The Ohio State Buckeyes were given all they could handle in the second half by the California Golden Bears after dominating the first half and it took a Braxton Miller long toss to Devin Smith to allow the Buckeyes to escape with a 35-28 win at Ohio Stadium.
Miller finished with 249 yards passing on the day with four touchdowns with two each to Jake Stoneburner and Devin Smith.
The now 3-0 Buckeyes host UAB next week in wrapping up the non-conference schedule...
I'll take the win,but very disappointed.
In many things as I'll detail below,but foremost is this-Poor tackling.
It was not just missed tackles,it was a failure to wrap up the ball carrier and that is even worse.
That means poor fundamentals.
2) Poor tackling led to two long touchdown runs by Cal's backup running back Brendan Bigelow,who finished with 160 yards rushing on just four carries.
Both runs should been stopped for average gains,but the first one was clearly on Bigelow for a great balancing act,but just as much on the Buckeyes for not finishing the play.
The play is not over until the whistle blows,gentlemen....
3) The Buckeye offense did score five touchdowns,so it was not all bad,but Ohio State was bottled up from the entire third quarter until the two touchdowns in the fourth.
Cal made adjustments at the half that bottled Miller by taking away his safety valves and using two spies to make sure that he did not tuck the ball down and run.
Look for other teams to watch the film and see just how effective this tactic was-and use it for themselves.
4) Jordan Hall finished with 87 yards on 17 carries and showed some rust in his return despite averaging five yards a carry.
I hope this is part of working his way back into shape,because Hall might be the difference in taking the load off Braxton Miller...
5) Devon Smith has become the big play receiver the team has been looking for and his game winning touchdown showed why.
Smith just finds a way to make plays.
Braxton Miller was scrambling around and drew the corner up to protect the sideline run.
That gave Smith time to run unhindered down the sideline with only the ball to worry about.
Some players just make plays,as simple as that ....
6) Ohio State collected six sacks with the team sending blitzes from off the corner and from various linebackers.
The rush from different locations loosened up the defensive line,enabling them to get more push off the line and keep them in the face of the quarterback all day long.
7) Great day from John Simon and the returning Nathan Williams as well.
Both of those two look All-Big Ten bound.
8) Three missed field goals for Cal in a game they lost by seven.
9) Loved the the short pop over the middle for Jake Stoneburner's two touchdowns.
The defense comes up to defend the fullback leaving Stoneburner wide open.
I laughed with both of those calls as that one step drop and dump to the tight end was a staple of my football video games when I needed a short yardage play...
10) Eleven more penalties for OSU.
Far too many and there will be a game where the Buckeyes pay dearly if this issue is not cleaned up soon.....
Photo Credit:Marvin Fong-Cleveland Plain Dealer