Week Three Recap
What went right?
On offense, just about everything. Even with their backup quarterback playing; the Buckeyes offense is getting better week to week. I believe Kenny Guiton is the second best quarterback in the Big Ten behind his fellow Buckeye Braxton Miller. I'm not going to say Miller shouldn't be the starter, but it is comforting to know that Guiton is more than capable of handling the load if Miller's injuries continue to be an issue. The scary thing is that Guiton and Company are an offensive machine, right now, and are getting the Big Ten's best running back in Carlos Hyde back this week. There are too many weapons on this offense and I expect them to keep putting up big numbers, regardless of who is behind the center.
What went wrong?
On defense, a lot. Mainly in pass coverage, the Buckeyes made Cal quarterback Jared Goff look like Drew Brees. I know the kid is going to be good, but it's very frustrating to watch a defense get shredded like that. Their were plenty of missed tackles and missed assignments for the young defense. The good news, however, is that the Buckeyes most likely won't face an offense like that again; unless they were to play Oregon in a bowl game.
The Bottom Line
Ohio State flexed their muscles early and often on their way to a 21-0 lead before trading scores with Cal the rest of the way. For the third straight week the Buckeyes came out fast. For the second time in those three weeks, the young defense showed a lot of promise but also felt some growing pains. The Buckeyes will most likely destroy Florida A&M this week in what will be their final tuneup for the Big Ten slate.
Quarterback Rating - A+
Kenny G just keeps this offense rolling. He might not be the starter on his college team, but I believe he will be on an NFL roster next year with the beautiful deep ball that he throws.
Running Backs - A
Jordan Hall carried the ball thirty times and will force Carlos Hyde to earn his job back as the stud in the backfield. Like I've been saying, Ohio State is legitimately seven deep at tailback and is going to have a hard time finding carries for everybody. That's a good problem to have as the grind of the Big Ten season will allow the Buckeyes to wear down opposing defenses late in games.
Receivers - A+
Can Devin Smith fly or what? Holy cow! Twice he flat out ran by the defense on long touchdown receptions. Seniors Corey "Philly" Brown and Chris Fields also added touchdown grabs. I really would like to see tight end Jeff Heuerman more involved in the offense, but I must admit that with all of these running backs and receivers, that may be hard to do.
Offensive Line - A
The O-line probably was the best they've been this year. The offense did what they wanted, when they wanted; all game long.
Defensive Line - A
They were downright scary, early in the game. Sacks, forced fumbles, and constant pressure kept Cal off the clock for awhile. As the game wore on, the line couldn't get to Goff as freely and he made the rest of the defense pay for it.
Linebackers - B+
Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier are forming quite a duo at linebacker. Shazier even picked up Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors, but that dumb penalty of his on the sideline was uncalled for and has got to be unacceptable from the leader of your defense.
Secondary - B
Even All-American Bradley Roby had a slice of humble pie as the Cal offense racked up 371 yards through the air. Once the Golden Bears offense got rolling, the Buckeyes had no answer. Thankfully, the offense started fast and Cal's defense was atrocious.
Special Teams - B
Drew Basil nailed his lone field goal attempt. This wasn't a special teams kind of game, this is definitely not your Tressel Era offense.
Hit of the Day:
The hit of the day is actually going to go to Cal. The crack block that Von Bell took on the play that sprung Cal loose on their second touchdown was a big time hit. You hate to see it happen to your guy, but any football fan can appreciate a good block.
The Buckeyes keep rolling, as does Oregon. Alabama's defense is having nightmares after what A&M did, even though the Crimson Tide got the win. Interesting thoughts for potential bowl match ups; Ohio State struggled to stop Cal who is a lesser version of Oregon. Alabama got absolutely shredded by Texas A&M who has far inferior athletes than both Oregon or Ohio State. With that said, I'm moving the Ducks to #1 for now.
3. Ohio State
6. Florida State
10. Texas A&M
11. Oklahoma State
13. South Carolina
18. Miami (FL)
19. Ole Miss
21. Texas Tech
22. Arizona State
24. Notre Dame
Updated Big Ten Rankings:
1. Ohio State - There isn't a defense in the Big Ten that wants to match up with their offense right now. W 52-34
2. Northwestern - The Wildcats move up, by default, in what turned out to be a terrible week for the Big Ten. W 38-17
3. Michigan - To give you an idea, the Big Ten was so bad this week that Michigan beats Akron at home by four and only drops one spot. Michigan is good though, and this was just a classic example of a team high on a win the week before that completely overlooked the Zips. W 28-24
4. Minnesota - This team isn't a sexy pick at all, and may prove me wrong in my ranking of them. But, they are undefeated and showed some resilience in pulling out a win after their head coach had a seizure. W 29-12
5. Michigan State - The Spartans offense finally showed up to a game, albeit against FCS opponent Youngstown State. Yawn. W 55-17
6. Wisconsin - The Badgers are better than this. They lost a game on the road to a decent Pac-12 team. But, it's a game that they should have won. The officiating didn't help, but it shouldn't have came down to that. L 32-30
7. Indiana - I was high on the Hoosiers early in the season because of their offense. They can still move the ball and will outscore lesser opponents. If it's a shootout, they will probably lose every time though because their defense is flat out bad. W 42-10
8. Nebraska - The Black Shirts of yesteryear are long gone. Taylor Martinez and company were held in check and the Husker defense was exposed big time, by a decent UCLA team, in Lincoln. Unacceptable. L 41-21
9. Penn State - I may have dropped the Nittany Lions too far, as Central Florida isn't a terrible team. But, when you are Penn State, you are supposed to beat teams like that. Regardless of whether there are sanctions against you or not, you've got to win that game. L 34-31
10. Illinois - During the preseason, I had Illinois as the worst team in the conference. They barely survived week one against an FCS school, blew out a solid Cincinnati team, and held their own this week against a Washington team that is on the upswing. They may be as high as 6th in this conference or as low as 12th. I can't get a good feel for them yet, but thus far they have exceeded my expectations. L 34-24
11. Iowa - The best news that Iowa will get all year is that even as bad as they are, the Cy-Hawk Trophy is returning to Iowa City. W 27-21
12. Purdue - Like I expected, the Boilers played their tails off in a close loss to the very over rated Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. They've improved each week, but not enough to leave the cellar after their week one drubbing. L 31-24