Sunday, October 23, 2016

Special teams break down,cost Ohio State win in State College

Marcus Allen (I thought he had exhausted his eligibilty) blocked a Tyler Durbin field goal and when Grant Haley covered the 60 yards with the football,Penn State had a touchdown,the lead and eventually the game as the Nittany Lions shocked the second ranked Ohio State Buckeyes 24-21 in State College PA.
J.T. Barrett threw for 245 yards and a score,while Curtis Samuel rushed for a 74 yard score.
Ohio State falls to 6-1 on the season (3-1 Big 10) and will host Northwestern next Saturday...

Olentangy Offerings

1) Special teams breakdowns was the biggest part of the loss.
A blocked punt led to one score and the blocked field goal cost the Buckeyes the lead.
Combine that with the continuing issues of Dontrae Wilson fielding punts and you have the main reasons for this defeat...

2) Yes,I know the late pass to James Clark was clearly pass interference as the defender held Clark's arm to the point that he couldn't raise it as the pass hit him in the helmet,but I'm not convinced that would have changed anything on the final drive.
Sure would have helped and you never know what could have happened,but I'm not going to scream about that costing OSU the game...

3) The offensive line was pretty offensive as the Penn State offensive line dropped J.T.Barrett for six sacks and eleven tackles for loss.
Barrett was rushed constantly and the Penn State line controlled the line of scrimmage and that might have been the main reason for the Penn State win-other than the blocks that is...

4) Curtis Samuel did have the long touchdown run,but that was just one of two carries.
Samuel did catch eight passes,but their biggest playmaker didn't touch the ball enough...

5) For the second consecutive year,an Ohio State loss is looked at with questions about the decisions to run an vanilla offense without utilizing their best offensive player enough.
The Michigan State loss in 2015 saw Ezekiel Elliott not given the opportunity to wear down the Spartans and last night,it was Curtis Samuel's two carries in State College.
Who does this fall on? Urban Meyer to an extent,but mainly on the offensive leaders Ed Warriner and Tim Beck.
I generally don't go nuts over a loss about coaching staff changes and I won't this time,but combine this with the loss last season and there are lots of parallels in the losses-maybe it's something to keep tabs on..

6) The defense didn't play badly as they held Penn State to  276 yards on offense and often the most effective plays for their offense was throwing the ball up and hoping for the best.
Penn State did make some plays that way,but on the overall,I wouldn't say the Buckeyes defense played badly at all other than some occasional completions...

7) J.T.Barrett didn't have the luxury of a great night from his offensive line and he sure didn't have some brilliant plays to run,but that said-it still wasn't anything special for the junior from Texas.
Barrett wasn't good enough to overcome such a poor night by various units on this night...

8) In hindsight,I might have overestimated this team.
Before you rip me for being one of the THOSE fans,I think the issue might be that many and me as well overrated Oklahoma and that led to why the Buckeyes rose to where they did.
I spoke more about this on College Football 101,but that call led to me taking a team that had several spots of inexperience and move them up prematurely.
Does that mean that this isn't a good team? Of course not,but maybe they aren't the second best team in the country.

9) I'm also guilty of not looking at this as a trap game.
Second road game in a row,two hostile environments and a team coming off a bye along with a team coming off a physical and emotional game and things were set for a surprise.
I didn't think Penn State was good enough to pull that surprise off and most days,I think I'd be right.
But I only had to be wrong once.....

10) Ohio State still controls its own destiny-win out and they go to the playoff.
That's doable as the schedule begins to lighten other than undefeated Nebraska at home.
Northwestern and Nebraska at home will be tests,but finally they get someone at home after a bit.
Maryland and a suddenly weak Michigan State on the road could give Ohio State a chance to rest and I'm still not convinced Michigan is as tough as the Harbaugh hype suggests and I know they whipped Penn State,but there is a huge difference between a home game and a road game under the above circumstances.
Clearly,this needs to be a perfect run,but the season is not over for the Buckeyes.
Urban Meyer's track record shows his best work comes under stress,he'll need to do that one more time...

Editor's Note; Late addition to this is the issue on the blocked field goal.
I didn't have an issue with attempting the long field goal,I did with a clearly unorganized team rushing onto the field to try it.
It would have been far more prudent to take a timeout and reorganize things a bit.
Had that been done and then the field goal was blocked,I could say these things happen.
Instead,that falls back on Urban Meyer for taking so long to make the decision and then hurry an out of sync team to attempt the kick...

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