Football Hayes & Cannon

The Grumpy Old Buckeye: Ohio State at Rutgers

Ohio State had no trouble handling Rutgers on Saturday but it’s fair to say it was a game that didn’t make anyone who isn’t convinced about the Buckeyes suddenly change their mind. The Buckeyes’ starters were mostly fine, although there wasn’t much in the way of explosive plays in the running game and the defense got gashed for a touchdown by the worst team in the league.

Most of the problems came after the starters came off the field. The backups are generally never as sharp as the starters, but we saw a couple of dropped snaps — one by each of the backup quarterbacks — and uncharacteristically stoney hands from young receivers Garrett Wilson and Jamieson Williams.

Here’s the rest of what bugged me from a 56-21 OSU win at Rutgers.

Langan’s Run

Ohio State got totally fooled on a read option play on third-and-long on the third Rutgers series and got gashed by quarterback Johnny Langan. They got gashed by Rutgers. By Rutgers. Gashed. On a quarterback run. I’ll be mad about that play for a month. Adding to that aggravation was the Big Ten Network camera operator who got fooled by the run-pass option play. I’m also mad that it took three possessions by Rutgers to have something to be grumpy about. A lot of anger on just one play. That’s maximizing the irritation right there, which is efficient.

Malik’s Drop

Malik Harrison dropped a sure pick six in the first quarter on…let’s call it the fourth Rutgers possession. Honestly I lost count. It was all a blur. But the ball was right in his hands and there were not Rutgers players on the side of the field toward where he was running. It would have been the easiest touchdown for a linebacker ever, if only he’d held on. That led directly to…

Wilson’s Muff

The ensuing Rutgers punt popped off Wilson’s pads and landed in the arms of a Rutgers special teams player, setting the Scarlet Knights up deep in Ohio State territory. In other words, the Buckeyes did what Rutgers couldn’t — moved the ball for Rutgers. The freshman has been exceptional this season but this play was a reminder that he’s still a freshman. It was a terrible play and that led directly to…

Rutgers Scored…Not a Typo

The cascade effect of Harrison’s dropped interception led to Isaih Pacheco’s touchdown run, which was, in itself, a number of aggravating things in one. Tuf Borland missed a tackle. Jordan Fuller got outrun. Shaun Wade failed to make a play either by tackle or angling Pacheco toward the sideline. I’m offended that the Buckeye starters gave up a touchdown, let alone on a long run. The run went for 26 yards. That’s basically half the yards Jonathan Taylor had for an entire game against Ohio State. I’m not saying that Taylor is better than Pacheco or Wisconsin is better than Rutgers but…OK, yes, I am saying that. It was horrible. Of all the teams Ohio State has played in 2019, Rutgers (!) is the first team to score a touchdown on the OSU defense. Bench and/or fire everyone and then fire the bench.

Is Drue Chrisman Broken?

Last week I talked about Chrisman shanking his first punt against Maryland and then booting his second into the end zone in uncharacteristic fashion. His poor run of form continued with his first kick against Rutgers, as he sent a low drive that took an OSU bounce and still only went 41 yards, giving Rutgers good field position. Whether it’s a lack of confidence, thinking too much after getting one blocked by Wisconsin, or something mechanical, Chrisman used to be superhuman and then went through a run of meh. At least he was able to drop an ugly one just inside the 20 late in the third quarter, but he averaged only 35 yards per attempt.

Goal Line Stand

Ohio State’s offensive line provided plenty of room for J.K. Dobbins for much of the first half and then suddenly got jammed up three times in a four-play sequence on a goal-to-go situation. Dobbins nearly scored on second down from about eight yards out but came up a yard short. Then the offensive line got blown up on back-to-back plays and the Scarlet Knights were able to keep the Buckeyes out of the end zone. Josh Myers completely whiffed on his guy on fourth down and the play imploded. If the slobs can’t push around Rutgers at the one, how will they expect to do it against Penn State or Michigan?

Lining Up is Hard

Ohio State got two different 5-yard penalties for lining up incorrectly on the kickoff. Both were for lining up more than five yards behind the line, which is apparently a thing. It’s understandable that someone could make that mistake occasionally but once it’s called, everyone on the kickoff team should be on point with where they’re lining up for the rest of the game. Incredibly sloppy from a team that hadn’t (to my knowledge) drawn a flag for it all season.

Play Your Kids

Leading 35-7 against a terrible Rutgers team, Ryan Day put his starters back on the field to begin the second half. There was no reason to do so, given the score and the hosts’ likelihood of making a game of it. It looked to be a really bad decision just a few plays into the drive when Justin Fields was roughed after throwing a pass. Fields had already been dinged up earlier in the game. With two huge games on the schedule in the next two weeks, the exposure seemed unnecessary and that roughing penalty could have been a season changer. The Buckeyes got a touchdown out of the drive but the backups were capable of doing that. At least the backups went in for the next drive.


Ohio State allowed an explosion play for a touchdown in the fourth quarter when Langan tossed a 45-yard touchdown pass. It was a bad throw but a good adjustment by receiver Bo Melton, who abused Amir Riep and blazed past Josh Proctor, who took a bad angle — probably because he was expecting a better pass. Because of that second touchdown, Rutgers scored more points against the vaunted Ohio State defense than against any other Big Ten team this season. It was the first time in five years that Rutgers scored double digits against Ohio State (even last year’s dumpster fire defense did a better job). Langan later threw a 41-yard pass to Kay’Ron Adams who Jahsen Wint didn’t bother to cover and no one else did either.

The Blindside

Gunnar Hoak was given the opportunity to throw a pass late in the fourth quarter. Hoak had to double pump, presumably due to the coverage, and he got hit from behind and fumbled, setting Rutgers up in the red zone. That’s bad by Hoak, bad by the offensive line, and bad by the receiver who didn’t get open. It was a lot of bad on just one play. Riep compounded the issue by getting questionably flagged for pass interference in the end zone on fourth-and-7, allowing Rutgers to add a late cosmetic touchdown that was awarded on clear and obvious video evidence I have yet to see after an initial call of a fumble into the end zone.

I realize that finding fault with a huge win is the first-worldiest of first-world problems, but the Buckeyes weren’t crisp for much of Saturday, especially after the starters left the game, and never seemed likely to cover what was an enormous point spread. While I don’t expect that to be a problem in the next two weeks, there’s always a worry that a team that’s had it so easy all season could become complacent or just not be equipped to handle adversity against better competition. So far, the worst adversity has been a one-score game in the second half against Wisconsin. The next two weeks may prove a bit more difficult. The players should expect to get yelled at a lot this week.

We’ll be back to do this again next week after the Penn State game.

14 Responses

  1. Mama always said “Nerdy is as nerdy does”.

  2. I always record the games and go back to review later. This one pissed me off so much I erased it as soon as it was over. No reason to get aggravated again over Rutgers.

  3. Two things I observed vs. Rutgers. Lack of sound fundamentals, and lack of discipline. I’m assuming that will be corrected, and we will back to our norm for PSU and UM.

  4. You’re in rare form, 68. Keep fit up.

  5. I heard Ryan Day instructed the team before the start of the Rutgers game, “If you guys have any errors, miscues, poor judgments, mental lapses, or faux pas’s to get it out of the way, do it in the game today! We don’t need to save them for Penn State or the Team Up North. Get it all out of your system…today!”
    BTW, did you notice Rutgers’ last 2 TDs came with their first string still playing – against the Buckeyes’ third string. Yeah, it’s a terrible thing when third-string Buckeyes can’t totally annihilate the Scarlet Knights’ first string, but hey, boys will be boys!
    What a terrible thing when the No. 2 (eventually to be No. 1) team in the country has a rare off day and can defeat a lowly foe by only 35 points! Five measly touchdowns. Maybe OSU should give up football and focus on world-class tiddlywinks.

    1. BuckeyeBod48 – thanks for the scoop on Day’s ‘challenge’ for the two big boys ! Enjoyed your sarcasm.

      Hope you enjoy a ‘rare’ appreciation that there are apparently no “strings” attached to Day’s standards….


  6. veni vedi vici, said Julius Caesar.

    Yes in deed; what we did Saturday – players, coaches, loyal media – was galling. It slips down that way, way, way too familiar traditional slope of ignoring, avoiding, and narrating.

    Shades of self-deception, when we “really need that yard” of the yardstick standard, magnifies that cancer’s metastasizing in us, and raps that perceptual cable around our neck….. A sort of ‘suicide by self-strangulation’ of ‘not a murder by proxy’ that leaves the liar ‘just as dead’ by any story.

    Some are ‘so serious’ they relate Buckeye football to a religion. IF so….

    IF so, then we don’t need more chemo, or to press our con-fer-ance. We need self and peer confession; and, repentance for our unwillingness to face and hold to our own standard. Nothing else will do. Who can recommit to some standard first set above them, that they have reinvented, interpreted anew, excused themselves from just a tad this time… amidst our usual nattering ‘not matterings’?

    It is common to man to reject builders’ stones for our all too usual unwillingness rip-rap. One of those stones is the Chief Cornerstone, and we’d better choose it …daily…. for the storm approacheth, and that right soon…!

    We have been given more than abundance. Our players & coaches have worked hard and long. Most of all, it seems as if they have held themselves accountable [re: “We are a player driven program”].

    SO HAVE we, so far?

    But isn’t it always… ‘so far’ TODAY? Or not….

    Each day, the imps goad each person, where they know he is weakest and most susceptible. It’s ‘so not fair’ …? ‘Throw that first stone… everybody does it’…? ;-{)} Unless….

    Unless we choose to follow ‘Da Man’ who has already won the fight for us… and use the freedom of choice we have been given in His love, from our beginning!?

    Doesn’t any “totally, honestly, actually, really” … gambler’… so luv it …when the game is ‘rigged’ …FOR him?

  7. Get a grip, complainers! If the ones had played the entire game, the score would have been 70 or 77 to 7…enough said

  8. This game was perfect for the Buckeyes! It will give them edge and show that if a good team isn’t very very careful a bad team can make them look bad and a good adversary can beat them. Perfect before the 3 most important games in B1G play for the season.

  9. Josh myers suddenly erratic shotgun snaps the last two games which can totally screw up the timing especially in the run game along with ben victors best roy hall impression by stepping on fields throwing hand in the second quarter. Luckily not a ted ginn result. Giving up 3 TDs to rutgers a total headscratcher.

  10. Well I didn’t get to see this game live on tv as my cable service went out some time late in the first quarter. It was a city wide outage and did not come back on until 7PM when the game was over. I had to listen to the game on 97.1 on my phone. Maybe it was best that I was not able to see most of these mistakes by the buckeyes on television. haha

    1. Believe it… was for the best that your cable went out. That team that took the field for Ohio State yesterday didn’t come close to resembling a National Title contender.

    2. Don, your words reminded me of an oft-forgotten comparison between a movie [TV] and a book [radio].

      By one medium, a constant overflow of images are projected into you….

      By the other, ‘outdated, boring’ medium, you have the freedom to make your own images about what you choose to hear.

      ====>one exercises your freedom of choice IF you choose to… the other buries your choosing exercise in thousands of impositions per minute….


      “I have to do what’s best for ME” – as the so saying goes – which medium do i choose? ;-{)}

      1. This forum is fascinating. When did football become so f%#@^^$ nerdy?!!!!

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