Bank Blog: Quick Thoughts Offense

Ohio State had to go to overtime to beat Purdue 29-22 Saturday, with the heroes being Kenny Guiton and Chris Fields. The Buckeyes survived key injuries and a stout Purdue defense to get the job done, and remain unbeaten. What happened on offense?

- First off, credit the Purdue defensive staff for not only creating a great gameplan, but getting their players to execute it for 59 minutes. The Purdue staff had the Ohio State offensive staff's number nearly all day, and controlled the game for the most part. Their staff won that battle. They realized Ohio State lives and dies with the big play, and they almost Jim Heacock-ed their way to a win Saturday. Ohio State was also awful on third-down, and this led to very few drives.

- Secondly, credit Urban Meyer for winning a game when his team was not playing well offensively. Coming off allowing nearly 100 points in a two-week span, could anyone see a scenario where the defense would have to win the game in spite of the offense? Last year, this game is a loss. Under Meyer, it's win. That's why he's the best coach in college football, and why he is at Ohio State. No timeouts? No Braxton? No Philly Brown? No field position? NO PROBLEM. This game showed the difference between the elite coach and the good/average coach. Most of the coaches in America could win a lot of games with great talent. But could they do it at the level of Saban or Meyer? You absolutely HAVE to win games when your team isn't playing their best. I think Ohio State can, and will, do that going forward in the next decade.

- Ohio State must have felt they couldn't control the Purdue defensive tackles because they never looked to establish Carlos Hyde on the inside. That has been a key ingredient lately, and has helped open up opportunities for Braxton Miller outside and in the passing game. Regardless, Purdue took Hyde out of the game, which led to success defensively.

- The Ohio State offensive line has been good all year, and actually getting better on a weekly basis, but they were handled yesterday. The Purdue front-four played outstanding, just as they did last year against Ohio State. How they've gotten destroyed up front the previous two weeks by Michigan and Wisconsin is a mystery, because those guys are good. On the final drive, and in overtime, it was a complete reversal, as Ohio State finally took control of the line of scrimmage to get the victory.

- Braxton Miller played a bad game yesterday. It happens. Even to Heisman Trophy candidates. He made bad reads running the football, and threw the ball poorly. Credit Purdue once again for being sound in their defense of Miller. You CANNOT miss tackles on Braxton, because one miss and he can go 60 on you. You CANNOT be out of position, because if he catches you in the wrong spot, he can take that 60 on you. Neither happened. They eliminated the big play, which is what Ohio State has lived on all year to date. Purdue forced Ohio State to have to drive the length of the field to beat them, and the Buckeyes couldn't do it. Until they HAD to. I wouldn't count on Braxton having too many bad games going forward, but Purdue showed the blueprint for stopping this offense.

- Urban Meyer views himself as a special teams guru, but he probably isn't feeling very guru-ish after yet another poor performance yesterday. A kickoff return for a touchdown. A fake punt for a first down. Maybe it's in the water at Ohio State, because awful special teams have been the norm lately, in the past few years of Tressel, last year under Fickell, and this year with Meyer. You keep waiting for it to be fixed, but breakdowns continue weekly. Oh well.

- Tough to evaluate the passing game yesterday, because Braxton was all over the board with his throws, but Ohio State was determined to throw it. There were a few plays that seemed like drops, but it's hard to point fingers when balls aren't on time or accurately thrown. Devin Smith continues to frustrate with occasional drops, but he is the big play guy of the receiver group. He seems to come through when it matters most. Regardless of the occasional drops, Devin Smith can get open at any time, on any defensive back. Only a sophomore, so Devin has room to get better, which he should.

- Carlos Hyde is so important to this offense, and to his credit, even when he didn't get the ball all day, he was there for Ohio State at the end. When Hyde is established as the number-one running option, Ohio State is going to be tough to stop moving the ball. Hyde has turned himself into one of the key players on this team, and getting him off in a game is the key to victory. He makes life easier for everyone else.

- Kenny Guiton and Chris Fields were the heroes in the win over Purdue without question, and once again, Urban Meyer deserves props for both players still being at Ohio State. Both players have had issues at Ohio State, with coaches questioning the work ethic and attitude of both. They could have been buried on the depth chart, or shown the door, at earlier times this year. When you look at where these guys were a few months ago, and now see both coming up big in a win for Ohio State, I'm not sure what those odds were. The bulk of the credit goes to the players, of course, but don't overlook Meyer as knowing what buttons to push to get two underachievers to lift their game to this level. Have to be happy for Kenny Guiton and Chris Fields today, and they earned all the praise that's coming to them.

- As pointed out in earlier reports, I STILL see Ohio State as a team that can beat anyone on the schedule, or lose to anyone on the schedule. Meyer has found a way to win close games, against Michigan State and Purdue, and that's why he was hired. Coaching makes a difference at this level. Wait until he has this roster where he wants it. Ohio State is good enough to compete in the MAC Upper Division today, but you have to think Meyer burns to beat the Big Boy League some day. He isn't ready to beat the SEC today, but that day might be closer than people think. People wondered about the Meyer coaching after the 5-loss season at Florida, and the year away from football. I think those questions are being answered weekly, and especially in stealing a win yesterday under tough circumstances. The future is bright for Ohio State under Urban Meyer.

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