Year end report card

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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 12/07/2012 3:23 AM
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Ohio State’s Year End Report Card
By Ken Pryor

The Ohio State Buckeyes ended the season with a perfect 12-0 record for the year 2012. Not many predicted such a feat, however, you’ll allow me to pat myself on the back in congratulatory fashion, as I am one of those brainiacs who actually did predict the Buckeyes would finish the season unbeaten.

While the Buckeyes may have finished with a perfect record, their collective grade point average was far from a 4.0. Midway through the season I began grading the Buckeyes on special teams, offense and defense.

With the Buck’s season officially closed due to reasons we all know too well, its time for the year-end report card. I did have to go back and recollect game data from earlier in the year and I separated the grades by three-game quarters.

As I gave the appropriate marks for the offense, defense and special teams, I began to come to a major conclusion. This team was not very good and Urban Meyer and his staff are to be congratulated for doing a tremendous job of not only winning games but actually going undefeated with this team.

Let’s start with my overall grades for the season, and then we will work our way through the four different quarters of Ohio State’s undefeated season.

End of Year Overall Grades Average
Offense B
Defense C
Special Teams C

The first quarter grades are as follows opponents in parentheses:

(Miami, OH)
Offense A+ …56 points, 538 total yards evenly balanced, 27 first downs, 0 turnovers
 Defense : A …10points allowed, 312 yards, but only -1 rushing, forced 3 turnovers
Specials: A… specials were solid that day

Offense B+… 31points, 411 yards(256 rushing), +7 in time of possession differential, 3 turnovers is brutal
Defense B-…only 16 pts, 352 yards is too much, 50% 3rd down rate, 1st signs of poor tackling, forced 3 turnovers, however.
Specials A-…solid save for we saw first signs of coverage issues

Offense B..35 pts but struggled. -11 minutes in ToP, -8 first downs, 1 turnover, but gained 412 yards (-100 to Cal’s 512)
Defense C…28 pts allowed, two huge td runs allowed due to poor tackling, 22 first downs allowed, gave up 512 total yards, and dominated in ToP (35min-24min).
Specials B…Buchanan punts not very deep, Drew Basil missed an extra point, more coverage issues

First Qtr Avg
Offense B +
Defense B
Specials B+

The second quarter grades:

Offense B… disappointing 347 total yards, outgained, and bested in ToP (26min), outnumbered in total first downs, 20pts
Defense C…More lackluster tackling, 400 yards allowed, no turnovers, allowed 33 minutes ToP
Special Teams C…punt blocked for a TD to go along with more short punts

Michigan State
Offense B-…mere 17 points, 3 turnovers, 345 yards, came up huge to win game though
Defense B+…Only 16 pts allowed, but tackling was dreadful at times, shut down Bell, only allowed 303 yards, created no turnovers though.
Special Teams A…Solid punts, good coverage, blocked a punt.

Offense A+…49 points,  500 totals yards, after a slow 1st qtr.  Only 1 turnover.
Defense B-…1 defensive score, allowed 437 yards, 38 pts, but created 4 turnovers and got stops in key moments.
Special Teams A…76 yard punt return, solid coverage,  deep punts

2nd Qtr Averages
Offense B
Defense C
Specials B

1st Semester Averages
Offense B
Defense C
Specials B

The third quarter grades:

Offense A+… 52 points, 580 total yards, 28 first downs, +13 ToP
Defense D…49 points allowed, 480 total yards given up, 26 first downs allowed and created no turnovers.  It was Indiana for crying out loud.
Specials D-…punt blocked, missed 35 yd FG, gave up 2pt conversion and missed an opportunity to recover an onside kick.

Offense C+…29 points, 342 total yards, and staged a great comeback, but 4 turnovers is brutal
Defense B-…15 points allowed along with 347 yards.  Gave up 83 yard pass at start of game, but played solid after that.
Special Teams C+…blocked a FG, but gave up a 100 yard kick rtn. Also missed a FG (albeit 50 yrds).

Penn State
Offense A-…28 points, 380 total yards, +5 in ToP and only 1 turnover
Defense B+…Allowed 23 points, but really came up big in key moments, only allowed 32 yards rushing and got a defensive score keep the Pick 6 streak alive
Specials B-…Great coverage on kicking teams, but allowed a punt to be blocked for TD.

3rd Qtr Averages
Offense B
Defense C
Specials D

The fourth quarter grades:

Offense A-... 52 points, 567 total yards 32 first downs, +7 in ToP.  Only blite was two fumbles that lead to Illini scores.
Defense A+...Allowed 170 yards total and only 15 of the 22 points (fumble rtn for TD). Completely embarrass Illinois.
Specials A… Illinois got a couple of decent returns on kickoffs, but coverage unit may have been tired.  The Buckeyes were registering points like a pin ball machine so the specials coverage units was pressed into action quite a few times. The few field goals that the Buckeyes attempted always make it through the uprights. 

Offense C-…14 pts, 236 meager yards, 3-12 on 3rd down, -15 ToP and an otherwise puzzling performance including play selections.
Defense A…Only allowed 14 pts, but 360 yards.  Came up really big at key moments including stoning Ball at the goal line and forced a turnover.
Special Teams A…68 yard punt return opened the scoring.  Great coverage and solid punts and kick-offs

Offense B-… Settled for 26 point (second lowest output of the year). Rushed for more than 200 yards, threw for nearly 200 yards,  +13 minute ToP, +9 in the first downs, but 2 turnovers. 
Defense A-…. It was Michigan. It was senior day.  Allowed only 279 yards and 21 points.  The defense bounced back in the second half and pitched a shut-out to go along with 4 turnovers forced, and several sacks. 
Special Teams B… The specials group was about as solid as they’ve been all year long save for a couple blunders. Kick-off coverage was superb as was the punt coverage.

4th Qtr Averages
Offense B
Defense A
Special Teams A

2nd Semester Averages
Offense B
Defense B
Special Teams C

As you can see, the grades reflect a team that certainly had its share of lowlights during the 2012 season. It is quite clear they need to answer some glaring questions at certain positions in order to be as good as they can become next season.

On the other hand, the grades also illustrate a team that overcame its own deficiencies and rebounded several times throughout the season at critical times in games. They truly banded together like brothers and had one another’s backs when they were up against the wall. 

I, for one, look forward to telling my youngest son about John Simon, the leader of the pack, who played all season through injury only to be held out of his final game against Michigan.  Simply put, John Simon is a Buckeye legend who has gained entry into Buckeye Valhalla alongside guys like Griffin, Tatum, Kern, & Spielman.

This team did a whole helluva lot with not a lot at their collective disposal. No Big Ten championship, no national championship, and they weren’t the most eye-pleasing team to watch. 

But 12-0 (UNDEFEATED) should be remembered for all time. 

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