It’s Grumpy Old Buckeye time — your weekly dose of negativity, even if things generally are going well. I can find the dark cloud around any silver lining and this is where I tell you about kinds of things that make me want to walk out onto my lawn in my bathrobe and yell at people about it. This week, we’re discussing Ohio State’s home match-up with Miami University.
Blown Coverage Early
Jeff Okudah jumped inside and left James Maye open on the game’s third play. Thankfully the throw from Brett Gabbert was behind the receiver and incomplete on what could have been a huge early play for the RedHawks.
In fact, it was a difficult first few sets of downs for Okudah but he recovered from it and nearly intercepted a pass, which is also something to be grumpy about because yet again a Buckeye let a pick slip through his hands.
Fields’ First Turnover
Justin Fields entered Saturday without having committed a turnover. That quickly changed on Ohio State’s first drive. After starting a drive inside their own 5-yard line, the Buckeyes tried a pass on second down. J.K. Dobbins couldn’t block his man and the ball was knocked out of Fields’ hand and out of the end zone for a Miami safety, giving the visitors the early 2-0 lead.
Dobbins’ blocking in pass protection broke down on other occasions in this game as well. One such example was just after a second-quarter quarterback sneak, when Fields had to scramble out of the pocket to avoid a sack. So, that’ll be something Dobbins will need to clean up in a hurry as tougher games loom on the schedule.
Chase Young’s day didn’t start great as he missed an easy sack on the second play of Miami’s second possession. He fell for the old “duck” play, in which the quarterback fools the onrushing defender by continuing to stand in the same place but bending over, thereby becoming completely invisible to the naked eye. Scientific studies show that defensive players cannot see you if you bend over at the waist. As a result of this dastardly “duck” trickery, Young completely missed Gabbert and was forced to look silly, which is a crushing punishment for a male under 25 years of age.
Lack of Urgency
The Ohio State approach to the game really boils down to a team that just expected to show up and win. This allowed Miami to play toe-to-toe with them and put the defense on its heels. I’ll credit the RedHawks for catching Ohio State in some unfavorable defensive match-ups early in the game, but the fact that the Buckeyes were not winning the battle at the line of scrimmage means they simply weren’t mentally prepared for a team they deemed a lesser opponent. When Doug Costin threw an “O-H” up after sacking Justin Fields, it served as a catalyst that led to a 42-0 run by the Buckeyes to end the half. Ohio State should not need to be disrespected by a cupcake to turn things on.
Defense Gets Flanked
Ohio State’s defense gave up yardage early on the edge, including a 23-yard run on the first play after the OSU touchdown gave the Buckeyes a 7-5 lead. That’s when good teams should crush any hope from a lesser opponent. Instead, the long run allowed Miami to get out to midfield in just one play. While the Buckeyes did indeed roll after that, it was not the response you want out of the defense after the offense finally gets things going. Also, it will be an area for the OSU coaches to address because if better and faster teams can attack Ohio State’s edges, that could be a problem.
Demario’s Fair Catch
Late in the first quarter, Damario McCall called for a fair catch on a punt with at least 15 yards of open ground between himself and the nearest Miami gunner. With only two men to beat, McCall may have been able to create a big play on special teams but instead he played it safe without really needing to do so.
Starting guard Jonah Jackson was called for holding in the second quarter, nullifying a touchdown pass from Fields to Austin Mack. Jackson’s infraction was softer than clothes treated with the Downy that Jim Harbaugh shills on television while his team is getting waxed by Wisconsin. Jackson’s defender was already beyond Fields and was losing his balance. Jackson merely gave him a push to help him down and never physically grabbed the defender at all.
Calling a Penalty on Eddie
Following Chase Young’s second strip sack of the day, the referees threw a flag and called an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on No. 27. Ohio State does not have one, so presumably they thought Eddie George said something unspeakable or shoved someone after the play. It turned out that the penalty was on Okudah, who wears No. 1. You would obviously expect an officiating crew that saw a hold on Jackson to confuse the numerals 1 and 27.
Not So Master-ful, Teague (and Other Stuff)
Master Teague seems poised to have a nice career at Ohio State but he’s got some things to work on. For example, he fumbled on Ohio State’s second drive of the third quarter, just after Garrett Wilson’s exciting punt return. Never waste a great punt return, young man. Protect the rock. It will probably keep him from grading out as a champion this week.
The backups in general had some issues in the second half, such as Tyreke Johnson running into his own punt returner (Wilson) and possibly blocking in the back on the play. Ohio State fell on the ball, which was good, and the penalty was actually called on the RedHawks for interfering with Wilson’s opportunity to catch the punt. So, it all worked out in the end although there were lots of bad things on the one play.
And then there was the late missed PAT by Dominic DiMaccio. Don’t get me started. It’s a PAT. Sheesh.
Well, that’s what bothered me this Saturday. Things went kind of sideways for much of the first quarter, which mirrors the last couple of games. Then the second quarter came and everything clicked. Again. There were so many positives I can’t even call any of them out here in this closing paragraph. Next week, things get more serious with a night game in Lincoln.