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Game Thread Game Seven: #1 Ohio State 38, Michigan State 7 (10/14/06)

BuckeyeNation27;635225; said:
I believe this is what VprHis is referring to

I've seen them before but I don't know where to get one.

There's no way I'd buy one of those until we confirm the color of those Buckeye leaves.
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By the Numbers

By Jeff Amey

The Ohio State Buckeyes travelled to East Lansing this past Saturday in a game that was supposed to be the last difficult road test for a team looking to navigate this season undefeated. Instead, what the Buckeyes did was exorcise some of the demons of past Buckeye disappointments for many fans with their dominating 38-7 win over the Spartans. Michigan State looked far from the part of giant-killer that they played in 1998 and 1974 in defeating unbeaten and number one Ohio State teams, and the Buckeyes looked like a team on a mission to destroy them. Unfortunately, not all Buckeye fans were able to see the whole game because of the blowout, and others, though the game was on ESPN gameplan, were forced to miss about 10 minutes worth of the game waiting for the blackout to be lifted on it (including yours truly).

Let's take a look at the stats. (Thanks to Chris and Bob for helping complete these)
Run/Pass Breakdown
68 Total Plays--420 yards--6.2 ypp
24 pass (35%)--16/24 for 240 yards two TD
44 runs (65%) for 180 yards two TD--4.1 ypc
11 Possessions
ave. of 6.2 plays--38.2 yards
ave. start--OSU 24
First Down--30 Plays (44%) for 209 yards
seven pass (23%)--5/7 for 87 yards
23 runs (77%) for 122 yards 1 TD--5.3 ypc
ave. gain of 7.0 yards
Seconnd Down--22 Plays (32%) for 73 yards
Seven pass (32%)--3/7 for 29 yards
15 runs (68%) for 44 yards 1 TD--2.9 ypc
ave. of 7.1 yards to go
ave. gain of 3.3 yards
Third Down--16 Plays (24%) for 137 yards
10 pass (63%)--8/10 for 123 yards 2 TD
six runs (37%) for 14 yards--2.3 ypc
ave. of 5.7 yards to go
ave. gain of 8.6 yards
conversions--10/16 (63%)
Playaction Passing
7/8 for 105 yards one TD
First Downs--19
10 by run
nine by pass
Two back formations--25 Plays (37%)
five pass (20%)--3/5 for 23 yards
20 runs (80%) for 67 yards 1 TD--3.4 ypc
Shotgun formations--14 plays (21%)
11 pass (79%)--6/11 for 64 yards one TD
three runs (21%) for 4 yards--1.3 ypc
One back formations--29 plays (43%)
eight pass (28%)--7/8 for 153 yards one TD
21 runs (72%) for 109 yards 1 TD--5.2 ypc
draw--four (9%) for -1 yard--(-0.3) ypc
end around--two (5%) for 45 yards--22.5 ypc
QB run/scramble--two (5%) for 4 yards--2.0 ypc
option--three (7%) for four yards--1.3 ypc
power--15 (34%) for 49 yards 1 TD--3.3 ypc
stretch--18 (41%) for 79 yards 1 TD--4.4 ypc
Other Stats of Note
* four offensive penalties for the game
* OSU started on MSU side of the 50 one time--one TD
* 5/5 in red zone scoring--(four TD, one FG)
* zero sacks and one turnover for the game (fumble)
* 28 of 68 offensive plays started on MSU side of the 50--(41%)
* 12 of 68 plays went for no gain or loss--(18%)
* number of OSU drives eight plays or more--three (two ended with a TD)
* number of OSU pass attempts in the second half--six
* number of consecutive end around plays called to open second half--two
Seven games into the season, and it looks like this Buckeye team is getting better every week. While the Buckeyes have trailed in games at points this season, there hasn't really been a time where they looked like they weren't the better team on the field. In no other game this season did the difference between the two teams seem to be as great as it was between Ohio State and Michigan State. Some of that probably had to do with the mental state of the Spartan team, but another part of that is the mental state of this Buckeye team. They look like they're on a mission to win the National Championship this season...one game at a time.

Looking closer at the offense against Michigan State, it was pretty clear the coaching staff felt that Ohio State could beat the Spartans by lining up in more conventional formations and just pounding the ball at them. It was interesting that the Buckeyes (who have lined up in the Shotgun over 1/3 of the time this season) only lined up in the Shotgun 14 times against Michigan State. While the Buckeyes ran many formations, as usual, 33 of the 44 running plays the Buckeyes ran were basically the same two running plays (power and stretch plays). The success of the running game set up playaction passes for the offense, which were used on 1/3 of all the pass attempts for the game and accounted for nearly half the passing total and a touchdown.

Ohio State's success running the ball in the first half, and Michigan State's subsequent adjustments, opened up some interesting play-calling in the first Buckeye drive of the second half, when Ohio State ran two straight end around plays for 45 yards. The drive ended with a touchdown and 31-0 lead, which basically ended any chance the Spartans may have had to rally in this game, and caused ABC to switch to other games in the lineup.

Overall, it was a good gameplan with some good adjustments to take advantage of what the Spartans were doing. There have been some past questions about this coaching staff's ability to gameplan, but that has not been the case this season. The coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for putting the offense in a position to succeed.

What more can be said about Troy Smith that hasn't already been said? With the Buckeyes looking to pound the Spartans on the ground (probably having a lot to do with the wind), Troy didn't have all that many opportunities to throw the ball, but did the most with what he had, completing 15 of 22 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns. He also continued his "one Heisman moment per game" with an incredible play to avoid pressure, buy time, and throw a seven yard touchdown pass to Brian Robiskie in the third quarter. If things continue like this, there could be a lot of new hardware in the WHAC at the end of this season.

The running game was more of a committee effort this week than usual. Antonio Pittman seemed to get a bit dinged up in the first half, allowing Chris Wells to get a few more touches again this week, but returned later in the game and kept his consecutive games with a touchdown streak alive with a two yard burst for Ohio State's first touchdown of the game. Chris Wells added another one later, and Maurice Wells got several touches late in the game. It wasn't a spectacular day for the running game (the two longest runs were the two end around plays), but the Spartans were playing eight or nine in the box for much of the game to try to slow the running game down.

The receivers played their usual good game as well, with Anthony Gonzalez going over 100 yards on 7 catches with a touchdown as the leader. Ted Ginn had an interesting game, with three receptions for over 50 yards, his first return touchdown of the season on a 60 yard punt return (which also broke the Big Ten career punt return TD record), a sixteen yard run on an end around, and his first attempted pass as a Buckeye (which fell incomplete). Add in Brian Robiskie's four catches and touchdown, and it was really a pretty good day overall for the Buckeye receivers.

The offensive line had been struggling a bit over the past couple of games, but didn't struggle much this week with the Spartans. Despite Michigan State loading the box to stop the running game, the Buckeye offense only had three negative yardage plays the whole game. The Spartans never really got much pressure on Troy Smith, finishing with no sacks, and the Buckeye offense was successful on all of their short yardage situations for the game. You just can't ask for much more from your offensive line than that.

Going into this game, Ohio State fans weren't quite sure what to expect out of the Buckeye defense in this game. Ohio State has been improving all season, but the Spartans have what is supposed to be an explosive offense when things are going well. Drew Stanton is an experienced quarterback who has had success against Ohio State in the past. Despite Michigan State's recent struggles, it was expected to be a tough offense for the defense to shut down. That didn't end up being the case. Injuries and suspensions were an obvious problem for the Spartans (they basically had a tackle playing tight end), but the defense did a good job of shutting down whatever the Spartans threw at them.

Quinn Pitcock has become a raging beast in the middle of the defensive line this season. Not only did he pick up two more sacks against the Spartans, but he helped open things up for the rest of defensive line and especially the linebackers again this game. A large part of playing defense is being confident and aggressive, and we can see that confidence growing with each passing game. The 38-7 win over Michigan State was the 5th time so far this season that the opponent has scored 7 points or less.

The Buckeyes should be heavily favored in the next four games, with the next one being an Indiana team that pulled off a 31-28 upset of Iowa last week. The Buckeyes have had success against mobile quarterbacks so far this year, and the Hoosiers don't have much big play threat outside of wide receiver James Hardy. This didn't seem to be a very dangerous game before last week, but the upset of Iowa has to open a few eyes. I still don't expect a let-down out of this team now that they've got a break in the schedule, but they need to keep their focus this week against a Hoosier team looking to pull the upset.
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