-of-pace. Both Samuel and Wilson are doing a good job with it.

Against Oklahoma, the offense should run through Samuel and Wilson — barring health — in the first quarter. They set the pace and the tempo of the offense and can tire out the Sooner defense before Weber lays the hammer on a tired Oklahoma defense.

Wide receivers and tight ends

After a great performance by Zone 6 against Bowling Green, they were unable to do much of anything versus Tulsa. The two H-backs led the way in receptions, and the perimeter guys combined for only 5 receptions.

It could have been due to the weather, but the receivers had trouble gaining separation against Tulsa’s defensive backs. There were a few times where Barrett was forced to tuck and run or force the ball into tight coverage. Terry McLaurin had a solid game; he was able to get open a couple of times and had some good YAC on one reception. I did expect more out of Noah Brown though, as the big possession receiver should have been able to feast on a smaller Tulsa secondary. If they aren't going to stretch the field vertically, Brown needs to be used in the intermediate game.

On a positive note, the receivers were strong on the perimeter in the run game. On the few occasions that the ball carriers broke a big run, it was mostly outside of the tackles and they were sprung by the wideouts. On the other hand, the tight ends weren't too impressive in the run game, especially in the first half. Just like the offensive line, the tight ends struggled blocking the read option and they were actually getting bullied by an inferior Tulsa defensive line. They should never let a team like Tulsa dictate anything in the trenches.

The Buckeye offense will be in for a huge test next week. Will the inexperienced guys succumb to a high pressure situation? Or will they follow the lead of their veteran quarterback?