Three Thoughts: Cal Game

Ohio State kept alive its winning run Saturday night, never trailing on the way to a 52-34 victory at Cal. BSB editor Jeff Svoboda checks in with three opinions that might have been lost in the shuffle after the game.

1. Think about this: Ohio State put up 608 yards of offense, one of the highest totals in school history and the most under head coach Urban Meyer, and it was missing last year's starting quarterback (Braxton Miller, injured) and tailback (Carlos Hyde, suspended). Now, it's fair to say Cal has one of the most porous defenses the country among BCS schools, but that's still a lot of yards and a lot of points, and it only figures to get better when Miller and Hyde -- by far the two best skill players on last year's offense -- come back, perhaps as early as the Florida A&M game for both. Meyer admitted after the game it would be hard to find a way to return Miller, a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate whose improvement was the talk of camp, to the offense given how well Guiton has played, but this is the nice kind of quarterback conundrum (not controversy) to have. Steve Bellisari vs. Austin Moherman this is not. Getting Hyde back into the rotation will also be interesting, as Jordan Hall has been fantastic and Dontre Wilson is the edge rusher the Buckeyes have been lacking. The good news, though, is that the Buckeyes have been missing a big back that can fall forward and move the ball in short-yardage situations, so there will be a role for Hyde.

2. Is Devin Smith underrated? Sure, you'd like to see the Massillon product be more productive on a play-to-play basis, but there might not be a better deep threat in the country. He's definitely the best deep threat OSU has had since Ted Ginn Jr., and not even Ginn had the production Smith has posted when it comes to the deep ball. Smith's last seven touchdown catches, going back to last year's fourth-quarter winning TD vs. Cal, have gone for 72, 63, 60, 46, 47, 90 and 47 yards, an average of 60.7. For his career, Smith averages 44.3 yards on his TD scores. Not bad at all.

3. Let's be honest, this Cal team is going to put up a lot of points this year. The hurry-up offense designed by Sonny Dykes and Tony Franklin just chews up yards and points, and the Golden Bears have some NFL-caliber talent at the skill positions, a dangerous combination. And it's not like defenses rule these days; Alabama just had a similar attack put up 42 on it yesterday. So it's hard to get a great evaluation of the defense because of the unique nature of Cal's scheme, but it's fair to say the Buckeyes won some and lost some. Cal topped 500 yards vs. OSU for the second year in a row, but the Buckeyes grabbed two turnovers and made key stops whenever the Golden Bears came too close on the scoreboard. Keep in mind, too, that OSU had to run its dime defense for most of the game, a six-defensive back look that the Buckeyes debuted just two weeks prior vs. Buffalo. At the end of the day, the Buckeyes need to improve, but it was not a sky-is-falling performance.

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