(Photo courtesy BleacherReport)
I’ve had a couple days to think about this game, then it occurred to me. This is Curtis Samuel’s World and we’re just living in it.
For the second consecutive week, the Buckeyes eviscerated an opponent, 62-3. Other than he blown call on the Maryland “touchdown” (yes, it was a touchdown, regardless of on-field and replay decisions) there wasn’t too much drama nor excitement to this game.
Granted, the Maryland defense is all that good this season, 11th in B1G in scoring, 13th in total defense, but the Ohio State offense was more efficient than against Nebraska the previous week. The Buckeyes scored the same number of points (62) and did it with about the same yardage than against Nebraska (581 vs 590). Against Maryland, all of OSU’s points were scored “offensively”, there were no defensive TDs. This was a true working man’s blowout.
After screwing around for their first two plays on their initial possession, Beck/Warinner came to their senses and involved Curtis Samuel and Mike Weber (5 of 7 plays leading to OSU initial touchdown) to set the tone for the game.
It’s hard to complain about an offense that puts up 62 points, but you know me… Ohio State was credited with 43 rushing plays. Eleven of those plays were J.T. Barrett. With backfield mates of Weber, Samuel, McCall and Wilson, I think that’s too many runs for J.T. Granted, on his 11 carries, J.T. had 2 touchdowns. But then, Curtis also had 2 TD’s on his 4 carries. So, you know, put the ball in your play-makers hands and don’t risk your QB.
One other thing regarding the offense. When Urban has gone with his backups these last two games in particular they’ve looked really good. Granted, it has been against either an opponent’s 2nd team defense or their gassed 1st team. Regardless, you can tell that OSU’s 2nd unit has “rehearsed” quite a bit together and mesh very well with one another.
Speaking of “mesh”, I want to point out the offensive line had another good performance. The offense ran 79 plays and gained 581 yards. Aside from the 62 points scored, those are pretty good statistics. The Buckeyes ran 43 times for 253 yards (net) and had losses of only 13 yards. Two of these plays, accounting for 12 of the 13 yards, were sacks. So, in terms of running plays, there was 1 play were they were thrown for a loss. There were 4 plays where OSU had ‘no gain’, but to me that’s pretty much the same as an incomplete pass, except the clock keeps running.
The defense looked exceptionally sharp, allowing only 176 yards (2.6 yards per play). Other than Maryland’s third drive (13 plays, 76 yards) that resulted in a
touchdown field goal, the Buckeye defense played well. Although the secondary initially looked pretty loose, the rush defense was solid all game long. Maryland had 40 rushing attempts that netted 43 yards; a “1.something” average.
The pass defense got sorted out and played its usual sterling game. By ‘pass defense’, I mean all three levels of play; the defensive line, the linebackers and the secondary. They did allow 56% completion, but Maryland’s average yards per completion (8.9) was less than Ohio State’s yards per attempt (9.1). The Terps completed their share of passes, but didn’t have much to show for it.
Although there were no pick-6’s this week (we’re at a point we come to expect them?) Marshon Lattimore did make a nice interception in the 2nd quarter that set up a Buckeye touchdown drive.
Indeed, they were quite special this week against Maryland. The Buckeyes punted only three times for an average of 43.7 yards. That’s gross and net, which indicates that Cam had very good direction, hang time and was abetted by excellent coverage.
Young Mr. Durbin and his mates also had an outstanding evening. First, his placement kicking was perfect; 8-8 with extra points and 2-2 of field goals.
It gets better, though. Tyler and his kick coverage guys had a busy and efficient night. First, OSU kicked off 11 times (that happens when you score a lot of points) and 6 of these were touch-backs. That goes a long way to limit damage done by opponent K-O returns. Of the 5 kickoffs returned, the Buckeye coverage team limited Maryland to an average to 16.2 yards per return.
Now, if you’re following along and have a basic grasp of math, you’ll notice that the 6 touch-backs + 5 returns = the 11 kickoffs. That means there were no illegal procedure penalties where Tyler yanked a kick out of bounds. That’s pretty impressive and a welcomed consistency Well done, guys!
I’d intended to get into a thought experiment involving various combinations / permutations / wild-ass guessing that pertained to various Ohio State scenarios to get into the CFB Final Four. However, I noticed on my Twitter feed that Chris Drake, from where I used to spill some ink at The Buckeye Battle Cry, has already covered that turf bigly. Take it away, Chris…