Week Eight Recap
What went right?
Carlos Hyde continues to assert himself as the best running back in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country. The man is a beast. The media and most Ohio State fans believe the offense should run through Braxton Miller and I couldn't disagree more! This offense should run through Hyde in my opinion. Yes, I know that having so many weapons on the field opens things up for Carlos, but I really think he is a man among boys out there and should continue to touch the ball at least twenty times per game. There isn't a defense in the Big Ten that can stop him, with the possible exception being Michigan State.
What went wrong?
Everything in the first half for the defense was ugly. Iowa ran the ball on them and they passed the ball on the Silver Bullets with relative ease. The concerning thing is that it was the Hawkeye tight ends that destroyed the Buckeye secondary and linebackers. Losing Christian Bryant for the season with a broken ankle has hurt as bad as I thought it would. He was not only the leader of the defense, but was a flat out good player. So, losing him and Bradley Roby yesterday to a horrendous ejection call, I would expect the secondary to be shaky. To look lost against a bunch of tight ends rumbling through the flats is very concerning to me. Ohio State adjusted in the second half, save for one awful play where a tight end out ran the entire secondary, but with Penn State looming there is some cause for concern there.
The Bottom Line
The nation's longest winning streak continues and has reached 19 straight wins. Yes, the Big Ten is down, but who that actually watches a lot of football can say with a straight face that the SEC is a bunch of world beaters? That conference appears to be in shambles as well and it really looks like the PAC-12 could be the best conference in America. Ohio State's schedule could hurt them if there are multiple undefeated teams at the end of the season, but that is unlikely and the Buckeyes need to just focus on one week at a time and handle their business.
Quarterback Rating - B-
Yes, Braxton looked great passing the football. Yes, he looked good running the football, but I am going to be harder on the quarterback than any other position on the team. For this team to be what they want to be, he has to be great. His fumble on a designed run as the Buckeyes were trying to run out the clock didn't hurt them this time. It seems like he fumbles every game and his ball security has got to improve. Not taking care of the football leads to games like 1998 versus Michigan State or our last two trips to West Lafayette.
Running Back Rating - A+
Carlos Hyde is ridiculously good. He gets better as the game goes on and he wears opposing defenses down. That Iowa front four is pretty good and Hyde had his way. It was good to see Jordan Hall and Dontre Wilson get involved a little bit too, just to give opposing defenses something else to look at.
Receiver Rating - A
The under rated group on this team put in another solid day of work. Ohio State passed for 222 yards and Philly Brown and Devin Smith each had touchdown grabs. Also, in a move I've been calling for weekly, tight end Jeff Heuerman was involved with the offense again with five grabs. He is a big target with soft hands and should continue to be an option, especially in the red zone.
Offensive Line Rating - A+
Braxton didn't get beat up with sacks and the the line paved the way for two Buckeyes to pick up over 100 yards on the ground. Miller had 101 and Hyde led the way with 149. This team is built to run the football.
Defensive Line Rating - C
4.8 yards per carry is what the Iowa Hawkeyes averaged against Ohio State yesterday. That is certainly not what we expect. They also didn't put enough pressure on Jake Rudock, especially in the first half as he carved up the back end of the defense.
Linebacker Rating - C
Same as above. Iowa ran the ball too well for my taste and the tight ends ran freely most of the game. We knew this would be the weakest position group on the team but they've got to be more consistent.
Secondary Rating - C-
First off, Bradley Roby's ejection was an awful call. Absolutely awful. However, we are talking about Ohio State, and they recruit the best players in the country. Roby wasn't exactly locking things down before his ejection anyway. Overall they played better in the second half, but the giant pass to a tight end in the third quarter that went for a touchdown was ridiculous. There is no reason that a big fella like that should be able to run away from an Ohio State defensive back. That was bad.
Special Teams - B
Ohio State never had to punt in the game, which is good. They were perfect on field goal attempts, which is also good. The kick coverage wasn't great, however, largely in part to short kickoffs.
Hit of the Day:
Bradley Roby's hit that got him ejected was a great football play. Ten years you were coached to put helmet under chin and now you get ejected for playing football. It's a shame, it was a good hit. Jack Tatum and Mike Doss would be proud I would think.
Ohio State is going to slide to #4 in my rankings but if they take care of their business, they will be in the top two at the end of the season.
1. Alabama - I still think they are vulnerable but their defense has been lights out since A&M.
2. Florida State - The 'Noles are for real and absolutely embarrassed Clemson.
3. Oregon - They will score on anybody, but can their defense hold up in a shootout?
4. Ohio State - I don't care who you are playing, 19 straight wins is impressive.
5. Baylor - The Bears look like they are for real, too.
6. Missouri - Kenton, Ohio is proud this morning.
7. Miami (FL) - The 'Canes move up by default as the result of a wild Saturday, even though they looked bad against North Carolina.
8. Clemson - Um, yeah.
9. Louisville - This isn't a national title contender, but that loss to Central Florida isn't a bad loss.
10. Texas Tech - How 'bout them Red Raiders? I knew former quarterback Kingsbury would be a perfect coach in their system.
11. Stanford - Now if they can pull it off against Oregon!
12. LSU - So long to their title hopes.
13. Virginia Tech - The Hokies are sneaking back into relevance.
14. UCLA - The Bruins are a year ahead of schedule in my opinion.
15. Oklahoma State - Who knew they could play defense in Stillwater?
16. Northern Illinois - The class of the MAC may get a second consecutive at large bid for a BCS game.
17. Auburn - The Tigers are back with a vengeance.
18. Fresno State - Who'd have thought?
19. Oklahoma - The Sooners struggled with a terrible Kansas team.
20. South Carolina - Steve Spurrier didn't lose that game, but his use of his timeouts might have been the worst use of timeouts I have seen since Chris Webber.
21. Texas A&M - The most over rated team in the nation got punked for the second time at home this season.
22. Wisconsin - Their defense isn't great, but they should be able to run on everyone else they play in the regular season.
23. Michigan State - Sparty has an awful offense, but their defense is legit.
24. Michigan - What a showing by the Wolverine offense! The Maize and Blue defense, however, they have some issues.
25. Central Florida - UCF is very well coached and their only loss was a game they should have won against an SEC team in South Carolina.
Updated Big Ten Rankings:
1. Ohio State - The Buckeyes keep on rolling. W 34-24
2. Wisconsin - Illinois moved the ball on them but this game was never in doubt. W 56-32
3. Michigan State - Imagine if they had an offense. W 14-0
4. Michigan - Big Blue had better figure out their defense. The offense finally showed what they are capable of though. W 63-47
5. Nebraska - Can they make a run in the Legends Division? BYE
6. Penn State - The Nittany Lions will continue to play for pride. BYE
7. Minnesota - One more win and the Golden Gophers will be bowl eligible. W 20-17
8. Indiana - Their offense is great. Their defense is awful. The exact opposite of MSU. L 63-47
9. Iowa - The Hawkeyes had a great game plan for Ohio State but just didn't have the horses to pull off the upset. L 34-24
10. Northwestern - Wow. They are beat up and are playing like it. L 20-17
11. Illinois - The Fighting Illini defense is not very good either. L 56-32
12. Purdue - Even though they showed improvement, they are the worst team in the 2013 Big Ten. L 14-0