Ave. start--OSU 28
Ave. gain of 6.2 yards
Ave. of 8.0 yards to go
Ave. gain of 2.4 yards
Ave. of 6.7 yards to go
Ave. gain of 5.1 yards
Ave. of 2.0 yards to go
Ave. gain of 15.0 yards
RUN TYPE BREAKDOWN
Inside Zone--4 (11%) for 17 yards 1 TD--4.3 ypc
Power--7 (19%) for 34 yards 1 TD--4.9 ypc
QB Designed Run--2 (6%) for 8 yards--4.0 ypc
QB Scramble/Sack--5 (14%) for 0 yards--0.0 ypc
Read Option--13 (36%) for 86 yards 1 TD--6.6 ypc
TEAM--1 (3%) for -6 yards--(-6.0) ypc
Triple Option--4 (11%) for 13 yards--3.3 ypc
OTHER STATS OF NOTE
* 3 offensive penalties for 16 yards and a safety
* Ohio State started on the Purdue side of the 50 once (OT)--7 points (1 TD)
* 4/4 in the red zone (4 TD)
* 3 sacks against
* 4 turnovers (2 INT 2 Fumbles)
* 27/68 plays took place on the Purdue side of the 50--(40%)
* 29/68 plays went for no gain or loss--(43%)
* Only 10/68 plays went for 10+ yards--(15%)
* 5/15 drives ended in three and out--(33%)
* Braxton Miller primary ball handler on 39/45 plays (87%)
* Kenny Guiton primary ball handler on 18/23 plays (78%)
* OSU's four TD drives--30 plays for 224 yards (Ave. of 7.5 plays and 56.0 yards)
* OSU's 11 non-TD drives--38 plays for 118 yards (Ave. of 3.5 plays and 10.7 yards)
Go ahead. You can admit it. You thought the Buckeyes were going to lose that game. Don't worry. I'm not immune to those feelings, so I was right there with you. It started when Braxton Miller went out of the game with what looked like a very serious injury (how is he possibly ok?). It continued with what has to be one of the worst block in the back penalty calls I have ever seen that resulted in a safety. It reached a peak with Kenny Guiton's interception with just under four minutes to play in the game. With all of the adversity, it's still a little hard to believe the game ended the way it did.
Purdue has been able to play the Buckeyes tough the majority of the time through the last ten years. While the Boilermakers didn't exactly dominate this game, they did control it for most of the time. Every time the Buckeyes did something Purdue had an immediate answer. You have to give them some credit. After two blowout losses at home, the Boilers came to Columbus ready to play.
That said, their coach, Danny Hope, is making himself very hard to like with not only things he's said in the past ("Get used to it"), but also by complaining about a lack of holding calls on Ohio State's final game-tying drive. After rewatching that drive looking closely at the line play, I saw nothing that even looked like borderline holding. Secondly, the Boilers were the recipient of several questionable referee decisions.
It was clear to just about everyone that Braxton Miller fell on and recovered his first fumble of the day, then lost it after a Purdue defender dove into him head-first well after the recovery. The play wasn't reviewed and no penalty was called for leading with crown of helmet. It was very strange. Isn't this the kind of thing replay was meant for? It was also pretty clear that the Boilermakers got away with an egregious hold at the point of attack on their 100 yard kickoff return as well. Even if the Buckeyes WERE holding on their final drive, every coach knows these things tend to even out over time and complaining about it after a loss just makes you look whiny.
There are a lot of things to cover in the position groups, so let's see what we learned about the team in this improbable win.
I think this is the position group where we learned the most this week. We learned that Braxton Miller is not indestructable, though with his quick symptom-free discharge from the hospital, can we really be sure? We also learned that the confidence the coaching staff has talked about in Ken Guiton has been well-founded. That kid played with ice-water running through his veins, and while he wasn't perfect by far, he showed leadership and poise that we had no idea he posessed.
It was a strangely poor day both running and passing for Braxton Miller. He accounted for three turnovers, including two fumbles. He started the day 6/17 passing before hitting his final three to make it look a halfway respectable 9/20 with several badly overthrown balls. It was a fairly windy day, but that is no excuse. He struggled in the running game before breaking loose for the 37 yard run that he was injured on.
Though he's struggled with the read-option game he actually made a majority of right reads in this game. I have him going 8/12 on option plays this week, still not as good as it needs to be, but better than last week. He also did a better job of going through progressions on several plays versus zone coverage to find open receivers even if he wasn't able to hit them consistantly.
I think most Buckeye fans feel a lot better about Ken Guiton than they did just a few short days ago. The thing that most struck me about him in his first significant playing time with a game on the line was his poise. If he was nervous about stepping into the limelight, it didn't show. He did an incredible job of hanging in the pocket, feeling pressure, and getting the ball out of his hands. How many times have you seen a backup quarterback come in and take several sacks because he didn't seem to know where to go with the ball or couldn't keep his eyes off the pass rush? The fact that he took no sacks on 12 called pass plays, and in fact got several of those off under pressure was incredible to me. He also showed a touch on his passes that Miller just doesn't have.
Grade--(B-) Sadly, Braxton's play drags this grade down quite a bit. If I was just grading Guiton it would be higher. Enjoy your enshrinement in Buckeye Valhalla Kenny. You earned it.
There is nothing I'm going to be able to say about Carlos Hyde that I haven't earlier. I think he has siezed control of the starting running back spot and won't be giving it up anytime soon. If anything, I don't think the coaches utilized him enough in this game. The Buckeyes had some success with designed running back plays, but only called 11, mostly in the second half.
My only real issue is the number of times he put the ball on the ground. The Buckeyes were lucky to not lose any of them as one went out of bounds, and though I thought he got across the goal line before fumbling when I watched it live, it was pretty clear he lost it going up well before and was lucky he fell right on top of it. I'm pretty sure the referees were treating it as a fumble recovery for a TD as well.
I was a little surprised to not see more of Rod Smith against the Boilers, but he did do another pretty good job returning kickoffs. It seems he's got a big return in him sometime this season if he ever finds a seam.
Grade--(B) Might be higher if not for the fumbles. I love the way Hyde keeps his feet moving and finishes his runs.
All season, we've been waiting for other receivers besides Devin Smith and Corey Brown and make some contribution on offense. When Corey Brown went down with a head injury the door opened for redshirt junior Chris Fields and he did the most with his opportunity. He finished with three very important catches, including the touchdown pass that got the Buckeyes within two at the end of the game. He also contributed on punt returns, including a good play before that last drive to save the Buckeyes both time and yardage by picking up a rolling punt. You have to be happy for him after staying when it would've been easier to quit or transfer.
Despite only 15 completions, most of the receiver corps was able to get into the act. Evan Spencer finished with two catches, Corey Brown finished with three. Mike Thomans and Jake Stoneburner made appearances with one each. It was the first time they looked like a full CORPS instead of a couple of receivers and placefillers.
Grade--(B+) Most of the issues were bad passes, though there were a few drops. The outside blocking was pretty good again as well.
As good as they've been this season, this wasn't the greatest game for the line. Part of it was the way Purdue was defending the Buckeye offense. They were commiting a lot of players to the line of scrimmage to try to take away the running game, and playing any run action aggressively, similar to how other teams have tried to defend them. The line just had a harder time with the Purdue front than usual. It was surprising to see the amount of penetration they were able to get.
All in all, I just don't feel that all of the problems were simply the line's fault, even though there were a lot of missed one on one battles. Had Miller been on with the passing game, or had a few better reads on option plays, it might have loosened up the Boiler defense and made things a little easier on the line.
Grade--(B) Not a great game, but not terrible either. It will be interesting to see how Penn State chooses to defend the offense.
Despite the win, the offense struggled. Outside of the four touchdown drives, the offense barely averaged three yards per play, and until the touchdown drive to go up 14-13, had the same number of three and outs as first downs. For the most part, it was 59 minutes of torture, followed by one minute and overtime of pure, unfiltered awesome.
I don't think much of this can be laid at the feet of the coaching staff, however. This is an offense centered around good play and decision-making from the quarterback position. As the QB goes, so does the offense. Braxton Miller struggled quite a bit against the Boilermakers, and it pretty much stuck the offense in the mud. Would it have helped for the coaches to call more designed runs for Carlos Hyde? Would some outside screens have helped? It's hard to say, and probably wouldn't have hurt considering how bad things were going, but the plays they were calling were there. The execution was just poor, especially from the QB position.
We've heard that the offense doesn't change with Guiton under center, and that certainly seemed to be true. Proportionally, they called the same number of option plays for Guiton to read (3/5 on reads by my count). It has to be a luxury to be able to call the same game with the backup in there.
At times where they allowed themselves to get a little predictable. They ran the same power play with the same pre-snap motion 7 times. It broke for a big gain early in the game, but was stuffed late when they needed it to work the most. I was disappointed in the use of playaction as well, though to be fair, the Boilers were crashing run action so hard, there was a lot of pressure when they did run it.
Grade--(B) It would've been nice to see them try something different with Braxton struggling so much, but ultimately it came down to him to execute.
Yet another game of mixed results for the special teams. On one hand, they did block an extra point and a field goal, either of which would've made the last minute comeback impossible had the Boilers made them. They did do a pretty good job of covering punts. Rod Smith has breathed a little life to the kickoff return game, and Corey Brown and Chris Fields did a satisfactory job on punt returns as well.
But none of those things stop us from holding our breath when the special teams are on the field this season. I said several weeks ago that it looked like it was a matter of when and not if a team would get a big return on the Buckeyes. To be fair, there was an obvious holding call not called on the touchdown return, but the fact is that shouldn't have been enough to spring him by itself. It is surprising the number of times we see players out of position on kickoff coverage despite the fact they are directional kicking and trying to eliminate half the field.
Grade--(B-) The blocks keep this from being below average, but the continued special teams breakdowns are inexcusable.