After getting my heart broken year after year by my beloved Ohio teams, I've become quite the pessimistic fan. However, prior to Ohio St's game this past Saturday against Michigan St, I really had a good feeling. I thought that it was time that the offense was finally going to click, and they were going to take out two months of frustration on an overrated MSU team. I could not have been more right, as OSU took the Spartans behind the woodshed for a 45-7 beatdown.
The offense finally came together, as Terrelle Pryor and Chris Wells each had fantastic games. The defense was the best it has been all year, being the first unit to hold standout RB Javon Ringer to under 100 yards this season and only the second to keep him out of the end zone.
In what turned out to be a sign of things to come, the offense started off on the right foot as Terrelle Pryor made some great moves before scrambling for 32 yards on the game's second play. Later in the quarter, TP made the Michigan St D look silly on an 18-yard touchdown run. After a Ringer fumble on the ensuing drive, Pryor escaped several would-be sacks before showing his passing skills by throwing a dart to Brian Robiskie in the end zone. Michigan St promptly went three-and-out on their next drive, and the route was on when TP hooked up with Hartline for an amazing 56 yard catch and run, resulting in a 1-yard Beanie TD. At the end of the first quarter, it was 21-0 Buckeyes.
The second quarter was all Wells, as he led a nine play, 77 yard drive in less than five minutes, capping it off himself with a 12 yard run. The teams exchanged a couple punts and Ohio St DB Kurt Coleman had an interception in the final minute of the half. 28-0 OSU at the break.
Backup QB Kirk Cousins started the second half for Michigan St, and led the Spartans right down the field for a score, making it 28-7. After OSU's next possession resulted in a punt, Cousins took his team right down the field again and was threatening to score as the third quarter ended. On the second play of the final frame, Malcolm Jenkins was at it again, sacking Cousins and forcing a fumble, which Thaddeus Gibson scooped up and rumbled 69 yards for the game-clinching touchdown. I don't know if Ohio St got comfortable with their lead and didn't play as hard, or they just weren't prepared for the backup so he was able to execute better, but either way, if Michigan St scores there it's only a two possession game and they have all the momentum. Thankfully, we have a guy like Jenkins on the defense that refused to let that happen. After taking a commanding 35-7 lead, the rest of the game was handled by Wells and the defense. A long OSU drive led to an Aaron Pettrey field goal, and a Jermale Hines 48-yard fumble return for a TD gave the Buckeyes a 45-7 victory.
-Game ball goes to: Chris Wells. A 100% Beanie is almost unfair for defenses. Seeing him play like this really makes me think about what would have happened if he were never injured. He probably doesn't make up for all 32 points that the Bucks lost to SC by, but boy does he make it close. Wells was a machine on Saturday, carrying the ball a career high 31 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns. The stiff arm he put on a Spartan defender en route to his second TD made the dude look like he was in grade school.
-TP finally breaks out. Pryor has shown flashes of brilliance this year, but until this game he hasn't shown that he can consistently be effective for an entire 60 minutes. He certainly did that on Saturday. Not only did he look unstoppable on some plays running and throwing the ball, but he also eliminated the mistakes that have been plaguing him thus far. Pryor had by far his best game as a collegiate athlete, going 7/11 for 116 yards with 1 TD and 0 INTs, and running 12 times for 72 yards and another touchdown. He dodged defenders, he ran over them, he threw past them, he simply looked incredible.
-James Laurinaitis was a beast. The Animal was back in his '06-'07 form on Saturday, constantly being found around the ball. If he wasn't making one of his 11 tackles, he was right behind his teammate that did. He led a defense that was devastating yet again. Michigan St was held to a season low 52 rushing yards and a season high 5 turnovers. It was great to see Laurinaitis dominate a game again.
-This victory marks the seventh in a row and 12 out of 14 against Michigan St. Why do we even play this game any more? Can't they just give us a win and save them the embarrassment? I love how MSU always just tanks it at the end of the season every year after losing to us. I don't know the exact stats, but take a look at their record prior to their beatdown from Ohio St and after, it has got to be ridiculous.
Next weekend Ohio St welcomes the third ranked Nittany Lions of Penn St to The Shoe (8:00, ABC). This is always a big game, but this year it's even bigger. National Championship picture aside (Penn St is right in the thick of things, and don't look now, but Ohio St is climbing back in) this game is essentially for the Big Ten title. Each team comes into the game undefeated in conference play, and this is certainly each team's toughest game left on the schedule. Penn St has simply looked unbeatable this season. They have outscored their opponents 363-94! That's insane. If QB Daryll Clark and RB Evan Royster aren't Heisman candidates yet, they should be. (By the way, how awesome of a nickname is the "Blue Royster Cult" for his fans?) In 2005, the Lions ended our hopes of a National Title with a 17-10 victory. Here's hoping that we can do the same to them this year.
Monday, October 20