The Buckeye Watch - Cal

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Last updated: 09/15/2013 5:13 PM
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The Buckeye Watch - Cal
By Tony Gerdeman

Urban Meyer is now undefeated in shootouts as the Ohio State head coach. He's also undefeated in defensive struggles. In other words, his Buckeyes will win a game however it may be necessary. (When they have more talent than their opposition, that is.)

On Saturday, that opponent was a freakazoid offense and a non-existent defense. The Buckeyes did what they wanted to do, and then coasted for an entire fourth quarter. They could have made this game much uglier, but ugly doesn't play well in California.

Instead, the Buckeyes and their fans will have to be okay with another ho-hum blowout against a ho-hum opponent. Or, maybe the fans could choose to be impressed at the way the Buckeyes score when they want to. Ha ha, just kidding. That's never happening.

12:21 Desmond Howard said the Ohio State offense is better with Kenny Guiton. That's fine if he wants to think that, but I doubt any opposing defensive coordinator would agree with him. When picking your poison, you probably want the one that kills you in your sleep, not the one that shoots you in the face with 80-yard touchdown runs.

3:31 What an amazing win by Michigan over the Zips! A gallant effort against a well-respected Akron football team. It's a shame that anybody had to lose this game, but the Wolverines were just a touch better than the Zips on this day. ESPN Classic, if you still exist, you now have a new greatest victory on your shelves. Truly an honor to be able to witness such an even battle between two equal titans. Thank you Dave Brandon for scheduling such a contest!

6:13 Braxton Miller not in full pads and working on the exercise bike. To me, that sounds like it's Kenny Guiton's game unless Guiton fails and they need a spark.

6:35 OSU has confirmed that Miller will not play tonight. That means Kenny Guiton's backup is probably Jordan Hall out of the wildcat. I wouldn't mind seeing that a couple of times tonight.

6:49 I think Johnny Manziel is the best college football player I've ever seen. I just wanted to say that.

7:01 Yeah, so this is basically a home game for the Buckeyes. The stadium is a sea of red...and empty seats. I sure hope the Ohio State fans stayed in the proper neighborhoods when wearing that much scarlet. You walk into the wrong neighborhood wearing red and you could get shot. It's a lot like Detroit, but without any color distinction.

7:04 Buckeyes win the toss and they defer. They want to get a look at this California offense as quickly as possible.

7:05 Well, Joey Bosa just got a look at it and he dropped Brendan Bigelow for a loss of two yards. The freshman is not impressed.

7:07 Cal goes three and out. Looks like the Buckeyes are scripting the first few plays on defense now as well. That seems a tad unfair. Cal will punt. Interference on Cal. That will be good position. Oh wait, they may call that a push on Evan Spencer, who then recovered the ball inside the 10. And a block in the back? How can there be a block in the back on the return when there's no return? That's like calling pass interference on a toss sweep.

7:08 So the Buckeyes will start at their own six-yard line. This is a tough position to put Kenny Guiton in. I expect some runs up the middle for Jordan Hall here. Like maybe three of them in a row. Interesting, Guiton throws a quick hitch to Chris Fields for four yards.

7:09 Play-action again, and this time Guiton is going deep to Devin Smith and he has him! Wow. That's a 90-yard touchdown pass, and it's the longest play from scrimmage in Ohio State history. I said a week or three ago that a Buckeye would break the school record for longest play this season, but I don't know if I expected it this soon. Buckeyes lead it 7-0, and probably quicker than they expected to.

7:10 As if you needed more proof of how much Tom Herman and Urban Meyer trust Kenny Guiton, they threw it twice from their endzone to start the game. In Guiton's first career start, and on the road. Pretty amazing.

7:15 This dinking and dunking is tedious to type about. Here's a third and's a bad snap and it almost lands in a Buckeye's arms. Goff recovers it, but the Bears will have to punt. I think Bosa was nearly offside, or maybe he's just that quick.

7:16 Dontre Wilson gets the hand off and he makes it to the edge and he nearly breaks it, but gets clotheslined again. I think that's the only way to tackle him. Just grab around the head and neck area. I believe in fishing terms, that's called “noodling”. Defenses are essentially noodling for Dontre Wilson now. That's the only way to catch him.

7:20 Play-action...Guiton is going deep again and he hits Devin Smith in the endzone for his second touchdown pass of the game. This is speed murder. Buckeyes lead it 14-0. Football is too easy for Kenny Guiton right now. He bores me.

7:21 I said this week that Kenny Guiton didn't throw the deep ball as well as Braxton Miller. I admit it, I'm finally wrong about something. The Buckeyes are averaging 41.8 yards per play.

7:25 Third and seven. Shazier is lined up at defensive end. That seems like a response to Khalil Mack's success. He gets right around the left tackle and forces a fumble. Michael Bennett recovers the fumble. So not only does Mike Vrabel have guys like Noah Spence and Bennett, but on passing downs he's being given Ryan Shazier now? Wow, spoiled much?

7:28 Fourth and goal from the one-yard line. They're going. Guiton rolls right and finds Chris Fields for the touchdown. No reason to think they'd be cautious with their backup quarterback there. Buckeyes lead it 21-0. There is still an entire first quarter to go yet.

7:29 Kenny Guiton is 4-5 for 162 yards passing and three touchdowns. His QB rating is 516.6. If he's not careful, he's going to get football diabetes.

7:34 Jared Goff gets pressured, throws it up down the sideline and somehow James Grissom comes down with it and takes it the rest of the way into the endzone for a 61-yard touchdown. That looked like a confused defense. I'm certainly confused. Cal cuts it to 21-7.

7:36 Rod Smith, Nick Vannett and Dontre Wilson are in. Wilson goes in motion and he gets the quick tap pass from Guiton. He picks up an easy 32 yards. Nice lead blocking by Smith. This kid picks up 15 yards before a defense even gets to him, and then he outruns them for another 10 yards. This is pretty amazing. Oh, and some nice cheap yards for Kenny Guiton's passing stats. More Wilson is a good thing for this offense.

7:39 Pistol formation. Now Wilson motions into the backfield. Guiton fumbles it on the triple option and Cal jumps on it. Wow, that was going to be a big gainer on the pitch to Wilson. The defenders were all blocked. That probably would have been a touchdown. Instead, Cal gets to create some confusion again.

7:41 Well, that confusion turned out to be with their own offense, as Cal runs a flea flicker and Goff throws a perfect strike to Christian Bryant who never bit hard enough on the run fake. An easy grab for Bryant, but you have to give him credit for his crisp route running. He's a possession safety.

7:42 Maybe it's time to slow the offense down and give the defense a bit of a breather. Plus, if they don't let up on Cal's defense pretty soon, there will probably be some human rights protests at halftime.

7:43 Forget those human rights, because Jordan Hall just made a cut and then shook a victim to the ground. He picked up 36 yards on the carry. That was a terrific run. He made California look foolish.

7:46 Cal's defense holds and they force a 38-yard field goal attempt for Drew Basil. It's good. Buckeyes lead it 24-7. Ohio State now has 285 yards of total offense. We're still in the first quarter. Yes, I'm sure.

7:48 Ryan Shazier destroys Brendan Bigelow on a four-yard swing pass. The rest of the defenders caged him in, and then they sent in Shazier to clean it all up. It was like the bomb squad sending in the radio control robot.

7:51 Goff drops back, gets pressured and Chris Carter and Chase Farris bring him down for the sack! Although I'm guessing a simple “sack” doesn't suffice for Big Hungry. We should probably call that a “crave case”.

7:51 Third and 12. Armani Reeves picks off Goff, but it will be coming back because Michael Bennett jumped offside.

7:52 Third and seven. Goff is trying to draw them off again. Whoa, it's a backside screen , tremendous call and he's in. Great call. Great blocking. How about that offside call now. Missed tackles and defensive confusion strike again. However, that is always going to happen against this style of offense, that's why it works so well.

7:55 That was a great play call with tremendous blocking. I would expect such execution from a team like Akron, but not Cal. Buckeyes now lead it 24-14.

7:59 We have finally reached the end of the first quarter, and it only took an hour. Buckeyes lead it 24-14. The danger now is that this game may take so long that Guiton could actually use up his eligibility before this game even ends.

8:01 Third and 25. Guiton swings it to Wilson who picks up 11 yards, which gives Cameron Johnston some breathing room out to the OSU 21-yard line. And Johnston booms a 61 yarder! Okay, it was probably 40 yards with an additional 21 yards on the ground, but it all looks the same in the box score and has completely flipped the field for the Buckeyes.

8:05 Third and nine. This is a big down for the defense. Cal runs a quick screen with a hook and lateral that gets stopped by Doran Grant. He stayed fundamental the entire way and tackled the right guy. I'm not sure the screen wouldn't have worked better than the pitch. Cal punts.

8:12 Guiton gives it to Hall who picks up 17 yards to get it inside the Cal redzone. Kenny's reads are so effective right now. Cal has no chance.

8:16 Fourth and goal from the one. Guiton gives it to Hall who makes a great cut and scores to the right side. That was a huge answer by the Buckeyes. Had Cal gotten the stop, it could have been a game changer. Gus Johnson and Charles Davis sound a tad disappointed. By the way, I think Cal's defense is getting tired. Buckeyes lead it 31-14.

8:17 Dontre Wilson has 115 all-purpose yards on seven touches. That's 16.4 yards per touch.

8:20 Oh my, Goff is nearly pick sixed by Bradley Roby. I'm guessing that was one of the routes that he was waiting to jump on.

8:20 Shazier hits Goff out of bounds. He was sizing him up for 10 yards. That was the right call. Why fire up an offense? It was going to be a six-yard gain. Now it's 21 yards.

8:26 This broadcast is how I imagine the Pac12 Network sounds for all of their games.

8:30 Buckeyes hold Cal to a field goal, making it 31-17 Ohio State. This Goff kid is pretty impressive. I'd feel bad about picking him up on my fantasy team and then having his knee forcibly retire from football.

8:43 Cal with the ball back. Fourth down from the Ohio State 38-yard line. They look like they're going for it, but now they come out in punt formation. It's a fake! They got it, just barely. The punter and Goff have the same jersey number, and that was actually Goff out there. Pretty sneaky. Urban Meyer should change Cameron Johnston's number to 5 or 13 so that they can try to confuse defenses as well.

8:45 Sonny Dykes calls timeout with three seconds to play. Would be a 43-yard field goal from here. They'll talk about it. Here comes the kick. He got it. Buckeyes lead it 31-20 at the half.

8:47 Ohio State was very balanced in the first half. They'll have to score on the first drive of the second half in order to keep having fun and avoid feeling any pressure.

8:49 The Buckeyes have 365 yards of total offense. Interestingly, Dontre Wilson has 21 yards rushing, with a long of 26 yards.

9:00 Defensively, the Buckeyes have really had two bad plays. There was the confusion on the first touchdown pass down the sideline, and then the second touchdown was just tremendously blocked, but you'd still like to see a defender get a hand on Harper and bring him down.

9:08 Anyway, time to get back to the scoring.

9:08 Guiton is in the shotgun, now he's changing the play. He gives the ball to Hall, who busts through the line for 16 yards. That was violent and quick. Like an electric hammer to the head.

9:14 Fourth and one. Pistol. Speed option. Guiton reads it perfectly and keeps the ball and picks up 33 yards. Wow. He was patient. That option was read so well that I think it was narrated by Morgan Freeman.

9:15 Jordan Hall jumps over the pile for a one-yard touchdown run. Buckeyes lead it 38-20. Now it's Cal's turn to serve.

9:21 Television is showing us “Tightwad Hill”, where all of the cheap Cal fans sit outside the stadium and watch the game for free. If we are supposed to believe these people are so sophisticated, why do they sit on a hill of dirt for four hours? That's hillbilly stuff, not cultured stuff.

9:23 Cal goes three and out. Tightwad Hill continues to drink its beer and think about a playful way to wear overalls.

9:25 Ohio State gets the ball again? But they've had it so much already! This is California, shouldn't some of the Buckeyes' possessions be given to the Golden Bears?

9:27 Dontre Wilson comes in. He gets it on the inverted veer and gains the edge as easily as ever, picking up 22 yards. It's almost unfair to a defense to involve him too much at this point.

9:35 Third and goal from the eight-yard line. Empty set. Guiton lofts it towards the corner, and finds Philly Brown for a diving grab on a great route for the touchdown. Nice touch by Kenny Guiton. Wow. Only Philly was gonna get that. Buckeyes lead it 45-20. Four touchdown passes tonight for Guiton. He's 17-27 for 252 yards passing.

9:36 Gus Johnson just called Kenny Guiton “the ultimate weapon”. Now when Urban Meyer goes out recruiting, he can make pitches about filling the “Kenny Guiton role”.

Recruit: “Coach Meyer says he's looking at me for the Kenny Guiton role. He wants me to be a backup and then occasionally be a folk hero. I think that's probably what entices me most about Ohio State. I want somebody in the English department to write a song about me one day.”

9:41 Goff throws a perfect fade to Bryce Treggs, who hauls in the touchdown pass with Roby in coverage. Good coverage, better throw. Buckeyes lead it 45-27. Looks like the Buckeyes should have forked over the cash to keep the Bear Patrol going. (That's a Simpsons reference.)

9:50 Third and goal from the six-yard line. Jordan Hall picks up four yards. There's a flag down. Too many men on defense. It's hilarious to watch Cal's defense not be able to handle the up tempo. What do you practice against every day? It's like Gallagher's wife being allergic to watermelon. (Timeless reference!)

9:51 Hall blasts in for his third touchdown of the day. He has 21 carries for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Kenny Guiton has 276 yards passing, which is 27 more than Braxton has ever had.

9:55 Hey! Noah Spence finally gets his first sack of the day, after three previous near-sacks. He's had a very nice day considering how much the Cal offense was trying to keep that from happening.

9:56 Third and 20. Goff throws a terrible pass and it's dropped by Pittsburgh Brown, but Cal catches the deflection and picks up the first down. I expect Anderson Russell to be trending on Twitter in about four minutes.

9:56 The third quarter has ended. The Buckeyes lead it 52-27. Cal's offense is better than I thought it would be. Of course, they also have some elite talent. Goff, Treggs, Harper, these guys were all highly-regarded recruits.

10:07 Fourth and three from the seven-yard line. Bryant knocks the pass down in the endzone. He has had a great game today. Looking like an All-Big Ten player at the very least today.

10:13 Ohio State punts while Kenny Guiton is 55 yards short of the Ohio State record for total offense in a game. Is Guiton being punished for his greatness?

10:19 Whoa. Bigelow gets swallowed whole by Joey Bosa. It was like watching a muscly-armed Venus fly trap eat a fly in fast forward. He loses two yards on the play.

10:21 Touchdown Daniel Lasco. This little dude has been pretty good tonight. Bears make it a respectable 52-34 with 6:07 to play. Ohio State will now try to grind the clock as boringly as possible.

10:29 Let's call that ball game. Buckeyes win it 52-34. Ohio State fans won't like that score, but you can't stop high-octane offenses anymore. If a football program wants a great offense, it's not that difficult to move in that direction.

10:30 Anyway, it's not like they'll be playing California again anytime soon. And even if they did, the Bear defense isn't going to be any better.

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