This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.
  1. Follow us on Twitter @buckeyeplanet and @bp_recruiting, like us on Facebook! Enjoy a post or article, recommend it to others! BP is only as strong as its community, and we only promote by word of mouth, so share away!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Consider registering! Fewer and higher quality ads, no emails you don't want, access to all the forums, download game torrents, private messages, polls, Sportsbook, etc. Even if you just want to lurk, there are a lot of good reasons to register!
    Dismiss Notice

Michigan State: The Aftermath

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by LordJeffBuck, Nov 22, 2015.

By LordJeffBuck on Nov 22, 2015 at 10:22 AM
  1. LordJeffBuck

    LordJeffBuck Illuminatus Emeritus Staff Member


    1. With the 17-14 loss last night, Ohio State's overall record against Michigan State is now 29-15-0 (.659 winning percentage).

    2. The loss marks the fifth time that a Michigan State team has ruined a perfect season (at least 7-0-0 start) for Ohio State: 1972; 1974; 1998; 2013; 2015.

    3. What we can kiss goodbye after last night's loss:

    a. A perfect season
    b. A national championship
    c. A Big Ten championship
    d. Ezekiel Elliott's Heisman Trophy (12 carries, 33 yards)
    e. Joey Bosa's Lombardi Award (3 offsides penalties, 0 TFLs)
    f. Cameron Johnston's Ray Guy Award (5-yard punt)​

    Silver lining: With the loss, Urban Meyer is now in contention for the Big Ten Coach of the Year Award.

    4. This loss had been brewing all year. We all noticed that something just wasn't right with the offense, and we blamed the play calling, the offensive line, the erratic quarterback play. In reality, I believe that the problem went much deeper, namely that the coaching staff never developed a comprehensive strategy for this offense. Or an identity, if you prefer that term. The Buckeyes never emphasized what they were good at, and never used their strengths to impose their will on their opponents. All year long, it seems that the philosophy (if you will) has been: "Call a play, let the athletes make something happen." In other words: Win with tactics, not strategy. That might work against MAC teams and Big Ten bottom feeders, but other good teams with other great athletes will shut you down if you don't have a strategy and can't impose your will by implementing that strategy.

    5. You've probably heard the saying: "If you have two quarterbacks, you really have none." That old saw is just as valid if you have two championship caliber quarterbacks or two bums. Urban Meyer's inability (or unwillingness) to pick a starting quarterback and stick with him through thick and thin was the root cause of the offense's inconsistency and lack of discernible strategy. Next season, Urban Meyer needs to pick a guy and go with him, whether that guy is Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett or Stephen Collier or Joe Burrow or even Torrance Gibson. Pick a guy, then formulate a strategy that suits his skill set, and finally fill out the rest of the offense with players who can operate successfully within that strategy.

    6. The two quarterback problem was really a three quarterback problem, as the spectre of Braxton Miller was always hanging over the team. It must be difficult to tell a two-time Big Ten MVP that his days as a quarterback are over, but Meyer compounded his difficulties by promising Braxton a special role in the offense - it was sort of a golden parachute for past contributions to the team. While Meyer's intentions may have been honorable, the results were not good. Outside of that one spectacular play in the season opener against Virginia Tech, the Braxton package (wildcats, jet sweeps, screens) never really took off. Not only did many of Braxton's plays result in no gains or negative yardage, but they also disrupted the flow of the offense even when they were somewhat successful. In retrospect, Braxton would have been much more valuable to the team if he could have taken over the Devin Smith role and given the Buckeyes a consistent deep threat in the passing attack.

    7. Now some numbers from the game. The defense came in averaging 298.4 yards and 13.8 points allowed, and they played right to that level last night as Michigan State gained 294 yards and scored 17 points. However, the defense had a chance to send the game into overtime, but they simply couldn't stop Michigan State's offense on their final drive. The Spartans converted two third downs to keep their drive going and set up the game winning field goal. If the Buckeye defense holds on the first third down, then Michigan State has to punt and the Buckeye offense would have gotten the ball back for one final desperation drive. If the Buckeye defense holds on the second third down, then the field goal attempt is five or six yards longer. Spartan placekicker Michael Geiger barely made it from 41 yards out. Would he have missed from 46 yards? (He did miss from 43 yards earlier in the game). But it's probably a moot point. Even if the defense had forced overtime, could the offense really have won that game?

    8. JaxBuck brings up some excellent points about the Buckeye defense yesterday, indicating that maybe they weren't as good as their stats would suggest:
    • Coming into yesterday's game MSU was ranked 90th in YPC as a team at 3.9 YPC
    • They were #78 in total rushing yards per game at 157.9
    • FO advanced stats ranked their OL at #88 overall and #101 in standard down line yards
    So Michigan State had zero success running the ball against anyone (including just 141 yards against a putrid Maryland defense last week); they were without their starting QB, future NFL first rounder Connor Cook; and therefore they were forced to rely on their greatest weakness as their only chance to win. The result? The Spartans rushed for 203 yards and consistently stuffed the ball down the throat of a defense with NFL players at every level including a potential overall #1 draft pick (who played his guts out BTW).

    9. The Buckeye offense came in averaging 453.3 yards and 36.4 points per game. In the loss, the offense managed only 132 total yards, 2.9 yards per play, 5 first downs, 5/15 (33.3%) on third and fourth down conversions, and 21:50 time of possession. The 14 points were gifts from Sparty, as the Buckeyes scored their first touchdown on a 10-play, 32-yard drive after a fumble; and their second touchdown on a 1-play, 6-yard drive after a muffed punt.

    10. Cameron Johnston had a 5-yard punt, but ended the day with a 39.9 yard average on 8 punts. The number of punts is alarming. Last season, Ohio State had 48 punts in 15 games (3.2 per game). This season, the Buckeyes already have 54 punts in 11 games (4.9 per game). That stat alone shows just how inconsistent the Buckeye offense has been all season long.

    11. One final thought. Outside of Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington and Ezekiel Elliott, who always play with maximum effort, it seems that something has been missing from this team. Maybe it's a sense of swagger, or playing with reckless abandon, or going two steps past the whistle. I'm not saying that players are dogging it, or resting on their laurels, or reading their own press clippings. But let's face reality for a moment. These players are not at Ohio State to be student-athletes, or ambassadors for the university, or even to win football games for Buckeye Nation. Like almost everyone else who ever went to college, they are in school to further their own careers, in their cases as professional football players. With a lucrative career in the NFL mere months away, do some players alter their games or workout regimens to avoid injury? Do they freelance to impress scouts with highlight reel plays? Are they slowly tuning out their soon-to-be-former coaching staff? Are their minds drifting as family, friends, and outsiders try to influence their decisions about their futures? Is a collective case of senioritis infecting this team? We scoffed last year when Alabama's players claimed that NFL decisions distracted from their Sugar Bowl preparation, but I think that something similar has been distracting this Buckeye team all season long. I'm alright with that - going to college is all about getting a job and making money, the same for football players as it was for you and me. Just remember that factor when it seems like "your" team doesn't seem completely dedicated to "our honor defend, we will fight to the end for OHIO!"
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
    brodybuck21, Jake, cincibuck and 14 others like this.


Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by LordJeffBuck, Nov 22, 2015.

    1. Bill Lucas
      Bill Lucas
      The weather did not calm down in the second half. It's true that it stopped raining but the wind picked up considerably in the second half.
    2. OregonBuckeye
      The only player I've seen this year that looks like he's sandbagging it at times is Powell. Lee hasn't looked that good since NIU either but I'm not sure how much of that is due to a nagging injury. Other than that it looks like the effort is there. I think Beck is utterly clueless and Warinner being spread thin just fucked this offense. This season has been the biggest missuse of talent I've seen as a Buckeyes fan.
      calibuck and SEREbuckeye like this.
    3. kujirakira
      I'm surprised nobody has brought up that Urban didn't use the 2 timeouts to save clock in case Sparty made the FG.
      We didn't know they'd get the 1st down there. That lack of confidence in the offense to do anything and the resignation to let it happen and see where the chips fall kind of summed up the entire team's approach.

      I bet this is going to be a hell week to remember given the next team on the slate and how we just got manballed in weather.
      cincibuck likes this.
    4. LordJeffBuck
      I was being semi-humorous (hence the reference to the B1G COY at the end), but Joey had a very big stage and his three most memorable plays were offsides penalties. If the award were decided by talent, then he'd win. Unfortunately, many voters look only at stats, and stats are often padded.
      LitlBuck likes this.
    5. TampaBuckeyes
      Did he lose the Lombardi with his 3 offsides? 75% of our total penalties? One of which turned a 4th&8 pass play (low percentage to convert) into a 4th&3 easy run conversion and eventual TD. Bosa having bad stats will happen. 0 TFLs will happen. Bosa extending them a drive on 4th and long to a game tying TD in the 4th quarter is pretty bad. That his worst game of his career at OSU. Love the guy, but he just lost the consistency edge in that battle.
    6. buckeyesin07
      I thought of that at the time, but it became a moot point when, as you mentioned, Sparty got that last first down. It certainly wasn't a smart use of timeouts, though, you're absolutely right. Then again, neither was Fickell blowing the first one a smart use of a timeout--Sparty got down to the two yard line, setting up second and goal from the two. Fickell calls timeout, and Sparty still gets in the end zone on the very next play anyway. Timeout wasted.
      bukIpower likes this.
    7. westbrock
      Sorry if I missed it, but did anyone mention that every offsides penalty was due the msu's center looking up? I honestly don't know the rule on that or if the center did anything out of the norm, but i do know that's what caused the jump each time.
    8. Sgt Brutus
      Sgt Brutus
      You touched on it a bit but I really believe the lack of a deep threat that failed to develop was a big setback. With the QB jumble and questionable play calling it was an important facet from last year that never took off.
    9. JCOSU86
      I don't understand the 3rd offsides against Bosa. It looked like he jumped into the neutral zone, got back, (they should have blown it dead right there) then the center or whoever jumped and they called it on Bosa.
    10. LitlBuck
      That BS call is made at the discretion of the official. If he thinks that the defensive player jumping made the offensive player jump, he can call it anyway he wants to. On that particular play, I did not think that Joey's movement was very aggressive at all and the call should have been on the MSU player or it should have been offsetting penalties.
    11. OSUK
      I have always said I don't like the blame game - although I'm usually dealing with friends that are divorcing or something like that when I am talking about that. It's just not productive. On the other hand, to fix a problem you do have to understand what the factors are that make up the problem. Here, the question is why has this team struggled all year in terms of playing to its potential, and evnetually lost to Sparty? Not knowing first hand what is and has been going on with that team, I can only theorize, but I do have a theory - one that is probably somewhere between egregiously flawed and on the mark.

      1) As for the loss to Sparty, it is possible that the weather and some poor offensive coaching, combined with a "chip on the shoulder" Sparty team is what we saw. IOW, nothing really wrong with the Buckeyes, just didn't play all that well, weren't coached as well, and Sparty was simply the better team on that day and in that environment. From there you can play woulda, shoulda, coulda all day. I suspect that if this game was played with calm winds and/or the play calling defied the conditions and threw enough to establish a passing threat, the Buckeyes would have probably won that game. But I don't/can't know that for sure. But there were real problems with this team all year and there are real reasons for it.

      2) The QB issue was mismanaged - and I don't think it matters which QB one preferred. Whether JT should have been starting, or Cardale should have, or if they should have split the job somehow, what was done didn't work. It had Buckeye Nation's panties in a wad, and I don't care what scrubbed quotes came out of the WHAC, the guys on that team had differing opinions on it as well.

      3) There was a lack of offensive identity, and part of that was confusion or ineptitude of managing ball distribution to all of the weapons available. The offensive play calling seemed oriented toward reacting to defenses stacking the box to stop 15 rather than attacking defenses with anything and everything. It ended up looking like they were making it all up play to play. To be fair, the one identity seemed to be "run 15" in the second half of games. Last Sat they felt they had to go away from that because a lack of a passing game had the D keying on 15, so they tried QB run with no success.

      4) Having tons of talent is a blessing for obvious reasons, but it can be a curse, and in the case of this team, I believe there were some curses. I suspect that having a dozen draftable starters may cause some guys to start thinking about where they will be next year to some degree. It's understandable. I would too, but that would mean that my total focus was not on this season.

      5) Success breeds complacency, and complacency is the enemy of continued success. It's hard to be hungry when you are full. The main contributors on this team already have division, B1G, and national titles.

      6) Winning streaks and defending titles is burdensome. The expectations from past success makes repeating difficult. Very few teams can deal with it and still reach the top again.

      7) You can't necessarily just "flip a switch" after being mostly meh for 10 games, and then be elite because you are threatened. 10 games was enough that we should have known that this team was probably not going to exceed what we had already seen in terms of their level of play.

      8) Devin Smith was a very, very unique and valuable player whose role was not stepped into by anyone this year.

      9) Tom Herman is really, really good at getting QB's to play well, and there is obviously no one of his caliber involved in game-planning, offensive identity, play-calling, etc.

      10) They have an OL problem. Exactly what that specifically is, I can't tell. Ed W's reputation as a great coach is in tact, but I wonder if OC duties may have distracted him from his job as a position coach.
      Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
      LordJeffBuck likes this.
    12. Tanner
      How would you rank the 3 losses to Sparty that ruined undefeated seasons in '98, '13 & '15 in terms of gut punch-yness? For me:

      1. 1998. Probably the most devastating loss of my Buckeye "career." Best team in the country, one of the best in Ohio State history, big 3rd quarter lead at home, Sparty an average team at best, etc. Still think about that game regularly and still can't get over the fact that we lost.

      2. 2015. It's not that it was such a "bad" loss. Losing to a top 10 team on a last second field goal in a game you never trailed isn't a disaster. What makes it such a gut punch is that it was like watching a different team out there. Like, literally. Not the worst loss I've ever experienced but definitely the most inexplicable.

      3. 2013. Don't really have a problem with this one. Neutral site. Sparty was probably the better team, or at best it was a toss-up. Teams traded big punches and Sparty came up with the big plays in the 4th quarter when they needed them. Hats off to 'em.
    13. AKAK
      Its 98 by a mile. We hadn't won a NC in 30 years at that point. As opposed to say... Last year. In '13.. Yeah.. I don't think anyone thought that d was ready.
    14. LostLassie
      '98. Hands down. Talked my young teenage daughter into watching that one with me, thinking to inspire an affinity for college football. The result was a new family catch phrase that ended up being invoked over the years as a shorthand reference to the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over...):
      "I know! Let's run it up the middle!"
      cincibuck, LitlBuck and Jaxbuck like this.
    15. Jaxbuck
      '98 game did legitimate, clinical, psychological damage

      single worst (pretty much only) impact a sporting event ever had on my real life

      that was horrific

Share This Page