Week Six Recap
What went right?
Carlos Hyde. Carlos Hyde. I know that Urban Meyer and Tom Herman know more about football than I could ever imagine to know, but in my opinion Carlos Hyde should be the focus of this offense, not Braxton Miller. Hyde is by far the best tailback in the Big Ten and his body is built to take the punishing hits that Braxton's body can't endure. I've been saying all year that I don't understand the insistence for all of the designed quarterback runs for Braxton. Is he electrifying? He sure is. Do we need him to be electrifying to win out? No. Our offense ran better with Guiton in there, not because Kenny G is necessarily a better quarterback, but for the most part the play calling was adjusted to fit a quarterback and not an athlete. If Coach Meyer says Braxton is the better quarterback, then I won't question that. But, as a fan and someone who watches football religiously I would believe that this offense would be more dynamic spreading the ball around to the other play makers on the team. Our highly coveted speedster Dontre Wilson didn't touch the ball on offense last night. There is no need for Braxton to have more than 8 to 10 carries. Doing so is taking away touches from Wilson, Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, Evan Spencer, Chris Fields, Jeff Heuerman, and even Devin Smith. Those are all players that have proven themselves this year as able to make big plays.
From the moment Braxton got hurt through the first half of the Wisconsin game we saw an offense that exploited opposing defenses by using its abundance of depth at the skill positions. In the second half of the Wiscy game through last night we saw Braxton return and a lot of unspectacular designed runs that have sputtered a high powered offense. This isn't the 2012 Buckeyes that needed Miller to be the hero. Put the weight of the offense on your stud that wears #34 and use him to open up the passing game to your athletes on the outside. I digress.
Anyway, as I said, Hyde was outstanding as he picked up a career high 168 yards and three second half touchdowns. Big time!
What went wrong?
Boy, oh, boy the secondary will be hard at work these next two weeks as they prepare for Iowa. After losing their star safety Christian Bryant to a broken ankle, we knew that there may be some mistakes made by this group that has now struggled in three of the six games this year. The talent is there. Bradley Roby is an All-American lock down corner but his zone defense needs some work. Doran Grant has been picked on a lot but made a huge interception last night. C.J. Barnett is a big hitter but can get lost in zone coverage as well. Corey "Pitt" Brown, who is filling in for the injured Bryant, had no shortage of misplayed reads either. These aren't scrubs, however, and they will need to work hard to right this thing before they play Michigan.
The Bottom Line
Ohio State is one of the best teams in the country, there's no doubt about it. For them to achieve the goal of winning a national title, though, they will need to clean up the fumbles. There is no room for error when you are playing a schedule as weak as Ohio State's. They need to play to their potential and beat the remaining teams on their schedule convincingly, even on their trip to Ann Arbor.
Quarterback Rating - C
Braxton Miller had a very average game on Saturday night in Evanston. He started out red-hot before cooling off. Most importantly, for the leader of the offense, is the three turnovers he gave away; not to mention the seven points that never went on the board after the terrible pass he threw to a wide open Chris Fields in the end zone. He wants to be so dynamic that I think it hurts the team. We don't need Miller's legs to win out, we'll need his arm.
Running Back Rating - A+
Carlos Hyde proved once again that he is the best back in the conference. His blend of speed and power is why teams coveted him so much out of high school. A career high 168 yards and three touchdowns later and the Buckeyes were on their way to their eighteenth consecutive victory.
Receiver Rating - B
When Miller found them they stepped up. "Philly" Brown continued his steady career by hauling in a lot of passes. I don't think that there are defenses in the Big Ten that can shut down this group of receivers, but since Miller's return, they've slowly began to fade away in exchange for designed quarterback runs. I'm not in favor of this. Where is Jeff Heuerman?
Offensive Line Rating - A
The offensive line paved the way for Hyde's career day as the Buckeyes rolled to well over 200 yards on the ground.
Defensive Line Rating - A
Northwestern came into the game averaging a ton of yards on the ground and they found it very hard to accomplish that against the Buckeyes. Throw in a few sacks and the defensive front played another very solid game.
Linebacker Rating - B
The second level of the defense put together a decent game, but Curtis Grant looked silly in coverage on one of the Wildcats scores.
Secondary Rating - C+
Teams seem to make the Buckeyes look bad in zone coverage. Saturday night was no different as the combination of Northwestern quarterbacks found plenty of soft spots in between zones. While the unit did get picked on, Doran Grant's interception was a huge game changer at the time of its occurrence and the Buckeyes offense capitalized on it.
Special Teams Rating - B+
Kick and punt coverage teams were kind of ho-hum and the fake punt that the unit ran never had a chance, due to poor execution. The punt block unit, however, gets my vote for best punt block ever, as I've never seen a punter get completely swallowed up by an opposing team like that.
Hit of the Day:
For the second time in two weeks, Carlos Hyde got smacked. Against Wiscy he got absolutely stood up at the goal line and against the Wildcats he took a serious hit on the Buckeyes last drive that appeared to knock him a little woozy. My second vote goes towards the punt team for the hit they got on the Northwestern punter.
The Buckeyes stay at #3. Several teams helped or hurt their cause by winning convincingly or laying an egg. Almost halfway through the season and we've seen enough football now to gauge these teams fairly realistically.
1. Oregon - Their offense is flat out ridiculous.
2. Alabama - This team is not as unbeatable as the media would have you believe.
3. Ohio State - This win will be sexier at the end of the season.
4. Stanford - See above.
5. Clemson - The Tigers are good, but I'm not a believer.
6. Florida State - The 'Noles are for real. They may be young, but don't be surprised if they are undefeated at season's end.
7. Louisville - Their luster is wearing off due to their schedule and less than impressive victories in those games.
8. Georgia - Lucky to pull one out at Rocky Top's Neyland Stadium.
9. Oklahoma - I think they are good, BUT they play in the Big 12...
10. Texas A&M - I might be the only person in the media that doesn't like this team or its quarterback.
11. UCLA - So far, so good for the Bruins.
12. Miami (FL) - The 'Canes appear to be back. Their tilt with the boys from Tallahassee will tell us more.
13. Baylor - Will anybody in the Big 12 beat them? Will that be enough for them? Their offense might be as good as Oregon's.
14. LSU - YAWN.
15. Northwestern - This is a good team, that I expect to rematch Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
16. Washington - They should be in the Top 15 by season's end.
17. Michigan - They are a solid team, but not nearly as dominant as their fans had hoped going into the season. They may still be a year away.
18. Texas Tech - Red Raiders/Baylor...that would be fun.
19. Florida - See #14.
20. Northern Illinois - This MAC team is really building something. They ought to be ranked.
21. Nebraska - See #19.
22. Oklahoma State - Their dream season is quickly going to fade.
23. Wisconsin - Great tailbacks, great receiver.
24. Notre Dame - I loathe this team.
25. Arizona State - Why not?
Updated Big Ten Rankings:
1. Ohio State - The Buckeyes are the class of the B1G Conference, but they'd better figure out the secondary and hold onto the football if they want to remain there. W 40-30
2. Northwestern - I liked this team before the season started, I still do. L 40-30
3. Michigan - For TTUN it's all about consistency. W 42-13
4. Nebraska - If only their defense wasn't so bad... W 39-19
5. Wisconsin - BYE
6. Michigan State - If only their offense wasn't so bad... W 26-14
7. Indiana - This conference really is a shell of its former self, huh? W 44-24
8. Iowa - Hey, they've looked better than I anticipated them to. L 26-14
9. Penn State - Remember when I said that their lack of depth would show through this season... L 44-24
10. Minnesota - They had me going. The past two weeks showed me that they are the same old Minnesota. L 42-13
11. Illinois - They are who we thought they were. L 39-19
12. Purdue - BYE