The Buckeye Watch – Northwestern
by Tony Gerdeman
Ohio State has now won 18 games in a row under Urban Meyer, and half of them have been bad on the heart. Ohio State trailed for the first time all season in this game, and they trailed a lot. They never trailed by much, but it was enough to put Buckeye Nation into enough of a panic that several thousand dogs were yelled at, and around a million arm rests were battered and bruised.
But in the end, the Buckeyes came away with a 40-30 win on the road against a ranked Northwestern team, and it was probably just as difficult as Meyer expected it to be. Now they will take a week off, or at least a weekend, and recharge. From the looks of him on Saturday night, Carlos Hyde might sleep until Wednesday. I hope a teammate can bring his homework to him this week.
10:01 David Pollack says if OSU wins big tonight, it makes the B1G look weak. Then said OSU looks bad for letting Wisconsin back in the game last week. Basically, David Pollack just said that no matter what Ohio State does, the perception will be bad. Again, ESPN molds that perception, so why am I watching this crap?
10:41 Two of Gameday's personalities have now said an OSU win over Northwestern wouldn't be a big deal. If it wouldn't be a big deal, then why are you even in Evanston today?
10:42 ESPN is already downplaying an Ohio State victory that hasn't even happened yet. That's pretty impressive. And shameful.
5:49 Sounds like Northwestern didn't get around to mowing the lawn like they said they were. I bet they made sure they spent some time in the hammock with a beer though!
Northwestern's wife: “Are you going to get the field mowed today?”
Northwestern: “Your hair looks pretty today. Tell me about it please.”
Northwestern's wife: “Oh, thank you. I'm blushing, well...”
[Northwestern tunes out wife. Returns to thinking about pitting a raccoon against a possum in a fight to the death.]
7:43 Jordan Hall is not in uniform tonight. That's weird. It's great for my fantasy team because I'm starting Carlos Hyde, but I wonder what the story is there.
7:46 Ohio State is calling it a tweaked knee for Hall. That kid is full of tweaks.
7:51 I wonder if Ryan Shazier will also be wearing #2 in honor of Jordan Hall.
7:57 Northwestern fans are upset by all of the Ohio State fans in the stands. If Northwestern fans didn't want so many Buckeye fans in the stadium, why didn't they just make them come into work on Saturday?
8:12 No rain right now. Everything looks good. Northwestern won the toss, and they will defer. Buckeyes get the ball first and now it's time for their customary touchdown drive to open the game.
8:13 This field is brought to you by the fine folks at Jackson Pollock Landscaping. “When you care enough to have the most random splotches on your field, call JPL and we'll bring our imagination and our acid!”
8:14 Braxton Miller comes out throwing and finds Philly Brown wide open over the middle of the field. Then a quick pass to Devin Smith for eight yards, and another for 10 yards or so. Then one more to Philly Brown for about 28 yards, and now the Buckeyes have a first and goal entirely through the air. If you were expecting the Buckeyes to pound the ball with Carlos Hyde, you might just have to wait a possession or two until Northwestern catches their breath.
8:17 Third and goal. Trips right. Miller drops back and nearly throws an interception on the wheel route to Hyde. You don't often see wheel routes from 10 yards out. Miller looked Hyde's way the entire time, and the defense simply waited for the ball to come. Not a great looking throw. That leaves Drew Basil with a 27-yard field goal, which he drills. Buckeyes lead it 3-0. Like Urban said, Northwestern will give up yards, but not touchdowns. Great start, poor finish
8:22 Adolphus Washington drops Venric Mark for a loss of one. The Buckeyes have two pretty good strongside defensive ends. Not sure how many are better in the Big Ten than he and Joey Bosa.
8:23 Third and five. Kain Colter scrambles, nods to Ryan Shazier who was spying him and runs right by, and then gets dragged down for a three-yard gain by Joshua Perry. Nice job by Perry to clean up Shazier's mess. Northwestern punts, and it's a touchback.
8:27 Miller is changing the play. Northwestern is showing an edge blitz. It's a zone read and Tyler Scott punches the ball out of Miller's hands and recovers it for the turnover deep in Ohio State territory. Fantastic play by Scott, who is one of the best defensive ends in the Big Ten. Northwestern needs turnovers to win this game, and they just got a huge one.
8:31 Third and eight from the nine-yard line. Trevor Siemian is at quarterback. Empty set. Kain Colter is in the slot. It's a three-man rush and Siemian finds Colter in the endzone for six. Corey Brown on the coverage, I'm guessing. Northwestern leads it 7-3.
8:32 I wouldn't expect the Buckeyes to feel any pressure right now. Keep calm and Carlos Hyde.
8:39 Third and five from the Northwestern 36-yard line. Time to drive a cornerback and pick up an easy six for Devin Smith. Empty set and Miller gets sacked for a loss of two. There was nobody open and Tyler Scott got the coverage sack. Why stop running Hyde and Rod Smith? Ohio State is outsmarting itself.
8:40 Cameron Johnston's punt lands inside the one-yard line. Wow. Who's outsmarting whom now? Amazing coverage.
8:41 Third and six from the five-yard line. Northwestern is in the diamond formation. Colter takes off and is tracked down by Washington after a gain for four. Nice job by the front four. The defense is looking great so far.
8:42 The punt is blocked! Touchdown Buckeyes! Bradley Roby blocked it and recovered it. Buckeyes lead it 10-7. I don't think that punt ever hit the ground, Roby just swallowed it up. Oh, by the way, Urban Meyer has never lost when his team blocks a punt.
8:46 The Buckeyes are simply beating up Northwestern at the line of scrimmage tonight. I'm not sure the Wildcats will have anything left in the fourth quarter.
8:49 Ohio State leads it 10-7 at the end of the first quarter. Run the ball in the second, and win your way to victory.
8:52 Trevor Siemian finds a wide open Christian Jones down inside the 20-yard line. Pitt Brown was over there, sort of.
8:53 Speed option, Venric Mark gets the pitch and he runs over Brown for a gain of five. This has not been a good series for Brown, and they need to keep attacking him.
8:54 First and goal from the two-yard line. Diamond formation. Colter keeps it and walks in for the touchdown. Northwestern leads it 14-10. I think they'll give Pitt Brown one more bad series like that before they try something different.
8:58 The kickoff is a touchback. It's also the second kickoff that Dontre Wilson has dropped.
9:00 Carlos Hyde runs through a giant hole and picks up nine yards. Is Northwestern going with the controversial 1-3-7 defense? Where is the defensive line?
9:03 Third and five. Have to ride Hyde here. He gets it right up the middle and picks up nine yards. He has to come out now. He's justifiably winded. Rod Smith comes in. Pretty emphatic will-imposing football when you can run on third and five with no hesitation.
9:05 Third and goal from the four-yard line. A field goal here is a win for the Northwestern defense. Miller rolls out and way overthrows a wide open Chris Fields. He'll see that one in his nightmares. It will be one of those dreams where you're not sure if you are awake or asleep, and you're paralyzed and can't move and then you realize that you forgot about the midterm and that you shouldn't be at work right now as naked as you are, but this presentation has to happen, so you do what you can. Drew Basil nails it from 20 yards out. Northwestern leads it 14-13. The good thing is that Ohio State is stopping Ohio State right now, and Northwestern has very little to do with it.
9:06 See, bend but don't break works (unless it's your team doing it.)
9:11 Mark motions out wide, the Buckeyes blitz and Siemian flips it out to Mark who makes Roby miss and then outruns C.J. Barnett down to the 12-yard line. Wow. Urban Meyer talks about he wants his players to “trigger” on those quick screens, and that's exactly what Roby did. Sometimes, however, that trigger misfires.
9:12 Buckeye fans better hope their team isn't puckering as much as they are right now.
9:16 Second and three from the five-yard line. Colter keeps it and gets thrown down for a loss of six by Ryan Shazier. He grabbed his jersey and wouldn't let him go. That was impressive. Makes me think that Shazier could possibly start on Wisconsin's offensive line.
9:17 Third and nine. Three-man front. The Buckeyes send three linebackers, and Siemian steps up to avoid the blitz and nearly gets through to the second level. He gets stopped short and the Buckeyes will hold the Wildcats to a field goal. Jeff Budzien gets it from 23 yards out. Northwestern leads it 17-13 with 5:00 to play in the half.
9:22 Third and three. Miller drops back, finds a wide open Jeff Heuerman who drops it. Well, people wanted the tight ends involved. Maybe now they won't call for it so much. Buckeyes punt, and will likely give Northwestern two consecutive possessions. Ohio State could be down 31-13 the next time they touch the ball.
9:23 It's a fake punt! Johnston won't get there. I don't think he even gained a yard. Wow. That's almost something a coach does just to show his team that he's not worried, because it's way too early to do it because you actually are worried. That play was supposed to be cut back inside, but the block was missed. Northwestern gets the ball on the Ohio State 30-yard line.
9:28 Third and six from the nine-yard line. The Buckeyes don't blitz, but Jamal Marcus gets the sack on the bull rush. Wow. That was Ohio State's speed rusher just running through Northwestern's right tackle. The Buckeyes need to call a timeout here. Instead they let the clock run and then the Pat Fitzgerald calls a timeout with 1:00 to play. Ohio State is trying to win, yet trying to get to the half, but not trying to get another possession? Weird.
9:30 Budzien hits the 30-yard field goal. Northwestern leads it 20-13. Nice job by the Ohio State defense on what was essentially a quick-change situation.
9:36 Miller drops back, gets hit on the throw and it's intercepted by Chi Chi Ariguzo, who was then absolutely destroyed by Carlos Hyde. Oh man, that replay is a killer because Philly Brown was wide open for a big gain. Northwestern takes a knee and we head to the half with NU up 20-13.
9:38 Urban Meyer will have confidence in the locker room. Will his team have the same?
9:40 There is so much angst on the forum and Twitter. Buckeyes are running the ball fine, and protecting the quarterback well enough. They're holding Northwestern out of the endzone of late. Just stop shooting up your feet and all will be well.
9:41 No jet offense from the Buckeyes to this point. NU can't stop Ohio State, so why not get as many possessions as you can.
9:44 Given that Northwestern's defense doesn't really have any answers for Carlos Hyde, the formula for the second half seems pretty predictable. You would think that would make it easier for Northwestern to handle, but I don't think it matters.
10:00 Back to the action. Colter rolls out and finds Lawrence all by himself for a gain of 18 yards. Why is nobody around him? Personal hygiene? Is he boring? Does he talk too much about his fantasy team?
10:03 Christian Jones picks up 22 yards down to the Ohio State 10-yard line. Pitt Brown couldn't bring him down. The Buckeye defense is getting worked right now. Fortunately for them, this is the area where they start attacking the quarterback.
10:04 Third and seven. Jamal Marcus is in. Watch yourself, Trevor. Huge rush by the entire defensive line and Siemian gets sacked again. Marcus got the initial bull rush, then Noah Spence and Michael Bennett cleaned him up. This defensive line has been something in the redzone. Budzien hits another short field goal, making it 23-13 with 10:40 to play in the third quarter.
10:06 This offense is supposed to be able to win shootouts. The defense is doing what they can do. The defensive line has performed well. But some in the back seven have to be protected, and right now the only way to do that is with a pass rush. It makes for a dangerous living, but it's working so far.
10:08 Are you kidding me? Big Nut is wearing a shower cap. Why? “I can't get my paint wet!”
10:10 Carlos Hyde picks up 15 more following the Heuerman block. These are easy yards. This Northwestern defense is so friendly!
10:11 Rod Smith comes in. Miller rolls out and gets five yards. He's still not a 4.4 guy. I think he's more 2005 Troy Smith than 2012 Braxton Miller right now when it comes to running the ball. Still, 2005 Troy Smith was a pretty good runner.
10:12 Hyde rumbles for nine more. Just do that over and over again until it gets stopped four times in a row.
10:12 Quick pass to Philly for eight yards, and a cheap personal four call for a body slam. I don't like that call. He's just finishing a tackle. It gives the Buckeyes a first and goal.
10:13 First and goal from the seven-yard line. Quarterback draw and Braxton loses it. Northwestern recovers it. Unbelievable. He was about to walk into the endzone and simply forgot to take the ball with him. Okay, it might be time for Kenny Guiton now. That's just unacceptable. You can't be a detriment to your team. Perhaps Guiton would bring a spark, though we do need to keep in mind that the OSU offense still isn't struggling to move the ball.
10:16 Third and one. Send the blitz here? Northwestern is in the loaded pistol. It's a pitch to Mike Trumpy and he's a foot short because the Buckeyes stretched the play out and C.J. Barnett blasted him. I will never be a fan of the short-side option. Fantastic job by the defense. Maybe the Buckeyes want to watch a fake punt here for good measure.
10:17 Kick catch interference for Northwestern. The Buckeyes will have first down at the Northwestern 36-yard line. A failed fake wouldn't have been much worse.
10:18 This is where Northwestern tries to give the game away and Ohio State wonders if they should take it.
10:19 I wonder what Mike Vrabel's bill for halftime damages will be in the Ohio State locker room. And also how many stitches were required.
10:20 Braxton Miller stays in and he keeps it on the read option and picks up a nice 11 yards. He was running with a purpose there.
10:23 Third and one. Hyde picks up 10 yards and gets it down to the NU six-yard line. The middle is wide open on the ground and in there air. It's so wide open it almost feels like a trap, but Northwestern isn't really capable of any gotchas. Hyde is tired, but they're hurrying up. He picks up three yards on first and goal and has to come out. There's a Northwestern injury timeout.
10:24 Second and goal. Hyde stays in the game. He wants six. He gets the ball and takes it into the endzone. Touchdown Carlos Hyde. He was serious on that drive. Not like he's a comedian on other drives of course. “How many Northwestern linebackers does it take to screw in a light bulb?” Northwestern now leads it 23-20 with 3:54 to play in the third.
10:25 Meyer stayed with Miller when everybody thought he'd be going to Guiton. That's why he's the head coach and we are just smarter than him from a distance.
10:35 Buckeyes giving up some yards right now, but they have to keep dialing up the aggressive pass rushes just to ruin Siemian's timing. Just like that! Tyvis Powell blitzes, Michael Bennett gets the initial pressure and he spins Siemian right into Joey Bosa for the sack. That leaves a huge third and 15 outside of field goal range.
10:36 Third and 15. Mark drops the screen pass, which was read perfectly by Bennett who would have dropped it for a loss. Northwestern's punt is downed at the eight-yard line.
10:39 Third and four. Braxton drops back, flips a swing pass to Hyde for 11 yards and it feels like 1995 all over again with the passes into the flats.
10:40 Hyde is winded. Fortunately for him we have reached the end of the quarter. Buckeyes still trail it 23-20.
10:41 Considering where they were about 20 minutes of game time ago, the Buckeyes have to feel pretty good right now. At the immediate moment, they've gotten out of trouble in their own endzone, and they can now get Carlos Hyde recovered in time for more poundage.
10:46 Third and six. Where have the quick hitches been? Are the corners playing tighter? Miller gets in trouble, tries to pitch it to Hyde, but it falls incomplete. The Buckeyes will punt from midfield. This will be a good opportunity to do what Johnston does best, and pin the Wildcats deep. He kills it at the 13-yard line. How spoiled are you that the 13-yard line disappoints you?
10:48 I see people asking where Dontre Wilson is. This game is too big for freshmen right now.
10:52 Whoa! Great interception by Doran Grant jumping the route. Northwestern is very lucky that he didn't score on that. Great read by Grant. This is why we need a camera isolated on Kerry Coombs at all times!
10:53 Hyde gets the ball, bounces it outside and puts a man into the ground before getting another 10 yards or so. He's bullying this defense around. They know better than to bring their lunch money out onto the field. Everybody just leaves it in the locker room so they don't have to hand it over to him.
10:54 Third and goal from the two-yard line. Hyde is tired again. Will it cost OSU? He gets the ball, spins and falls near the goal line. Did he get his arm in there? No. Wanted to make sure he didn't fumble. Might want to review this.
10:55 Meyer is kicking it? Probably because Hyde is too winded to go again. Meyer is going to call a timeout to talk it over. Well, they haven't stopped Hyde yet, may as well put it on his back and if he doesn't get it, you've got them pinned. They're too huddled up to be kicking. Replay just showed Hyde's run again and it's absolutely a touchdown. They have to review this. They've had enough time to do so. And they've finally stopped the play.
10:57 Either way, Hyde is getting a nice rest right now with 10:52 to play.
10:58 It's a touchdown and Carlos Hyde is quite excited. Pat Fitzgerald, not so much. Buckeyes take their first lead of the game since 10-7. Big PAT here. Got it. 27-23 Buckeyes.
10:59 Urban begging to get his timeout back. He should be thanking the stars he called it.
11:02 Whoa, Urban giving death stares to the refs. When man finally evolves laser eyes, I bet Meyer will be the first one. It will probably cost Shelly a set of drapes.
11:03 Simian hits Rashad Lawrence in the slot and he's off to the races. Roby finally tackles him inside the 10-yard line. Great throw into a tiny window. I think Roby thought it was getting picked. Looks like we still have a game here and Northwestern doesn't feel like knowing their place just yet.
11:06 Third and goal from the 12-yard line. Maybe some type of tunnel screen here to attack the OSU blitz? Instead the Buckeyes back off and go with a three-man rush and drop eight. Siemian steps up and finds an opener receiver in the corner. He stepped up and the defense had to react. Nice play. Doran Grant got lost, there's no reason for him to watch the QB there. He's never going to be needed to tackle him with linebackers between him and Siemian. Northwestern reclaims the lead 30-27. That's the second time in this game the Buckeyes rushed three and dropped eight in the redzone and gave up an open touchdown. That's not supposed to happen. May as well blitz six if that's going to be the result.
11:13 Second and one with 7:25 to play. This might be your last possession – better make it count. Miller dances, rolls out, almost picks up the first down, then chooses not to and flips it to Philly who is wide open down the sideline and he picks up 38 yards. Wow. I'm guessing 87% of Buckeye fans were yelling “What are you doing!?” as Miller tossed that one. Great awareness by Miller.
11:14 Miller drops back and finds Hyde in the flats again, and he plows through down to the eight-yard line. I bet I know where the next snap is going.
11:15 First and goal. Hyde gets the ball and he goes untouched into the endzone. Now he's flexing, as he should. That was a spectacular answer by the Buckeyes. Eight plays, 81 yards in 3:48. The extra point sneaks in. Buckeyes lead it 34-30 with 5:30 to play. Hyde now has 158 yards rushing on 24 carries. Huge.
11:19 Venric Mark is back to return the kickoff. Drew Basil might want to put this one in the endzone. Instead he gets it to the four-yard line and Mark takes it out to the 40-yard line. Oh well, it's not the first 50 or 70 yards that's been tough for the Wildcats, it's been the last 10 or 15.
11:22 Third and three. Northwestern is in the loaded pistol. They might want to hurry a bit more with just 3:28 to play. Mark gets the ball and he's a yard short. They'll go for it on fourth down, and a play-action would probably be a touchdown.
11:24 Fourth and one. Venric Mark is telling the crowd to get loud. He doesn't need to tell Buckeye fans to get loud. They know. Kain Colter runs up to the line to get ready for the sneak. He fumbles the snap! They look short. Holy crap. He's short. Whoa. Josh Perry was in there instantly to stop him. He's short. Rough spot. Did his knee go down? It was down, but I don't think he had the ball. Regardless, it's Ohio State's ball and they need to get to the line and snap this thing quickly.
11:26 Instead, they wait too long and the play is stopped. Pat Fitzgerald is challenging the spot. This is hard to do, but he doesn't have much choice. There are no good angles, so nothing can be changed here.
11:28 The ruling stands. Ohio State gets the ball with 2:43 to play. And he were are, back to Ohio State trying to run out yet another clock. Hopefully for them, the ramifications of failing won't be as devastating as last week's when they lost Christian Bryant.
11:29 Hyde gets blasted. Absolutely blasted. And then falls forward for the first down. He's out on his feet, but he won't leave. Holy cow. How does he fall forward after getting hit like that? Amazing.
11:32 Third and five. Do you go with Hyde here for the win, or not risk the hand off? Miller keeps it, runs around a bit, then goes to the ground. Meyer will call a timeout with around 26 seconds left in the game, so Northwestern will have about 20 seconds to go 80 yards. No big deal.
11:34 They'll be coming after this punt hard. Now the protection looks confused. This is not good for the Buckeyes. Meyer wisely calls a timeout.
11:35 Here we go. Johnston gets it off, and it goes out of bounds at the 18-yard line. That's perfect. No return allowed. Now it's time for Joey Bosa and Jamal Marcus to do what they do.
11:36 Empty set. Siemian drops back and falls down. Was that...was that a butt sack? Nobody touched him, he just fell to the ground. And now everybody has to run back to the line of scrimmage so they can spike it.
11:37 One last chance. Five seconds to play and 92 yards to go. Here comes a bunch of laterals, and the ball gets knocked into the endzone and recovered by the Buckeyes for a touchdown and the most amazing backdoor cover I have ever seen. Joey Bosa lands on it and the seven-point favorite Buckeyes cover the spread with a 40-30 win over Northwestern. Brent Musburger has now seen everything.
11:40 Here's a postgame interview with Carlos Hyde. He gives credit to his offensive line and God. In that order.
11:48 Best thing for Ohio State is that Northwestern gave the Buckeyes a fight and perhaps impressed voters. LOL! Just kidding. Everything about this game was terrible for Ohio State for too many reasons to invent right now. It's a good thing ESPN and CBS have a week to come up with more excuses why this wasn't a good win for the Buckeyes.
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