Welcome back, my friends, to the grump that never ends. If you don’t yet know about the Grumpy Old Buckeye, this column is the voice of negativity, even when things are generally pretty great. I’ll point out the things from each game that make me want to walk out onto my lawn in my bathrobe and yell at these darn kids today. This week we’re talking Ohio State vs. Tulane.
Don’t Let Them Do You Like That!
Tuf Borland is an Ohio State linebacker. That conjures up images of the toughest, most hardnosed guys ever to don the Scarlet & Gray. As such, it was disappointing to watch Borland face the stiffarm of justice from Darius Bradwell on Ohio State’s second play of the game on defense. It’s hard to imagine Chris Spielman, Andy Katzenmoyer, A.J. Hawk, or James Laurinaitis allowing a Tulane player to do that to them.
Running on Empty
Where are the big chunk plays in the run game? In fact, where are the blocks that can help spring guys like J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber into the second level? I thought this would be the week the Buckeyes showcase the ground game in order to prepare for Penn State. However, the Buckeyes only managed a measly 155 rushing yards and no OSU back went over 55 yards on the ground. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching Dwayne Haskins and Zone 6 carving up defenses. But it’s a little concerning that the slobs up front couldn’t knock the mighty Green Wave off the ball and I miss seeing Weber and Dobbins running freely through the secondary.
So Much Laundry
It started with two different holds on the opening kickoff and the penalties just kept going. There was an intentional grounding wiped out by a defensive hold and a holding call on a PAT as well, although Das Boot still made the extra point from 10 yards further back – barely. An offside on Jashon Cornell wiped out a beautiful Jeffrey Okudah interception. Two plays later, Damon Arnette committed a pass interference penalty as the sloppy play continued. The flags (and hats) just kept flying from there and if you bought a gallon of milk just before the game, I’m sorry to tell you it expired before halftime with all the referee huddles. In all, Ohio State was called for 10 penalties for 89 yards – 69 of those yards came in the first half.
Gotta Work on Slants
The defense was susceptible to slant passes and that helped Terren Encelade and company rack up some yards. A bit more dynamic receiving corps may have taken a couple of those the distance. Ohio State will need to find an answer for the slant pass.
This Can’t Be a Bakery Because I See No Turnovers
Ohio State’s defense wasn’t able to force any turnovers against a pretty weak Tulane team and it seems like that should be a thing the Buckeyes could do. They were able to get four sacks and make 14 tackles for loss but couldn’t take the ball away. Okudah did once but by that time Cornell had already ruined the play by failing to stay on his side of the line of scrimmage until the ball had been snapped.
The Whole Second Half
The game was over at halftime, but that’s not an excuse to score only one touchdown against a beaten AAC team in 30 minutes of football. The offensive struggles in the second half were partly due to some poor play by the reserve offensive linemen. It’s good that they got a lot of game reps because they were needed. Tate Martell finished 10-of-14 passing but the line allowed a few sacks and didn’t open many running lanes in the second half and so those who stayed until the end only got to cheer for one score after halftime.
Those are the things that made me shake my fists at the sky and say four letter words at a high volume. But honestly, it was tougher this week to think of things to gripe about. There were so many good things, like Haskins’ passing, Parris Campbell’s big day, a resurgent performance from Dante Booker, and the silky smooth underratedness of K.J. Hill.
I’m a professional, though, so I had to persevere and find some things to be grumpy about. What did you not like?