I have had the good fortune of attending many Ohio State games in my lifetime, but this game is a tremendous thrill for me. Thanks to The Cleveland Sports Report, I am attending this game as a member of the media, viewing this game from the Ohio Stadium press box. What a tremendous opportunity - thank you, Greg Antoon.
I am going to write up summaries of the game, quarter by quarter. I think Ohio State will win 40-7, but we'll see if Ohio State comes out flat after a big game against Miami...
Pre-Game ~ Walking through the crowd to the stadium, I saw many Ohio University fans wearing t-shirts displaying their Bobcat pride, talking smack about the Buckeyes. I believe those will be collector's items after this one is over...
Riding up on the elevator, Chris Martin of The Big Ten Network is next to me. Introduced myself to Ken Gordon of The Columbus Dispatch, as Gordon is one of the beat reporters for Ohio State and I enjoy his work. Wolfed down a couple hot dogs, a McFlurry, and some Cokes before getting to my seat. Enjoyed watching the Ohio State marching band perform dueling "Script Ohio" performances.
First Quarter ~ Ohio University gets the ball, and promptly gives it away to Ohio State with an interception by Tyler Moeller. Ohio State is unable to capitalize in the red zone, coming away with only a field goal. Ohio State 3-0.
Ohio State's kick coverage looks no better than previous weeks, as Ohio University's Julian Posey returns one that is ultimately called back due to a penalty. Ohio State needs to figure their special teams coverage yesterday, or this will cost them a game this season.
Cheer comes up from the crowd as the UMass/Michigan score is announced, with Michigan down 3-0.
Beautiful one handed catch by WR Dane Sanzenbacher - he may not be fast, but Sanzenbacher will be a solid possession receiver for some lucky NFL team next spring in the 5th or 6th round.
RB Brandon Saine is doing nothing running the ball, but catches a pass from Terrelle Pryor to make it 10-0. Maybe the coaching staff should just use Saine as a slot receiver or third-down back, and let Daniel "Boom" Herron be the feature back?
Ohio State goes up 17-0 after Pryor runs one in easily. There are still about 3 minutes left in the first quarter.
Second Quarter ~ Ohio State kicks a field goal to make it 20-0 early in the second quarter.
True freshman DT Johnathan Hankins helps to cause a turnover that DE Nathan Williams recovers. Ohio State drives down the field, with Dane Sanzenbacher walking down the sidelines like a tightrope. The drive culminates with a TD pass to TE Jake Stoneburner, making it 27-0 with about 10:26 left in the second quarter.
Another long kickoff return by Ohio, this one by Dallas Brown. Ohio U has a nice run by QB Phil Bates, then they fumble to Ohio State. Ohio State quickly scores with RB Boom Herron to go up 34-0.
Little known fact, until today - Pryor has set a consecutive completion record with 16 straight completions, until he short passes one near the end zone. Pryor concludes the half with an ill-advised deep pass into the end zone to mercifully conclude the half at 34-0 for Ohio State.
Third Quarter ~ Ohio State receives the opening kickoff, and comes out running with Boom Herron. Ohio State fizzles offensively, having to punt...which is blocked by Ohio University. Again, the special teams are a glaring concern for Ohio State.
Just as I type it, DB Orhian Johnson forces a fumble by Ohio University, which is recovered by DB Devon Torrence. Ohio University continues to self-destruct.
Very ho-hum offensive performance by Ohio State in the third quarter. LB Ross Homan intercepts for Ohio State, then Pryor gives it right back on a deep pass. Ohio State's Cameron Heyward tackles Ohio's Vince Davidson for a safety to make it Ohio State 36-0.
Attendance is listed at 105,075 for today's contest. Very impressive, considering how lopsided this has been today. Early in the fourth quarter, RB Boom Herron scores to make it 43-0 with about 41 seconds left in the 4th quarter, as most media members begin making their way to the field. Time to follow their lead...
Fourth Quarter ~ Ohio University inserts backup QB Boo Jackson into the lineup. Despite many ups and downs, Ohio University averts the shutout, making it Ohio State 43-7 as the clock ends. As I am on the field with other media members, it is something to behold as the team sings "Carmen Ohio" with the fans when standing on the field.
Postgame ~ Tremendous atmosphere in the media room. Coach Tressel makes some humorous comments regarding Pryor's record-setting completion day, and some sarcastic comments regarding the special teams play, especially the punt block when asked about why the starters were kept in beyond the first portion of the third quarter.
When given an opportunity to interview specific players, I met Brandon Saine. I asked him about his kickoff return opportunity borne out of a reverse from teammate Jaamal Berry, and he replied that it was something drawn up by the coaches. Very nice young man, for what it is worth.
Conclusion ~ Winning 43-7 and finding faults will not make me popular or logical - then again, I have never been either. After the game, Ken Gordon told me that my concerns were like looking for faults in a supermodel.
Two big concerns are the special teams, especially in the light of their importance against Miami. When will, or if, can these be addressed? Returns and punt blocks are tremendously disconcerting.
A second major concern is Ohio State's lack of a running game, outside of Terrelle Pryor's rushes on quarterback scrambles. Neither Brandon Saine or Boom Herron were tremendously effective today. It may be time to give RB Jordan Hall the primary ball carrier's role, as he seems to hit the hole most decisively than the other backs on the roster.
Next week's game against Eastern Michigan is a horrendous joke. Ohio State's walk-ons could beat this team, and Ohio State should be able to beat them easily - I am anxious to see what, if any, concerns I have about their performance against Ohio University have been rectified.
Again, thank you, Greg Antoon. What a tremendous experience.