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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. lowbuck
      What's pretty crazy is Houston lost by a field goal as well. If they hadn't that team that went 5-3 in the AAC last year would be ranked within a couple spots of the buckeyes. We really should have tried harder to keep Herman. I know a HC is the pinnacle spot but being an OC for tOSU and making ball park similar money with a chance to repeat it would have been tough to not wait one more year. Iirc his base is around 1.5m in Houston and the difference in money between Beck and that number is chicken scratch for osu let alone when they are defending NC with a good chance to repeat.

      What is even more crazy is there is a chance we could meet Houston in a bowl game. Not likely but probably about the same margin as we have of still making the playoffs with a psu upset and us winning out.

      To tell the truth if the scenarios played out that meant we met Houston in a bowl I would actually be concerned about the prospects of that game. Sounds crazy but think about it.

      Oh well, here's to us winning the game that matters most in Saturday.
    2. TDunk
      '98 was my freshman year sitting in the rickety south stands and punched me in the nuts. Saban hatred runs deep. So much talent and so many little mistakes that added up to me not remembering anything about that night. I did wake up in a bed of a female. But let's just say I was probably the ultimate wingman that night.
    3. AKAK
      Well... You're not the only one. John Cooper's coaching tenure pretty much imploded after that. And really... For me that was the era of real darkness... That 98 game was one of those "if not now, can we ever do it" kind of moments... Then obviously the next 3 years werent all that great if I may indulge in an understatement. Someone was talking about whether Meyer winning only one NC in his tenure would be a failure or not... But two things strike me about that in the shadow of this loss... First is... We've played in 4 NC games and won 2 in 13 years... And he's got one in 4 seasons. (And while the odds are long... This ain't over.) But Meyer gets a very important asterisk.. The 12-0 in the sanctions season, can't be underestimated as how important it was not to let the void left in the wake of tressel's departure fester. At any rate... The fun part is... With a guy like him, we need not wring our hands about all the talent we're losing. The program is deep, the coaching is good... And you always have a shot in that case... We got guys. We'll have guys. We'll have more chances. In 98... That wasn't clear.
      Abenaki, Saw31, Zander42 and 3 others like this.
    4. LordJeffBuck
      Especially coming off the previous three seasons:

      1995: Start 11-0-0, beat ND for first time ever, best Buckeye offense ever (until then), best RB in CFB (George), best WR is CFB (Glenn), best TE in CFB (Dudley), best OL in CFB (Pace) ... then lose to an 8-3 Michigan team when some nobody runs for 313 yards. NC down the drain.

      1996: Start 10-0-0, beat ND again, best OL in CFB (Pace), best DL in CFB (Vrabel), best LB in CFB (Katzenmoyer), best DB in CFB (Springs) ... then lose to a 7-3 Michigan team on a fluke play. NC down the drain again.

      1997: Semi-rebuilding year (10-3-0), lose to Michigan again; they go on to win the NC that should've been ours the past two seasons, and we get blown out by Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.

      1998: Start 8-0-0, record-setting QB (Germaine), best WR in CFB (Boston), best LB in CFB (Katzenmoyer), best DB in CFB (Winfield) ... then the MSU fiasco. When the team went on to beat Michigan, I was almost mad at Cooper, like: Now you decide to beat Michigan? When it doesn't mean anything? Gee, thanks!
      brodybuck21, AKAK, Abenaki and 5 others like this.
    5. Jaxbuck
      Nothing I like to do in the morning to get the blood flowing more than some hardcore self flagellation

      Thanks for the help

      brodybuck21, Abenaki, Saw31 and 3 others like this.
    6. buxfan4life
      I was at the '98 game. That sucked ass. I thought there was no way that MSU would come into The Shoe and beat the soon to be National Champs. Then it happened. Ugh. Still hurts.

      '13 was tough, but not completely unexpected.

      '15 was almost a given with how the team had played to date. I was 50/50 when the game started, but as soon as OSU's first possession was punted away I kind of knew they would lose.
    7. Saw31
      I hate this fucking thread. Goddamnit! Lock it up.
    8. LostLassie
    9. cincibuck
      There's much that Urban excells at - and at a level that puts him in the top of the list of great coaches - but clock management ain't one of them. I about shit when he allowed that pass play at the end of the Alabama game - and just imagine what would have happened to the time if Cardale had thrown an incomplete on third down instead of getting sacked.
      LitlBuck likes this.
    10. cincibuck
      The 2013 D... 1 linebacker, one fullback who agreed to be a linebacker and one corner - who went down during the CCG and wouldn't have been available in the BCS CG.

      I'm amazed that team managed to hang in against Clemson as long as they did.
    11. Abenaki
      It's '98 in a first round KO. '98 is Mike Tyson and the other games are Michael Spinks.
      kujirakira and Jaxbuck like this.
    12. Buckeyeskickbuttocks
      Something came up at lunch today that I hadn't realized before it was said....

      In Sparty's victories over scUM and Ohio State, Sparty never held a lead for a single second in either game.
    13. Jake
      Can't believe I just saw this thread. For me, this team never had the same fire it had during last year's remarkable run (which ironically took off after winning at Sparty). That team was told they were done more than once - the loss to Va Tech, JT Barrett going down, drawing "the SEC" in the playoff, even Oregon were favored after the Bucks beat Bama. This year's team was exactly the opposite - "unanimous #1 team", "lock for the playoff", etc.. I don't care how much talent you have, a 20 year old guy is going to be impacted by all of that praise. No one was doubting them, no one was questioning them, there was nothing to prove. This was just about playing the season and collecting their trophy at the end. They weren't mentally prepared to get everyone's best shot - that's not a knock on the coaches or the players preparation - it's just human nature when you're constantly being told you're awesome.

      When did we finally see their best game? When they ultimately lost a game where talent alone couldn't get them through. Suddenly the doubters were back - Harbaugh is going to beat them. So what happened? The Buckeyes found the same motivation they had last season to prove everyone wrong, and scUM suffered the consequences. If by some chance they get in the playoffs there will be some controversy. I will completely understand it and I'd welcome it. Give this team a chance and motivation to prove everyone wrong, and they probably will.
    14. Onebuckfan
      This team lacked a Tebow not the QB but the Leader. An Urban clone that could keep everyone on message. If the Bucks had that they would have rolled, the talent is here.

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