Buckeye Watch — Central Florida
By Tony Gerdeman
If you think about it, there are a lot of positives when you come out of a two-touchdown win over a good team and can only focus on the many negatives.
(How's that for some spin!)
Yes, the Buckeyes need to find a running threat to complement Braxton Miller. And yes, Miller needs to improve on his accuracy. But he still accounted for 296 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.
Defensively, however, for the second week in a row an opponent left points on the field. Orhian Johnson's interception in the redzone was a game saver, but the game should have never needed saving to begin with.
Ohio State is a good team, but they begin to verge on above average when they turn it over as many times as they did against UCF. Interceptions are going to happen here and there, but fumbles have to be eliminated.
Missed tackles and blown coverages will happen as well, but they can't happen twice on the same possession.
There are a lot of things to fix right now, which I guess is better than thinking everything is perfect after two weeks. If there are still glaring weaknesses, then complacency can never set in.
10:30 Feels like a Spring Game out here today with the cool, wet weather. Plus, I was just attacked with a lacrosse stick.
10:56 I hope some OSU fan proves George O'Leary wrong today...by giving him the job that he admitted he didn't have back when he lied on his resume.
11:20 Nathan Williams is in street clothes, as is Michael Bennett. Bennett's absence was expected, Williams' necessarily wasn't. The Buckeyes will lack a playmaker at one defensive end spot today. Will they rely on freshman Noah Spence to make something happen, or will they go with J.T. Moore at the strong side because he knows what he's doing?
11:23 Playing a power running team without two of your top four defensive linemen is less than ideal. It's like having a receiver who doesn't tie his shoes as your starting quarterback for the last three seasons.
11:50 TBDBITL is now performing Script O'Leary. Wait...sorry, it's Script Ohio. My bad.
12:01 Ohio State won the toss and deferred. UCF has decided to kick. The ref left his microphone on and told the other refs, “He can't possibly want to kick this ball.” I think they finally talked UCF out of being completely idiotic.
12:03 True freshman Tommy Schutt is in the starting lineup today. Johnathan Hankins moves out to the strong side. So much for a pass rush today. I'm never a fan of moving Hankins out wide.
12:04 Well, it only took one play before Spence and Adolphus Washington came in. Looks like the coaches are going with youth over experience today.
12:04 Third and four. False start on the tackle opposite Spence. Even before the ball is snapped, he's having an impact.
12:05 UCF goes three and out after a third down tackle by Travis Howard. Howard is down in pain, but eventually gets up and jogs off. UCF punts it out of bounds at the Ohio State 29-yard line.
12:06 So much for the tough running of the UCF team. They opened up with three quick passes hoping to follow Miami (Ohio)'s blueprint. That blueprint led to a loss, by the way. Good thinking. “How did Miami lose?” “Well, they threw the ball a lot and didn't bother running.” “Hmm. Well, we are a team that can run the ball and don't throw it all that well, so how about we do completely the opposite of what we normally do?” “You mean like when Michael Jordan played baseball?”
12:07 There's a quick play-action screen to Philly Brown out wide with Jake Stoneburner paving the way. It picked up eleven yards and looks like the type of play that could become a staple of this offense.
12:08 Here's an interesting look with two tight ends in opposite slots in a five wide set. Braxton Miller hits a six-yard slant to Brown. No tackle broken. So far this season Ohio State has a bunch of possession receivers who need to start making plays after the catch.
12:09 Broken play. Carlos Hyde went to the wrong side and Miller scrambled to pick up five yards. At least I assume Hyde went to the wrong side. Still, nice to have a guy who can pick up a first down on a play that should be a six yard loss.
12:11 Another interesting look. Jeff Heuerman ran off the field when he needed to stay on. Eleven on ten is cool. Just trying to be fair. Lack of sportsmanship is America's silent killer, after all. Maybe if we can get Bono involved, we can finally wipe it off the map.
12:13 Brandon just asked me why they always put Carlos Hyde out wide when they go five wide instead of bringing in a receiver, and I said that it didn't matter because this is going to be a quarterback draw for a touchdown. Braxton Miller draw for a touchdown, and he's untouched. Buckeyes lead it 7-0.
12:15 Miller is on pace for 168 yards rushing, which would break his own school record. If I had a record, I wouldn't want anybody to break it – even me.
12:16 Rannell Hall takes the kickoff out to the 33-yard line, and you can add 15 yards onto that because Jamie Wood participated without his helmet. Football has now become Laser Tag with dead batteries. “I shot you. You're dead!” “Nuh uh, my sensor never went off.” Is a player just supposed to lay on the ground and be still like in Freeze Tag or Doctor Dodgeball, or are they supposed to try and get out of the way?
12:17 There's the second false start of the game for UCF. Maybe they should have practice with some piped-in noise, even if it was just the noise of 105,000 people snoring and talking about how their hands were asleep because the blood flow is non-existent when being sat on.
12:20 The Buckeyes hold the Knights – or at least the ones who can legally participate – and force a punt, which is fair caught at the twelve-yard line.
12:24 Another broken play and Miller picks up 13 yards. If these plays are scripted, are the players shown the script?
12:25 Here's another different look. Both Philly and Hyde are to the left of Miller. Doesn't matter, there's a hold and a sack on the same play. I'm interested to see what that could have been, unless that's exactly how it was supposed to go.
12:26 Second and long. Bri'onte Dunn starts in the slot, now moves to the backfield. He gets the handoff and hits a huge hole up the middle to make it third and three. Corey Linsley just owned Jose Jose on that one. He just put Jose in a dress, sat him down at the dinner table and made him listen to how his day has been.
12:28 Fourth and one from their own 47-yard line and the Buckeyes are going for this. Miller gets the snap and gets spun down two feet short. That's not going to make Urban Meyer happy that they couldn't pick up a short gain once again. Time to learn from it so that when they get stuffed next time it will make him even more furious.
12:29 A lot of people don't like that call, but football is pretty cool when you have confidence in your team. You will have to pick that up in Big Ten play, so why not try to do it now when it's not as necessary.
12:30 You know why I liked that play call, because the press box didn't.
12:33 Here comes a double pass, and there's a pass interference on Travis Howard. He never turned around. Had he taken a look, he would've seen a buttery-soft pass floating into his arms. UCF now has first and goal at the 10-yard line.
12:37 The Buckeye defense holds and forces a 28-yard field goal, which is good. Ohio State leads it 7-3. That is an acceptable price to pay because the Buckeye defense was put in a position where they had to deliver, and they did, which was something that their own offense couldn't do.
12:40 Miller rolls out to the left and has Heuerman out with him, then as the defenders leave Heuerman, Miller throws it to him for a nine-yard gain. I love this play. Make the defense decide the undecidable, and then just take the other easy option. Ohio State has done a great job on first down today. That brings us to the end of the first quarter. Buckeyes still lead it 7-3.
12:41 Ohio State has 125 yards of total offense, so they are on pace for another 500-yard afternoon.
12:53 Here were are again. Fourth and one from the 50-yard line for the Buckeyes. Will they go for it again? Yep, and the crowd loves it.
12:54 Carlos Hyde gets the ball and picks up six yards and the first down. You have to love the aggression. I'm okay with you not liking the way OSU is going for it on fourth down, provided you form your opinion before the ball is snapped.
12:46 Jet sweep by Philly Brown picks up 19 yards down to the twelve-yard line. That was a great cut by Philly. He is in his element in this offense right now. His role is only going to expand this season.
12:47 Braxton loses a yard on a quarterback draw. That's eight carries so far and we're early in the second quarter. So much for 17 carries being too many last week.
12:48 Timeout. The OSU offense nearly had a delay of game. That's two timeouts called with 10:13 still left in the half. Can't believe we almost saw a delay of game with this no huddle offense. Urban Meyer is not going to be happy with the process this week.
12:51 Buckeyes rush to the line for a quick snap. Miller nearly gets sacked, breaks free...Corey Linsley completely erases somebody and Miller throws incomplete to Carlos Hyde who also took a wicked hit. That was about six disasters in the span of eight seconds. And now it's time to kick a field goal. But first they need to clean the guy that Linsley leveled off the field. Basil is good from 24 yards out. Buckeyes lead it 10-3.
12:57 There goes Storm Johnson wide and down the sideline to the nine-yard line. I thought he stepped out, but he stayed in. Looks like Christian Bryant took a bad angle on him. The linebackers were both picked up by offensive linemen, and Bryant should have been there to fill the hole for a six-yard gain.
12:59 Well, the poor tackling that we saw last year has re-emerged this drive. After UCF's field goal drive, it didn't look like they would be able to go the length of the field against this defense. However, a 48-yard run has a way of changing things.
1:03 Third and goal from the one-yard line. Three tight ends. Wide open on the play action to the tight end. Shazier puts his head down in disgust as he realizes it was his man who went uncovered. UCF ties the game at 10-10.
1:04 George O'Leary is now doing the Hulk Hogan ear cup thingy to the crowd. Not really, but it would make me furious if he did. Nobody mocks the Hulkster on my watch.
1:06 No gain on the triple option keeper. Miller simply refuses to pitch. And now a read option give to Zach Boren for a one-yard gain on a play where Miller should have kept it. I wonder if he makes these decisions before the snap. Just imagine how good this offense will be when Miller makes the right reads 90% of the time, or even 60%.
1:09 Zach Boren gets the ball and fumbles it. UCF recovers at the 43-yard line, but they should have returned it for a touchdown. That looked like another bad read by Miller, but Boren still has to hold on to that.
1:10 Travis Howard picks off Blake Bortles and returns it to midfield. Looks like Orhian Johnson tipped it and Howard snatched it out of mid-air. That was a very necessary interception. Ohio State didn't want to go to the half losing at home to a team that is simply cashing a paycheck.
1:11 There is 3:18 left in the half. The Buckeyes have to turn this into seven points. Orhian Johnson has had a heck of a game today. I wonder if he can still make the right reads on the zone read from his high school quarterbacking days.
1:13 Hmm. I just saw Carlos Hyde getting worked on on the sideline. That's not good. Philly Brown is in the backfield and he catches a quick flare and picks up 14 yards and gets it down to the 34-yard line. Love seeing Philly get the ball so much, and from so many different angles.
1:14 False start on J.B. Mewhorts.
1:16 Too many men in the huddle for Ohio State. Not a great day for the Buckeye offense. Makes you wonder if they've put too much in this week after putting in so little last week.
1:19 Third and 16. It's quarterback draw time. There he goes! Miller picks up 24 yards and the Buckeyes have it first and goal at the six-yard line. When a defense “gears up to stop the run” against Ohio State in the future, that should just be code for “STOP THE FREAKING QUARTERBACK DRAW YOU IDIOTS WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND OBVIOUS THINGS”.
1:21 Miller rolls out left, but everybody is covered, so he decides to run into the endzone and score a touchdown on his own. He simply outran everybody into the endzone. Didn't think he'd make it, but Philly's man stayed with him and Braxton took it in. He now has 14 carries for 108 yards. Buckeyes lead it 17-10.
1:22 There are twelve seconds to play in the half. This is what's known as “the perfect time to get in the brisket line”.
1:26 I'm not sure what UCF did in those final seconds, but I do know that my plate now has brisket on it.
1:28 Looking at the stat sheet, the Buckeyes have 240 yards of total offense to 114, and 40 plays to 21. How is this game close again?
1:45 Apparently Carlos Hyde is out for the second half. With his failure to hit the holes so far, and Jordan Hall coming back next week possibly, he might disappear for the season if Bri'onte Dunn has anything to say about it.
1:47 Dunn starts the second half for the Buckeyes, as does Michael Thomas. Miller rolls left, it's a straight QB run and he picks up nine yards. So much for conservation. The Buckeyes need to score on this drive and they're going to do it the surest way.
1:52 It is announced in the press box that it's a “knee issue” for Carlos Hyde. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down with your medical terminology. How do you even spell that? I have no idea how House does it.
1:54 Second and eight from the twelve-yard line. Empty set. Is this another quarterback draw? Nope, Miller ditches one sack, rolls back across the field and lofts a pass to Jake Stoneburner for the touchdown? I had a great view of that play and I thought for sure that was going to be a pick. I didn't think he'd be able to get enough on it, especially given his tendency to underthrow his receivers. Buckeyes get some breathing room and now lead it 24-10.
1:55 You have to love coming out of the half in a close game and landing a touchdown like there was absolutely no pressure to do so. Was there even a third down on that drive?
1:58 Storm Johnson was just tackled by Orhian Johnson. It's like watching a game of football turn into 'Blazing Saddles'. All that was missing was Gabby Johnson on the call with his authentic frontier gibberish.
2:00 Third and ten. Bortles throws back across the middle and it gets tipped around and intercepted by Etienne Sabino. Looking at the replay, I think the NHL assists to go Bradley Roby and Travis Howard. Whoever the tip drill coach is on this team needs a raise.
2:01 Empty look. Miller finds Devin Smith for a 15-yard gain. It's just so easy to get open in this offense. All it needs is an accurate quarterback.
2:02 First and goal from the eight. QB draw Miller, and he finds the endzone by diving in over Zach Boren. He powered his way and lowered his shoulder for six. As we always say around here, the road to joy goes behind Zach Boren. 31-10 Buckeyes.
2:03 Braxton Miller has 144 yards rushing. The record is within sight. As it will always be in this offense.
2:04 Sigh. Our poor message board can't even enjoy what they are seeing because they are waiting for Miller to get hurt. But those same people will all be so happy if he does get hurt so that they can say “I told you so.” They're not “glass half full” people, or “glass half empty” people. They are simply people with full glasses waiting for them to be knocked to the floor.
2:09 UCF picks up 35 yards on a deep pass to Quincy McDuffie. I guess it wouldn't be a Buckeye game this year without a breakdown in the secondary.
2:13 Third and six from the Ohio State 21-yard line. Adolphus Washington gets the big pressure and hit, and forces an incompletion. There is a penalty for a chop block as well. They take the penalty to force UCF out of field goal range. And then immediately give up a 27-yard completion on third and 21. UCF has first and goal from the nine-yard line. I guess it wouldn't be a Buckeye game this year without two breakdowns in the secondary. Did you know that dropping seven only works if they actually defend the pass.
2:16 Second and goal from the one-yard line. Brynn Harvey is blown up by Johnathan Hankins, and then cleaned up by John Simon. Simon is the cleanup crew after the Hankins demolition. So much asbestos. So, so much asbestos.
2:17 Second and goal. Sabino comes on the blitz, but Bortles finds Giovanetti in the flats for a touchdown. Nice play. Wait, they're reviewing the catch. The touchdown is good, but the extra point wasn't. Blocked by Adolphus Washington. Buckeyes lead it 31-16.
2:23 All of a sudden, this is a close game again. Is there more pressure on this drive than the last? The first play out of the gate is a straight QB run to the left for a loss of seven yards. Obviously, the OSU coaches want the ball in Miller's hands, and it appears the UCF coaches are aware of this fact.
2:24 Third and 17. Miller goes downfield to an open receiver and the pass is intercepted by A.J. Bouye. Wow, Philly Brown was open and Miller just threw his worst pass of the day. That wasn't even close. I don't even know what to say. Flat footed. Back to the quick change defense now.
2:26 Brynn Harvey picks up 21 yards down to the 14-yard line, and he carried the entire defense for the last eleven yards. We have reached the end of the third quarter with the Buckeyes leading 31-16. This game has gotten a lot more interesting than it was ten minutes ago.
2:32 Third and five from the nine-yard line. Bortles drops back and it's intercepted by Orhian Johnson! He is everywhere today. Say hello to your Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He just plucked it out of the air like it was finally ripe. This has been Orhian Johnson's best game ever. That's one way to kill an opponent's momentum.
2:41 The Buckeyes will be punting for the first time today. I was getting worried that Ben Buchanan would grow bored with football and move on to his second love – interpretive skeet shooting.
2:42 The punt is returned to the 32-yard line. It wasn't a great punt, but then he is out of practice. Long snapper Bryce Haynes was on the tackle. If he wouldn't have redshirted last season, he probably would have led the team in tackles with as much as the Buckeyes punted.
2:52 It's time to head down to the field. It would be totally awesome if there was a media slide that went down to the field. I would be torn between halftime brisket or halftime sliding.
3:10 Etienne Sabino just dropped interceptions on back-to-back snaps. If he didn't already have an interception today, I'd say that he was an anti-intercept-ite.
3:13 Rod Smith seriously just fumbled. With an increased role possibly coming depending on the prognosis of Carlos Hyde, if Smith can't be trusted, the Buckeye options on offense decrease even more.
3:15 The South Stands are chanting “Can You Hear Us?” I think I heard George O'Leary answer back, “You Didn't Cover!”
3:17 That's ball game. Not the most impressive of wins, but it's still better than the most impressive loss ever.
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