(Image courtesy of ohiostatebuckeyes.com, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, cleveland.com, espn.com)
Thank your local deity for Dwayne Haskins, Jr. There were still a few flaws (3 turnovers), but a 52 point and 688 yard effort is certainly a good day. Ohio State mixed in run (more on that later) with 56 attempts, 283 yards, 5.1 avg, 4 TDs and passing (38, 405, 10.7, 3).
During the course of the game, Haskins became Ohio State’s single season passing leader in yards and in TD’s, eclipsing Joe Germaine and J.T. Barrett, respectively. Dwayne was efficient (28-38-74%) and effective (3 TDs) in spreading the ball around (10 receivers). Good thing, too. The Ohio State offense had to keep things in high gear just to keep pace with what the Silver Bullets were giving up.
Getting back to the running game for a second – this may have been “too much of a good thing” for Ohio State. J.K. Dobbins had a productive (+200 yards) but grueling (37 carries) day. That’s as many carries he had in the previous two games combined. Haskins had 15 carries (?) while Demario McCall had 2 carries. With Mike Weber reportedly nursing a leg injury, let’s hope the 37 carry day against Maryland doesn’t turn Dobbins into a dobbin against Michigan.
Another issue is they offensive needs to clean up its act, especially in the offensive line. Of 10 Ohio State penalties accepted, the offense committed eight of them. Four were illegal procedures and two were holding. Johnnie Dixon claimed two penalties – holding and illegal touching.
The defense was an embarrassment. Against a .500 ball team, they allowed over 500 yards and over 50 points. Freshman running back Anthony McFarland had 21 carries for 298 yards and two TDs. He had his two TDs and 156 yards on his 2nd and 3rd carries.
They were out of position (Arnette on McFarland’s 1st touchdown), missed tackles (White on McFarland’s 2nd TD) and linebackers continued to take bad angles at point of attack.
I really don’t have much else with this unit. There are several relatively nonathletic players and the coaching staff has no idea how to put them in situations to succeed. I did a quick Google search and YouTubed a couple videos to get a primer on Matt Canada’s offense. It’s basis is motion and pre-snap alignment to numerically “unbalance” the point of attack. I fail to see how, with a week of preparation, Schiano, etal., couldn’t anticipate nor quickly adjust to the Maryland offense.
And no, there were no “2nd half adjustments” to stabilize the defensive effort. After shutting down the Terp offense in the 3rd period (their TD came on a Haskins pick-6) Ohio State gave up 14 points in the 4th quarter and 6 in OT.
The Ohio State defense has been the beneficiary, in their better performance, by opposing offenses that had inexperienced and or injured QB’s. Against a functional offense, OSU’s defense wasn’t.
In general, they did okay. Buffalonian Blake Haubeil & Co did an exemplary job; 7-7 on PATs and 1-1 FG. However, the return teams were another matter. After Maryland’s first score, the OSU kick return unit was caught lollygagging on a pooched kick, which allowed Maryland to recover. Fortunately, the Terps soon fumbled the ball away. However, in the 4th quarter, Maryland ran a fake punt, unbeknownst to Ohio State, converted on 4th – 8 and scored 3 plays later to take a 38-31 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Well, they won, but barely. They benefited from an opposing quarterback who had a couple iffy decisions and had poor accuracy. The missed two-point Terp conversion was a play that Maryland QB Tyrell Pigrome should have made. The receiver, Jeshaun Jones was wide open in the end zone. By sprinting to the right, Tyrell threw late and overshot his receiver. He had time to, just for a second, set his feet and make a more accurate throw.
The offense looked more efficient than they have since the Tulane game, based on the BuffaloBuckeye Plays/Point Table©, below. Ohio State needed 1.81 plays per point scored. Don’t get too excited: the defense allowed Maryland an efficiency of 1.22 plays per point, far better than the Buckeyes did and better than any OSU performance this season except for the Oregon State game.
The Buckeyes host the Michigan Wolverines (10-1, 8-0) on Saturday. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 12:00 noon Eastern. At stake is the B1G East title and a game against B1G West Champion, Northwestern. You can watch it on FOX, listen to it on 97.1 The Fan, or both.