For as bad as they have looked at times this season, Ohio State is still undefeated. On Saturday the Buckeyes defeated Maryland 37-17 in Columbus. The win didn’t come easy, as Ohio State started off very slow in the first half, trailing 10-0 before getting on the board when Josh Proctor picked off a Tua Tagovailoa pass and returned it for a touchdown. The teams would go into halftime tied at 10, and opened up the second half each scoring a touchdown before the Buckeyes slowly pulled away.
If there ever was a season in college football to play some sluggish football early in the season, this might be the year to do so. No team has truly established themselves as a dominant power so far. Georgia is living on glory from the last two years, Michigan hasn’t played anyone, Texas just lost, and everyone after in the rankings has their own flaws. An argument could be made that the two most dominant teams this year have been Washington and Oregon, and they’ll play each other next week in Seattle.
Even though a trip to Purdue can never be overlooked, we’ll really find out what the Buckeyes are all about in the following two games when they host Penn State before traveling to Wisconsin. The Buckeyes might be able to overcome mistakes like they had against the Terrapins, but they certainly will be a lot tougher to recover from against the Nittany Lions, Badgers, and when they take on Michigan later in the year.
The offensive line/running game
It’s always tough when you have to replace multiple starters from the year before on the offensive line. I guess I didn’t think the transition would be as tough as it has been since Donovan Jackson was coming back to lead the line, and even the new starters had seen time on the field last year, so at least they had an idea of what is expected of them when they are on the field.
For whatever reason, the offensive line just hasn’t clicked so far this year. The running game looked inept today, and honestly hasn’t looked very good all year long aside from a couple long runs from TreVeyon Henderson and Chip Trayanum. Henderson was a surprise scratch from the game against Maryland, as he is dealing with an injury he suffered against Notre Dame.
With Henderson on the sidelines, Trayanum saw most of the carries on Saturday. The former Arizona State running back is a bruising runner that is great at getting some tough yards, as we all saw at the end of the Notre Dame game. What I would rather not see anymore is games where Trayanum gets 20 carries like he did against the Terrapins.
What I want to know is what happened to Dallan Hayden? After torching Maryland last year, Hayden has barely seen the field since. Today would have been a perfect opportunity for Hayden to get some carries. His running style would have perfectly complemented Trayanum and Miyan Williams. Hell, I would have been happy to see Evan Pryor see some time.
As Ohio State fans, we definitely are spoiled. What other school could a head coach have a 50-6 record and essentially be public enemy No. 1? Honestly though, there’s a lot of times where Day is his own worst enemy. At times it feels like he is trying to jam a square peg into a round hole with some of his play calls. If Day decided to throw the wide receiver screen and jet sweep plays in the trash can, Buckeye Nation would rejoice.
Of course, a head coach isn’t going to tell you exactly what he is going to do during a game. Sometimes though, what Day says and what we actually see from his team aren’t even in the same solar system. At least to the credit of Day, he didn’t go after former Maryland coaches Bobby Ross or Ralph Friedgen in postgame interviews. Not that those two said anything about the Buckeyes, I just wasn’t sure if Day was just going to start shooting on former head coaches of the schools he was going up against.
Can we sit Fleming down “Office Space” style and ask him what it is he does here? When people know who the special teams coordinator for a team is, then the special teams suck. Botched snaps, terrible coverage, penalties, and more. Yet for some reason during the offseason Day decided Fleming needed a raise.
The special teams at Ohio State used to be special. Under Fleming, they are just speshul.
Not that there weren’t positives about today’s game. After a rough start, Kyle McCord settled down in the second half and threw a couple touchdowns. J.T. Tuimoloau finally broke through with a sack and a half. Tommy Eichenberg made 13 tackles. Marvin Harrison Jr. had another monster game, catching eight passes for 163 yards and a score. I’ll let the others who are more upbeat people than I am dive deeper into all the good that happened.
Another upside to having issues like Ohio State has had so far this year is they have time to address those problems before some of their tougher games. Last year the Buckeyes didn’t really see some of their faults until the Michigan game and by then it was too late to do much about it. This is where Ryan Day has to earn his money and look deep at himself, as well as the assistant coaches he is surrounding himself with.
At least Ohio State is one of the few teams that can say they are still undefeated. Go Bucks now. Go Bucks forever.