If you asked me what my favorite sitcom of all time is, the answer would be easy. “Parks and Recreation.” Ron Swanson alone makes it gold. The show started off slow in the first season or two, but it really hit its stride after and was must-see television for me. Even now, if I see re-runs on I pretty much have to turn it on.
Since the fictional town of Pawnee is the best thing to ever come out of Indiana, I figured it would be fitting to look at yesterday’s performance by Ohio State in the Hoosier State through the prism of Parks and Recreation. Whether it be characters, places, or products, I’ll try and find the best of the best to encapsulate what we saw in Bloomington yesterday.
In season five, Garry (or Jerry) Gergich has a heart attack, which also results in uncontrollable farting. Watching Ohio State’s quarterbacks yesterday felt like a big fart attack. In Kyle McCord’s defense, he did start to look better as the game went on in the second half, the performance just wasn’t what Ohio State fans were expecting to see against an Indiana team that should finish in the basement of the Big Ten East.
What we saw out of McCord on Saturday will be enough to beat Indiana in Bloomington, but it definitely won’t fly later in this month when the Buckeyes head back to Indiana to take on Notre Dame in South Bend. Until then, as Ohio State fans we pretty much have to overreact to anything that goes the slightest bit wrong when it comes to the quarterbacks. We saw it a few years ago when C.J. Stroud struggled early in the 2021 season, and we will see it this year. The fart attacks from the quarterbacks lead to verbal diarrhea from Buckeye fans about the quarterbacks.
You got Jammed
A lot of the underwhelming performance from the quarterback position yesterday from the Buckeyes can be blamed on Ryan “Jeremy Jamm” Day. Where was the play-calling we saw from Day in the Georgia game that almost resulted in Ohio State beating the Bulldogs and making the national title game in January? After saying he was going to give up some of the play-calling to Brian Hartline, how much of that actually happened in this game? Honestly, I can’t think Hartline had much say in what happened yesterday because it looked so much like the same scared coaching we saw from Day in other games over the last few years.
Also, bringing in Devin Brown on Ohio State’s third offensive series of the game only to run the ball was insanely stupid to me. It felt like wanting to teach a kid to swim and then just throwing them in the shallowest part of the pool with water wings on. Brown isn’t going to learn or have any confidence out on the field if you don’t have any trust in him. If you want to try and shake things up, there’s no better place for Brown (or even McCord) to get some road experience than in Bloomington, where the crowd is going to be a little gentler than what they’ll see later this month.
Johnny Karate/Burt Macklin, FBI
Even though his name isn’t Johnny, Sonny Styles was awesome like Johnny Karate and Burt Macklin. It felt like Styles was all over the field against the Hoosiers, sniffing out the mysteries that Indiana was trying to throw at him and laying the lumber like Johnny Karate would with some of his sick kung fu. There’s no question Styles is the future of the Ohio State secondary.
Even more amazing is Styles should really be in his first year at Ohio State right now. Instead, after reclassifying in high school to allow him to become a member of the Buckeyes last year, he already has a year under his belt. With how good he is, I can’t imagine Styles not declaring for the NFL Draft after next season since if he’s not the best safety in the country, he certainly will be in the conversation. It feels like Styles is Vonn Bell, but even better, which is high praise since Bell was really good as a Buckeye, and has gone on to have a strong NFL career.
“You had me at meat tornado”
I know Ohio State wasn’t facing anything special at quarterback, but the Buckeye defensive line certainly did get after Tayven Jackson and Brendan Sorsby. The duo combined to go just 9/20 for 82 yards yesterday. The Hoosier quarterbacks were under pressure all day from J.T. Tuimoloau, Michael Hall Jr., and the rest of the Ohio State defensive line.
The best way to describe the defensive line is a meat tornado. There is a lot of mass and they are dangerous. Even though Tuimoloau didn’t put up numbers like we saw in the Penn State game last year, it was clear that he was altering what Indiana was trying to do with his rushes. Had the Hoosier quarterbacks not been so green and looking to get rid of the football as soon as possible, we likely would have seen more than the one sack Ohio State got late in the game from Hero Kanu.
Since he describes himself as a farm guy, I figured that Paunch Burger was a perfect description from what we saw from Cade Stover on Saturday. Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka deservedly received most of the attention heading into this season, but it was Stover who made the most plays out of anyone in the Ohio State receiving corps.
Cade Stover is essentially like eating at Paunch Burger. At times you know it’s not good for you, but when you do have it you don’t regret your decision. The times when you know it’s not good is when you see some of the lapses with his blocking. All is forgiven though when he has catches the the 49-yarder, which was the longest for the Buckeyes yesterday. The 98 receiving yards were a career-high for Stover.
Turf & turf
One area where Ohio State did find success on offense was with their running game. Even though he only saw 12 carries, most of them in the first half, TreVeyon Henderson did show some glimpses of what we saw from him in 2021 when he came to Columbus as a freshman. Miyan Williams found the end zone twice, while Chip Trayanum was the leading rusher for the Buckeyes with 57 yards in the game.
The numbers might not blow you away, but the trio were able to find some holes behind an offensive line with three new starters. While early on the line didn’t look very good, they started to find their rhythm later in the day. Also, you have to tip your cap to Indiana linebacker Aaron Casey, who was a one-man wrecking crew for the Hoosiers. If McCord and Brown continue to struggle at quarterback, Ohio State is going to need their running backs to shoulder even more of the load.
One thing I would have liked to have seen a little more of in the opener was a few carries for Dallan Hayden and Evan Pryor. Before his injury last year, it sounded like Pryor was going to have a sizable role in the run game, while we saw what Hayden could do late in the season last year. I know there are only so many carries to go around, and you want to let some guys get into a rhythm, it would have just been nice to see a few touches for those two.