Countdown To THE GAME 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

2015 Buckeyes Playing For Pride In “THE GAME”

It is far too common and completely understandable to want to dwell on a painful event or moment. Asking yourself, “What happened?!?”, over and over, trying to make sense of something that does not make sense.

At some point, you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and proceed forward. If you do not let the past go, it will remain with you into the present.

It is at this juncture where we pick up the 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes, fresh off a disappointing loss to Michigan State. While there are shades of the 1998 loss in this latest setback to the Spartans, a couple prominent points need to be made ~ 1. The 1998 team lost to an unranked Michigan State team that wound up 6-6; this year’s team came into Ohio Stadium with only one loss, so this was a loss to a good team. And 2. The 1998 team had the good fortune to get to play at Iowa after the Michigan State, before having to face That Team Up North in Ohio Stadium, while this year’s team gets no opportunity to regroup, having to travel to Ann Arbor – hence, the points I made in the second paragraph, up above.

The College Football Playoff is not dead, but is pretty ill. Ohio State needs to focus on what they can control, and that is defeating That Team Up North.

Three Things I Will Keep An Eye On During “THE GAME” ~

1. Ohio State’s Offensive Approach ~ To call Ohio State’s offensive output ‘disappointing’ sullies the word. Ohio State had five total first downs against Michigan State. That is not a mistyped word – five. Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer will be very hands on for this game, and it will bear watching how Ohio State attacks That Team Up North. Beyond Ezekiel Elliott, look for the various playmakers on the Ohio State to be involved far, far more than they were against Michigan State.

2. Line Play ~ Players on both teams will want to make sure their respective chinstraps are tightened up for this one. Somewhere, Woody and Bo will be smiling, as this game promises to be very physical along the lines of scrimmage. As Ohio State lost this battle last week against the Spartans, how will the Buckeyes respond to an equally physical Wolverines team?

3. Watch Out For This Unsung Player On That Team Up North ~ Ohio State fans are familiar with Jake Rudock, Jake Butt, De’Veon Smith. Here is a player you may not know now, but I am guessing you will be with by the end of the game – Sione Houma. A bruising fullback, the Wolverines use Houma as a receiving option, as well as an occasional ball carrier. If the Wolverines are near the goal line, do not be surprised if Houna gets the call or carry.

Throw out the record books. This is all about pride. The Buckeyes will battle a hostile crowd, and a very physical football team on both sides of the ball. Even with a refreshed offensive approach, this game should come down to the wire, as usual. I like Ohio State to eek it out in the end, with a score of Ohio State 20, That Team Up North 17.


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