Purdue embarrassed the Buckeyes Saturday night to the tune of 49-20. But, is embarrassed really the word I’m looking for? Oh, don’t think for a second they weren’t absolutely embarrassed by a team who had lost to Eastern Michigan earlier in the season. Is “exposed” a better word? Shamed? I think what I’m looking for is “out.” Outplayed, outcoached, outdesired. “Outdesired” isn’t even a real word, but I’m going to use it because it is appropriate in this case. Purdue took it to the Buckeyes Saturday night, and exploited all of those problems we’ve been seeing since the opener against Oregon State. Problems Urban Meyer has been saying need fixed for a couple of weeks now. It was just plain ugly.
Once again the Buckeyes defense made a decent quarterback look like an All-American. David Blough threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns. It was obvious he didn’t like being pressured, but Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano blitzed less and less as the game wore on. Blough was able to stand in the pocket and pick apart the Buckeyes. Without those blitzes, there wasn’t much of a pass rush. I realize Dre’mont Jones is playing on an injured foot, but where is Chase Young? He had one tackle and ½ of a sack. The defensive line was thought to be the strength of this defense, but have been largely ineffective getting to the quarterback. True freshman receiver Rondale Moore caught twelve passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. One of those TD’s was on a screen pass where he broke tackle after tackle. Cornerback Damon Arnette did not make the trip because of an injury, but I don’t think he would have made much of a difference against the Purdue receivers. Running back D.J. Knox averaged eight yards per carry on his way to a 128 yard, three touchdown day. He ran HARD, and punished the OSU defense. Malik Harrison had ten tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss, but too often the linebackers were nowhere to be found when Purdue ran the ball. Pete Werner had two tackles for loss, but he and Tuf Borland, who had just one tackle, struggled to get off of blocks. Baron Browning had five tackles and showed some flashes of his potential. But, like the secondary, it was more of the same from the linebackers. Schiano loves to walk them up to the line of scrimmage and give a blitz look, but far too often they are getting caught up in traffic and can’t get to the ball carrier. Overall the tackling was horrible and too may easy plays were given up in long yardage situations. Purdue did an outstanding job of attacking the weaknesses we’ve looked at all season.
Dwayne Haskins set school passing records for attempts (73), completions (49), and yards (470). Those numbers are a product of a team which has to throw because they simply can’t run the ball. Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins combined for just 69 yards on 20 carries. Time and again there appeared to be an opening, but as has happened far too often, there was a breakdown in blocking by one player, and the play was a minimal gain or a loss. On one play, the offensive line had the inside sealed, and Weber looked poised for a big play. But, Binjimen Victor all but whiffed on the cornerback, and Weber was tackled at the line of scrimmage. On another play, Dobbins appeared to have an opening, but Purdue defensive lineman Lorenzo Neal destroyed Demetrius Knox and blew up the play. These are just two of many like that. The lack of a run game is killing this offense when they get into the red zone. Haskins has a NFL-like arm, but the Buckeyes are throwing the ball because they don’t have a choice. Some feel Haskins needed to be more consistent Saturday night. There are a few throws he missed, but that will happen when you put it up that many times. He hit on over 67% of his passes. I can live with a misfire here and there because he and his receivers are carrying the offense. A lot of those misfires were in the second half when Purdue came with different blitzes than they had shown, and adjusted their coverages. That led to some hurried throws by Haskins, and a few miscommunications with his receivers. I’m disappointed by how slowly the OSU offensive coaches were to adjust. But, blame Haskins for anything that happened Saturday night? C’mon, really?
What I Liked
Nothing. That’s not a sour grapes reaction. I simply can’t look at the game and find anything I like.
What I Didn’t Like
The lack of production in the red zone. In the last two games there have been six trips to the red zone which have produced twelve points. There have been four made field goals, one missed field goal, and one turnover on downs. Let’s take it one step further. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in five of those six possessions they had a first and goal, which means they were inside the 10-yard line and they STILL couldn’t put the ball into the end zone. The lack of any running game has caught up with the Buckeyes, and it is taking its toll inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Teams know Haskins is not going to run the ball, so there is no need to account for him in their scheme. So, why not turn to Tate Martell? Could the red zone offense really be any worse with him on the field? I’m not one of these people who thinks you can switch quarterbacks on a whim and continue to hum along. But, this is a special situation, and one where Martell’s skill set could help this team. After spring practice, we heard all during the time leading to fall camp about the special short yardage and red zone packages being developed for him. Where are they? I really think it is time to get Martell on the field, and see what he can do when the Buckeyes get close to the end zone.
Random Stuff From An Ugly Saturday Night
What is going on with the penalties? Isaiah Prince is good for a false start pretty much once a game. Meyer may call Davon Hamilton roughing the kicker an aggressive penalty, but I call it dumb. His job is to simply make the punter kick the ball. That’s it. The Buckeyes were going to get the ball back, instead Purdue’s drive is kept alive and they score to make it 21-6. Far too many mental mistakes, and undisciplined play. The Buckeyes are 119th out 130 FBS schools in penalties. Wow.
Purdue pulled off a fake field goal at the end of the first half when holder Joe Schopper got around the Ohio State edge and scampered just beyond the first down marker. The Boilermakers scored on the next play. Another example of undisciplined play. Someone on OSU’s defense has contain responsibility in that situation. I don’t care what level of football you’re at, someone always has that responsibility. And if someone isn’t assigned to that, my question is why?
Isaiah Pryor’s effort on Moore’s fourth quarter touchdown was awful. Instead of actually tackling Moore, Pryor tried to throw him to the ground. Moore maintained his balance, and sped away for an easy touchdown.
Drue Chrisman’s excellent punt and Terry McLaurin’s hustle to down the ball at the Purdue two-yard line was wasted when the defense gave up a 15-play, 98-yard touchdown drive. McLaurin has turned into one of my favorite players because he’s willing to do anything.
The bye week could not come soon enough. Injuries have taken their toll on the Buckeyes. Davon Hamilton started at nose tackle for Robert Landers, who is still nursing an arm injury. As mentioned earlier, Damon Arnette did not make the trip, and Dre’Mont Jones has been hampered with a foot injury. Austin Mack left the game in the third quarter and did not return. C.J. Saunders, K.J. Hill, and Jeffrey Okudah all eft the game at one time or another with what appear to be minor injuries. The week off will help this team get healthy for the stretch run of the regular season.
Is it just me, or do Dobbins and Weber not look as quick as a year ago? They don’t seem to have that quick burst they possessed in the past. I could be, and probably am way off on this one. One other “is it just me?” Do the Buckeyes play with a lack of emotion and fire? Purdue had steam coming from their nostrils. The Buckeyes seemed to have a business as usual attitude.
Big Ten officiating is atrocious. On both of Purdue’s long TD runs in the fourth quarter, Ohio State linebackers were egregiously held at the point of attack. On the second, Purdue’s offensive lineman simply grabbed Pete Werner, and spun him to the ground as the ball carrier ran past. How is that missed? Is this why the Buckeyes lost? Not hardly. Officiating had nothing to do with poor tackling, lack of a run game, and a myriad of other issues. This is simply an observation.
ABC’s choice of when to tell the story of Purdue fan Tyler Trent, and his battle with cancer was terrible. Tyler’s story is a very interesting and moving one that deserved to be told in pregame or halftime. ABC chose to try to weave it together with the game, and failed miserably. The game took away from the story, and the story took away from the game. Going to a split screen of an interview with Tyler on one side, and the game on the other was a disservice to both. ABC’s broadcasts are hard to watch. I’d rather see the Buckeyes on FOX any day.
A few weeks ago I said the Buckeyes defense is not a championship defense. I think it is safe to say now this isn’t a championship team. From the coaching down through the players, something is not right about this team. We see the same issues over and over. Each week Meyer tells us things need to get fixed. But, the issues never seem to. What has happened to the attention to detail? Have the off-the-field issues, including his health, taken their toll on him?
It is obvious linebackers coach Bill Davis has struggled. That group has not played well since he took over, and is actually a liability at times. Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa has developed some outstanding players, but must shoulder the blame for how his unit is performing. Schiano is expected to leave at the end of the season to take a head coaching job elsewhere. I don’t doubt there will be other openings on the staff.
There is just something missing with this team. That special “something” we’ve seen in other championship caliber OSU teams simply is not there. We’re going to find out what kind of leadership this group has in the coming weeks. So far, I’m not impressed with it. Has this team been the same since Meyer returned? It doesn’t look that way to me, but what we’re seeing may be the direction things were headed anyway. However, I strongly feel the offense hasn’t been the same since he returned.
I’m lowering my expectations for the Buckeyes. That does not mean I’m giving up on them. It simply means I’m a realist, and until they show they are capable of performing at a higher level, I see no sense in continuing to expect championship caliber performances. Nebraska comes to Columbus in two weeks. The Huskers just got their first win of the season on Saturday. Don’t think for a minute they aren’t already believing they’re going to get their second against the Buckeyes. It will be another “Super Bowl” kind of game. The Buckeyes need to respond better than they did against Purdue.
Curtis Samuel had a TD in the Panthers win over the Eagles. Malcolm Jenkins had seven tackles for Philadelphia. Michael Thomas had 7 catches for 67 yards and a touchdown as the Saints beat the Ravens.
Terrelle Pryor was released by the Jets because of a groin injury. They may look at re-signing him later.
The Browns traded Carlos Hyde to the Jaguars. They still have Jabrill Peppers. Trade Hyde, keep Peppers. Sure. By the way, Peppers’ fumbled punt in OT allowed the Bucs to kick a game-winning field goal. Nothing else to say on that one.
I apologize for the no frills look to this blog. Work obligations had me scrambling to get it posted.