Week 10 is in the books and the Buckeyes are still undefeated. They have won 22 in a row. They are tied with the Buckeyes of 1967-1969 who also won 22 in a row. The streak of the Woody Hayes and Rex Kern Buckeyes was stopped in Ann Arbor in November of 1969 in what is often thought of as the most hurtful loss in the history of Ohio State football. Where the streak of Braxton Miller and Urban Meyer ends, remains to be seen.
The national title chase remains unchanged from the bye week last week. Bama and Florida State are 1 and 2 and barring a loss by one of those teams, Ohio State will miss out on the crystal football. However, let not your heart be troubled. We’re having a great season the team is controlling what they need to control which is winning the game immediately in front of you. This week that was beating Illinois so let’s take a look at the Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the Buckeyes 60-35 win in Champagne Urbana this weekend.
The offense looked like 2012 revisited as Carlos Hyde ran for 246 yards and four touchdowns. Braxton Miller ran for 184. The ground game was chugging along and Illinois just couldn’t stop it. If Carlos Hyde had not dealt with suspension in the first three games of the year, he would be very relevant in the Heisman trophy discussion.
Kickers and punters usually don’t get any love but Cameron Johnston was magnificent. The Buckeye punter collected 342 yards on six punts. He put 3 of 6 inside the 20 and he was vital in changing field position time and time again.
Defensively, Ryan Shazier and C.J. Barnett had great games. Shazier had 16 tackles, Barnett had 14 tackles plus an interception. Along with Camren Williams ten tackles, you had three Buckeyes in double digit tackles.
Any time the team gets out to a 28-0 lead and scores 60 points that is many kinds of good. The Bad and the Ugly all deal with the lack of focus that Buckeyes showed after they got out to a big lead. There is plenty for the coaches to work on in getting ready for the ‘little sisters of the poor’ also known as the Indiana Hoosiers.
Giving up 35 points to the Fighting Illini is a bad sign. If Nathan Scheelhause can get after you as well as he did Saturday there are very few possible reasons.
Illinois had a great scheme (true). Ohio State’s scheme was sub par. Ohio State’s defense didn’t perform the way they are capable of and it was a bad day. I think all of these are probably true. It is pretty apparent that Jim Heacock was the brain trust of the Tressel era defenses. We are still getting great players but they don’t seem to be in perfect position as often as they were when coach Heacock was the DC. This is a young group but giving up 35 to Illinois just isn’t a good thing at all.
Next week Indiana is going to throw it all over the field, we’re going to have to run the ball well to avoid a scare like we had last year in Bloomington. I think coach Withers and the defensive staff will make the right adjustments before IU.
The ugliest thing with this years team is the pattern that they have for most of the years. A lot of teams have the pattern but we’re Ohio State we should be better. The pattern is the lack of intensity that we show after getting a big lead. I know it is hard to maintain killer instinct when your opposition is horrible. However, if Baylor passes us in the BCS standings after we scored sixty points we have no one but ourselves to blame.
It really is time for Luke Fickell to get a head coaching job. I think he is a good coach but this defense isn’t as sharp as it once was or should be right now. I think Coach Fickell will be a head coach next year. I also think he probably did talk with Florida Atlantic about the head football job their. It will be kept quiet but I bet there is a little bit of tension in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center over this issue.
I think this team looked a little flat after the bye week. I hope they can put it together for the next run to the Big Ten title game. Sometimes you get caught up focusing on things that are beyond your control like BCS standings and media perception. This team doesn’t need to focus on anything other than the Indiana Hoosiers. It will be senior day at Ohio Stadium and this group of seniors needs to make their last home appearance with style, class and DOMINATION.
We have won 22 in a row. It will be a complete surprise if Indiana were to beat Ohio State. Our position to the crystal football is still the same. Winning a big 10 title and 26 in a row if we can run the table would be amazing accomplishments. I want to play in the National Championship game but if the best we can do is smack Oregon around in the Rose Bowl. I’m O.K. with that. The team controls what they on the field and what they do to get ready.