The Buckeye Watch - Akron
By Tony Gerdeman
As far as new eras go, a 42-0 beatdown is a pretty good start.
The Buckeyes weren't undermanned, but they were short-handed, and it didn't seem to matter. Granted, Akron's offense is as powerful as a Mandelbaum trying to move a television, but it's always good to see a young defense going all-in on a shutout.
It also wasn't bad to see two new quarterbacks nearly combine for 300 yards passing. Joe Bauserman looked like he was in control for nearly the entire time. He had maybe one series where he was off, but he showed the patience of a veteran. The key this season will be for him to remain that calm when there's an actual defense coming after him.
The one thing that I'll take away from this game, other than Bauserman's demeanor, was the fact that the young players responded very well.
The two leading rushers for the Buckeyes were second-year players. Four Buckeye receivers made their on-field debuts, and all responded well. Braxton Miller completed 8-12 passes for 130 yards in under 30 minutes of play.
Of the nine defensive players with a tackle for loss, four of them were playing in the first game of their career.
It wasn't just a great start for Luke Fickell, it was also a great start for the future of this program.
10:37 Well, big changes have come to The Buckeye Watch, as I'm in the press box now. I hope nothing happens between the 10 and 20-yard line on the north side of the stadium because my view is completely blocked by some stupid window beam that is probably holding the entire press box up.
10:49 Press box food: eggs for breakfast and City Barbecue for lunch. All on the same plate. I win.
11:17 Ohio State football programs are a reasonably-priced $10. The proceeds go to a good cause -- Ohio State!
11:19 I really have no idea how being in the press box is going to impact The Buckeye Watch. It will likely increase the amount of cursing a billion-fold. I won't be able to tell you all of the goings-on behind the scenes, however, because when they cut my hand and burned a playing card in it, that meant that I could never go against the family.
11:22 I'm looking forward to watching Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith getting a ton of carries today. I think Hyde will be more consistent, but I think Smith will have a homerun at some point today.
11:27 Jaamal Berry is dressed and warming up, but I would imagine he's an emergency back today. Only to be used if Smith and Hyde are exhausted or injured, and maybe to give them a bit of a break for a carry or three.
11:44 TBDBITL and Alumni TBDBITL are now out on the field. You ever wonder if the alumni band looks at the current band and just thinks to themselves, "Lousy punks with their rock music always playing the White Stripes instead of good stuff like Deep Purple."
11:54 The Tunnel of Pride has been formed. I hope nobody down there passes out.
11:59 Ohio State has won the toss and has elected to defer! Finally, the long reign of terror of Jim Tressel taking the ball and punting after a three and out is over! Contract extension. Contract extension!!!
12:01 Drew Basil is kicking off right into my blind spot. And here we go. The kick goes to the seven-yard line and is returned to the 24-yard line by Josh Richmond. Nate Ebner was right there to trip him up. Ebner is a rugby player, which you can tell by his beard.
12:02 Tyler Moeller just missed a tackle on the blitz and Jawon Chisholm picks up ten yards. If you're going to blitz, you've got to make the play when it's in your wheelhouse. Still, this is Moeller's first game in a long time, so we can forgive him.
12:03 Whoa. Andrew Sweat just destroyed Chisholm for a loss of two yards. Running the ball is not advisable. Right now would be a great place to insert a play on words about the heat and Sweat. Let's try the following: "It's not so much the heat, it's the doom-midity." Ha ha ha! You see what I did there?! You really should have to pay for this stuff. Also, I love when I quote myself with quotation marks.
12:05 Third and 14. And the wide receiver screen gets blown up by John Simon and then Andrew Sweat for a loss of five yards, and I think Sweat forced a fumble on that one. Akron recovered. Akron will now punt.
12:07 The Joe Bauserman era begins. Carlos Hyde gets the ball and picks up two yards before sliding down. It's too hot down there. The rubber is melting. The players are essentially running on tar. That can't be good for the lungs. Oh no, a brontosaurus has stumbled onto the 27-yard line. Now he's up to his neck in tar. Sure, that dude is unhappy now, but he'll make for some sweet fossils in a few million years.
12:08 The Buckeyes are in a bit of a hurry up. This Luke Fickell as the head coach thing don't seem so bad right now. Bauserman finds Jake Stoneburner for a gain of nine yards. We're gonna see that a lot this season. A lot.
12:10 Bauserman finds Verlon Reed for a 28-yard reception on the rollout. He had the easy dump to Reid Fragel, but he waited for Verlon to open up, and he almost broke that one. Just tremendous patience on the part of Bauserman.
12:11 Broken play. But Bauserman turns it up field, dodges some joker, and powers into the endzone for a 15-yard touchdown run! You know what, people may think that was busted, but it wasn't. It was Bausted. The extra point is good. The Buckeyes lead it 7-0.
12:12 I hope Joe Bauserman has room on his mantle for a certain trophy with a certain stiff arm.
12:13 Joe Bauserman is coming to your city. Hide your huntable animals.
12:15 Another kickoff and another Nate Ebner tackle. I'm thinking we've found Ohio State's special teams demon. He had some issues last year, but those issues appear to be solved.
12:16 Etienne Sabino is now in for the first time in this game. Awesome! The line of scrimmage is right in line with my angry sight-hating window beam. Chisholm is tackled for a loss of one by Nathan Williams, Big Hank and Garret Goebel. Why wasn't John Simon invited? Trouble in paradise?
12:17 Third and three. Dominic Clarke breaks up the line drive jumpball to Marquelo Suel. Maybe next time try to get some air on that jumpball, because if you don't, it's not actually a "jumpball", it's merely a "standball", and anybody can win a standball. Akron punts.
12:23 Rod Smith gets the ball on third and six and picks up 19 yards to the left side. Perfect blocking by everybody on that one. There was no where to go but forward. The first 15 yards of that carry were by default.
12:24 Seven more yards for Smith. Just following the scarlet wall. Very Eddie Georgian. Back to my blind spot now. Text me if anything happens.
12:25 Rod Smith fumbles inside the five-yard line and Akron recovers. Smith is hanging his head as he comes off the field. Carlos Hyde is wincing as well, because now he's gonna carry the ball 48 times today. After that fumble, Smith reminds me of Eddie George more than ever right now.
12:30 Akron prepares to punt as the first quarter comes to an end. Buckeyes lead it 7-0.
12:31 The first quarter of the Luke Fickell Era is now in the books. It's towards the back of the book, if you're looking.
12:32 The offensive line looks pretty good. There will be at least one long run broken today, I just hope whoever is doing the breaking will be able to make it all the way to the endzone before passing out.
12:33 Bracing for Braxton. I've been practicing my girlish "squee" by planting fake mice around the house and forgetting about them.
12:35 And here comes Braxton Miller. Some of the crowd is aware of it. The rest of them are too busy talking about how hot it is. Shotgun. Quarterback draw, picks up two yards. There was a hole, and then there wasn't. Bauserman would've scored.
12:37 Third and eight. Terrible snap to Braxton's left, he had to dive on it to stop it. Weird snap for an All-American. Loss of seven yards. Ohio State will punt.
12:39 You don't think the vets are trying to sabotage Braxton Miller, do you?
12:40 Darryl Baldwin is in on the defensive line. I didn't expect him to be the sixth guy in. He closed practices well, but I didn't realize he closed them this well. Good to see. One-yard run for Chisholm. They ran right at Baldwin, and Baldwin was very unobliging.
12:42 Third and seven for Akron. Four wide. Clayton Moore dodged Sweat for a sack, then took a hit from Simon and threw it as he was falling to the ground for a seven-yard pick up. They will measure. Impressive play by Moore. Just short. Akron will punt.
12:43 Punt...nope, they say they're going. From the 25-yard line? What? Akron came to win today, baby. Akron is challenging the spot of the ruling. Sweet. Challenging spots ALWAYS works out, he said sarcastically and with capital letters.
12:46 The ruling stands. Nice job, Akron. Now punt the stupid ball.
12:48 Bauserman is back. Buckeyes want a touchdown on this drive, clearly.
12:51 Play-action for Bauserman, who then picks up nine yards on the scramble as he was just about to be sacked. Great feel on the pass rush. Waited until the very last moment. He has basically continued his last couple weeks of practice, where he looked like a leader of this team.
12:58 There's an eight-yard pass to Zach Boren in the flats. Finally, all you Walt Harris lovers can SHUT UP!
1:00 Fourth and one, and Rod Smith comes back. Very interesting. I like it. He gets the ball and fights forward for a yard. Got it. He battled for it. Love putting him back in there in the red zone. But then with just two healthy running backs, it's probably too hot to punish a kid, and playing him might actually be more of a punishment anyway.
1:01 Play action for Bauserman. He throws it to a wide open Stoneburner for the touchdown. Apparently everybody bit on that fake. Or maybe the Akron secondary got confused and thought they were playing soccer and were waiting for the offsides call. Buckeyes lead it 14-0 and Bausermania is officially a real thing.
1:08 Redshirt freshman defensive end J.T. Moore forces Akron to go three and out all on his own. Yet another young guy making his mark on the defensive line for the Buckeyes.
1:10 The Buckeyes just picked up eleven yards on a screen pass to Carlos Hyde, and it looked perfectly normal! Which is weird. If Bauserman being on the field means normal looking screen plays for Ohio State, then east must be west, wrong must be right, and Michigan must play defense!
1:11 Bauserman rolls out, but throws it low and incomplete. That was his first bad throw of the game. It was intended for yet another tight end. Ugh, I hate covering a football team that only throws to the tight ends.
1:13 Drew Basil will be attempting a 45-yard field goal. And it's wide left. But Akron was offsides. It makes fourth and six now fourth and one. Gotta go for it. The crowd wants it. Bauserman wants to go for it. But the kicker stays out there. It's like Luke Fickell doesn't even want Bauserman to win the Heisman.
1:14 Here comes Basil again, this time from 40 yards. He missed it wide right. I wonder if www.FireLukeFickell.com is available.
1.17 Tipped pass by Dominic Clarke and then an amazing interception by Andrew Sweat. Great grab by Sweat, but I'm puzzled as to why Clayton Moore isn't trying to throw the ball over Clarke's head instead of through it.
1.18 Carlos Hyde gets the carry and cuts it back for 24 yards. That was reminiscent of the Beanie Wells cutbacks against Wisconsin in 2007. I thought he was gone.
1:19 Bauserman sweep for zero yards. Let's never do that again, please.
1.20 Third and ten from the eleven-yard line. Bauserman finds Stoneburner for another touchdown. Beauty move after the missed tackle, and then he powered it in. That's three touchdowns accounted for by Bauserman today. He looks better than anybody could have hoped. Buckeyes lead it 21-0.
1:36 Akron is going to attempt a 41-yard field goal with three seconds remaining in the first half. And he misses it wide left. The Buckeyes go into halftime leading the Zips 21-0.
1:37 Well, both sides of the ball look pretty good, but the game itself is less than impressive for some reason. Though I guess if it was 31-0, maybe it would seem a little better.
1:41 It's difficult to watch that first half and imagine that Dominic Clarke is the third-best cornerback on the team. But Bradley Roby isn't even being looked at by Moore, so that says a lot.
1:43 I want to see Braxton Miller throw the ball downfield in the second half. Anybody can throw the bubble screens. I want to see him pick defenses apart.
1:59 Reading the forum and Twitter, apparently Mark May said something stupid. Um, that's his job. And he does it very well.
2:00 We are back to play. The kickoff goes to Philly Brown who returns it for 44 yards. Not bad for a backup.
2:01 Bauserman slings it to Verlon Reed on an in route, and then Reed spins out of a tackle and picks up 28 yards on the catch. He is just so good spinning after a catch. I said a couple of weeks ago that he reminds me of David Boston when he does it.
2:04 Second and goal from the two-yard line. The play-action to Stoneburner would kill right here. Instead the give is to Hyde, who gets nothing.
2:05 There it is. Play-action to Stoneburner for the touchdown. That's his third touchdown of the day. When was the last time a tight end won the Heisman? Kellen Winslow II, maybe? The Buckeyes lead it 28-0. It's Joe Bauserman's world, so it's time to install those camo curtains and every doorbell has to be a duck call.
2:12 Akron goes three and out. Since Fields is fielding the punt, it would be pretty sweet if Akron's punter's last name was "Punts". Then it would be "Punts to punt to Fields to field". It's got a sing-along quality to it that I think would be good for the game.
2:13 Braxton Miller is now making his second appearance. Will he be in from here on out? There's a quick screen to Philly for seven yards. Nice throw. Philly is down with cramps, let's hope. He limps off.
2:14 Miller dumps it off to Rod Smith for five yards. Any play where an offensive player doesn't slip down due to playing on liquid rubber is a positive play.
2:17 Weird. The Buckeyes are forced to punt. Ben Buchanan kills it inside the 10-yard line. He's had a nice day today when called upon.
2:20 Chisholm was just destroyed by J.T. Moore. Wow. Nowhere to go. Moore has looked impressive at times. His motor won't stop and he keeps fighting to get to the ball.
2:22 Third and nine and Clayton Moore just picked up 15 yards on a wide open scramble up the middle. Good thing that's not Denard Robinson or Russell Wilson, or else they might not have been caught.
2:23 Darryl Baldwin gets a sack. He finished well in practice, but he finished even better on that play.
2:24 Third and nine. Watch the scramble! Tyler Moeller blitzes and forces Moore into blitzing Etienne Sabino's belly of hate. Loss of five. Akron will punt.
2:26 We have just been told that Jake Stoneburner is the eighth Buckeye to catch three touchdowns in a game, and the first tight end. Gosh, I thought at Tight End U, the record would have been eight or nine touchdowns in a game.
2:27 Play-action for Braxton. He rolls out and there's a nice and easy throw to Devin Smith for 20 yards. That play is there all day. The kid just seems so calm out there.
2:31 We have reached the end of the third quarter. The Buckeyes lead 28-0. The crowd that is remaining might still be in their seats because they are awaiting medical personnel.
2:35 Touchdown to Devin Smith on the post route! He was open for a bit there. I think the throw was a little behind him. Big smile on Joe Bauserman's face. 35-0. Miller stood in the pocket and was patient. He waited for Smith to clear the linebacker and flipped it in there. Urban Meyer has to be psyched!
2:41 Third and eleven. And there's the freshman Michael Bennett picking up the sack. After what I've seen today, maybe it's time to declare the young defensive linemen > the old defensive linemen. Akron punts.
2:48 Braxton throws it away as he's getting sacked. Great play to throw it out of bounds. That was a super-heady play for a frosh. Terrelle Pryor would have taken the sack or run out of bounds on that just last season.
2:50 The Buckeyes punt. True freshman Doran Grant on the tackle. Have freshmen, will tackle.
2:53 There's a sack by Nate Ebner! Dude has been awesome today on special teams today. Great to see him get some snaps on defense as well.
2:55 Terrible punt by Akron. The kick went 21 yards and the Buckeyes are already in missed field goal range.
2:56 Holy crap! Braxton just threw it to Evan Spencer who made an amazing one-handed grab falling out of bounds. We all know Spencer is a Buckeye legacy, but he looked more like Cris Carter's kid on that catch than Tim Spencer's kid.
2:59 Touchdown Rod Smith from two yards out. Ohio State leads it 42-0. And now it's time to go down to the field to prepare for postgame.
3:06 We missed an Akron possession while we were making our way down to the field. I would call that a positive development.
3:07 The Buckeye offense is back out on the field and Braxton just found T.Y. Williams for 23 yards. He caught the ball! He actually caught it! After all of his struggles during the preseason--and pregame, perhaps they are all gone now with just one actual catch.
3:09 He just caught another one! T.Y. is 2-2 on the season! The struggles are over, clearly.
3:15 Gene Smith is in the hizzy. He walks past South Stands to a chorus of "GEEEEEEEEENE".
3:16 And that's the ballgame, folks. The Buckeyes win it 42-0, and do it looking well in all facets. Interestingly, in Jim Tressel's debut against Akron, that game featured 42 total points scored as well. Though the actual score was only 28-14.
3:17 We're off to Rob Ianello's postgame interview. I imagine this will be enlightening.
3:39 Still waiting on Ianello. Does it really take that long to tell your team, "Gentleman, we might have sucked today, but tomorrow is a new day. Now let's get warshed up." (This is Ohio, remember, we say "warshed".)
3:43 Here we go. Hey, what do you know, he was disappointed in his offense. And he felt like his team stopped competing.
3:50 Time to head to the mass of organized chaos up in the Ohio State postgame room.
3:55 Evan Spencer said that that was probably the best catch of his life. Must be a pretty good receiver if "probably" is anywhere near that statement.
4:24 Talked with Braxton Miller. A reporter who doesn't need to be named because it's not at all important to the story asked Miller what he thought of Joe Bauserman's moves on the touchdown run, and I immediately chimed in with "Jealous!??" Of course, I meant was he jealous of the moves, but he thought I was asking if he was jealous of Bauserman's touchdown. He was not. It's all for the team blah blah blah. Though he did end with "I didn't know he had moves like that!" as he walked out of the room.
4:27 That's enough for now. It's time to get back up to press box, pound a few cherry tomatoes, and get a little bit of work done before heading home.
The-Ozone Akron Game Coverage
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Ten Things We Learned - By Brandon Castel
Two Quarterback System Seems to be Working - By Brandon Castel
Stoneburner's Big Day was Years in the Making - by Brandon Castel
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