“When J.T. went down, we were a little hurt because he was our leader,” Knox said. “People may have been a little flustered. But when Dwayne stepped up and got into the huddle, we looked him in his eyes and knew he was ready.”
It’s the Friday before a Michigan game, which means it’s time for the dread to set in that Ohio State has to play Michigan in less than 24 hours. I’m one of many Buckeye fans that aren’t at all confident in Ohio State’s chances (I do want them to win, of course, I just don’t think they will), thanks in large part to Michigan having an advantage in just about every category.
However, as Tim May points out in his most recent column, only one quarterback in The Game has ever played in The Game, and he’s on Ohio State’s sidelines. Dwayne Haskins was a huge part in helping Ohio State pull out a win last year after J.T. Barrett went down with an injury, and that experience of playing in The Game, on the road no less, gives him an advantage over Shea Patterson.
How much does that actually matter? I don’t know. It can’t really be quantified, but it’s safe to assume that if either quarterback is going to come out nervous, it won’t be Dwayne. That may be the edge Ohio State needs to pull off an upset.
“To have a team that’s one dimensional, it’s really hard to win the big games.”
Urban Meyer’s call-in show this Friday yielded some pretty interesting answers, including this one about team balance and the importance of being able to do everything well. It was one of several quotes about balance during the show, which leads me to think that Urban Meyer either doesn’t feel very strongly about his own team’s chances, or, uh, hasn’t watched his own team much this year.
Statistically speaking, Michigan is pretty far and away the more balanced team in the game, both offensively and just in general. Michigan is better the split between rushing and passing, and their defense is significantly better, according to Bill Connelly’s S&P+ ratings.
Now, this is all probably just a motivational strategy, rather than Urban coming to terms with his own team being in a bad situation heading into this game. Ohio State has lacked balance all season long, and desperately needs J.K.Dobbins, Mike Weber and Dwayne Haskins to all contribute significant yards for the offense to find success against Michigan.
Perhaps more importantly, however, is the defense. Ohio State’s defense stinks, and to beat Michigan, it will need to, well... not do that for at least 60 minutes. While I think the problems are scheme based, and can’t be fixed in one week, I’ve been wrong before, and maybe it’s all just a matter of motivation.
Maybe Kendall Sheffield will learn how to play man-coverage, the linebackers will stop being terrible, and the safeties will finally be capable of playing man on a slot receiver with a ten-yard cushion, that thing that pro safeties can’t do. Probably not though.
Syracuse game a 7:15 banger
While there are more pressing matters in Ohio State basketball right now — like tonight’s game against Cleveland State in St. John Arena — we got some important news today about Ohio State’s next game.
Now, I’m no fool. I know Syracuse is a good team, and that zone is always going to be tricky, especially if C.J. Jackson is still in a slump come Wednesday. However, the Buckeyes should be 6-0, and a top 20 team entering that game. It’s at home, and while it isn’t in the superior St. John Arena, the crowd should still be rocking.
With all that considered, I’m ready to say it: Chris Holtmann and his gang of basketball outlaws are jumping the Orange on Wednesday. Jim Boeheim will never see it see it coming. Luther Muhammad drops 25 and gets ejected for taunting Buddy Boeheim. In the words of the GOAT news aggregator and future president, D.J. Byrnes, “Get dumped then, Syracuse.”
Buckeyes in the NFL
We had three NFL games on Thursday this week because of Thanksgiving, so we have even more Buckeye content than usual to talk about today. A combined ten Buckeyes (Taylor Decker (Lions), Noah Brown, Rod Smith, Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys), Marshon Lattimore, Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr. (IR), and Kurt Coleman (Saints) were involved in the festivities yesterday, spanning all three games.
Defensively, the best of the bunch was probably Eli Apple, who had ten tackles, a pass deflection, and a fumble recovery. On the other side of the defense, Marshon Lattimore had five tackles and two deflections, while Vonn Bell had seven from the safety spot. Kurt Coleman added another two tackles, making it a very good all-around day for Buckeye defenders.
Offensively, it was a bit quieter, as Ezekiel Elliott led the way with 21 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown. Fellow Cowboy back Rod Smith added two carries for seven yards before an injury sidelined him. It was a bit of a quiet day for the Buckeye receivers, as Michael Thomas had just four receptions for 38 yards, and Noah Brown had one catch for 22 yards, but, both of their teams won, so you can’t too mad at them.