Ohio State Football 2K8 Week Four: Holy Crap, More Trojans!?

Ryan StaabAnalyst ISeptember 18, 2008


Bad Todd was at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last Saturday. Rumor has it that he murdered Good Todd and threw the body in a crate which currently sits at the bottom of the Olentangy River underneath the Lane Avenue Bridge.

There's been a lot of blame going around from everyone in the media and blogging communities. I say we get it out of the way and place blame on the following people for Ohio State's "Craptastic at the Coliseum" performance against the USC Trojans:

1. Jim Tressel
2. Jim Bollman
3. Jim Heacock
4. Gene Smith
5. The Ohio State University Marching Band*
6. Art Schlicter
7. Todd "I don't like when Ohio State has possession of the football" Boeckman
8. John Cooper
9. Maurice Clarett
10. Brutus Buckeye
11. Bo Schembechler's Ghost
12. The residents of the City of Cincinnati Ohio
13. Mark May and Trev Alberts
14. Andy Geiger
15. Mother Theresa (although I don't really know why?)

*Other than the loss, the second-biggest disappointment for Buckeye fans at the game was the fact that the marching band didn't show up. I too was hoping to see "Script Ohio" in the Coliseum (being a former band geek myself) but was quite surprised at the amount of irritation and animosity coming from fans when they found out the band wasn't in Los Angeles.
Probably didn't help that upon entering the Buckeye Bash rally at Exposition Park, fans were given kazoos and told by the Ohio State Alumni Association that "We [the fans] had to take the place of the band" since the real one couldn't be there.

On the other hand, I'd like to give a huge shout out to the USC faithful. I'd grown to hate USC because of the amount of smugness and arrogance I'd encountered from their fan base in Orange County after living there for five years. Maybe it’s because I was raised in the Midwest, and say what you will about Ohio State fans, but I know very few of us who are smug (and really, we have no reason to be at this time).

My opinion of USC fans was proven wrong in the ten hours I spent on campus last Saturday, especially after the game. I ran into one jackass fan before the game (and this was after walking around the Coliseum and on campus for several hours), but nobody was verbally harassing me about the loss after the game (and I'd be a pretty easy target: A fat guy wearing a scarlet jersey and a buckeye necklace), and most commented on Pryor and his potential.

Speaking of my time in Los Angeles last weekend, I took photos of the game with my new camera.

Apparently Earle Bruce is upset with the way fans are calling for Tressel, Bollman and Heacock's heads, according to Dispatch blogger Keith Godfrey.

I was having a hard time not going completely negative after the Bucks' performance against USC, but really, what good will that do? At least now Ohio State doesn't have a target on its back for the rest of the season (although it would be nice to silence the haters by actually winning a few big games), and a lot of people forget that the team still has a shot at the Big Ten Conference Title.

Really though, there were a lot of explanations for why we got blown out by Florida (Ted Ginn was injured, the team underestimated the Gators' abilities) and LSU (Ohio State was in a rebuilding year, we wouldn't have been in the game had Mizzou and West Virginia won their games), but there's really no excuse for this kind of losing.
With the experience and talent on the 2008 Buckeyes squad, they're still plagued by the same type of penalties that cost them the 2008 BCS game against LSU and last season’s Illinois game.

And really, both the defense and offense need to come up with more creative plays than what we saw last Saturday. The guy I sat next to in the Coliseum (a fellow Buckeye fan) called every play the Buckeyes' offense was going to execute. USC quarterback Mark Sanchez told a Los Angeles radio station that based on the film he saw before the game, he knew what the Buckeyes would do.

If some guy in Section 5, Row 70 seat 114, and the opposing team's quarterback knew what plays Ohio State was going to use, then obviously the USC defense knew just as well. There's a serious problem with the coaching when your team is that predictable, even if you have the #1 and #2 high school prospects at all your key positions. What good is the talent if they're not well-coached?

Rob Oller and Ray Stein of the Dispatch both agree and examine this problem further in-depth in an article written last Monday.

Once again, I have no idea what the hell Pat Forde's talking about.  If anyone can kindly offer an explanation of the first paragraph of this week's FordeYard Dash, I'd be most appreciative.

For other's take on last week's blowout, here's a couple of articles from fellow Bleacher Creatures:

Buckeye Commentary's analysis on the team's sub par performance and possible reasons the game turned out the way it did.

Lisa Horne analyzes the Buckeyes' predictability.

Paul Peszko wonders if Tressel was under the influence of some sort of opiate or Valium during his post game press conference.

Gerald Ball tries to put a positive spin on last week's game.  Given how much I hate the trolls at ESPN, I like to see this posted as a blog entry over at ESPN just to see what kind of reaction it'd generate.

And finally, Chip Minnich discusses what should be Ohio State's focus the rest of the season.

Alright, enough bitching. Onward to next week's game.

This week's theme song is "The Day That Never Comes" by Metallica

Tressel seems to be wising up to the fact that all is not well in Buckeye Nation, and has decided to forgo seniority for hard work in practice, splitting the playing time between Boeckman and Pryor according to the Dispatch.

Quote of the week from Sweater Vest:
"I would say this: Terrelle has been very impressive. There's not many freshmen that I've had with very limited reps that have been able to conceptually pick up as much as he has, and he's a pretty special player."

Some have likened it to the controversy surrounding Justin Zwick's performance in 2004 versus his backup, Troy Smith. Let’s see how well Pryor handles himself against the [other] Trojans before we start comparing him to St. Troy of Cleveland, but the kid has definitely been a bright spot in an otherwise bland offense the past two games. If the pressure of the USC game didn't bother him, he shouldn't have any problem taking on Troy in front of a home crowd.

But let’s face it: Todd Boeckmancould discover a cure for cancer and at the same time, save a box full of puppies from a burning ship, all during a 30-second time out in the third quarter of the OSU-Troy game with the Buckeyes up 54-3 and people would still probably jeer him.

There was talk of this being a trap game for the Buckeyes if they beat USC since Troy's subjected themselves to some fairly tough competition this year and last season. Their offense is capable of scoring, but this isn't the same defense from last year. Had the LSU game not been postponed until November 15, they probably would've faced the Buckeyes with a 2-1 record.

Check out the Dispatch's article about Troy's scheduling since joining the FBS.  And the outcomes of their match ups since 2001.

So how do Boeckman and Pryor compare to Troy's quarterbacks? Boeckman went 14-21 for 84 yards and 2 interceptions against USC. He couldn't run the ball in the right direction, and ended up with -27 rushing yards. Boeckman's currently 44-66-381-2 for the season in three games.

Terrelle Pryor, on the other hand went 7-9 for 52 yards and no picks against the Trojans and put up 40 yards of rushing. He's currently 11-17-87-0 this season in three games.

For the Trojans, Jamie Hampton is 43 of 65 for 459 yards and three INTs with five touchdown passes and 86 rushing yards. Statistically speaking, he looks a helluva lot better than either Boeckman or Pryor. Backup quarterbacks for Troy include Tanner Jones, who is 5-10-42-0 but has only played in one game. Levi Brown is 6-10-56-0 in one game.

Since we're still not sure whether or not Beanie will play, once again, he's off this week's stats comparison for running backs.

Pryor leads the team in rushing yards, with 25-119 this season and averaging 5.2 yards a carry and has one touchdown. Boom is second, currently 28-118 averaging 4.2 yards a carry and also has one touchdown. Boom had 11 carries for 51 yards last week against USC, as well as 23 receiving yards. Zippy went 2-10 and Mo had one carry with negative yardage.

For the Trojans, DuJuan Harris is 28-187, averaging 6.7 yards per carry and has three touchdowns. Harris has also gone 3-25 in receiving for one touchdown. Maurice Greer is 11-114 this season averaging 10.4 yards and one touchdown. Fernandus Edwards is 12-79 with one touchdown and averages 6.6 yards.

Brian Hartline and Ray Small are both tied for receiving yards this season with 92 each. Hartline is 7-92 averaging 13.1 yards per reception while Small is 14-92 and averaging 6.6 yards. Against USC, Hartline was 3-19 while Small went 6-30. Dane Sanzenbacher went 3-29 in the USC game.

For Troy, Jerrel Jernigan has gone 14-137 in two games, averaging 9.8 yards per reception. Kennard Burton is 10-111 averaging 11.1 yards.

So essentially, we've got two teams with weak passing and so-so running backs (I believe that Ohio State's rushing stats are skewed by Beanie's absence). The question is whether or not the Buckeyes' defense can (or is willing to) shut down Troy's offense. Jamie Hampton isn't afraid to run and has so far posted 86 rushing yards this season and compared to Boeckman, his passing stats are decent (Nathan Enderle looks decent compared to Boeckman's most recent game, so take from that what you will). I think this still has the potential to be a trap game, and Troy is arguably the second most difficult team the Buckeyes will face this season (the first being, obviously, USC).

These Trojans show that they hold up fairly well against some big opponents and probably aren't concerned with Ohio State's past tradition of excellence, or the atmosphere inside the Shoe. Since I've been way off in my predictions the last few weeks, I'll go out on a limb and say the Buckeyes lose this one in a close battle and hope that the outcome ends up being the opposite, resulting in a Buckeye blowout at home.

Then again, I've probably jinxed the possibility of a Buckeye win by explaining my reasoning.

Anyway, chalk it up to shattered confidence, fragile egos, and a nagging injury that forces Beanie to sit out for a third game this season that results in another loss for Ohio State. If he's definitely out, the Buckeyes lose another one.

My prediction:
Without Beanie: Troy Trojans 28, Ohio State Buckeyes 24
With Beanie: Ohio State Buckeyes 28, Troy Trojans 24

Stats courtesy of CBS Sportsline and ESPN


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