Buckeyes win ugly, 28-14

Not everything that took place at the new 'shoe was pretty, but the Buckeyes got it done today, led by Jonathan Wells' 119 rushing yards and 2 TDs.

They say that a team's biggest improvement occurs between their first and second games, so don't panic if OSU didn't look perfect today. But if today's game against Akron demonstrated one thing, it is that the Buckeyes still have some work to do.

A quick game recap:

The Buckeyes controlled the first quarter. Akron couldn't do much on offense, but the Buckeye offense put together two drives that produced two touchdowns; one on a Jonathan Wells 14-yard run and another on a Jamar Martin 10-yard pass.

OSU went up 21-0 in the second quarter on a 1-yard Johnathan Wells TD dive that was set up by a muffed punt that was recovered by Jason Bond. The Zips came back to make it 21-7 on a 15-yd TD pass from freshman Charlie Frye to Jake Schifino late in the second quarter. It was on this drive when the Buckeyes started to go through the motions, missing some tackles that aided Akron in marching the ball down the field.

In the third quarter, OSU went up 28-7 on a Chris Vance 61-yard TD reception on a deflected pass that was close to being intercepted. This would end the scoring for the Buckeyes, but Akron made it interesting in the 4th quarter after a 87-yard interception return by Rickie Coble. But the Zips didn't have enough to come all the way back, and the Buckeyes were able to pull out the 28-14 win.

Some Observations/Opinions watching from the sofa:

  • The overall offensive output was solid (500+ total yards), but the QB results were mixed. Steve Bellisari made some good plays. However, the most concerning aspect of his play today were his three fumbles (but the bullets were dodged as the fumbles wound up not hurting OSU). Bellisari went 15 of 24 for 246 yards. Scott McMullen got some solid time -- as Coach Tressel said he would -- but the results were mixed there as well. He went 2 of 5 for 47 yards and threw the interception that was returned for a TD.
  • The running game was effective. Jonathan Wells had a good game, running for 119 yards ad 2 TDs on 24 carries. Sam Maldonado contributed 68 yards on 14 carries.
  • Michael Jenkins looked real good at WR. Here was a guy who fans weren't really thinking of as a starter before fall camp began, but he really has emerged, and his performance today showed that he has the makings of the next go-to guy at WR. He had six catches for 106 yards. Ricky Bryant was second with 4 catches for 46 yards, and Jamar Martin had some passes thrown his way as he caught 3 balls for 23 yards and a TD.
  • The offensive line was up and down, but the biggest concern right now is the health of Adrian Clarke, who left with an injury. Also, Alex Stepanovich has a nagging leg injury.
  • The Buckeye defense has been praised coming into the season, but they weren't overwhelming today. Akron was held to 248 total yards offense, but OSU forced no turnovers and had only two sacks. Plus, the several missed tackles were disappointing to see. One interesting defensive note was that Darrion Scott and Tim Cheatwood were the starting DEs, not Will Smith and Kenny Peterson.
  • Freshman Report: Several freshmen saw time today. Simon Fraser saw several minutes at DE, and Dustin Fox was also in there on defense as well. Chris Gamble played several minutes on offense, catching one pass for 11 yards, and Angelo Chattams also lined up at WR and was in on special teams coverage as well. Lydell Ross and Maurice Hall each got carries towards the end of the game; Lydell ran 4 times for 16 yards, and Maurice had 3 carries for 30 yards, including a nice 28-yard run that put OSU inside the 5-yard line, but he couldn't punch it in at the end for the TD.

The most important observation -- this is only the first game. Overall, this team has the potential of being one of the best teams in the Big Ten. The building blocks are there, but the building is still under construction. The mistakes today can be corrected, and improvement will continue to be made.

Next up is San Diego State. The Aztecs are 0-1 (lost to Arizona) and play Arizona State tonight.

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