Bank Blog: Quick Thoughts Offense

Ohio State defeated Buffalo 40-20 Saturday afternoon in Columbus, continuing their unbeaten streak under head coach Urban Meyer. How did the offense look Saturday?

- So much is expected from the Ohio State offense, and they certainly looked the part during the first quarter against Buffalo. It was basketball on grass for the first 12 minutes, and it looked like they would put 60-70 on the board easily, but things bogged down after that.

- Buffalo gambled a lot defensively, and there were times when Ohio State ran plays against air because of it. The two Jordan Hall touchdown runs and the Kenny Guiton touchdown pass could have been executed by Earle Bruce and Shelley Meyer, but credit goes to the Ohio State staff for easily beating the Bulls defense.

- Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack played the game as well as a defensive player can, and he is a GREAT football player. He was hyped coming into the game and he deserves all the accolades headed his way. Simply put, Mack was the best player on the field and he kept his team from being run out of the barn early. The interception return was a thing of beauty, and I rewatched the play several times. Coming off the ground to make the catch was impressive in itself, but out-sprinting the Buckeyes to the end zone was even better. He ran around both Taylor Decker and Jack Mewhort effortlessly, and looked like an All-American. And a first round draft pick. Major props to Khalil Mack.

- For the offensive line, I would say it was great early and average-to-above-average in the second half. Losing Corey Linsley hurt, and there was a dropoff in production with him out of the game. Decker struggled one-on-one with Mack, but I'm not sure Joe Thomas or Jake Long could handle that guy. Mewhort is a veteran and he wasn't having much fun with Mack either, so let's cut Decker some slack. I really like Andrew Norwell and think he gets better with each game. Were the four sacks the result of Mack impersonating Lawrence Taylor, the offensive line not holding their ground, or Braxton Miller holding the football too long? Probably a combination of both, but the sack total against was awful last year and here it is again in 2013. This line, and this quarterback, should never allow four sacks to Alabama or Notre Dame, let alone Buffalo. Whoever is at fault, it needs to get fixed. When the five starters were out there together the run blocking was pretty dominant, so this group might lack depth but the starting group is really good.

- I truly believe Braxton Miller is better than last year, and he was very solid against Buffalo. Have they instructed him to not run as much this year? It certainly looked that way, but his run out of the end zone after the fourth down stop was pure Braxton. He didn't want his team punting out of the end zone, so he dropped back, found an opening and glided for an easy 20 yards. He threw the ball accurately, on time and with zip on his throws. I thought he made good decisions, especially early and played well. Can he play better? Absolutely, and he will when it's needed. I want to cut him some slack on the Pick-6 and give Mack credit for making an NFL play. It's hard to come off the ground and make that play, and probably 99% of the people Ohio State plays against would never come close to making it.

- Very surprising all the runningbacks didn't split a bunch of carries, but maybe if it was 56-10 they would have. Jordan Hall played really well and there was no reason to take him out, other than to give others some carries. Hall hit every hole, ran hard and left no yards out on the field. Would have liked to see Warren Ball, Zeke Elliott and Brionte Dunn get carries, but Meyer decided to stay with the hot hand. Loved seeing Dontre Wilson fumble the football because it brings him down a peg, and Meyer will now be able to stress ball security and have it sink in. Fumbles are never good, but better against Buffalo than Michigan, and it gives Wilson a moment to not hear how great he is. Which he is going to be.

- For the wideouts, I loved seeing Devin Smith make an adjustment on a ball and come down with a heck of a catch. Would he have done that last year? Is he better and more consistent catching the football? Saturday was a good start. Philly Brown is a nice weapon and he needs more touches as well. Nice to see Chris Fields make plays down the field. Looking like Corey Smith will redshirt this year unless he blows up in practice this week or next. The others are so far advanced in their knowledge of the offense, and this is giving them a big edge.

- I think Tom Herman called a good game and also had a great scheme for Buffalo. I do think they intentionally kept Braxton under wraps, and limited his running. His playmaking ability will be needed down the road, and I think he was operating with 60% of the playbook against Buffalo. I expect another 50-60% deal this week as well, as it's another dreadful opponent. No sense risking Braxton, and showing your hand in meaningless games. Get the win, play lots of players, and get out of there healthy should be the mantra.

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