Michigan's Pounding in Columbus Is Worthy of a Knee-Jerk Reaction

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst INovember 23, 2008

Notes, thoughts, and musings from the cheap seats.

First Half

It seems like the skirmishes at midfield are starting to become a rite of passage for this game. I had previously thought that Mike Hart and the disdain that OSU players had for him was the cause of these mini rumbles, but I guess not.

They are getting old, however, and it seemed to add very little intensity to the game.

Other than Michigan’s 14-play drive for a touchdown, that offense was revolting. I suppose it is a combination of  many factors, but they were totally incapable of mounting any sort of attack.

In fact, at the end of the first quarter, the Wolverines had -1 yard of total offense.

Pryor looked shaky at first and did not have his best day. He was obviously excited and delivered some high throws. Beanie’s 59-yarder seemed to settle down a shaky Buckeyes offense that had produced negative yardage on its three previous drives.

Still, the Buckeyes had doubled Michigan in total yardage by halftime, 160-80.

Notes –

  • It was obvious from the start that Heacock and crew had zero respect for the Michigan passing game as they broke out the press coverage for the first time all year.
  • Because I have blocked out the Penn State game as a result of the last 10 minutes, I cannot remember whether or not Ohio State had abandoned the horrible first down cheer at that point.  No matter, because it was gone yesterday and I have to believe that it is gone for good.
  • Tell me what I missed. Was it me, or was Donald Washington rotating with Chekwa for most of the game? Was Chekwa dinged up? I think Washington was under-utilized all season, and I was really happy to see him play a lot on Saturday.
  • Don’t ask me why I notice these things, but Tressel usually wears a grey sweater vest at home and a red one on the road. Because of the weather yesterday, Tressel wore black pants while the rest of the staff wore grey.
  • I did not agree with the fourth-down attempt while up 14-0 against a team with no offense. And I really did not agree with the long pass on 4th-and-3. I understand that an interception at that point is tantamount to a punt, but you cannot call plays based on worst-case scenarios. If you go for it, call your best play.
  • That being said, I definitely thought that was interference on Robiskie.
  • After OSU failed on a fourth down, Michigan converted on its very next drive, which culminated in its only score of the day. What a contrast from Ohio State’s drive.
  • The crowd was far too quiet for the entire game. I know this was not an epic game in the series, but watch the Iron Bowl this weekend and listen to how loud that crowd of 15,000 fewer fans will be under similar circumstances.
  • Halftime shows almost always suck (see the Penn State pyrotechnics), and this week was no different. The band played its usual medley of crap and closed with Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I can honestly tell you, the guy next to me fell asleep during that song.

Second Half

If a team’s first drive of the second half is the most important of the game, Ohio State could not have done any better: two plays, 92 yards, a touchdown, and zero broken tackles.

Wells and Herron found holes and ran the length of the field without being touched by Wolverines.

The third quarter was easily Michigan’s best, as it had more than half of its total yards in that quarter.  However, it was painfully obvious that the Wolverines could not get anywhere close to the end zone. By the end of the quarter it was 35-7.

Once Michigan fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Boeckman threw a touchdown pass to Hartline, it became an exercise in clock management.

Every single Michigan possession in the second half ended in a punt.  On each of their last four, the Wolverines went three-and-out.

Notes –

  • I know I have said this before, but Shaun Lane is the special teams player of the year. He makes virtually every tackle on kick coverage and caused the fumble at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
  • As the day wore on, Michigan developed a strange pattern of running to the right side of its formation and passing to the left. I was unable to advance a theory for this, and it could be a coincidence, but check it out if you watch a replay.
  • During Michigan’s second possession in the half, OSU roughed the punter (questionable call) and the Blue received a fresh set of down. They proceeded to go three-and-out, and their next punt actually resulted in better field position for Ohio State than the kick that involved the penalty.
  • After Feagin came in for the injured Sheridan, why did they take him out again? The game was over at that point, and Feagin could have used some quality reps. That made no sense to me.
  • I know the season is over, but I want a lodge one final complaint for the two-man punt return formation. It totally sucks and only results in one less blocker/punt rusher along the line. Hartline has not blocked anyone all year.
  • While I would prefer that Beanie stay for his senior season, I have become very comfortable with the prospect of Herron being the starting running back at the beginning of next season.
  • You had to love the deep route called while up 35 points in the fourth quarter. It is not quite like going for two, but it is as close as Tressel is going to come.