Twenty-eight and a half points seemed a bit steep, but the Buckeyes covered easily.
Ohio State fans saw everything they expected: A matured and improved Terrelle Pryor, an incredible offensive-line, a solid defense, and some exciting, talented young players.
Jaamal Berry is too good to be a third-string back. As I sat there watching Berry behind a back-up OL - my friend sent me a text,"He's so whittle", he said. My phone is usually dormant, but during OSU games, it lights up like a switchboard in Manhattan. "Berry is explosive", I responded. I remember Coach Gerry Dinardo's criticism of the Buckeyes in the final BigTen preview on Wednesday night, "the Buckeyes don't have an Elite back", you're right Gerry - we have two of 'em. Berry went for 80 yards on seven carries - showing the Nation the talent that had been hyped for the last 2 years. It's hard to imagine a Rb duo that's any faster than Saine/Berry. Both averaged over 11ypc last night.
Let's be honest; Marshall stunk. If not for a professionally gift-wrapped Christmas present on a blocked field goal; Ohio State would have matched Miami's 45-0 blowout of Florida A&M.
The Hurricanes had 8 sacks last night. Their DL will be the best DL Ohio State has faced since USC in 2008. When OSU has the ball it will be strength on strength. If you're going to rest on your laurels - behind the OSU offensive-line is as good a place as any to rest your head/concerns.
So what went good last night? What went bad?
Well, I already mentioned Berry. I can only imagine what the kid is capable of with 15 carries behind the starting o-line.
Pryor. He showed us what we already knew. He's a physically and mentally matured player, and a Heisman candidate. When Pryor arrived at OSU he was a tall, skinny kid. Now, he's a man, and he's chiseled out of granite. His footwork and his throwing motion have improved drastically.
The OL is really good. When they weren't opening holes the size of Carlsbad Cavern - they were creating a peaceful solstice where Pryor could knit sweaters and work on his golf swing.
The offense appears to have a bevy of weapons - creating a serious quandary for opposing defenses. Who do you stop? Stoneburner? Saine? Herron? Berry? Pryor? Sanzenbacher? Posey?
Fb Zach Boren has now rendered every Lb blitz in the last 14 games, meaningless. Keep doing what you're doing kid - we're lovin' it.
The field goal team had a breakdown up the middle, but Jordan Hall showed flashes in the return game. Ohio State has seriously lacked in that area since the departure of Ted Ginn Jr., but Corey Brown, Jordan Hall, and Jaamal Berry could be the answer. The media will latch onto the only thing that looked remotely shaky - the special teams. But, in reality, the improved return game and the big hit on the opening kick-off(which caused a fumble) were steps in the right direction.
Pryor looked great, but he did have two of those 'completely-uncalled-for' passes. Neither was intercepted, but both should have been. In both instances Pryor should have just thrown the ball away.
Coaching. Tressel made a few questionable calls on 4rth downs. First, he accepted a penalty on a fourth down when we still had to punt. The first punt was downed inside the 20. The re-punt sailed into the end-zone and netted the team 21 yards. On another fourth down Tressel iced his own kicker by calling a timeout. The result of the FG was a Marshall touchdown. Here's a novel idea Tress: When it's fourth and short in the middle of the field against a team that's struggled to move the ball against you - go for it!
I understand why Tressel often subs the entire 2nd string OL early in ball-games, but I don't like it. It gets them experience, It shows everyone that you're confident in your back-ups, it gives the starters a breather, but the reality of the matter is that every time we do it our offense bogs down, and it could cost us. Maybe not last night against a team like Marshall, but against Miami, every drive will count. We'll have loads of Mop-up-duty-time this season - so save the charity for Jerry Lewis and keep your best players in the game while the game is in question. Period, end of story.
The defense carried over the 'bend don't break' attitude from 2009. That's alright as long as we tighten up in the red-zone. Heyward and Larimore played great, but Solomon Thomas and John Simon were a little less productive than I would have liked. We need a healthy Nathan Williams on the field against the Hurricanes.
And what was Devon Torrence arguing about on that pass interference? Turning and making a play on the ball is becoming a re-occurring issue for our cornerbacks. Will somebody please teach Torrence and Chekwa how to turn and go-up for an interception. They're the two face-guard kings of CF. I haven't seen either one of those players turn and make a play on a deep-ball in their entire career. This is a concern going into the Miami game - not just because of Miami's receivers, but because of the pass-interference history of these two teams.
Miami will bring in a team of a totally different caliber. I realize that the Hurricanes strength is at receiver, but the Canes would be wise to run it right at the Buckeyes, and test Ohio State's young, untested DL.
As for the Miami defense.... good luck with that.