Monday, October 31, 2011

Ohio State—Wisconsin 2011 Highlights (Week 9, Game 8)

Once again, we saw how great the Ohio State defense is and how good the offense can be running and throwing (when needed), as the Buckeyes gave the Badgers another last-second, heartbreaking loss.

This Ohio State-Wisconsin highlight video was produced by lednerk and is brought to you exclusively by BlockONation.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ohio State Upsets Wisconsin: Buckeyes Shock The World And Keep Their Big Ten Title Hopes Alive In One Fell Swoop

By Special Contributor Chris Holloway

Just a year ago, the Buckeyes were in the BCS driver’s seat. They had climbed the polls to #1 and winning out would have seen Jim Tressel in his fourth National Championship Game, tying him with Bob Stoops of Oklahoma.

Ohio State simply had to go into Camp Randall and dismantle the Badgers of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, Scott Tolzien and the Bucky offense had other plans. Tressel, Pryor, and company left Madison disheartened, beaten, and out of the National Championship picture.

Wisconsin found themselves in a similar situation on October 22nd against Michigan State. And just like the Buckeyes, Bret Bielema and crew left the stadium -- their hopes of a National Championship run behind the skill of Russell Wilson and Montee Ball -- all but dashed on a last second Hail Mary.

They came into The Horseshoe with a chip on their shoulder and a point to prove. They set out to show that they are the new premier team in the B1G, even though they were looking up at Penn State in the Leaders division.

Bielema had said during the week that he missed Terrelle Pryor, if only because he wanted to shove Pryor’s words back down his throat. Pryor may have left Ohio State -- a trail of devastation in his wake -- but Daniel “Boom” Herron picked up his words and tossed them back to the Wisconsin sidelines.

Coach Fickell may have tried to downplay the revenge aspect of this game, but apparently nobody informed the team, least of all freshman phenom quarterback Braxton Miller and All-Everything tailback Boom Herron.

The previous game against Illinois saw just one completed forward pass from Ohio State. The Buckeyes were determined not to have that happen again. Not in a stadium filled with high profile recruits such as Bri'onte Dunn, among others.

Not during Homecoming Week.

Not on the night that Heisman Winner Eddie George was being honored at halftime for his contributions and being recognized for getting elected to the college football Hall of Fame, to which he will be inducted next summer.

And most definitely not on the night that the Buckeyes honored the 1961 championship team with their Nike Pro Combat Uniforms.

Ohio State was a perfect 2-0 in games in which they had worn the throwback alternate jerseys, and the sheer awesomeness of the uniform (I personally love the hell out of it, especially the helmet) would hopefully carry some luck into the game against the 15th ranked Badgers.

If you consider Jim Bollman to be an inept offensive coordinator, then Jim Heacock is the polar opposite. All season long the major bright spot of this team has been the extraordinary defense. This time would be no different. They swarmed the ball carriers, determined to contain the legs of Ball, White, and Wilson. And contain they did.

It wasn’t until about 5 minutes into the game that Ball caught a bullet from Wilson over the middle. Christian Bryant had read the play beautifully, and just missed the interception, and a probable pick-six.

Ball grabbed the pass and scampered into the Promised Land to give his team an early 7-0 lead. The defensive slugfest continued into the second quarter and culminated with a sack by Adam Bellamy, with a little help from defensive juggernaut John Simon to end the first half.

Ohio State took the second half kickoff and immediately came out swinging. Starting from their own 25 yard line, Braxton and company went to work. They reeled off 75 yards on seven plays during the march down the fiel.

Herron broke loose for a 57-yard run down to the Wisconsin 18, and then continued with another 18 yard run to put the ball on the 1. Initially, the call on the field was a touchdown, and would have given the Buckeyes a 9-6 lead, but upon official review, the call was overturned and the ball set back at the one-yard line.

Braxton punched it in for his first rushing touchdown of the night. On the very next drive -- after a three-and-out forced Wisconsin to "attempt" to punt -- Ryan Shazier came flying in from the left side and blocked the punt.

Ohio State recoverd on the one-yard line and three plays later, Jordan Hall skipped and pushed his way to the end zone to make the score 17-7.

The Badgers responded with an 11 play drive that ate up over five minutes of game time and 43 yards, culminating in a Montee Ball 1-yard touchdown run that closed the gap to three. Neither team would score the remainder of the quarter and Ohio State was set to start the final quarter with the ball, clinging to a slim three point lead.

One wrong move -- one false start -- or one stalled drive could end their Cinderella run. The first drive ended in a field goal, giving the team some breathing room, but not enough to to solidify their comfort level, or the eventual victory.

They led by just six, and desperately needed to stop the vaunted offense -- that had been averaging 47 points a game -- that Bielema brought to Columbus.

It wasn’t until their second drive that Ohio State got the cushion they were looking for in the form of a 44-yard run by Miller to record his second TD on the ground. The two-point conversion failed, but the Buckeyes still held a two possession lead, at 26-14.

But, as often happens -- even to a great defense in the latter stages of a supremely physical game -- the Silver Bullets gave up two huge plays that put the victory in jeopardy.

In just the span of two and a half minutes, Russell Wilson heaved TD passes of 49 and 17 yards to Abbrederis, giving the Badgers a one point lead. Bielema wisely chose to go for two, which the Badgers converted when Wilson tossed a clean shovel pass to Ball, who went virtually unmolested into the end zone, to give his team a 29-26 lead with just under a minute and a half left in the game.

Ohio State got the ball back with about a minute and 18 seconds on the clock after a fantastic return from Jordan Hall, all the way out to the 48 yard line.

From there, Buckeyes took over and finally showed the balanced offense that the coaches were talking up all week. After a 3 plays that garnered 12 yards, Miller took the snap, eluded a blocker -- or five, rolled to his right, and right as it appeared that he was going to take off running once again.

When he stopped short of the line of scrimmage and heaved the ball down the field, the collective breaths of 105,110 faithful also stopped short. It wasn’t until fellow true freshman Devin Smith came down with the ball in the end zone that anyone dared to breath. But when they did, it was to let out the loudest celebration yell the stadium had heard all night.

The Buckeyes had done the improbable. With 20 seconds left on the clock, the phenom had put his team on his back and delivered the go ahead touchdown. Wisconsin was out of timeouts. They had no way to effectively stop the clock.

Perhaps fearing a kickoff run back, Basil kicked the ball out of bounds and let Wilson take over at the 40. After two tosses that fell incomplete thanks to Bradley Roby and C.J. Barnett, Wilson heaved another desperation pass into double coverage.

The clock ran down to zero, but then, the yellow death came flying onto the field.

The Buckeyes were charged with two penalties, one declined, but the other, a facemask personal foul, was accepted -- giving the Badgers the ball in Buckeye territory for one, final, untimed down.

Wisconsin had one last chance. Wilson took the snap, had a decent pocket, and stepped up to the right. And just as he was about to unleash his own desperation Hail Mary, LB Andrew Sweat hit him from behind, sending the pass lazily to the turf.

It was done. The ongoing mission to shock the world and every sports pundit out there had finally come to fruition.

The fans began to rush the field for what was clearly an emotional win, given the past year for the squad. But tattoos, money, charities, and suspensions mattered not on this night.

This night, Ohio State showed the world that they can face severe adversity and punch it directly in the nether regions.

With Penn State unbeaten in, and atop the Leaders division, the Buckeyes nearly control their own fate from here on out. They face Penn State at home in three weeks, and Penn State also has to face Nebraska and Wisconsin.

If OSU wins out, and Penn State loses to either the Cornhuskers or the Badgers (a very distinct possibility), the Buckeyes will have their spot reserved in Lucas Oil Stadium for the inaugural B1G title game on December 3rd.

Buckeye Nation has renewed optimism and fervor for this team -- one that has been cobbled together by some members of its' own fanbase as a roster full of so-called misfits, thugs, and cheaters.

There was no inkling of that on the field last night, however -- and the scene for the post game rendition of Carmen, Ohio was nothing less than truly emotional.

The Buckeyes won't get to rest again the remainder of the season. They must ride this high into next week’s game, and through the season finale' in Ann Arbor on 11/26/11, if they have any intention of continuing this once improbable run towards yet another Big Ten Championship.

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Ohio State-Wisconsin: Braxton Miller to Devin Smith For The Win!

As predicted by BlockONation, the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin in a close, thrilling game that came right down to the final untimed down!

For the game, Miller ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, and went seven of 12 through the air for 89 yards, including the game-winning 40-yard touchdown pass with just :20 seconds left that put the Buckeyes up for good.

Deal with it, Wisky!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ohio State vs. No. 15 Wisconsin - Week Nine (Game Eight) Outlook, History Lesson, and Prediction

Here's this week's feature. Sorry it's a day or two later than usual -- been under the weather -- enjoy!

OSU/Wisky—A Few Opening Thoughts...

Upset-minded Ohio State welcomes in the No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers this Saturday night at Ohio Stadium in what is being projected as a Scarlet Out.

There are a multitude of reasons why the Buckeyes need to win:
  • Primetime, national stage game (8:00PM, ESPN) vs. a top 15 ranked opponent, in front of 105,000+ scarlet-clad fans.

  • This is Ohio State's 90th Homecoming game. OSU is 65-19-5 in the previous 89.

  • 1995 Heisman winner Eddie George is being honored at halftime.

  • The Buckeyes are 2-0 (2009 and 2010 vs. Michigan) when wearing their Nike Pro Combat Jerseys. This year's uniforms are a tribute to the 1961 national champion Buckeyes.

  • A win will close the gap and keep the Bucks on pace in the Big Ten and Leaders division standings.

  • As @BlockONation follower Angie from Twitter tweeted -- It's about Revenge. Losing last year to Wisconsin in Madision as the then-No.1-ranked team in the nation is almost the best reason, only outdid by the classlessness displayed by Badger basketball fans and their head coach.

  • Bo Ryan's elitist and condescending "Deal with it" response when asked about Badger fans spitting on Jared Sullinger as they stormed the court after the 71-67 upset win over the Buckeyes in the Kohl Center.
Despite all of these motivating factors, beating Wisconsin may prove even more difficult than already previously expected as the Badgers are coming off a heartbreaking road loss, via a last-second Hail-Mary-Prayer to the Spartans of Michigan State.

The outcome in The Shoe could hinge on if Wisconsin comes in fired up and focused, or down and dejected off of the MSU loss.

Brief Game Outlook / Players of Note

Having had two weeks to prepare, one would expect that regardless of whichever psyche the Badger football team shows up with, Ohio State will themselves come out fired up and focused. There's no reason this team should not perform like a well-oiled machine on BOTH sides of the ball.


The Badgers are ninth in the nation in total defense, allowing 121 yards rushing and just 165 yards passing per contest.

They also rank sixth nationally in fewest points allowed per game (13.6). Through the first seven games, the Badger defense has 18 sacks and seven interceptions.

Quarterback Russell Wilson, a leading Heisman candidate, has thrown for 1,780 passing yards, with 16 touchdowns and only three interceptions. His passer efficiency rating is 205.

Leading wide receiver Nick Toon has 27 catches for 505 yards, with six touchdowns. Jared Abbrederis is second with 30 receptions for 482 yards and two scores.

The running back duo of Montee Ball and James White are a powerful and dynamic one-two punch out the Badger backfield. Ball leads the team with 768 yards and 17 touchdowns, while White has added another 458 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Ball also has 190 receiving yards and two touchdown catches.

Ohio State

The Buckeye defense is currently 16th in the nation in total defense, allowing 116 yards rushing, and 188 yards passing per game. They rank 12th in fewest points allowed per game (16.3). The defense has 14 sacks and nine interceptions through seven games.

Two weeks ago against then-No. 14 Illinois, Ohio State attempted just four passes the entire game, with one completion -- a 17 yard touchdown pass from Braxton Miller to TE Jake Stoneburner -- in a 17-7 upset over the previously unbeaten Illini.

That won't get it done this week against the Badgers.Quite the opposite effort will likely be needed for the Buckeyes to pull out a win over a Wisconsin team averaging mover 47 points per game.

Ohio State will, and must still do what they do best -- run the football -- but this is going to have to be Braxton Miller's coming-out party as a passing QB. If not, Buckeye fans could be in for a long night, and a huge letdown and a blowout loss.

On the season, Miller has 403 passing yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He has 243 yards rushing and a current passer efficiency rating of 142.

Devin Smith has been quiet lately, but still leads the Buckeyes in receiving yardage with 187 yards on nine catches, including three for scores.

TE Jake Stoneburner is second on the team with 150 yards, but leads in receptions and touchdowns, with 12 and six respectively.

Even though Carlos Hyde now appears to be sitting third on the depth chart behind Dan Herron and Jordan Hall, he leads the team in rushing with 408 yards and five touchdowns. Hall has 321 yards rushing and a touchdown in five games, and Herron -- who made his return to the starting lineup at Illinois -- ran the ball 23 times for 114 yards and a score.

Ohio State—Wisconsin History Lesson And Trends

• Ohio State is 67-8 in Ohio Stadium since 2001.

• Ohio State is 247-64-20 all-time in October home games.

• Ohio State is 35-17 vs. opponents ranked in the top 25 since 2001.

• Ohio State has won three of the last four meetings against Wisconsin.

• Ohio State is 53-18-5 all-time vs. Wisconsin, including a 29-7-3 mark at home.

• Ohio State defense has held opponent to fewer than 10 points 31 times since 2006.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed just one 100-yard rusher in the past 25 games at home.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed just seven 100-yard rushers in their last 44 games.

• Ohio State has held 66 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• This is the first meeting since 1963 where Wisconsin is ranked and Ohio State is unranked.

• Wisconsin is 1-3 against Ohio State under head coach Bret Bielema.

• Wisconsin is 28-2 under Bielema when holding opponents to under 300 total yards.

• Wisconsin has won three of the last five meetings against the Buckeyes in Columbus.

• Wisconsin is 50-6 under Bielema when scoring at least 20 points and 37-2 when allowing 20 points or less.

Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

Ohio State and Wisconsin both play traditional Big Ten football -- they like to run the ball -- but in Wilson, a seasoned fifth-year-senior transfer (NC State), the Badgers have the definitive edge in the passing game.

That being said, the defensive focus needs to be on containing Ball. He is the key to the Badger offense. If he has success, Wilson will in turn find it as well.

Last week, Wisconsin faced the best defense they had seen to date in East Lansing, and they left with a stinging loss.

The same fate could befall Bucky this week as they travel away from Madison to face another one of the top defenses in the Big Ten, especially if the Buckeyes abandon the conservatism on offense and incorporate the forward pass successfully into this weeks playbook.

On paper, almost everything suggests that the Badgers are the team to pick.

I was leaning in that direction, but then I saw the bad-ass, 1961 throwback helmets the Buckeyes are wearing and that changed everything...

Here's spit in your face Badger Nation -- DEAL WITH IT!

Ohio State 27
Wisconsin 24

"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Could Ohio State be Poised for a HUGE Upset Win Over Wisconsin on 10/29/11?

Not sure it has quite the same ring to it as "whiteout" or "blackout", but next weekend, the Buckeyes expect a capacity crowd for their home battle with the Wisconsin Badgers in what is being framed as a "Scarlet Out".

There is no doubt the crowd of 105,000+ will be pumped and the atmosphere will be electric inside the shoe next Saturday night. The 12th man can (will) be a nightmare for opponents (Wisconsin), as long as the Buckeyes keep themselves (and the fans) in the game.

The bye week and the fact that Ohio State is 7-3 vs. UW in the last 10 meetings in Columbus bodes well for the Buckeyes.

Not to mention that, this Saturday, Wisconsin has a tough game against Michigan State, while the Buckeyes are off.

The extra week of preparation is a benefit to the Buckeyes and gives them much better odds of actually pulling the upset next Saturday in prime-time, than if they were also playing this week.

Depending on what happens in CFB this weekend, AP No. 4 Wisconsin (currently No. 6 in the BCS rankings), could be very close to that No. 1 spot when they come riding in to Columbus on their high-horses -- a very familiar scenario for the Buckeyes, who themselves went to Camp Randall last season as the top-ranked team in the nation, only to come home after a bitter defeat.

Every part of my being believes that last week at Illinois (only four pass attempts the entire game) was all a smokescreen to mask what lies ahead for the Badgers.

The Bucks will come out firing on all cylinders, and they WILL successfully pass (and run, of course) the ball against Wisconsin.

With the Badger defense focused on, and well-cognizant of the return of, Dan "Boom" Herron to the OSU backfield, QB Braxton Miller could be ready to have a breakout game, both rushing and passing the ball!

The Buckeye defense will face its' most difficult task yet in stopping -- or at least attempting to stop -- one the the best offenses in CFB this season. The very prolific Badger offense is led by QB Russell Wilson, WR Nick Toon, and RB Montee Ball -- but, Ohio State's defense will embrace the challenge.

They don't call them the Silver Bullets for nothing!

An upset win won't be a gimme, but it's not unrealistic to want it, nor to believe it just might happen...

The Buckeyes are 2-0 when wearing their Pro-Combat "throwback" uniforms, which they will donning this year against the Badgers instead of against the Wolverines, so there's that...

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ohio State-Illinois—Week 7 Game Highlights

Finally, we see just how great the defense is and how good the offense can be pounding the rock, as the Buckeyes handed the Illini their 1st loss.

Woody would be so proud.

This Ohio State-Illinois highlight video was produced by lednerk and is brought to you exclusively by

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Ohio State vs. No. 14 Illinois: Week 7 Game Outlook, History Lesson, and Prediction

I have been super-busy this week at home and in the Pharmacy, but fear-not my loyal BlockONation posse', for here is this weeks feature (well, part of it anyway).

The rest should be finished sometime Friday evening/night.

I at least wanted to post the History and Trends ASAP as I know many of my blog and Twitter followers look forward to that section immensely!

Chew on this for now gang -- the rest will be updated with links posted on Twitter and Facebook tonight when it's 100% done -- thanks!

OSU/Ill—A Few Opening Thoughts...

Gameplan: You play, to win, the game...

Brief Game Outlook / Players of Note

Three yards and a cloud of dust.

O-line, Boom Herron, Jordan Hall

Ohio State—Illinois History Lesson And Trends

• Ohio State last lost to Illinois in Champaign in 1991.

• Ohio State is 114-64-8 all-time in October road games.

• Ohio State is 34-17 vs. opponents ranked in the top 25 since 2001.

• Ohio State is 0-2 in the Big Ten for just the second time since 1993.

• Ohio State is 62-30-4 overall vs. Illinois and 33-12 all-time in Champaign.

• Ohio State defense has held opponent to fewer than 10 points 30 times since 2006.

• Ohio State defense has allowed just seven 100-yard rushers in their last 40 games.

• Ohio State has held 65 of 79 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• Ohio State has won 5 of the last 6 overall meetings, and has won 8 games in a row on the road vs. Illinois.

• Since 1990, the visiting team is 14-5 in the OSU-ILL series.

• Illinois is just 1-5 against Ohio State under coach Ron Zook.

•.Illinois is 18-32 vs. Big Ten opponents since 2005 under Zook.

• Illinois has 1,357 rushing yards through 6 games while holding opponents to just 478 yards rushing.

• Illinois, is 9-4-1 vs. Ohio State and have won the last 5 meetings against OSU when ranked in the AP top 25.

• Illinois is 6-0 for the first time since 1951, when it finished 9-0-1 to earn a share of the national championship.

• Illinois has won 7 games in row dating back to 2010, their longest winning streak since the 2001 season -- The last time an Illinois team won 8 games in a row was 1983.

Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

Low scoring, defensive battle was expected, and that's exactly what happened.

Pre-game prediction would have been:

Ohio State 23
Illinois 16

For the record, BlockONation guaranteed an Ohio State win over Illinois via Twitter at 11:13AM Saturday morning -- more than 4 hours before the game...

"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Ohio State-Nebraska—Week 6 Game Highlights

By HD Handshoe — Founder

It sure was a tough ending for our beloved Buckeyes Saturday night in Lincoln, but there were several positives worth a second look from the game (pre-Miller-injury/Bauserman meltdown).

This Ohio State-Nebraska highlight video was produced by lednerk and is brought to you exclusively by

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Few Post-Nebraska-Game Thoughts on the State of Ohio State Football...

Ohio State Shocked the World -- if only for 2 & 1/2 quarters in Lincoln, Nebraska last night -- then, they got shell-shocked as the Cornhuskers came back from a 27-6 third-quarter deficit to defeat the Buckeyes 34-27.

Ohio State was an 11-point underdog, so in a lot of ways, this performance was above and beyond what many expected from the Bucks. That being said, we don't play for moral victories at The Ohio State University -- this ain't Ann Arbor people -- it's still a loss.

Why/How OSU Imploded and Ultimately Lost

1. Braxton Miller injured his ankle midway through the third and he was unable to return

2. The coaches brought in the incapable Joe Bauserman -- to replace the injured Miller -- who has proven he is, well, incapable.

3. After having success running the ball most of the game and with the previously noted incapable Bauserman in under center, the coaches mind-blowingly decided to pass more than run (10 passing plays vs. eight running plays). Bauserman proceeded to go 1 for 10 for 13 yards with a sack and an interception. Several of his passes looked like they would have been over the head of the Jolly Green Giant.

4. For the game, Jordan Hall had 17 carries for 49 yards (2.9 ypc) and no touchdowns. Carlos Hyde has 13 carries for 104 yards (8.0 ypc) and two touchdowns. So why in the world did Hyde only get two more carries than Hall (nine to seven) in the third and fourth quarters? Have our coaches never head of "going with the hot hand"? And again, why were we passing more than running with the lead and with Bauserman in at QB? Bauserman isn't the one who must shoulder the blame for the loss. He's not a good QB, which is painfully obvious to everyone not named Fickell or Bollman, but he didn't put himself in the game when Miller came out, Luke Fickell and Jim Bollman did, and that's where the real blame falls.

To Sum Everything Up

The Buckeyes had this game in the bag, had Miller not gotten hurt. After that, our chances of winning evaporated because of a lack of planning by the coaches. There's no excuse for not planning ahead for just this type of situation, period.

Simply put, Ohio State was owning Nebraska until the Miller injury, and the appearance of Bauserman instead of Kenny Guiton or Taylor Graham deflated the team and stole the momentum.

It would be nice to have answers to all of these questions and explanations on these repeatedly unwise coaching decisions -- not to mention how nice it would have been to get a huge win in what can be justifiably deemed as a very winnable game

Too bad the coaches got in the way.

Important memo to the OSU coaching staff:


"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson

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Braxton Miller image copyright of Eric Francis / Getty Images

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ohio State vs. No. 14 Nebraska—Week 6 Game Outlook, History Lesson, and Prediction

Understatement Alert in 3,...2,...1,...

Ohio State is coming off one of their absolute worst performances in years.

With a mere 10 seconds left in regulation and trailing Michigan State 10-0, the Buckeyes narrowly avoided being shutout at home for the first time since 1982 (a 6-0 loss to Wisconsin) on a touchdown pass to Evan Spencer from backup QB, and sack-taking-artiste' extraordinaire, Joe Bauserman.

MSU sacked Miller and Bauserman nine times and held OSU to just 178 total yards (143 passing, 35 rushing) for the game.

It can't get worse for OSU this Saturday night -- as the Cornhuskers welcome the Buckeyes in their inaugural Big Ten conference home-opener and Ohio State's first-ever trip to Lincoln -- but it may not get much better either.

While the Nebraska defense has given up points and yards aplenty, everything will depend on if this team and these players were able refocus this week and mentally move past last weeks pathetic effort. The same goes for the coaching staff, particularly offensive coordinator Jim Bollman.

Bollman has come under intense fire from Buckeye Nation fans all across the Interwebs on forums, message boards, blogs, and Twitter.

It seems as if 10 years of frustration stemming from the lethargic, non-creative, and completely predictable offensive play-calling of the Tressel/Fickell-ball era has finally come to a head, and Buckeye fans have had enough.

Urban Meyer holding on line one.....

Whoops, daydreaming again -- Let's get back to the game.

Brief Game Outlook / Players of Note

Ohio State and Nebraska are both looking to avoid an 0-2 start in conference play after the Buckeyes struggled-mightily in a 10-7 home loss to MSU and the Cornhuskers were welcomed to the conference rather unceremoniously by the Badgers, losing 48-17 in Madison.

This season, each team has had more success on the ground and both are going to want to establish the run, and then mix in the pass when the defenses aren't looking.

Ohio State hasn't been able to do that very often. They must stop reading like an open book to opposing defenses with their personnel use and formations if they are to have a chance in this game, or any other for that matter.

Offensively, Nebraska is averaging nearly 38 points and 418 yards per game. Their defense is allowing 27 points and 377 yards per contest.

Quarterback Taylor Martinez has thrown for 823 passing yards, with four touchdowns and five interceptions. He also has 482 on the ground and 8 rushing touchdowns. His QB rating is 118.

Jamal Turer and Quincy Enunwa are the top two receivers for Nebraska. Turner has 13 catches for 223 yards. Enunwa has 9 catches for 140 yards and has scored once.

Rex Burkhead leads the Husker ground-attack with 81 carries for 516 yards (6.4 ypc) and is tied with Martinez with eight rushing touchdowns.

The Ohio State offense is averaging just over 300 total yards and just under 24 points scored per game, while the Silver Bullet defense is currently 13th in the nation in total defense (285 yards per game) and ranks 11th in points allowed per game (16.4). They have have six interceptions and 10 QB sacks through five games.

Braxton Miller looked lost last week. He played a lot like a true freshman and made some bad decisions. At times, he definitely had that deer in the headlights look. Most of the blame for that lies on the staff for seemingly never coaching him up on the sidelines. That is inexcusable and if it doesn't change, this staff may just ruin the kid for the 2012 incoming staff.

Miller has 291 passing yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has 118 yards rushing and a current QB rating of 129.

Wide receiver Devin Smith leads the Buckeyes with eight receptions for 183 yards and three scores but is not listed on the two-deep depth chart this week.

With Smith not listed, DeVier Posey suspended yet again for taking money for work not performed, and Verlon Reed out for the season with a torn ACL, the Buckeyes must rely on youth over experience.

Evan Spencer, Chris Fields, and Corey Brown, who may return from an ankle injury that has caused him to miss the last three games, will be asked to get open and make plays to help move the Buckeye passing game forward through the air, instead of backwards on the ground via the sack.

Tight end Jake Stoneburner has been deafeningly quiet lately and the Bucks desperately need him to be more involved in the offense.

Rumor has it that RB Carlos Hyde spoke out at halftime against the poor playcalling and as a result, did not see the field at all afterwards, despite averaging over 6 yards per carry in the first half.

Hyde is listed as the No. 2 back behind Jordan Hall who gets the start this week. Dan Herron, who was also slated to return this week, will join Posey in missing at least one more game before possibly returning.

Hall has rushed for 216 (4.3 ypc) yards with one touchdown, while Hyde has 295 (4.8 ypc) yards rushing and three touchdowns.

The ground-game and pass protection should each get a boost this week with the return of OL Mike Adams. Unlike Posey, Herron and OL Marcus Hall, Adams has apparently been following the rules that he had previously broken as part of the Tat-5 scandal that landed him on suspension earlier this year.

Nebraska may be new to the Big Ten this year, but they are a perfect fit in the conference. Just like Ohio State, they play traditional, smash-mouth football. The Cornhuskers have been more dynamic on offense than the Buckeyes, but the edge on defense goes to Ohio State.

Something has to give. In order for that something to give in favor of the Buckeyes, here's what has to happen.

The Buckeye offense had better stop being so vanilla and change it up this week in order to score enough points to win.

The Buckeye defense should do to Nebraska what MSU did last week to Ohio State. Load the box and stop Martinez and Burkhead and force Martinez to beat them with his arm.

Ohio State—Nebraska History Lesson and Trends

• Ohio State is 2-0 all-time vs. Nebraska.

• Ohio State is 21-4 in their last 25 Big Ten games.

• Ohio State is 198-78-10 all-time in Big Ten road games.

• Ohio State last started 0-2 in Big Ten conference play in 2004.

• Ohio State defense is second in the Big Ten with 6 INTs through five games.

• Ohio State defense has allowed just five 100-yard rushers in their last 39 games.

• Ohio State is 61-32-5 in Big Ten road openers since joining the conference in 1913.

• Ohio State is 114-63-8 on the road all-time in the month of October (360-127-28 overall).

• Ohio State has held 65 of 78 opponents to 21 points or fewer since the start of the 2005 season.

• Ohio State is 31-9 in conference road games since 2001, including a stellar 21-3 mark since 2005.

• Ohio State has not lost to a member of the Big Ten Legends Division since a 33-7 defeat at Iowa in 2004.

• Nebraska is the 4th winningest program in college football history with 841 wins; Ohio State is 5th with 834 (822 counting vacated 2010 season).

• Nebraska is 84-13-4 all-time in conference home openers.

• Nebraska has started 0-2 in conference play just once since 1968.

• Nebraska is 17-5 at home under under coach Bo Pelini (2008-present).

• Nebraska is 17-10 in conference games (Big 12 and Big Ten combined) under Pelini.

• Nebraska has lost it's last three conference home-openers (2008 Missouri; 2009 Texas Tech; 2010 Texas).

Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

The OSU defense has played very well most of the season and seems to be improving each week, with the emergence of young players such as Bradley Roby, Ryan Shazier, and Christian Bryant.

It would certainly be nice to see the offense follow suit one of these days -- hopefully sooner than later -- and play at least somewhat closer to level we all thought they could play when the 2011 season began.

For the record, it would be great -- very much preferred, actually -- is this prediction is totally wrong, but the Buckeyes are a double-digit underdog in this one with good reason, when considering how average they have looked in every game other than in week one vs. perennial doormat, Akron.

Ohio State is capable of winning this game if they fix what's broken.

It's not too late to right the ship, but this just might be too tough a week to do it...

Nebraska 24
Ohio State 20

"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson

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Image (top right) copyright: Marvin Fong / The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ohio State: Just a Few Thoughts Going Forward...

This weeks "Preview, History, and Prediction" feature article will be up later tonight or tomorrow, but the prediction shouldn't be much of a mystery, even to the most-guilty of Buckeye homers.

Nebraska was obviously overrated, but despite that, they are still WAAAAAAAAY better than tOSU.

Tack on the fact that now Boom Herron and DeVier Posey won't be back this week after accepting impermissible benefits while on suspension for the same offense (it could be argued that perhaps they shouldn't be allowed back ever again), and it's easy to pick Nebraska.

Don't be shocked if the prediction, and ultimately the reality, both go in favor of Nebraska by two to three scores, minimum.

In the meantime, a few thoughts...

The time has come for Buckeye Nation to stop drinking the Kool-Aid and to take off our Scarlet and Gray glasses...

As of right now, the Buckeye offense is completely inept, and the coaches are completely incompetent -- and neither is likely to suddenly improve.

It's clearer than ever just what a great coach Tressel was, just in case anyone still had doubts.

How a player (especially one who is a true freshman QB) can come off the field after making a mistake and not have the coach -- or at least his position coach -- come talk to him to tell him what went wrong, and/or what went right and what adjustments need to be made going forward is absolutely incomprehensible...

It seems that nobody on this entire staff ever coaches Braxton, or any other offensive player on the team for that matter, in between series' on the sidelines.

That is inexcusable.

It's a safe bet to suggest that this entire staff will be gone come December, and the way this season has gone so far, don't expect more than six or seven wins at best.

Let's not kid ourselves at this point -- December can't get here soon enough, and we all know why:

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