It’s the regular season finale of the Grumpy Old Buckeye, the column that aims to be the voice of negativity, even when things are going great (and let’s face it, most everything was pretty great yesterday). It’s where I point out the things from each game that make me want to walk out onto my lawn in my bathrobe and yell at people about it. This week we’re talking about THE Game.
True or False?
While much of the offensive line play was the truth against Michigan, there was a false start on the very first OSU drive. It ultimately didn’t cost the Buckeyes, but it wasn’t the only one, and by now I’m sure everyone is as sick of seeing this as I am. It would be interesting to go back and find out the length of Ohio State’s streak is with at least one false start. It’s probably a pretty long streak and if I got paid to do research I’d absolutely look it up.
Actually, the Spots Were Bad
I’m not going to come right out and say there was some conference incentive to call a lenient game for the Wolverines (you all saw the game). What I will say is that on Michigan’s third drive, the visitors were getting some spots that forever remove any Wolverine fan’s right to complain about spots. There were three on the drive that were a full yard beyond what was earned on the field and helped Michigan get into field goal position.
Who’s Fouling Who?
Ohio State’s third drive bogged down and resulted in a punt after a ridiculous personal foul was called on Malcolm Pridgeon. J.K. Dobbins had run for eight yards to set up a third-and-1 but Pridgeon was flagged for a late hit on the play. First of all, if that call was toilet paper, it would be Charmin. Second, Pridgeon was pushed from behind by Chase Winovich on the play before making contact with the other Wolverine.
— Tony Starks (@frankbones24) November 24, 2018
No Human Knows What Targeting Is
Whether it was ultimately targeting or not, Noah Furbush is not allowed to hit a sliding quarterback. Actually that rule isn’t just for Furbush, it’s for any defensive player. The fact that he hit Dwayne Haskins — who slid and gave himself up — in the helmet could have been called targeting. At the very least it’s a personal foul. Instead of the flag coming out for Furbush’s hit, the flag came out for Urban Meyer running onto the field to yell about Furbush’s hit. Meyer got an unsportsmanlike conduct call and it backed up the Buckeyes into third-and-17. Thankfully, Michigan committed pass interference on the next play.
Speaking of Pass Interference…
Ohio State’s cornerbacks have been problematic with PI infractions all season. On Saturday, both Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield committed pass interference when no contact at all would have resulted in Michigan bringing on the punt team. They were completely unnecessary because Shea Patterson’s throws weren’t close enough for them to get to, although not so horribly off target to be deemed uncatchable by the officials. Arnette’s first such penalty kept alive Michigan’s touchdown drive near the end of the first half. Sheffield also got nailed with one such call that was awful, as he and the receiver each had hold of the other’s arm and it might have actually been Sheffield’s best coverage play as a Buckeye. The Wolverines scored on that drive as well.
I know I don’t have to point out this play but if I had omitted it, you’d have all yelled at me. I don’t like being yelled at. It makes me want to yell at people. Obviously Demario McCall didn’t mean to drop the kickoff, and the ball somehow managed to bounce over the arm of C.J. Saunders, who was trying to swipe it out of play before Michigan recovered. The play allowed the Wolverines back into a game they’d been almost completely run out of before halftime. It was an awful mistake but I took exception to people calling for him to be benched for it. It was a mistake, yes, but an execution mistake. I’ll always give a kid a chance to make up for an error like that, and McCall made a big reception moments later to set up an OSU score. If you bench every player who makes an error, you’ll end up with no players on the field.
Obvious Tate Play is Obvious
If there are no pass plays with the Tate Martell package, then there’s not much use in running it. It’s too predictable and a good defense will stop it more often than not. Joel Klatt had a great suggestion of running the old Urban Meyer jump pass play out of that package and that would have been fantastic.
Facemask: An Abstract Concept
Grabbing and pulling on the facemask is supposed to be a foul in football. Apparently when a receiver does it to Jordan Fuller, it’s defensive pass interference. When Jonathan Cooper’s finger brushes the outside of the bottom of a facemask on a sack, the referee behind the quarterback can obviously see it and throw a flag for it, giving Michigan a first down. In fairness, the refs gave that back to Ohio State later when a Wolverine’s hand brushed Mike Weber’s facemask, but how about just calling it the way the rule is written?
That’s what stood out to me most in the Buckeyes’ destruction of No. 4 Michigan on Saturday. Honestly, the game put me in such a good mood that I didn’t even feel much like writing this column this week. But thinking back, I could have pointed to other things, like Weber giving up a 3-yard gain to run backwards and end up losing one instead; opting to call a simple run play instead of picking on David Long’s replacement after the Wolverines’ defensive back went off with an injury; or the incessant chatter by Gus Johnson about Meyer’s brain cyst.
Instead, I’d rather think of Weber’s 96 rushing yards, Parris Campbell’s big day, the blocked punt for a touchdown, nearly everything Chris Olave did, or simply showing up Jim Harbaugh for the fourth straight year.
Which of the above bugged you the most? What else bothered you? Let’s get it off our chests because we’ve got a B1G Championship Game to prepare for.