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Monday, October 12, 2015

Everything Ohio State Football for the Week of October 12, 2015

College Football Top 25 Polls for the Week of October 12, 2015

1Ohio State (27)Ohio State (47)TCUClemson
2Baylor (13)Baylor (8)FloridaAlabama
3TCU (3)TCU (5)UtahMichigan
4Utah (16)Michigan State (1)ClemsonFlorida State
5Clemson (1)LSU (1)MichiganFlorida
6LSUClemsonOhio StateUSC
7Michigan StateUtah (1)Texas A&MNotre Dame
8Florida StateFlorida StateBaylorWest Virginia
9Texas A&M (1)AlabamaAlabamaOklahoma
10AlabamaTexas A&MNotre DameStanford
12MichiganOle MissFlorida StateNorthwestern
13Ole MissNotre DameOklahoma StateUtah
14Notre DameMichiganStanfordDuke
15StanfordOklahoma StateIowaTexas A&M
16Oklahoma StateStanfordNorthwesternOle Miss
17IowaIowaOklahoma StateTCU
18UCLAUCLAOle MissLouisville
19OklahomaOklahomaUCLAWestern Kentucky
20NorthwesternBoise StateBoise StateArkansas
21Boise StateNorthwesternMichigan StateToledo

Ten Things We Learned from Ohio State's 49-28 Win Over Maryland
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS — Things continue to remain interesting around the Ohio State football program, and following Saturday's 49-28 win over the Maryland Terrapins we learned a little bit more about the 6-0 Buckeyes.
Voters weren't totally scared off by Ohio State's struggles, as the Buckeyes are again ranked No. 1 in the nation. Instead, enough of them are seeing the glimpses that this team shows, which shine a light on what they could become.
Still, they aren't there yet, but they weren't there at this point last year either. This is a long process and the road is only halfway traveled. There is much more yet to learn.
But this is what we know based on Saturday's action.
1. If you weren't impressed by Cardale Jones on Saturday then you've got issues that will need professional help.
Against Maryland, Cardale Jones had his best passer efficiency day as a starter since the Big Ten Championship Game last season. He completed 21 of 28 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns, and if you still think he needs to be benched based off of his performance, you need to seek help. I understand if you think J.T. Barrett should be the starter because of what you've seen Barrett do, but nothing that Jones did on Saturday warranted any kind of benching.
Over his last three games, Jones is averaging 274.7 yards passing per game while completing 58 of 88 passes (65.9%) with five touchdowns and two interceptions. There have certainly been red zone issues, but if those are being ironed out right now, then everything you are getting from Cardale Jones would seem to be well within the realms of perfectly acceptable.
He was pinpoint down the field, and checked down for nice gains routinely. He was smart with the football. He put the Buckeyes in a position to go 6 for 6 in the red zone. For those clamoring for Barrett, please give Jones some credit along the way. Just as something to keep in mind, Jones is a 346-yard passing day against Penn State from equaling J.T. Barrett's best four-game passing stretch last season.
2. Defending a running quarterback may not be an issue for the Buckeyes against Penn State, but it will be again eventually.
Okay, if Christian Hackenberg takes off on a 75-yard scramble Saturday night, then there are some unfixable problems on this Ohio State defense. I don't expect that to happen, but the fact that it has now happened twice in two weeks with quarterbacks of above average scrambling means is still pretty telling.
In fairness to the Buckeyes, they found out that Perry Hills was starting about an hour before the game. They had prepared for the read option during the week, but they obviously didn't have it as their main focus because they didn't know they'd need to.
It wasn't just the option that cause issues, because the 75-yard run by Hills came after a simple drop back. The middle was completely vacated and he took advantage of it. Obviously, Christian Hackenberg won't be doing that this week, but a middle open like that can still allow even the slowest-footed quarterback to move the chains. A fix needs to be found before Juice Williams 2.0 happens again.
3. Forcing the ball into Michael Thomas is a perfectly acceptable tactic.
I've said it before, and even though Urban Meyer doesn't like his offense to force the ball into a receiver's hands out wide, there's no reason not to do so with Mike Thomas right now. Cardale Jones did it on Saturday to the tune of 7 receptions for 107 yards.
There was actually a time after one of these "forces" that I said if he keeps doing this he'll eventually get it picked off, but he was careful with the football and defenders weren't close enough to Thomas to make it a worry. Thomas is too good with the football in his hands after the catch not to risk a frisky defender.
Thomas has 17 catches over the last three weeks, which is a good number, but there would be no harm in it being more.
4. The kickoff strategy is perfectly fine.
People grumbled last year when Kyle Clinton would send a kickoff out of bounds, and they grumble this year when Jack Willoughby does it, but I contend that the risk is absolutely worth the reward, because there are far more positives than negatives that come from it.
The Buckeyes kicked four touchbacks in their eight kickoffs against Maryland, so they really only employed their cornering strategy four times. Going against an outstanding returning like William Likely, this was not a surprise. But it should be telling to you that Urban Meyer didn't just want to give the Terps the ball at the 25-yard line every time. He wanted to pin them at least once or twice and see what would come from it.
So the Terps received four kickoffs that weren't touchbacks. One of them went out of bounds, which put them at the 35-yard line. That drive lasted all of four plays, so it didn't even hurt the Buckeyes. One of the kickoffs was returned to the 31-yard line, which led to a 69-yard touchdown drive. The other two kickoffs led to drives starting at the Maryland 12 and 11-yard line. Neither drive ended in points.
Interestingly, on the drive that started at the 11-yard line, the Terps actually put together a 13-play drive, but only managed to move the ball 46 yards. They eventually failed on fourth down. A 46-yard drive after getting the ball at the 25-yard line following a touchback would have put the Terps in field goal range for kicker Brad Craddock. No, that field goal wouldn't have mattered in this game, but it might in the next.
5. J.T. Barrett looked like the Barrett of old.
It was good to see J.T. Barrett having fun on the football field again and looking like the J.T. Barrett that was a Heisman candidate last season. Or at least looking somewhat like him. They didn't ask him to throw much, but he stood tall and was confident on every single snap. This is a great way to get a captain and team leader involved in the game, and if the Buckeyes are ever in a situation where they need Barrett to lead them on a touchdown drive, he will have had a good number of snaps this season to help him get things done.

6. The Buckeyes won't be great until the penalties stop.
If you want to get a little bit angry, I'd advise you to go back and look at the full play-by-play of every game this season and count the offensive penalties that Ohio State committed either inside the red zone or just outside of it. It happened again on Saturday and is a common occurrence. These are essentially drive killers. If that anger pleases you, then go and check the penalties committed by the defense in either third-down situations or second-and-long situations that then allow drives to continue. These are essentially turnovers.
Until these things stop, the Buckeyes won't be great. If they do stop, however, you might be surprised at how much more complete the team looks.
7. The OSU defensive line can pressure exceedingly well.
The Buckeyes sacked Perry Hills four times on Saturday and hurried him seven other times. Three of those sacks came from defensive ends Tyquan Lewis (2) and Joey Bosa (1) and all four hurries came from Bosa. They were a two-man wreakingcrew and had Hills running for his life on a number of occasions.
Unfortunately for the defense as a whole, sometimes when Hills ran for his life he was rewarded for it. Still, this amount of pressure was nothing new for the Buckeyes and will continue.
8. Does the offensive line need a shake up?
I'm not saying it does, but I'm asking if the up and down rushing numbers this season indicates that maybe it might be time to see what happens with a change up the middle. What would the running game look like inside with Pat Elflein at center and Chase Farris at right guard? It's never going to happen, but it might give the Buckeyes more punch up the gut.
It takes an offensive line so long to get cohesive, which makes the idea of any kind of change almost a non-starter. However, if the Buckeyes continue to struggle in the running game — and rushing for just 182 yards against Maryland is absolutely a struggle — answers will have to come from somewhere. The hope for the Buckeyes, obviously, is that it comes from the five guys they have relied upon this far, including four who have been relied on much longer than just this season.
9. Focus continues to be a problem for the Buckeyes.
We've already mentioned the penalties, but they deserve to be mentioned until they stop happening. That's part of the focus issues that have plagued this team from the outset. The good news is that the turnovers were put to bed for a week, which was a very heavy focus in the week leading up to this game.
Moving forward, there will be a larger emphasis on the penalties and the results should mirror those of the turnovers following their own time under the spotlight. The occasional lapses in coverage could be considered an issue as well, but that's just life in a press man defense...until they become something more than that.
Still, leading a team like Maryland 21-7 late in the second quarter should never lead to eventually being tied 21-21 early in the third quarter. That's lack of focus as well. There is a part of me with this team that thinks back to Jurassic Park and the Tyrannosaur being fed a goat. The schedule for this team has been pretty mediocre. Almost as if they are being fed goats tied to ropes. But maybe they don't want to be fed, maybe they want to hunt.
10. Young defenders are becoming a larger part of the defense for OSU.
I was a little surprised to see sophomore linebacker Dante Booker getting snaps while the game was still "in doubt". I kept hearing in the spring and summer how he was going to play and he deserved to play, but all of these close games have really limited the number of young players who can get time. Booker rewarded Luke Fickell's trust with four tackles, and it made me think back to Fickell telling me about the trust that Larry Johnson had with his young defensive linemen and how well they performed for him. Maybe Fickell is following in Johnson's lead.
With second-year linebackers like Booker and Raekwon McMillan, and defensive ends Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes making more and more plays, the future of the Ohio State defense looks to be in good hands.
   Next Pag

Following his team’s 49-28 victory over Maryland on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer made a reference to the turmoil surrounding the status of Maryland head coach Randy Edsall.
“I thought our guys responded well against a team that was swinging as hard as they can,” Meyer said.
“That’s a credit to Maryland. I know there’s a lot of stuff out there and I just can’t stand hearing that stuff. I just like, you know, respect coaches, respect players and I know one thing -- they played their hearts out.”
Meyer, as a fellow coach, was referring to reports this week that Edsall would soon be relieved of his duties at Maryland. Edsall was peppered with questions about the situation during his postgame press conference, a meeting with the media that he eventually abruptly exited.
And there’s little doubt about Meyer’s last statement. Maryland came out fearless, which was evidence by Perry Hills’ 52-yard pass to wide receiver D.J. Moore in the first quarter that gave Maryland a 7-0 lead.
Hills ran downfield with his hands raised in celebration, exuding a type of energy that has been largely absent so far this season.
In the third quarter, they marched down the field and scored to tie the game at 21. At that point they had been punched and they punched back.
Ultimately Ohio State proved to be too much, but led by Hills this team appeared to have found an important fire within for the path forward.


Ohio State football | Offense improves, defense regresses

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Cardale Jones passed for a career-high 291 yards against Maryland.
By The Columbus Dispatch  •  
  •  5
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25 words or fewer

With offensive improvement and defensive cracks, the Buckeyes — AP No.1 for a record 102nd time — will become men in black as Penn State comes calling.

In the polls

The Buckeyes, winners of a nation’s-best 19 straight games, clung to No.1 in the Associated Press media poll, breaking its tie with Oklahoma for most weeks ever at the top in the poll’s 79-year history. But OSU, which was the first unanimous No.1 in the AP’s 50-year preseason poll history, is down to just 27 first-place votes, of the possible 61. New No.2 Baylor has 13, No.3 Texas Christian has three and fast-rising Utah, the new No.4, has 16. OSU stayed No.1 in the coaches’ poll, too, followed by Baylor (up from fourth), TCU and Michigan State, which dropped one spot to No.4.

What’s hot?

The Mr. Outside (the red zone) and the Mr. Inside (the red zone) quarterback tango. Mr. Outside, aka Cardale Jones, passed for a career-high 291 yards, completing a personal-best 21 tosses (out of 28) with two going for touchdowns, including a 48-yarder to Jalin Marshall in the third quarter for the go-ahead score. Mr. Inside — J.T. Barrett — went in to direct the Buckeyes to five touchdowns, scoring three himself on runs. OSU was 6 of 6 inside the 20-yard line, scoring TDs each time, including on a 19-yard pass from Jones to Braxton Miller.

What’s not hot?

The run defense. Did the Buckeyes ever really get a true handle on Maryland’s surprise starting quarterback, Perry Hills, who gained 170 of the Terrapins’ 253 rushing yards, or did he just get tired? His 75-yard scrambling sprint up the middle just before halftime was a five-alarm moment for the defense, which allowed Indiana’s Zander Diamont go 79 yards on one rip the week before. The 253 are the most rushing yards OSU has given up since the 281 by Indiana in the 11th game last season.

What went right?

The passing game. Jones was patient with his reads and usually spot-on with his throws, like on the TD toss to Marshall. It was a late break to a skinny post that popped Marshall wide open, and Jones delivered the ball 55 yards in the air with not much more than a flick. The back-to-back passes to Miller that netted the other passing TD were well-schemed and well-executed, as well. OSU passed for a season-high 317 yards overall.

Back to the drawing board

That’s what the defense was doing most of the game as it tried to get a handle on Hills, who both scrambled and ran the option effectively. Most of those tactical changes can be scrapped this week because Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg prefers to operate from the pocket (he has rushed for a net of minus-34 yards this season). What’s salient, though, is the Buckeyes have given up 598 yards rushing the past three games, a leak that’s growing.

Catch that?

The offensive line shuffled when left guard Billy Price had to leave for a play because one of his contact lenses was poked out. Jamarco Jones ran in and went to right tackle, Chase Farris moved from right tackle to right guard, and right guard Pat Elflein moved to left guard. Left tackle Taylor Decker and center Jacoby Boren stayed put.

Up next

Penn State (5-1), which a week after outflanking Army beat Indiana 29-7. The MO on the Nittany Lions is much the same as it was this time a year ago: The defense is playing great, 10th in the country in total defense (275.7-yard average) and tied for 11th in scoring defense (14.3); the offense, directed by Hackenberg, is still in search of consistency, sitting 103rd in total yards (344.3 average). 

This week’s challenge

The Buckeyes are used to this routine, taking on teams that are gunning for them. That they sometimes take awhile to counterpunch is what has been vexing and not impressing the poll voters, but they have outscored opponents 132-47 in the second half. Then again, Ohio State was up 17-0 at Penn State last year, blew that lead and needed two overtimes and a sack by Joey Bosa to seal the win. Such a struggle this week could see the Buckeyes wave goodbye to their No.1 ranking.

Maryland players call Ohio State 'spoiled, entitled ... and not No. 1' during loss

Another Saturday brought another struggle for the Buckeyes.

Back when Maryland seemed like it could maybe possibly step up and upset No. 1 Ohio State, some Terrapins on the sideline were saying not-so-nice things about the ballyhooed Buckeyes on the sidelines, according to Big Ten Network.
It would probably be better to be "spoiled," "entitled," and "not No. 1" while also moving to 6-0 on the year, staying firmly in the mix to make the College Football Playoff, and quite possibly retaining that No. 1 ranking, all things that Ohio State pulling away late against the Terps ensured.
But moribund Maryland — a team that had reports of a likely firing of head coach Randy Edsall leak on Thursday — was not a team anyone predicted would even push Ohio State briefly, much less into the second half. And yet, for about three quarters, that's what the Terps did. So maybe those guys on the sideline were at least partly right.

Maryland Passing
Perry Hills10/271334.91254.6
Ohio State Passing
Cardale Jones21/2829110.42076.2
J.T. Barrett2/22613.00082.8
Maryland Rushing
Perry Hills251706.8275
Wes Brown5306.0110
Brandon Ross7294.109
Levern Jacobs199.009
D.J. Moore199.009
William Likely188.008
Ty Johnson2-2-1.001
Ohio State Rushing
Ezekiel Elliott211065.0219
J.T. Barrett12625.2323
Cardale Jones6193.208
Braxton Miller3113.708
Bri'onte Dunn11010.0010
Curtis Samuel111.001
Maryland Receiving
D.J. Moore36421.3152
Levern Jacobs4266.5010
DeAndre Lane11616.0016
Avery Edwards11414.0014
Taivon Jacobs11313.0013
Ohio State Receiving
Michael Thomas710715.3031
Braxton Miller57915.8133
Jalin Marshall47819.5148
Ezekiel Elliott6477.8011
Dontre Wilson166.006
Maryland Interceptions
No Maryland Interceptions
Ohio State Interceptions
Tyvis Powell1250
Sam Hubbard100
Maryland Kick Returns
William Likely34816.0280
Ohio State Kick Returns
Dontre Wilson36822.7250
Maryland Punt Returns
William Likely22512.5140
Ohio State Punt Returns
Jalin Marshall12828.0280
Maryland Kicking
Brad Craddock0/00.004/44
Ohio State Kicking
Jack Willoughby0/10.007/77
Maryland Punting
Nicolas Pritchard626544.20055
Ohio State Punting
Cameron Johnston316454.70065


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