Football Hayes & Cannon

The Grumpy Old Buckeye: Ohio State vs. Cincinnati

Ohio State football Shaun Wade

It’s your Week 2 edition of Grumpy Old Buckeye and we’re talking about Ohio State vs. the University of Cincinnati. If you’re new to this column, welcome! The aim here is to be the voice of negativity, even when things are generally pretty great. 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.

Holding Penalty Derails First Drive

Jonah Jackson didn’t need to hold on the first OSU drive. Obviously there are few holds that “need” to happen, but this one was egregious because it made no difference in the result of the play. Once Jackson’s defender went inside, he was never getting back to Justin Fields. The ultra-conservative second-down play call of J.K. Dobbins up the middle exacerbated the situation and prevented Ohio State from having a manageable third down. Had the team run the third-down call on second, there was a chance of either picking up the first down or kicking a field goal. At least the punt team and defense rose up and performed well to get the ball right back.

Hill with Another Drop

It’s been a curious start to the season for the normally sure-handed K.J. Hill. After dropping a pass for Fields’ first incompletion last week, he did it again. This time he had the ball at the 20-yard line and took a step up the field without securing it against his body and the defense knocked it away. Had he stepped backward onto the sideline, it would have been a completion and a first down. A bit later, Hill had the ball stripped but he was ruled down on the play, but it was a questionable call. Although a defensive penalty would have negated the turnover anyway, a senior with Hill’s history has to be more secure with the ball.

The Spot and the Play Call

Ohio State appeared to get a first down on a second-down carry by Fields, who looked like he started his slide right at the marker and ended up two yards beyond it. The initial spot was enough for the first down and then it was arbitrarily moved a full yard back behind the line to make. Ohio State threw incomplete on third down and then ran a disastrous quarterback keeper out of the shotgun spread on fourth, which Cincinnati’s defense easily stopped. For all the under center talk this off-season, it seemed a terrible decision to line up in the spread and run the quarterback on a slow-developing play on fourth down.

The Trouble with Togiai

Defensive tackle Tommy Togiai extended a Cincinnati drive with roughing-the-passer call as the Buckeyes stopped a third-and-long play. The Bearcats got new life on the play because of the penalty, which was a bit soft, but Togiai can’t put the referee in position to make that call. Making unnecessary contact with the quarterback after the ball is out is just asking for trouble. Fortunately, Ohio State blocked a field goal at the end of the drive to bail out Togiai for the mistake.

Law of Averages Late Returning from Vacation

Shaun Wade did well to get a strip sack in the second quarter but again the Buckeyes couldn’t fall on a loose ball. Ohio State’s defense has done well at forcing fumbles but hasn’t been good at recovering them. And that’s really the important part of the fumble, the recovery. Anyone can just force a fumble. But it’s the recovery that really makes the fumble special. Maybe the luck started to change with Justin Fields falling on his own loose ball later in the quarter, because the defense finally covered one in the end zone late in the fourth quarter to preserve the shutout.

Chase’s Dropped Pick

Look, I’m not angry with you, Chase Young. I’m just disappointed. You could have made an epic play on the ricochet but you dropped the football while thinking about the ensuing touchdown that almost surely would have occurred. I wanted that epic play. It didn’t happen. Again, I’m not angry, just disappointed.

Lack of Two-Minute Drill

One aspect of non-conference games that often goes overlooked is the opportunity to work on things. Ohio State has now had the ball before halftime twice and hasn’t bothered to try running the two-minute drill. Is Fields capable? It seems like he should be but Ohio State isn’t getting him any practice at it.

Allowing the Big Play

Ohio State allowed a big play in the passing game in the second half. With Damon Arnette in coverage, the receiver got over the top of him and Desmond Ridder dropped in a perfect pass. You hate to see a cornerback give up a deep ball like that, but where was the safety help? Ohio State may have gotten caught in the wrong defensive call on the play. At least the defense stepped up and didn’t allow a score afterwards.


That’s what stood out to me in an unexpectedly easy 42-0 win over the Bearcats. Obviously the good far outweighed the bad, including a return to form for Dobbins, getting to see three quarterbacks, another nice game for Fields, the debut touchdown for Garrett Wilson, some turnovers for the defense, and much more. Next up, we’ll visit Indiana.

7 Responses

  1. Ah, never read/respond when tired. I missed the word “in” in the statement and only saw “turn his helmet.” As for the Oregon State example, it was a WR, not a QB, and it was barely out of bounds. The push was maybe a similar amount of force, though Togiai doesn’t have to push as hard to get the same result because…well, strong dude. I would submit that LJ is telling Togiai to keep up the effort but to play smarter because that’s getting called more often than not in today’s game. Ball gone, let up. Ball not gone, destroy. Simple.

  2. Not a game to be that critical of! A real positive note was ABC’s nicely miking the great brass sound of the OSU band the entire game. Added much to the feel of the game. Fox’s gameday crew seemed doubly dedicated to never allowing a single brass ton to emerge from their hyped coverage of the opening game. Fox will never be happy until they turn Saturday’s colorful college game into the wonderful world NFL where the fans come mainly to eat at the concessions stands missing most of the 3rd quarter still in line for the gut buster treats. And Fox still plays a 20 second martial fanfare of horn riffs from the 70’s when there is a break in the action! Are people being paid actual money to make such stale, dumb ass, out of touch choices. Surprised that Fox doesn’t package Urban Meyer in a Jimmy Johnson hair spray do.to keep up with the Fox musical vibe.

  3. Didn’t like the terrible playcalling the entire down series where they got stuffed on 4th. Didn’t like the defensive alignment when Cincy made their 4th down the following drive. Didn’t like the seams being exploited (to an extent) against the D. Still, a shutout, an efficient offense, and a thorough beatdown of what I think is still a pretty good team.
    Oh yeah. Beating said good team in decisive fashion and having ESPiN vault LSU ahead of my Buckeyes for a 7-point win over Tejas? Love Jeaux but c’mon!

  4. An historical grumpy negativity for you:

    JPJ “I’ve not yet begun to fight”.

    translation: we need to, want to… are going to …get A LOT better in order to out-compete all those teams trying to do the same.

  5. VERY tough to be grumpy about this game. Yes, running the QB with no RB to block for him out of spread was a foolish call, and has been for a few years now. The entire notion needs to be wiped from the play book. Togiai did NOT rough the passer, he just committed a violation of Politically Correct behavior- the idea of him “not putting himself in that position” is absurd because he’d have to turn in his helmet to accomplish that. This was a 4 quarter blood letting of a pretty good team. If a similar game happens this season, maybe the “grumpy” part should come from having precious little to complain about.

    1. I don’t know that Togiai has to turn his head to see that the QB he’s chasing has passed the ball. That’s right in front of him and I’m not sure how absurd it is to think he should know better than to put himself in that position. These are the realities of the game today and players have to adjust because it’s getting called (and has been…it’s not new). Around 2:45 a.m. I saw an Oregon State player give a light shove like that to a receiver out of bounds and it was called. It’s deemed unnecessary roughness NOT because of its roughness, but because it’s unnecessary.

      1. Michael- When I wrote “turn in his helmet”, I was using a euphemism which meant give up playing the game, NOT the literal notion of physically turning his head inside his helmet. By playing an interior D line position, he by default(!) “puts himself in a position” to hit the QB IF he’s doing the job well. Your Oregon State example misses the mark, as Cincy’s QB was definitely inbounds and the passage of time between his release and Togiai’s contact (not calling it a “hit”, as that would be an exaggeration) was half a heartbeat. Togiai (and others playing his position) are huge and have momentum, so an actual reality is that it’s darn near impossible for him to stop on a dime. Another actual reality is that officials have (in some cases gleefully) surrendered discretion and throw the flag by rote rather than by understanding the mechanics of the game. Now THAT is something to be grumpy about. Togiai is a victim of timing, not unwise or poor play. I guarantee LJ is telling him to keep doing what he’s doing; otherwise, the necessary aggression is gone and he’s no longer a viable D lineman. Bad call, rant over.

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