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Oval and Out: Sooners best the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer’s big decision, and Monday Morning hot takes

This is the first installment of our weekly Buckeye roundup, here to get you caught up on the news, notes, and notable bits from Columbus and beyond. 

Oklahoma v Ohio State
J.T. Barrett
Gregory Shamus

Ohio State isn’t playing the best football right now.

They’re being out-coached, out-thought, out-played, and were dominated by an Oklahoma team that should have no business doing so. And you know what happens when the Oklahomas of the world beat you, in primetime, on your own turf?

This happens.

We kick off this inaugural Oval and Out, a weekly Buckeye roundup, on the heels of an embarrassing 31-16 loss to the Sooners. But we’re only entering Week Three of the college football season and Saturday night likely means little in the big picture (if OSU can it together, that is).

And there was a ton that went on this weekend that impacted or involved the Buckeyes in some fashion.

So how about I stop talking and we can get started.


Review: Oklahoma

Like I said, this was a tough one to swallow for OSU. Sooners’ coach Lincoln Riley had a great game plan in place and things could’ve gotten out of hand a lot sooner (see what I did there?) if not for so many missed opportunities in Buckeye territory.

Coach Urban Meyer and OSU did very little to stem the tide. The playcalling left fans with a mixed bag of confusion and frustration, while the offense went away from what it does best – running the ball – to doing what it does worst – throwing it. At least the Buckeyes defense defensive front hung in there.

Per the usual, though, J.T. Barrett looked off all night and couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm with his receivers, who in return can’t seem to get open downfield. Barrett’s atrocious stat line is as follows: 19 for 35, 183 yards and an interception. It may be time to discuss backup options.

On the other side of the field, Heisman Trophy contender Baker Mayfield threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns. He carved up the Scarlet and Gray’s secondary and made play after play for Oklahoma.

Mayfield told reporters after the highly anticipated meeting that the Sooners should’ve won by more.

He wasn’t lying.

Play of the Game

Only winners get to be in the play of the game. Not losers.

In all seriousness, the actual play of the game happened early in the fourth quarter. On first-and-goal, Mayfield escaped the pocket and zipped a perfectly placed pass to Trey Sermon, who fought his way into the end zone.

The touchdown increased Oklahoma’s lead to 24-13 and sealed the Buckeyes fate.


Looking Ahead: Army Black Knights

Meyer and Co. will attempt to get back on track against 2-0 Army. The Black Knights are coming off a historic, record-breaking season that saw the team reach eight wins for the first time in 20 years, defeat Navy for the first time since 2001, and win a bowl game for the first time since 2010.

There were a whole lot of firsts last year, and the Black Knights return another quality roster this season. Senior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw leads an offense that ranked second in the nation in rushing in 2016. The offensive line welcomes back four starters, not to mention the team’s top nine rushers.

While this one should really serve as a bounce back game, Army might still give OSU a scare early on.


State of the Big Ten

Those who tuned in Friday night watched Purdue rout Ohio 44-21. Maryland pummeled Towson 63-17. Michigan overcame a sloppy offensive outing and downed Cincinnati 36-14. The Cy-Hawk Trophy went to Iowa, who earned a thrilling 44-41 overtime victory over in-state rival Iowa State.

New coach Lane Kiffin and his Florida Atlantic Owls dropped to 0-2 at the hands of Wisconsin. Star tailback Justin Jackson was held to 18 rushing yards and Northwestern was throttled 41-17 by Duke. Penn State pounded Pittsburgh 33-14, avenging the loss that kept them out of the College Football Playoff last year.

To round things out, Michigan State scored a nice 28-14 win at home against Western Michigan, Indiana made quick work of Virginia, Illinois won a 20-7 snoozer over Western Kentucky, and Minnesota defeated Oregon State 48-14.

In addition to Northwestern, Rutgers, Nebraska, and OSU were the only other Big Ten teams that lost this weekend.


Play of the Week

There are a few different directions we can go here.

I’ll start us off with the ridiculousness that occurred between Mississippi State and Louisiana Tech.

That’s right. You just watched a bunch of 20-something-year-olds kick a football, like, 90 yards down the field.

Next up, we head out west to USC where stud quarterback Sam Darnold was doing Sam Darnold things with Stanford in town. The catch isn’t half bad, either.

That’s Deontay Burnett laying out for the 25-yard touchdown grab, which put the Trojans ahead 28-17.

Our final stop is in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. There were definitely other plays of his to choose from, but the subject of this particular play needs no introduction.

2016 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson, ladies and gentlemen.

Get used to the name.


Heisman Watch

So, yeah, I’m going to go with the Jackson guy from Louisville, the one that we just mentioned who won the Heisman Trophy last season.

Jackson absolutely shredded North Carolina’s defense on Saturday to the tune of 525 total yards and six touchdowns. The Florida native made big plays with both his legs and arm, showing he has a legitimate shot at being only the second player ever to be awarded the Heisman Trophy twice.

No. 8 has steamrolled his way to Louisville’s Week Three showdown with defending national champion Clemson. The Tigers have one of, if not the best, defensive line in the country which should put Jackson to the test.


Game of the Week: Clemson v. Louisville

The ACC Atlantic title – let alone a postseason playoff spot – could be on the line when the Tigers and Cardinals square off in Louisville Saturday afternoon. Don’t plan on it simply being Jackson versus Clemson’s D-line, but whoever controls the trenches likely wins the day.

Led by Deshaun Watson’s five touchdown passes, the Tigers edged the Cardinals 42-36 in 2016. It was a shootout in every sense of the word, a shootout that Jackson thrived in, tallying 457 offensive yards and three touchdowns.

The outcome could hinge on the standout signal-caller’s ability to perform under pressure as a passer.


Monday Morning #HotTakez

  • Urban Meyer and his coaching staff need to strongly consider benching J.T Barrett. We’ve seen the same consistent ineffectiveness, especially in big games, for waaaay too long. So I think it’s time for a change. I like what backup Dwayne Haskins brings to the table.
  • The play calling on defense has been questionable through the first two weeks of the season. OSU’s young, inexperienced secondary has looked, in large part, mediocre. Some are surprised by that, I can’t say that I am.
  • Outside of Columbus, Michigan State appears steady. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke has settled in under center and with Notre Dame coming up, he can showcase himself to the country.
  • Michigan is good if their defense can hold up. And the unit has held up thus far, scoring more points (21) than they’ve given up (17).
  • If Lamar Jackson can stay healthy for Louisville all season long, he’ll take home the Heisman. Book it.
  • Wisconsin is going to win the Big Ten West. Why? Iowa and Nebraska have tissue paper for defense.
  • When will the Big Ten get rid of divisions? The world may never know.

Oh, the Interweb

The feedback on Twitter to the Buckeyes loss was fantastic across the board. We’ll let ESPN analyst Desmond Howard get things started.

The takes continued to pour in as Oklahoma thumped OSU.

Cardale Jones, on the other hand, was confident his team would bounce back.

Remember, everyone, they’re just words.


Buckeyes Bits

Land-Grant Holy Land has you covered on everything that is OSU. Win or lose, we’ve got your back.


Final Thoughts

I’m not worried about the Buckeyes, and you shouldn’t be either.

Yes, significant flaws are there. The team continues to be outcoached in important matchups. J.T. Barrett can’t throw past five yards. Their offense looked widely ineffective and the secondary is underwhelming, to say the least.

Urban Meyer has some big decisions to make coming up, no doubt.

But the Scarlet and Gray still have all the pieces in place to make a run to the conference title game and the playoff. They’re strong in the trenches on both sides of the ball and have an awesome amount of potential at multiple positions.

Meyer is also a pretty good coach, in case you forgot.

Don’t panic just yet, Buckeye fans.

It’s only Week Three.


Have questions? Comments? Send them my way! Email me at kylemckinnon6@gmail.com or follow me @Kyle_McKinnon6 on Twitter.