Just when everyone begins to slather on the comments about the Ohio State defense, the Buckeyes go on the road and hit an unexpected road bump. Buckeye Nation is sure to be up in arms over the debacle of an offensive display, as the tables were turned when the pandemic of turnovers displayed by the Purdue team this season was apparently contagious.
Ohio State leaves the ballgame with five turnovers and an embarrassing loss. Here are five things we learned immediately following the game in West Lafayette, IN:
1. Ohio State has no idea what they do well on offense:
From the coaching staff installing new plays just a couple weeks ago, to the curious nature of what identity the team is trying to take on, it is apparent that the still young and developing offense is still getting its sea legs.
What seemed like an easy part of the schedule is now anything but as the offense seems to digress deeper into despair each week.
2. The offensive line may never get it going this year:
Five sacks, several tackles for loss or no gain, and five turnovers have a lot to do with how well the offensive line played. Sure Terrelle Pryor had more than a hand in four of those turnovers, but it is also largely because of the lack of time that he had to even make a decision.
People have been shuffled up and down the line all season for a reason: The only consistent thing about the offensive line is that it is consistently inconsistent (did you follow that?).
3. Jim Tressel's biggest strength might also be his biggest weakness:
"Jim Tressel molds the style of his teams around the strengths of the players he has." How many times have we heard that from commentators and former players alike? This seems like a prudent and solid philosophy on the surface.
There is one problem with this: Each year, the offense seems to take on a new identity and have to install different plays and formations. This has got to take its toll on the execution and learning curve each and every year.
The good news: The coaching staff should have this thing figured out by next year since Pryor will be a junior.
4. Ohio State cannot expect to win every game on defense alone:
Doesn't defense win championships? I would agree that it can get you there, or pull out a game or two, but you are not going to go the distance without being able to score points.
Every team will occasionally roll up on a matchup or game plan that gets the best of the defense. When this happens, do you have the horses and firepower to bail out the side of the ball that has kept you swimming?
The answer for Ohio State this year is no. Both losses this year could have been avoided if the offense could have delivered when the defense most needed it to.
5. Iowa is the class of the Big 10
I am now convinced that Iowa just might be the team to beat in the Big 10 race. I will eat crow as I picked them to lose to Wisconsin. The fact of the matter remains that Iowa is still undefeated and has beaten both Penn State and Wisconsin on the road.
The biggest game remaining on the schedule is now at Ohio State. For Buckeye fans, they can still hold out hope that the team will get it together and run the table. Even if they do, it won't come easy against a well coached and physical Iowa team.
In concluding, Ohio State can ill afford to dwell on its worst game of the season. There is still a Big 10 Championship that is attainable as long as vaccine for the offensive dismay arrives in swifter fashion than the more publicized H1N1 vaccine.