Football Hayes & Cannon

The Grumpy Old Buckeye: Ohio State vs. Sparty

This week we’re grumping about Ohio State against the Spartans. If you’re not familiar with this column, it’s where I gripe about the stuff that made me want to yell at the punk kids who won’t get off my lawn.

Michigan State is a team that always gets some mud on you at some point. Whether they’re playing well against other teams or not they tend to just make things messy. Ohio State needed a test and Sparty provided one for a while. Let’s get to my complaints of the week.


Look, it’s not that I dislike Ohio State’s black alternate uniforms. In fact, they’re rather nice. I like them a lot. But when the Buckeyes wear them, that’s one fewer chance for me to see those sexy scarlet home jerseys. I’m biased, of course, but I think Ohio State’s home uniforms are as good as any in the country and I like seeing them. So, I’m not begrudging the kids getting to play in fresh threads. I’m not hating on the alternate uniforms. I’m simply pining for the ones I think are the best.

Missing Farrell

Justin Fields was a bit too amped up at the beginning of this game. On the second play, Fields eluded the MSU pass rush but then put way too much sauce on a pass for a wide open Luke Farrell. Instead of a big play and a first down, and possibly calming the team down, it created a third and long and led to a difficult first quarter. Seeing Farrell go beast mode for a touchdown later in the game made me get mad about the early miss all over again.

Early Play Calling/Penalty

Damon Arnette’s forced fumble (recovered by Malik Harrison) set the Buckeyes up in great shape on the second Ohio State drive. The Buckeyes ran J.K. Dobbins for a short gain on first down, which was fine. But then the offense got a false start penalty and the Buckeyes ran for little gain again. That left a lot to pick up on third down and again Ohio State ran. This was a better gain but still far short of the first down. That led to…


It’s been a few years since Ohio State had a reliable placekicker. Blake Haubeil isn’t it, that’s for sure. His early miss after Malik Harrison’s fumble return allowed the Spartans to keep their record of not allowing points off turnovers this season but it had much more to do with Ohio State’s ultra-conservative play calling, false start penalty, and unreliable kicker than anything that Michigan State did on that drive. At least Haubeil made his second attempt a few minutes later and a third attempt later still.

Return of ButterVictor

Binjimen Victor has had his share of drops over the years but this season he had been exceptional entering the team’s sixth game. However, his first quarter drop was a sign of the old Victor. He jumped for a ball that wasn’t high rather than simply continuing to run down the field. Then he didn’t look it in. Had he caught it in stride, which he could have, he probably would have scored. He made a great play later in the game to score but his loose hands also created some angst when his touchdown went to video review.

Um, Defense?

The Ohio State defense had been doing well the entire first half until the offense got in the end zone. After the team went up 10-0, the 2018 defense apparently took the field for a while. Brian Lewerke started things with a big gain outside. Then a simple handoff up the middle went for another first down. A couple of passes later and the Spartans were in the end zone and it didn’t even look difficult.

Then the Buckeyes did it again on the next drive, allowing a field goal after the second Ohio State touchdown. Allowing an immediate response is not the kind of thing Ohio State’s defense has done this year, so it was both aggravating and painful to watch and a reminder of how bad that side of the ball looked last year.

I have to give Lewerke a lot of credit. He was harassed all night, hit often, and chased around, and he handled it well, avoiding sacks all over the place and often finding a receiver in the process. And boy did that get me steamed. “Stop being Joe Montana!” I yelled at one point.

The Conservativism

At the end of the first half, Ohio State had a third down with three yards to go — which turned into eight yards to go after Ben Victor’s false start. Rather than try to pick up the first down or take a shot at the end zone, the Buckeyes ran Dobbins and picked up about half of what they needed, settling for a field goal at the end of the half. It capped a bit of a mismanaged final minute of the second quarter from a clock perspective. The three points were nice but math tells me that 7 > 3.

Fields’ Day

In his first true battle against a strong defense, Fields had some hiccups. He made some wrong reads on zone runs and then there was the pre-determined decision to throw to K.J. Hill that resulted in his first interception as a college quarterback. And he also lost a fumble in the fourth quarter. There were a few missteps and a couple missed throws, but overall Fields did well. Now Fields is allowed to play like Joe Montana. I’ll never yell at him for that.

Blindside? Really?

The rules against blindside hits is something I largely can get behind. It’s an attempt to protect the players and eliminate dangerous plays from the game. But in last night’s game an overzealous zebra tried to protect a player who didn’t need it. Baron Browning’s nudge seemed to be a good play, going more or less shoulder to shoulder. There was no massive hit, no ‘oooh’ from the crowd, and no shaken up Spartan. It was just a bump to help a teammate and no one was in any danger of being injured. Still, the flag flew and wiped out a fantastic long interception return from Jordan Fuller, who absolutely deserved that touchdown. The ref who threw that flag should be brought up on charges.

ABC Fumbles Repeatedly

I lost count of how many plays ABC failed to televise live as they happened but the broadcast team seemed to have issues getting done showing replays, sideline features, or cutaways before the next play was run and it was usually when Ohio State had the ball. The broadcast even failed to show an extra point in the second half. Sure, they’re boring, but you hardly ever miss one being shown on TV.

Those are some of the things that stood out to me. It could have been a more lopsided win but it’s hard to get really salty when your team puts up more than 500 total yards and runs for more than 300 against a top 10 defense that allows fewer than 60 yards against on the ground per game. Next week: read my complaints about those bastards from Open Date!

13 Responses

  1. Surprised you missed the elbow to J.K.Dobbins’ head, Mike. That was pretty egregious.

    1. Agreed! Everyone is pretty silent on it. If a buckeye player did that they would have been ejected and ESPN would of had a 30 min segment on OSU “cheap shots”.

      The grumpy buckeye in me would like to see a compilation video of the targeting hits not called that our players were victim to VS the bogus calls our players were called for but in reality were making a textbook tackle. I doubt any team is near our injustice.

  2. I turn off the volume on tv can’t stand espn commentators no matter who it is.

  3. I would have been upset with the bad penalty on the interception, but I also saw the missed PI all against Michigan that completely changed the game earlier in the day. There was time when I thought B1G refs were the best. Not this year.

    Many of Day’s calls fooled me. They were unexpected. Unfortunately they didn’t fool Michigan Sate. How often does a trick play work on a Mark Dantonio defence? You can tell Day wasn’t here when Dantonio was here and hasn’t watched much Michigan State tape.

    Sometimes there is a reason you pass on third down when near the endzone, you do it because that gives you your best chance of earning a first down or touchdown. I always think a coach running trick plays a crucial times( Urban Meyer shows disrespect for the abilities of your team.

    OK, what happened in the 3rd quarter? Everyone looked flat. I guess they are ready for the bye week.

    Having that touchdown called back made the score 35-10. I called 42-10 before the game. Do these referees not realize their mistakes cause me lost pride? Give me that dude’s phone number. I need to explain it to him.

  4. As to the terrible Blind side call, I hope these referees are penalized for these stupid calls. Some of these A-Holes just have no ability to use common sense or exercise good judgement. Browning made no attempt to harm the guy and the collision was almost unavoidable unless Browning made himself disappear. .And it was more of a screen then a actual block.
    I also agree that our D Line gave Lewerke too much time although he did have a very quick release. I also thought The MSU OL got away with a lot of summary, we played well against a very good defense but also gave a very mediocre offense too many opportunities.
    As usual, the large amount of MSU players from Ohio gave them a lot of energy.

  5. So maybe I saw it wrong because I don’t see any complaints about it, but wasn’t that a targeting non call on JK Dobbins? That non call, the poor catching/throws and the blindside call angered me most.

  6. The chitter chatter was so goddam annoying particularly when it was so cliche ridden. A general lack of focus by the ESPN game crew. Even the sound was horrible with a stupid ricky ticky drum cadence stripped from its musical context and laid down as nervous clatter soundscape for the Herbstreit Davis inanities.

  7. I was definitely noticing the sloppy coverage by ABC missing plays or the starts of plays. Happened more than a few times! It has probably been a little “harder” to be grumpy this year as the overall performance seems much better/cleaner. Last night was the first game that didn’t fee like domination and yet, at the end of the night, it kind of was still. Go Bucks!

  8. totally agree with about everything and glad you mentioned ABC being horrible getting back to the LIVE plays on time! that should NEVER happen….and as everyone else says–that blind-side “penalty” was utterly ridiculous!…the 10 penalties were bad too but all in all OSU beat a team with a top tier defense and ran for nearly 7 times the average MSU gives up..and Lewerke was leading the big ten in passing yards coming in and only 1 int so it wasnt like he had sucked this year before this game–but he was making some tight throws he may not make that many of the rest of the year…despite some struggles OSU STILL won by 24!

  9. Agreed on the blind-side block call. Some officials seem to ignore why a rule was instituted and seek any technical reason to call the foul.

    Noticed an additional ABC fumble, reversing Binjimen Victor’s name to Victor Binjimen in their graphic of current Buckeye receivers.

  10. “Stop being Joe Montana!”

    Ain’t that the truth? Give Lewerke credit, he played great for them. I’ll be interested to see if he shows the same skill against Bucky.

    And Day’s play calling had me scratching my head at times. Our true athleticism won us the game in the end.

  11. The penalty on the interception return for a touchdown angered me the most plus I do not believe Mighigan State was called for any offensive holding penalties wheras I kept seeing holds.

    Go Bucks!

    1. That was not a penalty. The bad call was the wrong call and it proves to me that Big Ten officials are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. The Big Ten must tell them to call every ticky-tack penalty instead of letting the guys play.

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