No need to wait until the end of the last game of the rest of the season.
Top takeaways from reviewing the win at Minnesota:
With quarterback J.T. Barrett busting off long runs the last two games, this really is the Urban Meyer spread offense in full bloom now at Ohio State. Power back inside, speedy slot receivers who can run and catch, outside receivers who can go the distance via slant or fade. Powerful offensive line greasing the skids. Tight ends who are powerful blockers and can at least chain movers in the passing game.
If the offense has arrived as an all-around threat as opposed to one revolving around just an outstanding talent or two, the defense is still finding its way. The stop unit was respectable at Minnesota against a Golden Gopher offense that does certain things very well and others pretty poorly, but it will probably need to continue refining its process as the season wears on.
A return to the Big Ten Championship Game is in sight for Ohio State, but first the Buckeyes must dispatch Indiana at home this weekend.
Urban Meyer was happy to acknowledge this has been a big goal of the team since the end of last season, when they saw their national championship hopes snuffed out in Indianapolis by Michigan State.
The Buckeyes’ pass defense was their undoing at the end of last season, but that has looked much better under the direction of Chris Ash.
The run defense? Not so much. Continue reading
With another week of football season in the books, here’s a roundup of the marks I left on the Internet as Ohio State and Minnesota got ready for a big November football game.
Of course we spent a lot of time looking back at the Buckeyes’ big win at Michigan State, including what that taught us about both programs, but the Golden Gophers deserve some respect after already winning seven games this season, including a spanking of Iowa last season.
There was also time for a little fun from the world of Major League Baseball.
OSU Football: Scouting Minnesota – We take a look at the Buckeyes’ next opponent on the gridiron
OSU Football Second Thoughts: Michigan State – The Buckeyes made use of their various talent advantages
Cus Words: Better Not Look Down – The Buckeyes are back on top of the Big Ten, but they can’t afford to overlook Minnesota
OSU Assistants: Warinner and Ash – Buckeye coaches talk win at MSU, look ahead to Minnesota
I circled the Minnesota game as a potential trap game in August. I was thinking about that even before the Michigan State game was moved to a night affair, and that loss of preparation time led me to pick the upset in our preseason predictions for Buckeye Sports Bulletin and here on the blog.
A mental letdown is also natural coming off such an emotional win against the Spartans, and in the summer it was easy to see the Buckeyes having a hard time getting up for a nondescript Minnesota team almost 50 years removed from its last Big Ten championship.
The Golden Gophers at 7-2 and coming off a thrashing of Iowa are too good to call this a trap game, though. I do believe they will have the Buckeyes’ attention, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be an upset.
Heading into last week, I felt pretty confident Ohio State had better players than Michigan State, but I was not at all sure they were ready mentally to utilize that skill. The first 25 minutes or so of game action validated this belief, but then they righted themselves and turned on the afterburners.
That response — and an even greater talent disparity — makes me think the Buckeyes will take care of business in Minneapolis, but there is certainly a path to victory for Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers dominated Iowa with the help of turnovers, and such miscues were part of their undoing in an upset at Illinois. If they can come out ahead in this department and hit some shots in play action (although Ohio State is curiously enough 2-0 when losing the turnover battle this season), they have a formidable running attack and defense that can shorten the game.
Here’s my full scouting report at BuckeyeSports.com.
My takeaway from the reviewing Ohio State’s breakthrough win last week at Michigan State is this: The most encouraging sign for Ohio State football fans moving forward from last week’s win at Michigan State could be the offensive coaches trusting their guys to carry out their philosophy — then seeing J.T. Barrett and Co. do that with ruthless effectiveness.
As I wrote last week would probably be the best plan of action, the Buckeyes made most of their hay running up the middle and throwing over the top when the time was right. They did what they do better than what Michigan State normally does. I got the vibe in the postgame interview room this came as a big surprise to the people asking MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi what went wrong, but he didn’t offer much in the way of excuses. He might have suspected this was coming. Continue reading
Urban Meyer let his Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate their statement win over Michigan State, but he acknowledged he is concerned about the loss of about eight hours worth of preparation time for Minnesota (Read more).
The Golden Gophers are 7-2 and will play host to the Buckeyes on Saturday in a game scheduled to kick off at noon Eastern.
While nine offensive players were either recognized as grading out at a championship level or sharing the offensive player of the week award, only a handful of defensive players could say the same about either.
Meyer and safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash both acknowledged the Buckeyes’ defensive effort was not satisfactory even though they won the game. While more than a third of the yards Ohio State allowed came in the fourth quarter after they built up a three-score lead, the secondary missed some opportunities to keep the talented Spartans in check. Continue reading
The most obvious question, one that has been asked a few times this week as Ohio State gets ready to travel to East Lansing on Saturday night, is whether or not this Michigan State team is as good as the one that beat the Buckeyes and won the Big Ten last year.
This game figures to go a long way toward telling that tale, but for now I am inclined to say no… And neither is Ohio State. Continue reading
Urban Meyer made no attempt to hide the fact Ohio State has something more than a win or even prime position in the conference race on the line Saturday night at Michigan State.
The Buckeyes are also playing to regain their position as the top dog in the Big Ten, or as he put it, “the respect Ohio State deserves.” (Read more: Meyer: Buckeyes playing for ‘respect Ohio State deserves’ | FOX Sports.)
When Meyer was done, assistant coaches Tom Herman, Tim Hinton and Luke Fickell had a lot of interesting things to say about the Buckeyes and the Spartans, including some flashbacks to last year’s Big Ten Championship game and a fair amount of Xs and Os. That comes as no surprise given the stature Michigan State’s defense – imported from Ohio – has gained over the past few years under Mark Dantonio and Pat Narduzzi.
Monday was also a big day for the program’s future as Torrance Gibson, on of the top quarterback prospects in the country, gave a verbal commitment to Ohio State from his school in Florida.
Gibson is the second signal caller to commit to Ohio State for 2015, joining Joey Burrow of Athens, Ohio. While signing two quarterbacks in one year has been rare at Ohio State over the past 15 years, history shows it could have some tremendous results for the Buckeyes.