Ohio State Football: Grading The 45-7 Victory Over Marshall
The Ohio State Buckeyes had about as good a start as possible to open the season as they took care of business, beating the Marshall Thundering Herd 45-7.
At times, it seemed as if Marshall was overmatched, especially in the early moments of the game, giving up 14 points in the first five minutes of the first quarter.
They immediately shunned the stigma that the Buckeyes let inferior teams hang around by putting up 35 first half points, something that had not happened in certain situations going back into Jim Tressel's OSU career.
But the biggest surprise of the game was how efficient the Ohio State offense was. And it should be no surprise that the defense was good once again.
Then again, it was Marshall the Buckeyes were playing, not Miami whom the Buckeyes will play next Saturday.
With that said, here is a report card of all the phases of the Ohio State win over the Herd.
OSU Offense: A
It was a day of big plays for the Buckeyes offense:
-RB Brandon Saine had runs of 40 and 45 yards, gaining 103 yards on only nine carries.
-WR Dane Sanzenbacher had a 65 yard TD reception
-Third string RB Jaamal Berry ripped off a 30 yard run late in the game
And the best news of all, even though it was only Marshall's defense, Terrelle Pryor looked much improved.
Pryor was going through his progressions much more, and he showed great footwork, but he still had a few bad decisions.
The only down point with his night was only having 17 yards on eight carries. But with how he was throwing the football, he did not need to run all that much.
And anytime your team has 529 yards on offense, they did a good job.
OSU Defense: A+
The Silver Bullets defense was swarming the Thundering Herd offense all night long, holding Marshall to only 44 yards rushing.
Plus, the Buckeyes were throwing big hits around all night, from LB Brian Rolle laying out receivers, to S Tyler Moeller, playing his first game since suffering head injuries which kept him out of 2009, being a force in the pass rush and running game.
The only problem was it seemed that the defensive line was having trouble creating pressure in the face of the QB, which may or may not have been a result of missing starting DE Nathan Williams.
Whether that was the case or if the coaches wanted to save the creative blitzes for Miami remains to be seen.
It helps as well when your defense and special teams forces three turnovers, including a pick six delivered by Rolle late in the first half.
This unit will certainly have its hands full against Jacory Harris, Leonard Hankerson, and the Miami offense.
OSU Special Teams: C-
Special teams may be the most underrated aspect of a football game, and the Buckeyes had good moments and bad moments Thursday night.
The kicking team started well recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff, but later on in the first quarter gave up a 63-yard return to Marshall's Andre Booker.
Special teams actually led to Marshall's only score of the game, when a 53-yard FG attempt from K Drew Basil was blocked and the Herd's Ahmed Shakoor had the ball go right to him and he ran all the way for the TD.
New P Ben Buchanan had a very solid game, averaging over 40 yards per punt, and pinned the Herd inside their 20 yard twice.
And because the Buckeyes were great defensively, punt returners Jordan Hall and Corey Brown had a few attempts, and each showed they can return pretty well.
But the key for this team down the road will be to cover kickoffs better, which was a problem last season in many instances.
OSU Coaching: A-
With Miami looming, some people believed that the Buckeyes would be very conservative offensively in an effort to not show the Miami coaches anything before their big game.
Based on the 529 yards of offense, whether that was just a measure of better talent or the Buckeyes being more aggressive offensively, give the coaches some credit.
The preparation they put into fall camp clearly showed as the offense was able to keep the Marshall defense off balance, and the subtle incorporation of the tight end was a welcome sight.
The defense was good as usual, though most of the packages they ran were vanilla defenses.
Expect the exotic blitz packages against Miami and the rest of the Big Ten, and other unexpected looks like the Buckeyes pulled against USC last season, going to a 3-4 at times.
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