Week Nine Recap
What went right?
Everything! Holy cow, Buckeyes fans had to be smiling Saturday night and well into this week after the shellacking that they put on the Nittany Lions. Sixty three points on a Big Ten school. Not just any Big Ten school, but historically speaking, the third best program in the conference.
What went wrong?
Not much. Penn State's opening drive was concerning, as they drove right down the field, similar to Iowa the week before. Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown made an outstanding play at the goal line however and intercepted a pass to keep PSU off the scoreboard. With the exception of a great play, late in the game against Ohio State's backups, the defense played like the Silver Bullet tradition demands.
The Bottom Line
What a difference 20 years makes! In 1994 the Buckeyes traveled to Happy Valley and lost 63-14. Twenty seasons later the Buckeyes returned the favor at the Horseshoe, with an identical score, handing Penn State their worst loss since 1899 when they lost 64-5 to Duquesne of all teams. Ohio State dominated from start to finish.
The offense racked up 686 yards of offense, including 408 on the ground. Run or pass; the Buckeyes did whatever they wanted to a defense that prides itself on its strong defensive tradition as Linebacker U. It was an outstanding night to be a Buckeye. The key will be sustaining this kind of complete game. Nobody expects Ohio State to put up 63 points every week, but they should convincingly win in every game they play the rest of this season. It's all going to be about consistency.
Quarterback Rating - A+
Braxton Miller looked exactly like the guy that we expected him to be. He looked like a Heisman caliber player. He didn't run too much and his passing was a thing of beauty. Most importantly, Miller didn't turn the ball over at all. If Miller is that dynamic in every remaining game then they won't lose this year, to anyone. Kenny Guiton and Cardale Jones cleaned up at the end, looking great as well.
Running Back Rating - A+
As I have been saying all season long, Ohio State has the deepest group of tailbacks in the country. The leader of that group is the best running back in the country. Carlos Hyde is on an absolute tear right now and Penn State had no answer for him in the short amount of time that he was in. Hyde racked up 147 yards and Jordan Hall pitched in 81.
Receivers Rating - A
Three different players caught touchdown passes and as a unit the receivers racked up 278 yards through the air. My only gripe, for a team that is going to struggle to get touches for everybody in it's deep skills positions, is Jeff Heuerman is too good of a tight end to end the game with zero catches. It was great to see Chris Fields utilized again, though.
Offensive Line Rating - A+
This unit was fantastic as well. They paved the way for the rest of the offense to roll up 686 yards. They protected Braxton Miller and gave him all the time he needed to pass for 252 yards and they bullied the Nittany Lion front seven all night on their way to 408 yards on the ground. Outstanding.
Defensive Line Rating - A
Christian Hackenburg definitely had a trip he'd like to forget after his first visit to Columbus. The defensive line played a big role in that, as they were all over him all night. He was never able to settle in and get comfortable. The Big Ten's leading passer, coming into the game, finished a pedestrian 12-23 for 112 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Mission accomplished.
Linebacker Rating - A
The biggest question mark for the defense heading into this season was rightfully the linebacker unit. They are steadily improving week to week. They put their most solid effort of the season together this week against Penn State. As long as they continue to get better and stay healthy, this unit will be good enough to play with any team by bowl season.
Secondary Rating - A
The team's most disappointing unit this year has probably been the secondary. Like the guys in the second level, however, they are getting better. Bradley Roby has struggled to get comfortable after his suspension and then later getting kicked out of a game for bogus call by the officials. Combining that with the fact that the group's leader, Christian Bryant is out for the season after breaking his ankle against Wisconsin, and one would have to expect some amount of transition time. They took a step in the right direction against PSU as both safeties, "Pitt" Brown and C.J. Barnett, hauled in interceptions.
Special Teams Rating - A+
The punt coverage was great on the whole one punt that Ohio State attempted. The kick coverage was great all game. Wilson's one kick return went for 49 yards and Drew Basil was a perfect 9/9 on PAT attempts. Solid!
Hit of the Day:
The hit of the day easily belonged to Marcus Hall. His crack back on a Penn State defender during a Braxton Miller scramble would make Jack Tatum proud.
It might not be popular, but I'm moving Ohio State past Oregon this week. It's just a hunch.
2. Florida State
3. Ohio State
6. Miami (FL)
12. Fresno State
14. Northern Illinois
17. Texas Tech
18. Texas A&M
20. South Carolina
22. Michigan State
Updated Big Ten Rankings:
1. Ohio State - Hands down the conference's best team, they just keep winning. W 63-14
2. Wisconsin - They are #2....I think. BYE
3. Michigan State - We will have a better gauge on Sparty after this week. W 42-3
4. Michigan - Hopefully Coach Hoke's boys worked on pass coverage during their week. BYE
5. Minnesota- How about them Gophers? One of this year's best stories so far. W 34-23
6. Iowa - The Hawkeyes are better than people realize. W 17-10
7. Penn State - I think this game was more snowball effect than it was a statement on how good the Lions are. L 63-14
8. Nebraska - Every time you start to believe in Nebraska, they disappoint. L 34-23
9. Indiana - See #4. BYE
10. Northwestern - What happened to the boys from Evanston? L 17-10
11. Illinois - The Illini puzzle me. Some weeks they look like a football team. Last week they did not. L 42-3
12. Purdue - Ohio State has lost during their two most recent trips to West Lafayette. Could the Boilermakers have something up their sleeves this week? BYE