Football season is back and so are the roller coaster of emotions that we are put through during Ohio State football games. The Buckeyes came out a little flat, at least on offense. No complaints can be made about the defense, even though Notre Dame broke off a big play to start the game, which made every Buckeye fan have flashbacks to the horror shows that we have seen from the defense the last few years.
From a performance standpoint, it was a tale of two halves for Ohio State. Since it felt great to see the Buckeyes find their rhythm and earn the victory in the second half, we figured we might as well have a little fun with today’s topic. A football game lasts about as long as a couple movies these days, so why not use cinema to describe the game?
Notre Dame has the movie about that loser Rudy, who most definitely was offside, so why not pick a movie title that best describes Ohio State’s performance in each half on Saturday? The great thing about this topic is there are so many movies that you could ask 100 people to pick movies describing each half for the Buckeyes and you might not see any movie titles repeated.
Today’s question: What movie titles would you use to describe Ohio State’s performance in each half on Saturday night?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s first half answer: “Joker”
“You wanna know how I got these scars?”
Even though that line came from one of the “Dark Knight” movies, it felt true on Saturday night. For the first 30 minutes of the game, it felt like Ryan Day wasn’t capable of coaching his way out of a paper bag. Even though the Buckeyes went on to win the game, there still are questions about whether Day should give up play-calling duties. After hearing about how the Ohio State offense was going to be unstoppable this year, it was extremely concerning to see the Buckeyes struggle to get anything going offensively, heading into halftime only scoring seven points.
At halftime, it felt like I was Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker”, looking into the mirror and physically forcing my face to smile. Had Ohio State lost this game, I might have painted my face and gone out and caused some chaos around Columbus. All this and it wasn’t until after halftime that we heard official word that Jaxon Smith-Njigba wouldn’t return to the game due to injury.
Brett’s second half answer: “True Grit”
If you wanted to describe Ohio State’s second half performance in one word, it would definitely be grit. Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson not only gave the Buckeyes the lead with their physicality running the football in the second half, they sealed the game for Ohio State. Even more impressive was how the Ohio State defense played throughout the game, putting pressure on Tyler Buchner to rattle the young quarterback in his first start for Notre Dame.
Was Ohio State’s performance on Saturday night pretty? Not at all. But, all that matters is the Buckeyes beat the fifth-ranked team in the country. Last year, Georgia beat Clemson, who was ranked third in the country heading into the season, 10-3. The Bulldogs would use the tough win as a start to a season that would end with a national championship. Hopefully the Buckeyes can also follow the same formula, opening up a championship season with a win in a game that was grittier than sandpaper at times against a top-five team.
Meredith’s first half answer: “Dude, Where’s My Car?”
Ohio State entered this season essentially without questions on offense. From returning C.J. Stroud and TreVeyon Henderson to a strong offensive line and skill position players that had already shown themselves worthy next men up, all signs pointed to a humming unit that should at least sustain the Buckeyes while the defense found its footing.
Unfortunately, the Buckeyes couldn’t seem to find that offense throughout the first half of Saturday’s matchup against Notre Dame. Perhaps they parked it somewhere after the Rose Bowl and the first half was a dramatic attempt to locate it. Regardless, all the things we expected to see — high-flying passes, open bursts of rushing, the ball moving at will — were nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, the early season hiccups didn’t seem to last too long.
Meredith’s second half answer: “The Replacements”
Okay, this one is a stretch, especially since, as mentioned above, Ohio State returned a lot of key players on offense. The Buckeyes also returned key personnel on defense. However, things took a scary turn early on in the game after Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the expected leading receiver heading into 2022, left the game with an injury. That loss was felt even more considering fellow wideout Julian Fleming was ruled out due to injury before the game.
But then fifth-year receiver Xavier Johnson caught a touchdown pass in the second half to put the Buckeyes ahead in the third quarter. Johnson followed up that play with a monster tackle on Notre Dame’s return man on the ensuing kickoff. On the defensive side of things, sophomore defensive tackle Michael Hall Jr. had a sack and two tackles for loss. That sack, importantly, came on third down on Notre Dame’s last drive of the game, effectively sealing the win for Ohio State.
Sure, Johnson has been on the roster for a long time, and Hall came in as the No. 54 player in the 2020 class, but they were effectively replacements in the Buckeyes’ opener Saturday — replacements that sure got the job done.