THE Ohio State Buckeyes did exactly what they were supposed to do on Thursday Night when they disposed of Marshall like an old piece of gum stuck on their shoe, in a 45-7 blowout. It was a good thing, because it's exactly the message that the Buckeyes needed to send not only to the nation, but to each other.
THE Ohio State offensive line was as good as it's been over the past five years. Center Michael Brewster was an absolute anchor, as he was intended to be when the Buckeyes swallowed him up during their fantastic 2008 recruiting season. Mike Adams, the starting left tackle and J.B. Shugarts, the starting right tackle, were both part of that same outstanding 2008 class. All were five-star recruits, good friends, and helped pull in a monster recruiting class. Left guard Justin Boren, the Michigan transfer, may actually be the best of the bunch, and played like a monster tonight. Right guard Bryant Browning is starting for a third straight year. Overall, the offensive line was as cohesive as it's ever been, and they were blowing people off the ball. This team begins and ends with the offensive line.
Terrelle Pryor (another 2008 recruit) actually looked like a Heisman Trophy candidate today. Let's get one thing straight. As talented as Pryor is, in big time college, he'll only go so far as his line will take him. Tonight, Pryor was able to stand in the pocket with confidence. Pryor completed 17 of 25 passes for 247 yards and three TDs. covering 6 and 11 yards to DeVier Posey (another 2008 recruit) had two of those TD's, for six and 11 yards, and Dane Sanzenbacher hauled in a 65 yarder. The few times the line did break down, Pryor either took the sack, threw the ball away, or took off downfield. The big key here, he didn't make a mistake. Those thinking that the Rose Bowl was a one-and-done...well...think again. Pryor is for real, and he can thank his line for it, as well as a prodigious amount of talent. Pryor is maturing, and his line is giving him time to do it. He did make a few mistakes...forcing a couple of passes, and missing another TD, but he's not the same guy that started the year against Navy last season.
The running game for the Buckeyes is as deep as any in the country. Brandon Saine was absolutely explosive. I have a feeling that Terrelle Pryor is going to cost Saine a shot at a Heisman. How good was he? He had nine carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns, and didn't even play a down in the second half. Boom Herron had seven carries for 44 yards. He looked good in the second half, after Saine sat. Jordan Hall, Pryor's former teammate at Jeanette had five carries for 32 yards, and looked very good. The biggest surprise was Jaamal Berry, who had seven carries for 80 yards in mop-up duty. Overall, the Buckeyes had 282 yards rushing. For those counting at home, that's a whole lot, and again, there were holes created by that line that were simply ridiculous.
The defense was voracious, and Tyler Moeller is like a dart on the field. Moeller plays the "star" position (the fifth db on passing downs), and was absolutely everywhere. He had six tackles and a sack, and was just laying people out all over the place. If there was any question about the kid coming back healthy, those have been answered. Good ole' #36, Brian Rolle, was busy living up to the number again, with a pick returned for a touchdown. The line proved to be as deep as ever, and Dexter Larimore may have been the best of a solid bunch. Cameron Heyward was wreaking havoc, but missed on a couple of sacks thanks to slippery feet. Safety Jermale Hines was making hits as hard as Moeller, and the secondary and linebackers had the entire Marshall offense looking over their shoulder. There were plenty of happy feet, and there were a lot of footsteps being heard.
The one area of weakness was the special teams. Marshall's only touchdown came on a blocked field goal that was returned for their only points. There was also a long return...so there were cracks in the normal staunch Tressel armor. Still, this team, overall, is a force to be reckoned with. Next on the list is the University of Miami, who trounced Florida A&M today, 45-0. If this current Buckeyes team carries this momentum into that game...
...it won't be close.
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