The Buckeye Watch - Toledo
By Tony Gerdeman
A win is a win is a win. Just keep repeating that phrase. After all, as George Costanza correctly pointed out once, “It's not a lie if YOU believe it.”
The Buckeyes are indeed 2-0. It wasn't easy, it wasn't pretty, but then it doesn't have to be. There are no points given for twirls and flourishes. There are only points given for touchdowns, extra points and safeties. Though I once heard stories of something called “field goals”, but I am unclear of their actual existence.
I am of the opinion that the story of this game was a combination of Toledo's talent and Ohio State's unavailable talent. If the two teams played with full contingents ten times, the Buckeyes would win ten times.
But the Buckeyes don't have a full contingent, and they may never. So they have to be judged on the team that actually sees the field, and not the one that watches from home.
The team that played on Saturday is going to have its hands full with Miami next week, which is probably why it wasn't bad to have their hands full with Toledo this week.
Experience is never a bad thing, and the Buckeyes are now experienced.
11:00 Brisket from City Barbecue. This is how most mornings should start. Eventually it would become so much a part of our culture that we would begin to incorporate it into our language. “Good brisket to you, sir.” “And to you.” Then eventually it would replace everyday words, such as curse words. “BRISKET! Michigan scored.” And then it would eventually replace the majority of our verbs. “We're going brisketing.” Or “You really brisketed this situation beyond all repair.” And it all began simply by eating brisket. Similarly, I believe this is how it happened with the Smurfs as well.
11:06 I don't think we'll lose any referees to the heat today, but we may lose them to a push/pull misunderstanding on their locker room door.
11:25 Nathan Williams is out. This is not a good development. That means J.T. Moore will get his snaps and the Buckeyes lose one of their most versatile players.
11:35 The Toledo marching band reminds me of a high school band. I think once you get out of high school, you shouldn't have to wear those giant feather things on your head if you play an instrument.
11:41 A member of the press who will go unnamed asked if he could be the unnamed member of the press mentioned this week. I told him yes, but I'm totally not planning on mentioning him. Though I do want to talk to him about starting a David Allan Coe tribute band.
11:45 The press box windows are open. It actually feels like I'm at a football game now. Why do I suddenly have an urge for beer?
11:48 The incomparable Script Ohio. No matter how many times you've seen it, they always spell it correctly!
12:03 The Buckeyes open with a fly sweep with Verlon Reed. That might be the most yards Ohio State has ever gained on that play. The addition of Stan Drayton continues to pay dividends.
12:04 Joe Bauserman hits Verlon, who then spins out of a tackle just like the greatest wide receiver in Ohio State history, who also happened to wear that same number nine.
12:05 A toss play to Carlos Hyde, who gets four yards. A toss play? Really? That's Ohio State's one toss play for the year.
12:06 Play-action to Jake Stoneburner down the seam for the touchdown! A beautiful one-handed grab. Such nonchalance borders on cockiness. That catch was so flippant that it could have merited an unsportsmanlike conduct play and negated the touchdown altogether. I think I actually heard him yell “WHATEVS!” while catching the pass. The arrogance is concerning. Other than that, it was a nice way to start the game. Though the fact that the Buckeyes couldn't run the ball at all should be concerning.
12:10 Kickoff. Out of the endzone with the wind. That's a neutralizer, though I would've liked to have seen Nate Ebner get a shot at Eric Page.
12:12 There's a swing pass to Eric Page for 13 yards. I left him on my bench today, so obviously he is going to have a big day. That's my bad.
12:16 Third and four at the Ohio State 27. There's some very nice coverage by Andrew Sweat to knock down the drag route to Page, though when Toledo has that matchup, they have to love it. Let's not have that matchup often though, okay?
12:17 Here comes a 45-yard field goal attempt for Toledo's first score in the long history of this series. It's wide right! Dang shame. That is now 126 minutes and eleven seconds of scorelessness for the Rockets all-time against the Buckeyes.
12:19 Hyde is back out there for the Buckeyes. I wonder if the run defense will be a little looser, or if the Buckeyes will be happy to pass. Hyde gets two yards. Not a lot of room, and he's not quick enough to hit that cutback. Jaamal Berry can. Jordan Hall can. Boom Herron would still be running.
12:22 The Buckeyes go three and out. Weird. Here comes the punt—it's blocked! Adam Homan tackles the ball around the one-yard line. Ohio State's streak of one consecutive games without having a punt block is now snapped.
12:24 Touchdown to Eric Page. He drags across the middle and dives into the endzone. They're going for two, and they got it. The Buckeyes had their base defense out there and they still got it. Toledo leads it 8-7. Tim Beckman wants this job, you guys.
12:25 It's impossible to put the defense in that type of position and expect them to come through.
12:28 Buckeyes back with the ball. Need more Stoneburner. Carlos Hyde missed the blitz pick up and Bauserman throws it up for grabs. They wanted to go deep, and he wasn't gonna let some dude eating his face stop him.
12:29 Bauserman finds Verlon for ten yards and a flag for the horse collar. You can always count on Toledo to help you out with penalties, and the Buckeyes will take it. They'll need all the field position they can handle for the next blocked punt.
12:32 Third and ten. Here comes the blitz, and nobody stops it. Bauserman gets sacked, but there's a flag on the play. “Blatant miss of a blitz from an offensive player”, perhaps? Personal foul facemask. That's the discipline I've been expecting from the Rockets. See, gifts are a two-way street.
12:33 Hyde for four yards up the middle. There's no homerun potential in the running game right now.
12:35 Here comes Drew Basil for the 47-yard FG. Wide left. He is now 0-4 for his career. Special teams, baby.
12:38 There's a screen pass to Eric Page and he is gone. What? Andrew Sweat had a chance at him and missed the tackle. He outraced C.J. Barnett after that. Wow. 66 yards. Tackling was gonna be huge in this game and you are seeing why. Their offense is predicated on this. Toledo leads it 15-7.
12:39 Good thing Eric Page is on my bench.
12:40 By my count, the Buckeyes have around 61 players available today. Yes, that's more than a traveling squad, but the traveling squad doesn't usually leave half of their starters at home.
12:41 There's a two-yard dump off to Stoneburner. I hate when he doesn't score touchdowns.
12:42 It's third and five and the Buckeyes need a first down to give the defense a rest. Three wide. Shotgun, and the ball slips out of Bauserman's hands on a pump. That's the Joe Bauserman fans have seen before, and hoped was no longer here. The crowd begins to mumble. The Buckeyes punt.
12:44 Here comes a double pass with Page, but he gets tackled by Sabino and Moeller before he could get it off. Loss of four. Good thing, because that might have been six more.
12:45 Second and fourteen. The pass is dropped by Bernard Reedy. Would've picked up twelve yards easy. That was the gift that Ohio State counts on against these types of teams. That brings us to the end of the quarter and the Rockets lead it 15-7.
12:46 The second quarter adjustments will be interesting to watch. It's time to put a stamp on this team, and it's only the start of the sixth quarter of the season.
12:48 Third and fourteen. Incomplete on the deep out. Bradley Roby was there to make sure it didn't happen. There's just no way you're gonna complete that pass against these corners. It gives them too much time to cover ground. The Rockets punt.
12:50 Chris Fields fields it at the 26. Nice job to field that because it would have rolled another ten yards. No fear.
12:51 Philly Brown is down and in pain. He is hurting. It looks bad just from how he's reacting. Rough day for the Buckeyes so far. He's being helped off and is putting no weight on the left leg. Next man up, I guess. Eventually they may have to start turning to the Red Coats.
12:53 What?! Speed option to Rod Smith, who bobbled it and picked up nine yards. Ridiculous and great at the same time. Just don't do it again.
12:54 Bauserman rolls out and throws the ball away and the fans have finally gotten what they wanted—the chance to boo Joe Bauserman. You can hear the joy in each boo. They've wanted to do this since he won the job. Just a great moment for these fans to be able to get exactly what they've been begging for. They'll never forget this moment. They will tell their grandchildren about it.
“Yep, Junior. Back in old twenty-eleven, me and your dad were at an Ohio State game and I had been telling him for weeks that if he was good, I'd take him to his first game, and he would get the opportunity to boo Joe Bauserman. Well, that first game was against Akron and we had absolutely nothing to boo. It was infuriating. Your dad was so disappointed. He kept asking, 'Daddy, when are we going to boo the bad man?' Boy, the fire burned in me something fierce right then. I hated that Bauserman more than ever for what he did. Your daddy cried the entire car ride home because I had broken my promise to him, and all because of that Bauserman. Well then, you know what we did the next week? We got tickets again! Your daddy wasn't convinced that we would get the chance to boo Bauserman, but I sat him down and promised him that no matter what happened, we were gonna boo him. And you know what happened? That son of a ***** Bauserman threw a pass away and we let him have it good! It was just an unbelievable feeling. If I died right there at that moment, I would have lived a full life. I picked your daddy up and we had one of those hugs that you remember forever. Then we left for home, because there was no way we were gonna put up with this trash at quarterback.”
12:55 Bauserman finds Stoneburner for about eleven yards. Now he comes off so they can run the ball. Tricky!
12:56 Rod Smith gets back to the line of scrimmage after getting hit four yards in the backfield. Oh, so telegraphing the running plays ISN'T tricky?
12:57 Sweep to Fields. No gain. The Buckeyes block that play as well as they throw screens.
12:58 Third and ten. Jaamal Berry and Rod Smith are the split backs. Bauserman swings it to Berry for five yards. The Buckeyes are just getting beat up and can't get anything started. Can't run it. Maybe let Jaamal Berry and his quickness try it. Or Braxton. Remember him?
1:02 Third and five. Austin Dantin overthrows Page on the corner route. Funny how he's easier to hit when it's a two-yard pass and he's wide open. Toledo punts.
1:07 Hyde gets it on the toss play and loses a yard. The Buckeyes can't run against Toledo. Cut it. Print it. They can't do it. One of the best offensives line in the Big Ten is getting worked by a MAC defensive line.
1:08 Third and four from the Toledo 36-yard line. And there's an inside draw to Carlos Hyde and he's gone for the touchdown! Whoa. How about that crafty Jim Bollman. I was not a fan of that call at all - I never am - but maybe that's their best option on passing downs right now. The Buckeyes will kick the extra point and not chase points, which is the correct decision. It's good. The Buckeyes cut it to 15-14 Toledo. Told you the Buckeyes couldn't run it against Toledo.
1:09 Tremendous blocking on that play. The Rockets came crashing down and Hyde went right by, honking his La Cucaracha horn in the process.
1:12 Eric Page with a 42-yard kickoff return. I've had just about enough of this guy.
1:14 It's third and eleven and time for a sack. There it is! Big Hank got through right away Dantin curled up and asked to be sacked by anybody else. Toledo punts.
1:16 Bauserman scrambles and throws it away. More fans are creating lasting family memories.
1:17 The Buckeyes go three and out. Now Toledo could conceivably get back to back possessions with this one at the end of the half and the opening possession of the third quarter.
1:18 You almost get the feeling that the Buckeyes need a turnover.
1:19 Interception by Storm Klein and he gets it back to the 45-yard line! It was thrown right to him. Owens never saw him, and Storm picked up 18 on the return. Now with 4:33 remaining, you've got to capitalize.
1:20 Bauserman back in. He rolls out and throws it deep to Verlon, but it's underthrown. There's a pass interference though. Verlon had to slow down and then catch up. Well, the Buckeyes finally took a shot deep and Chris Spielman is probably clapping like a girl who just got a pony.
1:22 Another rollout and Bauserman overthrows a wide open Devin Smith. That would've been a touchdown. There was nobody within six yards of Smith. That is the first time I've seen him overthrown. I didn't actually think it was possible.
1:22 False start J.B. Shugarts. It...just feels...right.
1:25 Fourth and three from the Toledo 33-yard line. No choice but to go for it here. Stoneburner drops the pass on the drag route. Wow. It wasn't a touchdown, that's why he dropped it.
1:27 Third and nine for the Rockets. The crowd is pretty loud right now. Tyler Moeller is showing blitz. Sack! Sweat and Goebel on the sack. I think I saw John Simon about 20 yards downfield in coverage. Timeout Ohio State with 1:11 to play. Loss of seven yards. The defensive line is winning the battles in the second quarter. Nice adjustments.
1:30 Chris Fields fields the punt at the 31-yard line, breaks the first tackle, finds a lane and is gone!! Touchdown Buckeyes. Great block by Ryan Shazier at the end. I don't know if it was necessary, but it was still pretty nice. Great job by Fields fielding punts today, and not a bad job of following his blocks. Special teams, baby. The extra point is good. The Buckeyes lead it 21-15 with 46 seconds to play. That has to be a little bit demoralizing heading into the locker room. Reminds me a bit of the Michigan State game where Ashton Youboty returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in a close game. THE TOLEDO ROCKETS COACHES ARE SCREWING IT UP!
1:31 Nice first score ever for Fields, and he clearly had a destination in mind.
1:36 We have come to halftime with the Buckeyes leading it 21-15. If the second half adjustments are anything like the second quarter adjustments, then I think the Buckeyes will be okay.
1:39 Carlos Hyde is on pace for 104 yards rushing, but he'll need to break one more 36-yarder to get there. And possibly two. Maybe Braxton would help the running game—of course, designed QB runs never work at Ohio State, so I got no answers.
1:40 So we now know how confident the coaches are in Braxton Miller. How long before Miller starts feeling the same way about himself?
1:53 The Buckeyes have come back out on the field. I better see if Braxton is down there, or if maybe he has transferred.
1:57 Time to kickoff into the wind. Basil squibs it and Page returns it to the 41-yard line. I'd go with the pooch against the wind rather than the squib.
1:58 There's a swing pass into the flats and Adonis Thomas nearly scores. Storm Klein missed the tackle and there's a flag. Uh oh, John Simon is coming off of the field with an awkward limp. He can't bend his leg. The flag was a facemask on C.J. Barnett. That was a 47-yard gain I think. So much for that demoralization.
1:59 I have no idea what's wrong with Simon, but everybody better hope it's just a cramp. If it's anything else, I would worry for what Simon may do. If the doctors tell him he broke his leg, he would likely tell them to cut it off so that he could get back out on the field. They wouldn't do it, obviously, so he would then go and find a heavy door and repeatedly slam his broken leg into it until he was able to remove the broken portion of his leg. You've heard of the movie “127 Hours”, this would have been “127 Seconds”. He would then hop back out onto the field, tap Michael Bennett on the shoulder and say, “I got this, Bro.”
2:03 Fourth and one from the four-yard line. The Rockets go with the Wildcat and Adonis Thomas takes it into the endzone. The Rockets kick the extra point and take the lead 22-21. They couldn't have possibly started the half any better than that. Now they're convinced they're going to be in this game for the rest of the way. That's a dangerous type of opponent to face.
2:05 Gerd's theorem: Short field + big play = sure points.
2:09 Hyde picks up eight yards on first down. On second down he picks up one. He missed a huge hole to the left that Boom wouldn't have. Of course, as Mr. Porentas quite correctly tells me, Boom wasn't hitting that hole in his second year either.
2:10 Third and one. Hyde gets it again and he's gonna be short by two feet. Toledo is winning the third quarter. Buckeyes punt.
2:12 The Buckeyes are just so tight on offense right now. When does the defense begin to pucker as well?
2:14 Another screen to Thomas. That dude is gonna have 200 yards receiving today. They can't stop it. 21 yards.
2:17 Fourth and one. More Wildcat. There was nobody in the middle of the defense and Thomas gets twelve yards. Thomas limps off and the crowd should get up and thank the heavens.
2:21 The Rockets are going to attempt a field goal of 50 yards here. Bobbled snap and the holder takes off and gets tackled for a loss of twelve yards or so. Nice finish to the drive.
2:22 Here's a good place to put Braxton Miller in. Hahahaha. I'm just kidding. There is no good time to put him in, apparently.
2:25 Bauserman rolls out and way overthrows Devin Smith on the deep comeback and the fans boo because they've been wanting to boo Bauserman since the last time they booed him. They did pay for blood, after all.
2:26 Bauserman finds Smith this time on a crossing route over the middle. Love seeing the middle of the field utilized. He picks up 36 yards. No boos. The Buckeyes are down to Toledo's seven-yard line.
2:29 Third and goal from the five-yard line. Bauserman drops back...surveys and throws it out of the back of the endzone. Holding by the defense. Bauserman was looking at Hyde, who was being held, so Bauserman smartly threw it out of the endzone and got booed.
2:30 Buckeyes come out in a power look from the three-yard line. Hyde gets it. Touchdown!Untouched. They're going for two. Wow. With 3:17 to play in the third quarter? It's incomplete into coverage. And the crowd boos. Joe Bauserman cannot win with these people. It's pretty ridiculous. At this point, you know what you've got with him. Is it always necessary to let HIM know as well? The Buckeyes lead it 27-22. I'm not a believer in going for two until I need it, and the Buckeyes didn't need it. When you chase points, the other coach has already gotten you out of your mindset.
2:36 Third and ten for the Rockets. The pass was dropped. I think somebody heard C.J. Barnett coming. I actually thought that was going to be a pick six from Barnett, but it looked like he couldn't decide whether to kill Page or pick six it. Sort of like deciding between a dunk and a layup in mid-flight. Punt for Toledo.
2:40 We have now reached the end of the third quarter. The Buckeyes lead it 27-22. A touchdown drive would give the Buckeyes some nice breathing room, like having a three-hour asthma attack in a broom closet then suddenly being let out into a field of lilies.
2:46 Instead, the Buckeyes will punt. It's downed at the two-yard line. Wow. Ben Buchanan's greatest kick ever? Beautiful stop. That was 43 yards on the punt.
2:48 John Simon returns to the sidelines. Coincidentally, or maybe not, the Rockets go three and out. They will now punt from their own endzone.
2:51 John Porentas tells me that this is the drive where Ohio State can show its toughness. There's a loss of two yards to Hyde on the wide left carry. It's just so easy to decipher. No misdirection. The defense isn't worried about it.
2:52 Bauserman throws an incompletion to an open Smith over the middle. Boos. How DARE you throw an incompletion! Braxton Miller NEVER does that!
2:53 Third and twelve. Incomplete downfield. Way overthrown. Fans love to boo Bauserman. He bailed out and threw it as far as he could. Maybe if the fans booed more, then Luke Fickell would appease them by playing Braxton Miller. You think?!?! The Buckeyes punt with under twelve minutes to play in the game.
3:00 Simon is back in on this drive and I am happy to report that he still has both legs on him.
3:03 Third and nine. Dantin gets sacked by Simon! He took the long way around. Dantin held the ball forever, which allowed Simon to get to him by way of Delaware County. The Rockets punt with under six minutes to play.
3:05 There's no need to give the ball back, and Toledo knows it.
3:06 Alright, time to head down to the field.
3:12 We are under the stands walking to the field and I cannot see the game. I have no idea what's going on, but I just heard the crowd explode. I think it was a good explosion.
3:13 Or maybe not. I just heard somebody say, “Well, we didn't need THAT.” What 'That'? What do you mean?
3:15 I have made it to the field. I'm in the southwest corner of the endzone and apparently Toledo has the ball now? I will assume a punt?
3:16 Terrance Owens is in for this drive. Interesting. He goes deep right away, and Dominic Clarke timed it absolutely perfectly and broke it up. He sized it up like a menu. “Mmm...yeah, I want me some of that.”
3:17 Another freaking screen pass to Thomas? Really. I think this one picked up about 17 yards. There is now under three minutes to play.
3:18 Third and seven. Owens is nearly sacked by Sabino! He throws it away, but they're going to call it intentional grounding! There is 1:43 remaining and the Rockets have one play left.
3:20 It's now fourth and fourteen, and in my experience, that is the easiest of all fourth downs to pick up.
3:21 And true to form, they pick it up on the deep out to Eric Page. The Buckeyes maybe should have committed an offsides penalty or something in order to make it fourth and nine instead.
3:27 Here comes the ballgame. Fourth and five with 52 seconds to play from the Ohio State 21-yard line. The Buckeyes are rushing three. There's the snap. John Simon gets into the backfield and forces an incompletion! His leg must be okay because he just jumped about six feet off of the ground after the play.
3:29 The Buckeyes kneel on it twice and the ballgame is over. They walk out with a 27-22 win and are now 2-0 in the MAC. Time to head to the Toledo postgame to hear about the Franklin Park mall or some such thing. I don't really know.
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