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Monday, September 28, 2015

Everything Ohio State Football Following a 38-12 Win over Western Michigan

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Quarterback Cardale Jones was better but still not good enough.
Jones came through with an effective, although sometimes erratic, performance in throwing two touchdown passes and leading No. 1 Ohio State to a 38-12 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday.
Coach Urban Meyer said earlier this week that Jones was his starter despite two subpar performances that led to the quarterback's benching against Northern Illinois on Sept. 16.
Jones was 19 of 33 for 288 yards, but hit only 6 of 14 in the second half when he threw his only interception. J.T. Barrett, who replaced Jones against Northern Illinois, came on in the final 6:34 and threw an interception on his first drive.
''Overall, I thought Cardale played okay,'' Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. ''He threw for 288. I still give him the okay because we have high expectations.''
Jones started strong for the Buckeyes (4-0), who won their 17th straight game. He threw a 38-yard TD pass to Michael Thomas on Ohio State's first series and added a 37-yard scoring pass to Jalin Marshall early in the second.
But he was called for intentional grounding at the Western Michigan 15 with 8 seconds left in the second quarter. The penalty brought an automatic 10-second runoff to end the half with OSU up 24-6.
Jones was also short on several long passes, one in the third quarter to Marshall in the end zone that resulted in an interception by Darius Phillips.
''The alarming part is the underthrown deep ball, which is fixable,'' Meyer said. ''It's not fixable when you don't have wideouts that can stretch a field. But we do.''
The good news for the Buckeyes was at least Jones was trying to go deep. With the graduation of Devin Smith, Jones' favorite target last season, there hasn't been a suitable replacement.
Jones was able to buy time in the pocket on several occasions and hit Thomas once for a 40-yard gain, a sign that Jones might be regaining his confidence. He missed several wide open receivers and forced a few throws.
''I definitely felt more comfortable,'' Jones said. ''We're starting to get on the same page as not just receivers or offensive line or things like that. I think everyone felt way more comfortable today.''
His uneven play was mirrored by the usually stout Ohio State defense, which scored for the third straight game when tackle Adolphus Washington rumbled 20 yards after intercepting Broncos quarterback Zach Terrell in the second quarter.
Western Michigan (1-3) moved the ball well in the first half, rolling up 232 yards. But penalties left the Broncos with no points on two sustained drives before they scored with 8:19 to go on a Terrell to Daniel Braverman 55-yarder to make it 14-6.
Terrell finished 18 of 33 for 169 yards.


Scoreboard
Western Michigan  (1-3)066012
Ohio State #1  (4-0)7177738
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Buckeyes

E. Elliott
Rush16
Yds124
Avg7.8
TD1
Broncos

D. Braverman
Rec10
Yds123
Avg12.3
TD1
SCORING SUMMARY
OHIOSTMichael Thomas 38 yd pass from Cardale Jones (Jack Willoughby kick)
OHIOSTJalin Marshall 37 yd pass from Cardale Jones (Jack Willoughby kick)
WMICHDaniel Braverman 55 yd pass from Zach Terrell (missed kick)
OHIOSTJack Willoughby 30 yd FG
OHIOSTAdolphus Washington 20 yd interception return (Jack Willoughby kick)
OHIOSTEzekiel Elliott 6 yd run (Jack Willoughby kick)
WMICHJeremiah Mullinax 1 yd pass from Zach Terrell (failed 2pt pass)
OHIOSTCurtis Samuel 40 yd run (Jack Willoughby kick)
 
TEAM STATS
 WMICHOHIOST
First Downs2025
Third Down Efficiency7-178-13
Fourth Down Efficiency1-10-0
Plays-Net Yards74-33870-511
Rushes-Yds41-16934-223
Passing Yds169288
Kick Return Yds5525
Punt Return Yds08
Passes18-33-120-36-2
Punts7-3014-206
Fumbles-Lost1-02-0
Penalties-Yds8-7412-86
Time of Poss.37:1422:46
 
INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING
WMICH: Jamauri Bogan 23-93, Jarvion Franklin 12-68, LeVante Bellamy 2-11, Zach Terrell 4--3
OHIOST: Ezekiel Elliott 16-124, Curtis Samuel 2-55, Cardale Jones 10-32, Braxton Miller 4-11, Bri'onte Dunn 1-2, J.T. Barrett 1--1
PASSING
WMICH: Zach Terrell 18-33-169-1
OHIOST: Cardale Jones 19-33-288-1, J.T. Barrett 1-3-0-1
RECEIVING
WMICH: Daniel Braverman 10-123, Corey Davis 6-42, Fabian Johnson 1-3, Jeremiah Mullinax 1-1
OHIOST: Michael Thomas 6-80, Ezekiel Elliott 3-29, Curtis Samuel 2-49, Jalin Marshall 2-48, Braxton Miller 2-27, Corey Smith 2-25, Nick Vannett 1-16, Dontre Wilson 1-14, Bri'onte Dunn 1-0
 
STANDINGS
TEAMSTANDINGSCONFERENCEOVERALL
Western Michigan2nd Mid American West0-01-3
Ohio State2nd Big Ten East0-04-0






great articles from sbnation

We're buying Ezekiel Elliott after Ohio State's 38-12 win over Western Michigan

JUMPMAN JUMPMAN JUMPMAN - Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
No. 15's stock is going to keep rising as long as he keeps hurdling fools.
Last week's struggles weren't completely forgotten, but it was a rejuvenated Ohio State team that took the field Saturday against an upstart Western Michigan team that -- no joke -- could be the best 1-3 squad in the country. The Broncos have played college football's toughest schedule through four weeks, taking on the No. 1 and No. 2 teams, and they refused to go gently into that good night against Ohio State.
The Broncos saw several players put up excellent numbers against an otherwise-stingy Buckeye defense, most notably gritty fundamental lunchpail receiver Daniel Braverman, who racked up 123 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions. That's no mean feat given the way Ohio State's pass defense has performed in the three previous game this year. Just shy of joining Braverman in the 100 yard+ club was WMU tailback Jamauri Bogan, who at times made Buckeye tacklers look about as apt as Legolas trying to bring down an explosive-bearing Uruk-hai at Helm's Deep.
Still, Ohio State's offense finally started to find its groove again on Saturday, a facet sorely missing from the last few weeks for the Buckeyes. There were a number of standout performances, so let's take a look at who's responsible for the 38-12 victory:

Blue Chip Stocks:

Ezekiel Elliott, RB: It's a breath of fresh air getting to toss Zeke's name back in this category. While he didn't equal previous weeks' carry totals, he still had his best game on the ground in a bit. No. 15 finished with 16 carries, three catches, 153 total yards, and a satisfying touchdown scamper. It was his ninth consecutive game with over 100 yards on the ground.
Elliott looked more explosive than we've seen from him since the Virginia Tech game on Saturday. It's been great watching him demonstrate his versatility in picking up blocks, but it was really nice to see him take handoffs and get back to what he does best against the Broncos. That includes, lest we forget, another open-field hurdle of a defender, a move that would have already gotten stale were it not so damn exciting every single time.
Adolphus Washington, DT: Folks, we've got an early Piesman Trophy candidate on our hands. Washington didn't have his most devastating game of the season -- WMU's offensive line acquitted themselves well in this one -- but he did make enough plays to stand out in Ohio State's front seven. The best of these, of course, was a 20-yard dine and dash in which Washington swallowed up his blocker, leapt for a bad Zach Terrell pass, reeled it in, and took it back to the house.
Washington has been a stalwart for the Buckeyes up front on defense all season, and Saturday was no different. Ohio State actually gave up some ground against Western Michigan, allowing 338 total yards and a whopping 37 minutes of possession, but that didn't stop Washington from eating. He's a force in the middle of the D-line.
Michael Thomas, WR: Is there anything Michael Thomas can't do with the ball in his hands? Saturday saw him put his second goal-line defender of the season on skates on his way in for six. This one came just 49 seconds into the game, with Cardale Jones shaking off the demons of a rough few weeks and hitting Thomas, who didn't have a defender within ten yards of him. He shook a Broncos DB hard enough to get space for a touchdown as he neared the goal line, making it look awfully easy.
Thomas finished with 80 yards (38 coming on that one play) and the aforementioned touchdown on six total grabs. Just as glaring as his strengths were the places where Ohio State's other pass-catchers just don't stack up to Thomas yet, as both Jalin Marshall andCurtis Samuel failed to come down with multiple grabs in traffic -- the kind of passes that Thomas seems to thrive at wrestling away from defenders.

Solid Investments:

Cardale Jones, QB: Urban Meyer's faith in his starting QB was rewarded on Saturday, with King Cardale showing out for almost 300 yards through the air. Jones was 19 of 33 passing on Saturday, not an otherworldly average, but good enough to get the job done and rack up 288 yards against the Broncos. This was a different Cardale Jones than has taken the field the last few weeks for Ohio State. He played as hungry as he has since last year's playoff run, and made a few throws that showed why he's still the man for the Buckeyes.
The best of these tosses was a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall in the second quarter. Marshall did his part to get open -- it helps being noticeably faster than the poor sap tasked with guarding you -- but he couldn't have asked for a better throw from Cardale. The ball dropped in as though it shared a magnet with Marshall's No. 17, and the former high school QB didn't even break stride as he made the grab and stepped in for six.
Jones still has a few issues to iron out before he's back to his full world-wrecking potential, but something was there for him on Saturday that's felt absent since the Virginia Tech romp. His touch wasn't great, as he was picked off once on a teardrop throw towards the end zone and would have coughed up two others were it not for the turf monster robbing the defender of the clean catch. Still, the offense feels like it's grooving again, which is bad news for Ohio State's Big Ten schedule.
Curtis Samuel, H-Back: This was the game we've been waiting for from Samuel. Brooklyn's finest notched 104 yards on just four touches, finding paydirt on a 40-yard run halfway through the fourth quarter to put the exclamation point on the Buckeye victory. Ohio State's coaches are clearly getting more comfortable with the myriad options they have, and fans won't be upset to see Samuel getting a few more touches from here on out.

Junk Bonds:

Nada: Feels good to be able to skate right past this section of the column. You're out of the doghouse, Slobs.

Buy/Sell:

BUY: Ohio State's team defense. Western Michigan's Zach Terrell hung 355 yards on Michigan State a few short weeks ago, and the Spartans needed some serious offensive output to put the Broncos away, 37-24. That wasn't the case for Ohio State. The Buckeyes held Terrell to 18 completions on 33 attempts, good for just 169 yards. Terrell was good for two TDs, but also threw that ugly INT to Adolphus Washington. The Buckeyes were more generous on the ground than usual, giving up 169 yards to match Terrell's, but that's a number that they'll take knowing that Terrell might have put up all 338 of those with his arm against a different team. The defense also scored for the third consecutive week.
SELL: The platoon. This call comes for different reasons than in weeks past, as Cardale Jones played demonstrably better than J.T. Barrett against WMU and put out a performance that will be a great foundation to build upon moving forwards. Jones officially has the keys to the offense, and on Saturday, he looked like he knew just how to drive it.
BUY: The special teams unit. Ohio State's kick-blocking unit is now leasing space in Broncos kicker Andrew Haldeman's head. After Tyvis Powell blocked a field goal that would have put WMU on the board early, Haldeman missed a second FG attempt and an extra point in a day he'd sorely like to forget. The pressure wasn't abnormally high on the second attempt, but the psychological onslaught apparently was. This is a team that's still at its best when it doesn't have the ball in its hands, whether it's on defense or special teams.


2015 Ohio State vs. Western Michigan final score, with 3 things to know from OSU's 38-12 victory

The Buckeyes offense showed some life in their last game before Big Ten play begins
Ohio State opened up this one with a fast drive that ended in a Cardale Jonestouchdown pass to Michael Thomas, giving the Buckeyes a quick start. After an extended Western Michigan drive, penalties would set them back, leading to a blocked field goal by Tyvis Powell. Darron Lee was carted into the locker room at the end of the first quarter with a leg injury.
Cardale Jones found Jalin Marshall for a 37-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to put the Buckeyes up two scores at 14-0. Western Michigan would answer with a score of their own, a 55-yard reception by Daniel Braverman. The Broncos continued to have special teams problems, missing the extra point. Adolphus Washington threw his hat into the Piesman Trophy conversation, after a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the second quarter.
The Buckeye offense got off to another great start in the second half, where Ezekiel Elliott found the end zone to give the Buckeyes a 31-6 lead. Western Michigan would get on the board one more time, failing to convert on their two-point attempt. Curtis Samuelput the game to rest with a 40-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes would go on to win by a final score of 38-12.

3 things we learned:

1. Cardale Jones is the starter. Jones looked the best that he had looked all season. He made the right decisions, and while he made some not so great ones, he clearly had more confidence in this game. They got off to a quick start with a long touchdown pass toMichael Thomas, and they never really looked back from there.
We didn't see as much emotion out of Cardale as we did in previous weeks, and he seemed much more poised. Urban Meyer left Jones in for most of the game, and this clearly helped Jones, who was really able to find a rhythm, and get some consistency that he hadn't seen through the first three games of the season. This game was his, and there wasn't any question about it.
Jones never gave Urban Meyer a reason to put J.T. Barrett in the game, and it appeared it allowed Jones to take more shots, and didn't make him have to look over his shoulder after every possession. It's what the Buckeyes have been missing at the position this season, and that was clear today.
2. The offense is fine. The offensive line played much better in this one. Cardale Jones actually had time to stand in the pocket and deliver throws, and runs seemed to come easier for Ezekiel Elliott, even when much wasn't there. It almost looked like the offense we were spoiled with for the last three games of last season. The Buckeye offense had 13 plays of 15 yards or more.
The Buckeyes had three passing plays of 30 or more yards to three different receivers. In total, Jones found eight different receivers in the game. The passing attack seemed much more fluid, with Michael Thomas having his best game of the season thus far, with six receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. The Buckeyes had been looking for a more dominant performance out of Thomas, who gave it to them today.
Ezekiel Elliott's threat on the ground helped open up that passing attack. His first rush of the game went for 26 yards, which helped keep the Western Michigan defense on their toes the whole game. While he only had six carries in the first half, he was effective, and had a great opening drive in the second half, where he ran for 27 yards and capped off the drive with a touchdown.
3. The defense had their first sloppy game. The one constant in the first few weeks of the Buckeyes season had been the defense. While they weren't terrible in this one, they weren't quite as sharp as they had been in previous weeks. Western Michigan was able to get off a couple of time consuming drives, where it appeared that the Buckeyes wouldn't be able to stop them from scoring, only to be saved by special teams.
The Broncos were also able to get too many runs for good gains up the middle of the Buckeye defense. It seemed for quite a while that they would be able to get whatever they wanted through the heart of the Buckeye defense on many occasions. While there were good stops, and even a highlight pick six out of Adolphus Washington, the Buckeyes weren't as consistent wrapping up on tackles as they had been during the year.
Is this something that needs to be a concern? Most likely not. The Silver Bullets have been amazing all season, and while it looked at some points today like they were going through the motions, we have seen just how ferocious they can be, and the fear that they strike in opposing offenses.


Here are your complete AP and Coaches Polls: Week 5 Sept.28, 2015
APCoachesS&P+
1Ohio State (45)Ohio State (61)Alabama
2Michigan State (5)Michigan State (2)Florida State
3Ole Miss (10)TCUWest Virginia
4TCUBaylorLSU
5BaylorOle Miss (1)Ole Miss
6Notre DameGeorgiaClemson
7UCLANotre DameOhio State
8GeorgiaLSUOklahoma
9LSUFlorida StateUSC
10Utah (1)UCLAMichigan
11Florida StateClemsonGeorgia
12ClemsonUtahNotre Dame
13AlabamaAlabamaStanford
14Texas A&MOklahomaUCLA
15OklahomaTexas A&MMichigan State
16NorthwesternUSCWisconsin
17USCNorthwesternTCU
18StanfordWisconsinBaylor
19WisconsinOklahoma StateDuke
20Oklahoma StateStanfordMinnesota
21Mississipi StateWest VirginiaFlorida
22MichiganMississippi StatePenn State
23West VirginiaFloridaTennessee
24CalCal (tie)Miami
25FloridaOregon (tie)Texas A&M

FIVE THINGS: OFFENSE MAKES STRIDES IN 38-12 VICTORY OVER WESTERN MICHIGAN

great article from elevenwarriors.com
Cardale Jones generally looked more comfortable but far from perfect against the Broncos.
45 COMMENTS
With all eyes on the offense following a pair of middling performances against the likes of Hawai'i and Northern Illinois, the unit responded to the task – for the most part – and the Silver Bullets scored a defensive touchdown again while holding Western Michigan to 106 yards in the second half of a 38-12 win. 
The win moves Ohio State to 4-0 and sets the stage for the B1G opener next weekend at Indiana. The Hoosiers are also 4-0 with an average margin of victory of 6.3 points against the likes ofSouthern Illinois, Florida International, Western Kentucky and Wake Forest. 
Before you start making plans to invade Horseshoe West, here are Five Things from yesterday's defeat of the Broncos. 

GAUGING PROGRESS

Urban Meyer provided some clarity on his quarterback situation earlier in the week reaffirming Cardale Jones as his starter and with Jones feeling a little more safe in his standing, the big man completed 19/33 passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns against one interception. 
His 58% accuracy on the day was far from spectacular but still his best mark since week one against the Hokies and those 288 passing yards were 101 better than his previous season high. In fact, over the last two games, Jones threw for just 147 yards with zero touchdowns and two picks. 
Cardale's outing wasn't without its warts, however. There were five instances where he underthrew his receiver on a deep ball which is often touted as one of his key strengths. On each, it appeared Jones was slow to read or at least slow to release the ball and seldom stepped into the throw leading to one interception and four incompletions, leaving a couple touchdowns on the table.
At this point, it feels fair to at least discuss Cardale does in fact have a tremendous arm but there is a difference between that and throwing an accurate deep ball. Maybe Devin Smith's ability to make plays on deep balls ended up giving Jones too much credit for his ability to truly be accurate on long throws. In either case, I love that taking deep shots is part of the offense and I do expect Jones to get better. 
On the plus side of the ledger, Jones used his cannon of an arm superbly on numerous throws posting his highest yards per completion (15.2) since the season opener (18.7) and he was a beast in the 1st half posting 226 passing yards on 13/19 with two touchdowns. His 37-yard post to Jalin Marshall was pretty, the 40-yard teardrop to Curtis Samuel was even prettier and I loved his 16-yard completion to Nick Vannett on 2nd and 15 as he rolled right and cat/moused the linebacker creating a seam to throw leading to a field goal and a 17-6 lead. Jones was also sharp with his accuracy and timing on two curl routes to Dontre Wilson and Marshall to move the chains.  
Again, not a perfect day which also included a sketchy backward pass under duress but Jones looked much more crisp with the majority of his throws and the offense ran at a significantly improved pace. If Jones can build on this performance ext week then the Buckeyes might finally go on the offensive tear we've been waiting on. 

STUMPING FOR SAMUEL

Curtis Samuel is playing some damn good football but it feels a bit lost amid so many other offensive storylines. 
Curtis Samuel averaged nearly 26 yards per touch yesterday.
Yesterday, Samuel had just four offensive touches for 104 yards with a touchdown. Including his 25-yard kickoff return, Samuel was second only to Ezekiel Elliott with 129 all-purpose yards on five touches. 
Lining up at various receiver spots despite being the second-best running back on the team, Samuel has evolved into a versatile weapon with great hands and burst. I love that he doesn't try to take every play to the House – a trait it feels like Braxton could emulate, to be honest – instead he is decisive and purposeful with his cuts to always at least get what's there. My belief is that he runs the jet sweep better than anyone else on offense. 
Forty percent of his touches went for big plays yesterday as he got behind his man and hauled in a 40-yard toss from Jones leading to a field goal and later added a 40-yard run for the game's final score. 
I don't pretend to know where the extra touches should come from but I would love to see Samuel get a few more opportunities per game going forward. 

RETURN OF THE SLOBS

Much of the offense's recent struggles have been placed at the feet of the O-line as a rash of penalties, bad snaps and general lack of execution have gotten numerous possessions off-schedule. 
Yesterday, the Slobs appeared to have had enough of the negative chatter and paved the way to 511 total yards on 7.3 yards per play including 223 rushing yards on 6.6 per pop. The crew surrendered just one sack on well over 40 dropbacks and ensured Elliott would crack the 100-yard mark (16/124, TD) for a ninth straight game. 
Fundamentally speaking, Jacoby Boren's shotgun snaps were on point and the unit had just one false start (Chase Farris) though two more came from tight end Nick Vannett with one of those looking like maybe Boren blew the snap count since virtually everyone moved except the center. 
Up 24-6 at the half and getting the ball to start the 3rd quarter, the line was clicking on a 14 play, 75-yard touchdown march to largely break Western Michigan's spirit. The offense gained positive yards on all six rushing plays highlighted by Zeke's untouched six-yard march to the end zone while the pass protection was solid throughout. 
In particular, Boren and Pat Elflein were dominant in pulling situations creating huge running lanes for the skill guys. The only fairly consistent blemish was Farris appearing to struggle in pass pro a few different times but overall it looked like the Slobs got their groove back. 

KWON YOU DIG IT?

In his first year as the starting middle linebacker after backing up Curtis Grant as a true freshman, Raekwon McMillan is easing into his role. 
Raekwon McMillan is averaging 10.0 tackles per game.
Against Western Michigan, McMillan had his most prolific day as a Buckeye with 16 tackles, a sack and a hurry. In the first half alone he tallied 11 stops. 
McMillan hasn't made as many big plays as some might have expected but his sack yesterday was one such instance. With Ohio State leading 7-0 and the Broncos running their 11th play of a drive, McMillan picked up a sack for a four yard loss throwing WMU off schedule. Three plays later they would miss a 47-yard field goal. 
Despite the 16 tackles, I read numerous comments criticizing McMillan for being out of position on both runs and passes alike. To my eyes, it did appear he got lost in pass defense a couple times which is often the last piece of the puzzle for a young linebacker but the larger problem against the run was the line not always absorbing guys thus creating seams for linebackers to make plays. That's not to say McMillan was in perfect position on every rush as WMU had success running up the middle in the first half but in large part, McMillan was around the football all day long and 16 tackles is hard to sneeze at period. 
Through four games, McMillan is averaging 10 tackles. Sounds solid to me. Plus, he's only going to get better with increased reps.

SHOWING SOME LEG

Following a week in which three of his six punts uncharacteristically went for touchbacks and only one was downed inside the 20, Cameron Johnston was back to his old self against the Broncos. 
Yesterday, the thunder from down under booted it four times for a 51.5 yard average placing three inside the 20 and two inside the 10 with just one touchback. Oh, and as per usual, he helped the unit surrender exactly zero return yards. 
After the WMU offense kept the Silver Bullets on the field for 9:13 of game clock before eventually missing a field goal to preserve a 7-0 OSU lead, the Buckeye offense immediately went four-and-out chewing up just 1:31 of clock. With the defense still catching its breath, Johnston came in a launched a 55-yarder pinning the Broncos at their own eight. Very nice. 
Later, after the Broncos cut the lead to 14-6 and the OSU offense went three-and-out using a mere 1:25 of clock, Johnston again went to work booming a 67-yarder to the WMU one-yard line triggering a three-and-out leading to a Buckeye field goal and a 17-6 lead. 
Through four games, Johnston and the punt coverage unit have allowed only three punt returns for a ridiculous eight yards with three of four games resulting in zero return yards. Somewhere, Jim Tressel is sporting a shit-eating grin. 
Bonus Sixth Thing: P.J. Fleck is a talented yet crazy man who wears FUBU and I want to hate him for lame things like sprinting the length of the field at the end of quarters but I can't. 








Ten Things We Learned from Ohio State's 38-12 Win Over Western Michigan

By Tony Gerdeman
great article from theozone.net
COLUMBUS — It was an interesting afternoon on Saturday as the Buckeyes defeated Western Michigan 38-12, but they didn't always look that great doing it.
Instead of looking at what the Buckeyes did, however, we are focused on what they didn't do.
The offense put up 511 yards of total offense, but left about 200 yards unclaimed. The defense held the Broncos to 338 yards of total offense, but WMU rushed for more yards against OSU (169) than they did Michigan State (18) or Georgia Southern (25).
The kinks are still being worked out on offense, and defensively anything short of perfection this season is being looked at with a curious eye.
So we know what we saw, but what did we learn?
1. The offense is a work in progress.
After the game, offensive coordinator Ed Warinner almost sounded more frustrated by having to explain the offense's struggles than the struggles themselves. He said that nothing that happened last year has anything to do with this year. This is a brand new year with new players, new coaches, new responsibilities and new formulas for making it all work.
Warinner said that he hopes they are a long way from their ceiling because they can still get much better and he likes the pace that they are on right now. Quarterbacks coach Tim Beck was a lot more involved in the playcalling this week, which was new and is something that will continue. Things are still getting worked out, but there is no panic right now from Warinner.
2. The kicking game is hitting its stride.
Against Northern Illinois, Cameron Johnston was unleashing some booming punts, unfortunately too many of them reached the end zone. On Saturday, however, he put three of his four punts inside the 20, and a fourth would have been downed inside the 5-yard line if not for a bad bounce over Terry McLaurin's outstretched hands.
The coverage units have been fantastic and WMU never even had a shot at a punt return. They did have a 28-yard kickoff return, but only managed 27 yards on their other two returns. Urban Meyer is seemingly okay with kicker Jack Willoughby kicking the ball more towards the middle of the field, which is going to allow itself for bigger returns. As long as the coverage continues to excel, however, then they will be able to get away with it.
3. Curtis Samuel needs more touches.
We can just put this one here every single week and it would never be untrue. If a player averages 26 yards per touch on four touches like Samuel did, then he obviously needs to be more involved. While the staff continues to look for ways to get Braxton Miller the ball, they need to do the same thing for Samuel because he's obviously worth the effort.
Samuel has 20 touches on offense through four games this season and is averaging 12.6 yards per touch, and that's including a robust 13.4 yards per carry. Urban Meyer said this past week that Samuel has earned the right to carry the ball at tailback more, but he never should have lost it. Samuel has always been dynamic out of the backfield and it's clear that that isn't going to change any time soon.
4. The game plan for stopping Joey Bosa generally involves holding him.
All-American defensive end Joey Bosa has just 0.5 sacks this season, but it surely is not for lack of trying. Routine double teams have made things difficult for him, but he is making it much more difficult for opposing offensive lines. Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck essentially admitted that holding Bosa was about all his offensive line could do.
"We knew we could not just have a drop back passing game against them. That’s insane. If you decide to do that against Ohio State you’re digging your own grave. Those guys are freaks on the outside. You watch our 18-year old right tackle try to block Bosa, that was, he held him but he should have body slammed him more,  because there was no shot. We were chipping with the back and it was like hitting a wall. You’ve got to give a lot of credit. They’ve got phenomenal players."
5. We need to judge this team on what they are doing now, not what it did last year.
This one is pretty self explanatory. People remember the final three games last season, and for good reason, but what they forget are the struggles that the 2014 team had leading up to that game. Not every week was a party like some might want to remember it. Every team has growing pains. Judging this team based on last year's team is a little bit like having people shake their head at you and saying, "Why can't you be more like your older brother/sister?"
Circumstances are different for everyone and every team. Last year's team had the same offensive staff for a third straight season. Everybody knew their role and was comfortable with it. Right now, roles are still being defined, both on the staff and on the field. Instead of looking at the scoreboard and wondering why you're not seeing 59-0, look at the scoreboard and wonder why you're seeing 31-12 in the fourth quarter. After all, there's enough here to be concerned with that we don't need to bring in last year's successes to cloud the picture.
6. The cornerbacks got good work in this week in preparation for Indiana.
The Buckeye cornerbacks were certainly put to work on Saturday, as receivers Daniel Braverman and Corey Davis combined for 16 catches fro 165 yards. Of course, Braverman's 55-yard touchdown catch came on redshirt freshman Marshon Lattimore and not either of OSU's starters, but it was still good experience for Lattimore.
Eli Apple and Gareon Conley showcased tight coverage throughout, but they still gave up some catches thanks to some timely back-shoulder throws by quarterback Zach Terrell. It was good to get this much work in with Indiana coming up next, because they will see much of the same kind of offense. There will be screens and double moves off of those screens, as well as some attempted pinpoint passing. This was good preparation for what is to come.
7. Ezekiel Elliott as a 3rd-down receiver is an interesting idea.
When the Buckeyes would go five wide on third down, I wondered to myself why they were keeping Ezekiel Elliott in the game rather than bringing in a wide receiver. However, his reason for being in the game was quickly explained to me as I saw him dragging over the middle of the field with nobody able to stay with him.
Twice Cardale Jones found Elliott on third down to keep drives alive. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, neither drive led to any points. You can see the potential here, however.
8. J.T. Barrett is not the same quarterback he was last year.
It is pretty clear that something is wrong, or rather, something isn't right. Maybe it's too much to ask him to be back to where he was a year ago following a broken ankle and spotty reps. What is pretty clear is that he needs more reps to work things out, but those reps need to go to Cardale Jones right now.
If Jones leaves for the NFL after this season, I believe Barrett will be fine next season with No. 1 reps in spring and fall. Right now, however, the game seems to be moving too fast for him and I'm not sure he's going to be able to catch up as a backup quarterback. As Urban Meyer keeps saying, Cardale Jones is the starter and it's probably time for everyone to accept it and move on. Jones responded this week with a career high 288 yards passing, and there's no way that will be his career high by the end of the season.
9. When a defense schemes to stop the screens, they can get run on.
The Buckeye defense was geared up to stop the Western Michigan offense with the east and west screen game, which left them open a bit to the north-south running game. Still, they reacted pretty quickly and didn't allow a carry long than 18 yards. Western Michigan averaged 4.6 yards per carry, which is probably too much to be giving up, but not indicative of any kind of domination by the Broncos.
There were times when the OSU defensive line was getting pushed around, nose tackle Tommy Schutt admitted as much after the game. There were some gaping holes at times, which happens when a defense is stretched thin. Still, the Buckeyes are one of just four teams that have not yet allowed a run of 20 or more yards this season.
10. This is pretty much the same Cardale Jones we saw last season.
Cardale Jones underthrowing the deep ball is not new, because he did it regularly during the Buckeyes' postseason run last year. It's just last year he had Devin Smith there to somehow bring the ball down. Not every deep ball was underthrown, but it did get to be a bit much on Saturday. Jones still hit a couple, including one that bounced off of Jalin Marshall's arms after being perfectly placed.
Jones took complete responsibility for the bad balls, but both he and Urban Meyer believe the issues are fixable. Given the arm strength that Jones possesses, it would be easy to see why they think that.
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