Week-Six: Thoughts On The Offense

Ohio State defeated Maryland 49-28 Saturday afternoon in a game that saw Cardale Jones play impressively at quarterback.

- He might not have been perfect against Maryland, no check that, Cardale Jones was perfect against the Terrapins on Saturday, playing the best game of his career. No picks. Great decisions. Threw the ball away rather than take sacks. Went through progressions. Distributed the ball to a lot of playmakers. A+ game for Cardale Jones. 

- And as the QB play gets a lot better, funny how all the sudden the playcalling looks brilliant again? It's certainly not the other way around, trust me. Last year, when J.T. Barrett was special, the playcalling looked great. Against Navy and Virginia Tech? Bad play calling, of course. This game is about execution, and especially efficiency at the quarterback spot. 

- The first half was really good for Ohio State, only marred by two glaring mistakes. When going in for the score to make it 28-7 in the final minute of the second quarter, Jacoby Boren has a terrible holding call that costs them seven points. These are the mistakes that have happened with regularity to this side of the ball all year. This was a momentum killer. Even after the penalty, all you need is a chip shot field goal for a nice 24-7 lead, but you don't have a kicker, so forget that thought. Let the defense protect your 21-7 lead in the final minute, right? Scratch that thought too. 

- When Maryland scored to start the second half, I was interested to see how the offense would respond to being tied in a game they had dominated. They hit the bomb to Jalin Marshall, who is a heck of a deep threat by the way, on a perfect throw from Cardale Jones. Then after a three-and-out, the offense scores again to make it 35-21 and the party ends for Maryland. 

- Regarding playing J.T. Barrett in the red zone? Hate it, knowing full well that Urban Meyer knows far more football than I do. They planned to do this all week, so I guess there was no turning back, but to bench Jones when he was humming along was a tough call. And this comes from a huge Barrett guy, and not a real believer in Cardale Jones. Let's see how this works going forward, but there was no obvious advantage to having Barrett in there. He did nothing Cardale couldn't have done, and you break the QB continuity with the switch. 

- They made a concerted effort to get the ball to Braxton Miller, and he played really well. Saved an incompletion with a great catch on a poor throw by Jones, and blocked like Evan Spencer reincarnated. If they insist on switching QB's in the red zone, I would go to Miller, but that's another story for another day. Suffice to say, Braxton Miller had a heck of a game.

- A punt return for a touchdown is coming from Marshall at some point, and if the QB's can throw it semi-accurately, he is also going to get deep on every team they play. If he holds onto the football, he is a HUGE weapon offensively. If he's going to give it to the opposition, he really can't be on the field. It's that simple. They need him to be The Deep Threat the rest of the season. 

- The run blocking wasn't as good as it has been, but Ezekiel Elliott continued his great play. Ran it hard. Blocked like a madman. Really caught the football well on the check-downs from Jones. He won't win the Heisman Trophy, but he's as good of a player as anyone in the country. 

- Where is this offense headed with a great defense in Penn State up next? The Nittany Lions stuffed this offense last year, and can pose problems for Ohio State. They are definitely going to look to stop Zeke, first and foremost. They will commit people to the run, so the passing game will have to come up big to score points. That falls on Cardale Jones, and they're going to need the Maryland Cardale Jones to play, not the Northern Illinois Cardale Jones. 

- All in all, another step forward for the offense, and this was their best showing since the Virginia Tech game. If Cardale Jones stays at this level, then Ohio State will score a lot of points. The QB play is the key factor to this offense being good or great. Against Maryland, Cardale Jones was great. 

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