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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Everything Ohio State after a 42-13 Blowout of Michigan






FBS
ASSOCIATED PRESS TOP 25
1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. Iowa
5. Michigan State
6. Ohio State
7. Stanford
8. North Carolina
9. Notre Dame
10. Florida State
11. TCU
12. Baylor
13. Northwestern
14. Oklahoma State
15. Oregon
16. Ole Miss
17. Houston
18. Florida
19. Michigan
20. Temple
21. Utah
22. Navy
23. LSU
24. Southern California
25. Wisconsin
 
COACHES POLL
1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Iowa
4. Oklahoma
5. Michigan State
6. Ohio State
7. Stanford
8. North Carolina
9. Florida State
10. Notre Dame
11. TCU
12. Baylor
13. Northwestern
14. Oklahoma State
15. Florida
16. Oregon
17. Ole Miss
18. Houston
19. Michigan
20. Utah
21. Temple
22. Navy
23. LSU
24. Southern California
25. Wisconsin
 
CBS SPORTS 128
1. Clemson Tigers
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
3. Iowa Hawkeyes
4. Oklahoma Sooners
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
6. Michigan State Spartans
7. Baylor Bears
8. Ohio State Buckeyes
9. Oklahoma State Cowboys
10. Florida Gators
11. Michigan Wolverines
12. North Carolina Tar Heels
13. Stanford Cardinal
14. Florida State Seminoles
15. Navy Midshipmen
16. TCU Horned Frogs
17. Ole Miss Rebels
18. Houston Cougars
19. Northwestern Wildcats
20. Oregon Ducks
21. UCLA Bruins
22. Mississippi State Bulldogs
23. Temple Owls
24. Toledo Rockets
25. Washington State Cougars
 
PLAYOFF RANKINGS
1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. Iowa
5. Michigan State
6. Notre Dame
7. Baylor
8. Ohio State
9. Stanford
10. Michigan
11. Oklahoma State
12. Florida
13. Florida State
14. North Carolina
15. Navy
16. Northwestern
17. Oregon
18. Ole Miss
19. TCU
20. Washington State
21. Mississippi State
22. UCLA
23. Utah
24. Toledo
25. Temple



5 Things Michigan


Ezekiel Elliott ran around and through Michigan's defense with 214 yards and two scores.

With talk of Ohio State being vulnerable following last weekend's upset loss to Michigan State the prevailing feeling was that the Buckeyes would finally be in for a dogfight with Michigan. 
Instead, the Buckeyes ran roughshod over Michigan's No. 2-ranked defense en route to a convincing 42-13 victory in the Big House.
The 29-point win – the largest by Ohio State in Ann Arbor since 1961 – welcomed Jim Harbaugh back to The Game, improved Urban Meyer to 4-0 against Michigan and to 18-0 on the road since his arrival in Columbus. 
The Buckeyes didn't get much help on the College Football Playoff front but still have a slim chance to sneak in the back door and claim the last of four spots pending the outcome of games such as Clemson vs. North Carolina and Florida vs. Alabama. 
For now however, here are Five Things from Ohio State's 13th win in the last 15 tries against the maize and blue. 

EZEKIEL 30:214

Following a frustrating 12 carry, 33 yard performance in the loss to Michigan State, Ezekiel Elliott rebounded with his typical great vengeance and furious anger in a dominant 30 carry, 214 yard, two touchdown performance against Michigan's vaunted defense. 
His determined effort fell just shy of Carlos Hyde's record of 226 rushing yards set against Michigan in 2013 but was more than enough to force Ohio State to once again edit the record books including:
  •  Elliott passed Eddie George (3,768) for 2nd place on OSU's career rushing list with 3,812 yards. 
  •  Zeke's 5th 200+ yard rushing game tied George for most in school history. 
  •  With the 214 yards pushing his season rushing total to 1,672, Elliott joined Archie Griffin as the only back in school history with multiple 1,500+ yard rushing seasons. 
Elliott got rolling early as his 66-yard gallop around left tackle on Ohio State's second possession of the game paved the way for a 94-yard scoring march capped two plays later by J.T. Barrett's 7-yard run putting the Buckeyes in front early, 7-0. 
On OSU's next possession Zeke would tally the final 13 yards of a 75-yard touchdown drive giving the Buckeyes a 14-3 edge. 
Leading just 14-10 at the break, Ohio State got the ball to start the 2nd half and after Zeke hauled in a 7-yard pass he gashed the Wolverines with runs of 21, 15 and nine yards before Barrett found Jalin Marshall on a 25-yard touchdown pass extending OSU's lead to 21-10. 
Two possessions later, Elliott peeled off a 28-yard dash as part of a 65-yard drive he capped on his own with a 10-yard burst pushing the cushion to 35-13, effectively turning the lights out in the Big House. 

BARRETT'S BACK

Last week it looked as if not only Barrett was unsure of himself but so was the staff as the game plan involved very few pass plays as part of an ultra-conservative effort producing five first downs. In the two games since J.T. Barrett's brush with the law which came shortly after regaining the starting quarterback job, the redshirt sophomore looked largely uncomfortable directing the offense. 
Yesterday, Barrett regained the form he showed for much of last season amassing 252 total yards with four touchdowns as the Buckeye offense churned out 482 yards and 42 points against a defense giving up just 263 yards and less than 15 points per game. 
Barrett scorched Michigan with 252 total yards and four touchdowns.
Barrett attempted only 15 passes, completing nine, mostly because Michigan couldn't stop him on the run. Barrett posted a better yards per carry (7.3) than Elliott (7.1) on the way to 139 yards and three scores. 
When Barrett wasn't torching Michigan with his own feet, he was making the correct reads assisting in Elliott's big day. 

THREE IN 30

After giving up 10 points in the 1st half – all immediately following scoring drives from the OSU offense – and a ridiculous eight 3rd down conversions in 11 tries thanks largely to the passing of Jake Rudock, the Silver Bullets tightened things up the 2nd half. 
Rudock, who had completed five of eight passes for 65 yards on 3rd down in the opening half could even finish the game as Bosa slammed him to the turf early in the 4th quarter. Rudock and his backup, Wilton Speight, combined to complete just two of six passes 3rd down pass attempts in the 2nd half for a modest 12 yards. 
With the passing game finally under control thanks to a relentless pass rush fueled by Bosa, the defense stopped Michigan on six of seven 3rd downs in the final 30 minutes. 
The result was one useless field goal on six 2nd half possessions sandwiched between two punts, two turnovers on downs and an interception on a athletic play by Bosa showing exactly why he could be the top pick in this spring's NFL Draft. 

LONG DRIVE CHALLENGE

A week after Michigan State demoralized Ohio State with two long scoring drives the Buckeyes pulled off the same backbreaking tactic against Michigan registering five touchdown drives of at least 75 yards. 
In fact, those five drives averaged 82 yards in length, on 9.2 plays, representing 410 of Ohio State's 482 total yards. The marches were even more demoralizing to Michigan because the Wolverines came in hanging their hat on the nation's 2nd-best defense. 
Elliott got the fun bus rolling with a 66-yard burst after a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Buckeyes' second possession new life. Two plays later Barrett was in the end zone to cap a seven-play drive giving OSU a 7-0 lead. 
Jalin Marshall's incredible 25-yard touchdown grab capped an eight play, 82 yard drive.
Leading 7-3, Ohio State then went 75 yards in nine plays featuring a 25-yard Barrett keep up the gut and a 16-yard jaunt on 3rd and 2 triggered by a strong block from Chase Farris before Elliott capped the drive with a short run being Pat Elflein to make it 14-3 good guys. 
Nursing a 14-10 lead at the break Ohio State took the 2nd half kickoff and rumbled 82 yards in eight plays thanks to three strong runs from Elliott before Marshall made his highlight reel catch on a 25-yard throw from Barrett giving the Buckeyes a 21-10 lead. 
Still up 21-10, Ohio State delivered the knockout blow in the form of a 16-play, 84 yard drive chewing up 7:05 along with the hearts of the maize and blue. The Buckeyes converted four 3rd downs with some slick play calling including a true option left in which Curtis Samuel ate up 11 yards off a pitch from Barrett and a 12-yard reception from Samuel on a well-designed rollout to the wide side of the field. Eight plays later Barrett streaked 13 yards to paydirt extending the lead to 28-10. 
Ohio State was back at it following a Wolverine field goal marching 75 yards on just six plays as Barrett hit Thomas for 38 yards ahead of Zeke's 10-yard slash to victory lane putting the game out of reach at 35-13 early in the 4th quarter. 

IT'S NOT WISE TO DOUBT URBAN MEYER

Many fans and media pundits left Ohio State for dead following last week's disaster and there were certainly reasons to question what the Buckeyes would bring to the table in Ann Arbor. 
So how would Urban respond? Elliott's comments, regardless of your opinion on whether the act was right or wrong, gave Urban something unconventional to navigate while also assessing team's play calling logistics, the team itself hadn't experienced a loss in over 400 days creating a potentially fragile psyche and with a ton of guys in position to be selected in the upcoming NFL Draft, there was some concern over just how bought in everyone would be in giving a passionate effort on the road. 
First, he fell on the play calling grenade publicly then surprised everyone by putting Ed Warinner in the press box to call the plays for the first time this season, largely marginalizing Tim Beck's role with the program in the process.
He adeptly handled the swirl around Zeke's comments by reflecting on the truth in the words, refusing to let the situation become a distraction. 
Whatever words he had for a team that knew it was most likely not in position to repeat as national champs no matter what it did in Ann Arbor worked as the Buckeyes dominated a game Vegas saw as a virtual toss up. The fact most of those juniors with a chance to leave early for the NFL had big games including Bosa, Thomas and Elliott only reinforces that reality. 
Yes, last week was a shit show but that doesn't change the fact Urban Meyer still only has one peer in the college game. 





Ten Things We Learned from Ohio State 42-13 Win at Michigan
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS — The Ohio State – Michigan game is the culmination of an entire season, and yet it is also completely separate from that season. A win in this game is a season in itself, and Ohio State finished 2015 a perfect 1-0.For the Buckeyes, they were coming into this game looking completely defeated the week before, and the Wolverines came in with a budding passing offense and an inconsistent defense. Only one of those two teams showed up on Saturday, and fortunately for the Buckeyes, it sure as hell wasn’t them.
They were somebody new — somebody that we had been expecting all season long.
So what did we learn from a team that looked completely different than the one that played before it? (Other than the fact that the Buckeyes absolutely hate the wind, of course?)
Let’s find out.
1. When it comes to Michigan, nothing else matters.
Did you see the way Ohio State played against Michigan State over a week ago? They played like they were afraid to try anything on offense that might result in a risk, and so they tried nothing at all. Against Michigan, however, they took risks, and they took big swings. They weren’t going to go down without a fight for a second week in a row, not that they would ever go down without a fight against the Michigan Wolverines.
After the game, Taylor Decker said that if the Buckeyes couldn’t get up for this game after their loss to MSU then their entire culture as a football program was phony. That’s a lot of weight to put on one game, but then this isn’t just one game. This is The Game, and the Buckeyes bought in to the exact right approach. Credit Urban Meyer and his coaches for getting his team over that Michigan State loss and focused on a game that many expected them to lose.
2. The option can be incredibly effective.
It didn’t matter which kind of option play the Buckeyes ran on Saturday, they were all very effective. The most effective was the inverted veer, which was run successfully a handful of times, most notably on Ezekiel Elliott’s 66-yard run, J.T. Barrett’s 25-yard run, and the play-action off of it in the touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall.
The read option and the speed option were also used extremely well, especially with the pitch on the wide option plays. Michigan’s defense has a problem covering the entire field, and the Buckeyes took advantage of that by making them run from sideline to sideline. Even though the Buckeyes only hit one big run, they had a number of gains of 8-12 yards out wide that can be just as effective over the course of a long game.
A week ago, Ohio State’s offense put Michigan State’s defense in a position to succeed, and they lost because of it. This week, the Ohio State offense put Michigan’s defense in a position to fail, and they absolutely won because of it.
3. When Darron Lee is allowed to play in the box, he will find the ball.
I’m not going to say that Darron Lee had a great game, as he had some missed tackles and gave up some catches in the first half, but he sure did find himself around the ball a lot in this game. He finished with 7 tackles and 2 quarterback hurries, but obviously would have had a few more tackles without the misses in the first half.
To his credit, after the game when Lee was talking about the Buckeyes missing tackles, he sheepishly admitted that he had a part in that as well. Maybe it just took him a while to get back into the grind of facing a team that isn’t trying to spread him out by forcing him to defend a slot receiver.
While Michigan was still trying to run the ball in the first half, Lee had 6 of his 7 tackles, and 2 or 3 of his misses. He was around the ball routinely. When Michigan had to completely abandon the run in the second half, however, Lee had to become more of a pass defender.
4. Michigan is not a team that should be getting you to bite on run fakes.
Not counting sacks, the Wolverines ran the ball 23 times for 68 yards, which comes out to 3 yards per carry. That’s not unusual for Michigan this season, who failed to average 4 yards per carry in half of their games this season — and in five of their last six games. When you combine this lack of proven ability, as well as the fact that they have no home run hitters at tailback, it would have seemed to me that the Buckeyes didn’t need to be so aggressive on the run fakes.
The play action was effective against them, and I don’t think it needed to be. Safeties weren’t needed in the run game for the most part, and linebackers weren’t always needed either. I thought they could have maybe worried more about the passing game, but I do realize that their No. 1 goal every week is to stop the run.
5. Jim Harbaugh is going to have Michigan where Lloyd Carr had them at his peak.
I do believe that more than any of his other coaching stops, Jim Harbaugh showed this season what he can do with a quarterback. Jake Rudock had no business being as good as he was over the last month or so, and yet here we are. When you imagine what he could do with a guy that he’s coached for a few years, it gets you wondering about the possibilities.
When I always talk about Michigan being “back”, I have to remind people that being back is a relative term, and as it relates to Michigan, that means a 9-3 season, and so here we are and Michigan is staring dead-red at 9-3. The Wolverines lost to their three best opponents, two of them at home. The next step is for Michigan to start winning those games, which they actually should have done twice this year.
The Wolverines aren’t that far away, and Harbaugh and his staff did a great job of hiding their weaknesses for as long as they could. I don’t know how they’ll fix their current problems for next season, or even if they can, but we should certainly expect them to play better than their talent in 2016.
Oh, and Ohio State may have won for a fourth year in a row, but it looks like it will be Michigan who gets the last laugh, as their improbable and unbelievable loss to Michigan State has kept OSU out of the Big Ten Championship Game, and very likely the College Football Playoffs.
I can already see the tee shirts.

6. The OSU coaches had a rough, but successful week preparing for this game.
This had to be a pretty uncomfortable week around the Ohio State football facilities. Things went terribly against Michigan State and there was no doubt that Urban Meyer made everybody aware of all of it. Changes were going to be coming, and it was revealed on Saturday morning that Ed Warinner would be moved to the press box.
Warinner found out on Tuesday when Meyer told him he wanted him upstairs. I wonder when Tim Beck found out. Amazingly, the coaches regrouped just as well as the players did, and you would have never known that this was the same offensive staff that put together a game plan against Michigan State that netted fewer yards than J.T. Barrett ran for by himself on Saturday.
If nothing cleanses the soul like getting the hell kicked out of you, consider the OSU coaching souls squeaky clean from here on out.
While wondering what their week was like, I have to imagine the offensive coaching staff finally sat around and asked themselves, 'What would Michigan hate to see from us on Saturday?' And they called a bunch of those plays, and they called them at precisely the right times.
7. Curtis Samuel is only scratching the wrapping of the surface.
Some would say that Curtis Samuel is only scratching the surface of what he can do, but I’d go a step further and say that he’s only scratching the cellophane that his future is wrapped in right now. Samuel only had two touches on offense, but both of them gained a first down, and both showed the value that he can provide.
I truly believe that he could be an outstanding running back next year, but if Mike Weber is what the staff thinks he is at running back, Samuel could be in for an offensive MVP type of season next year even as the Buckeyes’ H-back. If he and Weber can split the carries next season, and he’s catching four or five passes per game, he could be the ideal H-back in Urban Meyer’s offense.
They won’t have to force the ball to him out of the wildcat like they did with Braxton Miller, because he is completely at ease taking a handoff, or lead blocking for a jet sweep, or anything else that they will ask him to do next season — and they will ask him to do an awful lot.
8. Ed Warinner up in the booth was a great move, but likely one that won’t be repeated next year.
The decision to move Ed Warinner upstairs absolutely worked, but Urban Meyer said after the game that they could do that only because they have a veteran offensive line, which is something that they won’t have in 2016. The Buckeyes could be losing four starters on the offensive line, which would almost assuredly eliminate any chance of Warinner staying upstairs next season. With an unproven offensive line like the one the Buckeyes could have in 2016, Urban Meyer will want Warinner downstairs.
This then becomes an issue because it’s pretty clear that Meyer is not going to let the plays come from downstairs anymore, and Warinner will almost surely be on the field next season. So where does that leave the play calling next season?
As a totally unrelated aside, did you guys see that fired Georgia coach Mark Richt said he’d like to coach quarterbacks and call plays again?
9. Joey Bosa’s inability to quit never stops.
The one critique you hear of defensive linemen more than any other is that they take plays off. That is a critique that isn’t normally aimed in Joey Bosa’s general direction, and it shouldn’t be. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a guy as consistently and constantly relentless as Bosa. A lot of guys who are getting double and triple teamed would think that they are doing their jobs just by occupying blockers, but Bosa doesn’t strike me as much of an occupier. There aren’t going to be a lot of guys like this one through the pipeline.
10. People might want to recalibrate themselves.
If you are one of those people who are lamenting the Michigan State game instead of celebrating the win over Michigan, then you should probably re-calibrate your time-o-stat to about 1988 and see how that works for you. A win in this series should never bring a “Yeah, but if only…” with it. A win in this rivalry is its own reward and it has nothing to do with any game before it or after it.
So if you are more focused on what could have been instead of what is, then you need to have some words with the players and the coaches who could not have been happier after the game on Saturday. They weren’t talking about the disappointment of Michigan State, and they were the ones who actually had to live it. They were simply talking about the joys of beating Michigan for a fourth year in a row.
If the Buckeyes had lost this game, people wouldn’t be talking about the Michigan State game, so why talk about it now? Give it some time. Be happy for once. It’s okay. It won’t kill you.






Here's how Buckeyes could still make the College Football Playoff
Without an opportunity to play for a conference championship, Ohio State's chances at a berth in the College Football Playoff are slim.
But that doesn't mean they're non-existent.
Yes, there still might be a way for the Buckeyes to sneak into the field of four, but as you might expect, a lot of stuff — some of it rather unlikely — would need to happen.
But, for the sake of discussion, let's take a look at what would need to happen.
First off, the Buckeyes did good by showing they are still capable of looking like a championship team when they stomped Michigan on Saturday at the Big House. Ezekiel Elliott looked every bit a Heisman contender, and J.T. Barrett made everyone think, "What quarterback problems?" It was a far cry from the 132 total yards Ohio State gained against Michigan State, and that's a good thing. It should be enough, with Notre Dame losing to Stanford and Baylor losing to TCU, to boost the Buckeyes to No. 6 in the College Football Playoff rankings, putting them right outside the all-important top four.
Now, here's where the myriad things Ohio State can't control come in.
The Big Ten champion and likely the ACC champion, regardless of who they are, will earn spots in the Playoff. Iowa and Clemson would be undefeated conference champs. Michigan State and North Carolina would be one-loss conference champs. Ohio State, though, probably needs Clemson to win the ACC title game. Why? The Buckeyes would definitely be ranked ahead of the two-loss Tar Heels should North Carolina lose. But the one-loss Tigers would probably be ranked higher than the one-loss Buckeyes were Clemson to lose the ACC title bout.
In the Big 12, one-loss champion Oklahoma is pretty much locked in, too.
So that's three of the four spots taken up.
It means Ohio State's only hope is to be ranked higher than the SEC and Pac-12 champions. If Alabama wins the SEC, that won't happen, so Buckeyes fans should be rooting for Urban Meyer's old team, Florida, to shock the Tide in the SEC title game. The Gators currently have two losses and have been extremely unimpressive in gaining most of their wins in an incredibly weak SEC East. So if Florida wins the SEC, there's still a chance the committee would be more impressed with the Buckeyes and rank them higher.
The Pac-12 is a little more cut and dry, as if Stanford loses to USC in the conference title game, the Buckeyes would surely be ranked ahead of the four-loss Trojans. Even if the Cardinal win, their ranking might not be high enough to reach the top four, and Ohio State could still be ranked ahead of Stanford if Stanford wins the Pac-12. But it would be much easier if USC staged the upset.
It's a lot of stuff that has to happen, and obviously Alabama and Stanford will be highly favored in their respective conference title games. But we've seen wackier things happen in this sport.
Ohio State benefited from championship weekend a season ago to reach the Playoff. The Buckeyes aren't playing this championship weekend, but could they benefit again?

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