The Ohio State Buckeyes hosted the UAB Blazers today in the Horseshoe and limped away with an undefeated record as of the end of Week 4.
This is the postgame report card for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Two things to keep in mind for the grades:
1) I won't give an "F" to a defense that allowed zero touchdowns, no matter how much you might want to.
2) Coaches can't get lower than a "C-" for winning a game, although Meyer certainly tested my theory today.
Enjoy the read, folks, and feel free to disagree, agree or just rant about the game in the comment section.
Braxton Miller overthrew his first pass of the game, which would have been a touchdown. He recovered after his first two drives to finish 12/20 for 143 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.
However, the only bright spot of his game was the second quarter that saw the Buckeyes put up 21 points. He was consistently around two yards off-target with his throws, and really only functioned well as a running back.
Jordan Hall finished the game with 105 yards on 17 carries. Rod Smith picked up 24 yards on six carries with a touchdown. The second-leading rusher was Braxton Miller, supporting my point that he's a great running back option.
The fault cannot be placed on the running backs alone, as the offensive line couldn't open a real gap to save its life. Given that the deck was stacked against them, the tailbacks did a good job.
The wideouts struggled with dropped passes too frequently in this game to justify Ohio State's being in the AP Top 25. None of the receivers had anywhere near 100 yards, the closest being Devin Smith with 67.
The fault isn't all theirs, though, and the first slide rightly placed a good bit of blame on the quarterback.
The ends did not look great in this game. The ends could not have sprung a wideout in this game for a cash prize, and Heuerman was the only end with a reception. (His reception was a big 10-yarder, though.) Overall, the tight ends were basically nonexistent on the field today for the buckeyes.
The coaches have their work cut out for them this week.
The line pushed UAB backward for a quarter or two, but looked evenly-matched for the rest of the game. While that may be acceptable against a highly-ranked team, this was UAB. Yes, it's a team from Alabama, but it's not the one you're thinking of.
Ohio State should be owning teams like UAB. The Big Ten spoiler looked like a Big Ten spoiled egg today. Let's hope they were looking past this game. If not, this looks like a forgettable season for Buckeyes fans.
The defensive line looked less than impressive today. They were having issues breaking free of blocks to create real pressure on the Blazers' quarterback, and were getting nowhere trying to stop the Blazers' rushing attack.
Overall, the Blazers were finding way too much success getting to the secondary. The Buckeye line had issues with plugging the holes up front, even though they could move the line of scrimmage at-will.
The few tackles that they got in the backfield saved them from a much worse grade.
The linebackers for Ohio State had major issues all game with tackling in space. It's the linebackers' job to stop the ground game from making it to the secondary. The Blazers were into the secondary every time you looked at the screen.
The missed tackles were ridiculous. Had UAB found the end zone late in the game, it would have been because of these guys' lack of success.
For a crew that was required to clean up a lot of messes, these guys responded very well. UAB didn't find the end zone on offense because the secondary locked down on plays that made it past the front seven.
They only got burned by two receptions of over 20 yards, and still kept UAB out of the end zone for the entire game. Grant's interception that set up the game-icing drive for the Buckeyes puts these guys in line for the “Silver Lining” award. (When your silver lining gets a “B,” that's a bad game.)
Special Teams was responsible for the only touchdown scored against the Buckeyes all day. As far as the grade goes, they didn't cost Ohio State the game. They didn't win it for the Buckeyes, either.
The punter averaged 42.5 yards on six punts, that was the grade-saving stat. ANyone who's a fan of a team that needs a kicker knows how long 42.5 yards is.
It's difficult to believe this is the same head coach of the mid-2000's Florida Gators. The second half looked worse than the first half, and adjustments were nowhere to be found. If it weren't for the breakout second quarter, Ohio State would have lost this game. What is Meyer doing with all the practice time? Buckeye fans hope that answer is, “Preparing for conference play.”
The "C-" is the lowest grade I will give a coach that wins by two touchdowns.