The Buckeye OL certainly couldn't touch our front seven.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a defense. Even with the caveat that Ohio State's quarterback situation could not really be any worse, that was an impressive performance. In fact, in the time it took you to read these first three sentences we recorded yet another sack.
I never thought winning at the Horseshoe would not be a no-brainer Dance of Joy-worthy result, but this is clearly not your father's (or slightly older sibling's) Ohio State team. Even bringing back the Tat 4 (minus Pryor) may not help them that much, unless one of them can switch to QB out of nowhere.
- The defense as a whole. 178 yards allowed, 62 of them on the last desperation drive when there wasn't realistically enough clock to score twice? That kind of performance would be good against a cupcake. Against a Big Ten opponent that isn't Minnesota, it's completely absurd.
- The defensive front 7 in particular. Nine sacks on the day, officially (Chris Norman and Denicos Allen with two each), and that may even be undercounted (as there was another Miller run-for-loss which he fumbled but recovered). Counting sacks as pass plays, Ohio State got 99 yards on 30 rush attempts (a good defensive performance by college standards) and 79 yards on 33 pass attempts (which is insanely good). Those numbers might be even worse if not for multiple holding and false start penalties on the offensive line caused by either the DL completely beating them or being so quick that the OL couldn't help but react too early.
- Darqueze Dennard's monster interception after the only coverage breakdown of the first 59 minutes.
- B.J. Cunningham. Stop me if you've heard this one before: 9 catches, 154 yards, and the early TD. Yes, that's more receiving yards than the entire Ohio State offense even before adjusting for sacks.
- The offensive line: Only 85 rush yards from the backs on 27 carries (which isn't great but against a good Ohio State defense, it's not atrocious either), but zero sacks allowed and Cousins had plenty of time to throw.
- Dan Conroy: Can't blame him for the miss (a 51-yard kick into the wind), and he nailed a 50-yarder (with the wind) in the fourth to finally give us a two-score lead.
- Mike Sadler: Dropped half of his punts inside the 20 with a reasonable average (40.8) and mostly kept them from being returnable (only one of the six was returned, for a net average of 38.3).
The mixed (I didn't see anyone whose day qualified as truly bad):
Kirk Cousins's numbers look reasonable enough on the day (20/32, 250 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, and these are dragged down slightly by a couple of drops on very catchable passes), but a lot of the incompletions were overthrows of open receivers, and both interceptions were horrible decisions trying to force the ball into coverage. He seems to be locking in on his primary target too much, to the point where one quick out got jumped and could easily have been a pick-six. Some of the overthrows may be related to the field conditions (windy weather with just enough rain earlier to get the field wet and make holding the ball tricky), but this is starting to become too much of a trend.
Let's keep this in perspective: there are a lot of teams that would love to have a QB whose bad days look like this. But compared to what he's capable of, this was not a particularly good day for Cousins.
- Keshawn Martin displayed his shiftiness on offense (five catches, mostly on quick outs and WR screens, for 45 yards), but his fumbling problem was also on display (luckily, fumbled out of bounds) and he was still holding the ball somewhat loosely on punt returns even after the fumble.
- Johnny Adams: Dumb, dumb personal foul that turned 2nd and 25 for Ohio State into a first down again, but made a fair number of plays otherwise (including a sack).
1-0 in the Big Ten, two weeks to get ready for the Michigan game. Sound off here.