Two Weeks Later: There Is Still No (Football) God

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst IJanuary 19, 2009

What did these players do to earn such bad karma? Are the football gods still getting payback for 2002? Can Beanie play a whole game? The Buckeyes obviously tempted fate with Boom Herron scoring, untouched, with two minutes remaining, giving the gods enough time to allow something to go wrong. It wouldn’t have felt right if Ohio State had won, but it would have felt good.

It was an ending that only the media could write. It’s not because they wanted a storybook ending with Ohio State riding gently into the Arizona desert, but rather another game ripped from the hands of Ohio State University.

Ironically Speaking
Texas won on a last second play, which is exactly what kept them out of the national championship. For Ohio State, they played the first 59 minutes and took the last minute off, as opposed to playing the first minute in 2006 and 2007 and taking the rest of the game off.

Offense vs. Offense
Ohio State proved it can play defense, but Texas routinely exploited its biggest weakness: gaps in coverage. Sure, McCoy threw for 414 yards, but he needed 59 attempts to get there. Conversely, Buckeye receivers are unable to find creases in coverage or their QBs are unable to get them the ball. I don’t know if it is play calling or execution, but do these numbers mean anything to you: seven of 21, four of 14, and five of 14?

That’s what OSU QB’s have been able to accomplish against their competition in the 2002 Championship, the 2006 Championship, and the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. I’m not a math major, but 33 percent completion percentages are not ways to win ball games.

You said 414 yards, huh?

Chimdi Chekwa and Donald Washington are not Malcolm Jenkins. In the time it took to realize that, it also became apparent why OSU don’t run a lot of single coverage on the outside. Talk about change of fortunes for Anderson Russell, who stopped a sure touchdown drive with an interception and in almost exactly 30 minutes of game time, became the 2008 version of Ryan Hamby. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

I hope everyone treats Russell better than they did Hamby, but in the scheme of things, both will be known for what they didn’t do against Texas. Maybe he just got distracted by Colt McCoy’s girlfriend.

WIJT– What Is Jim Thinking
Jim Tressel is still utterly confusing. Beanie did a whole lot of damage in the first half on eight carries for 96 yards, but he could have done more. After Texas took the lead, Ohio State engineered the two shortest drives in the history of college football. Run, run, pass, punt. Pass, run, pass, punt. I’ve already mentioned the meager stats for OSU QBs on the big stage.

Phantom of the Fiesta
Phantom calls and spots were the name of the game. The quality of the officiating was shown when offsetting penalties were called on a two-point conversion after Ohio State’s final touchdown.

Not only did Thad Gibson get called for the same exact “helmet to helmet” call that Curtis Terry received in 2006, most of the officiating blunders prolonged Texas drives. Another irony is that a debated call in 2002 helped give OSU the title, while a debated spot in 2006 took away the Fiesta Bowl.

Texas’ fourth down spot at the end of the game was moved up by officials after four Mississippi’s. The resulting spot gave Texas the first down by a mere three inches. It was challenged by Jim Tressel (his first all year), but there was inconclusive evidence.

Had the ball been left at the original spot, Texas would have been short of the first down, Mack Brown would have challenged, and there would have been inconclusive evidence to overturn the call.

Alas, what should easily be 3-0 against one of the better programs in the country is 1-2, even those two loses were as exciting as we’ve seen. Seniors, thanks for a great last game. What exactly did Ohio State do to the football gods?

So, If That Whole QB Thing Doesn’t Work Out…
There is always receiver.