Week-Twelve Thoughts: OSU Offense

Ohio State blasted Michigan 42-13 Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, led by runningback Zeke Elliott and a dominating offensive line. For the Buckeye offense, it was their best overall showing of the season.

- At the end of the day, the best offensive coordinator for Ohio State was Zeke Elliott, who certainly knew more than Urban Meyer, Ed Warinner or Tim Beck about how the Buckeyes need to play on that side of the football. It's kind of crazy to look back at two games that were only seven days apart, and see two remotely different offensive approaches. 

- For Ohio State against Michigan, the offensive staff put their faith and trust in Elliott running behind an offensive line that loves to power-run the football. And just like magic, 30 carries for 214 yards suddenly appears. And more magic continues, as J.T. Barrett now is able to run the option, which gets him 139 yards on 19 carries. And in true David Copperfield stuff, the passing game now is successful. It's a miracle.

- This offense operates best when the center and guards are dominating the middle of the field, and it has been that way since Meyer was hired. Don't get the inside power run established, and then this offense becomes an east/west show that can't run the football and can't throw the football. We've seen it with Carlos Hyde for two years and two more years of Zeke. 

- The passing game works best off the run game, and not vice versa. If the run has not been established, the passing game cannot survive on its own like some teams. When the D-line can tee off without regard for the run, the offensive line struggles. When Ohio State is hammering the football, then the play action and rollout stuff gets so much easier to complete. This offense is best when they're throwing when they want to, not because they have to. 

- The Ohio State O-line was dominant against Michigan, and they just demolished their defensive front. Basically, this was the entire story to the game. It's hard to pin the Michigan State loss on the O-line, because they were not allowed to play the way they play best. Against Michigan, they didn't think they needed to roll Barrett left all the time away from Chase Farris, like they did against the Spartans. And they made Elliott a focal part of the offense, unlike last week's game. AND we never saw the awesome shovel pass to Nick Vannett. This group's struggles in pass protection were tough to exploit, because Ohio State rarely had to throw the football. 

- For Elliott, he's one of the greatest runningbacks in Ohio State history, and that says it all about him. He might be THE greatest runningback in OSU history, but I will let others argue over that point. Suffice to say, he is the leader of this team and its best football player. He will be sorely missed next year, but he might still have a few games left to play at Ohio State. He simply HAD to play well Saturday after what he said the week before, and there was a lot of pressure on Zeke to deliver. He was amazing and deserves a lot of praise for his performance. 

- Mike Thomas was in a battle with one of the best cover guys in all of football in Jourdan Lewis, and that was a great matchup to watch. Jalin Marshall had the catch of the year for Ohio State fans, and that grab in the end zone set the tone for the second half that the Buckeyes were not going to be denied. These guys really blocked well downfield, and that's what sprung Elliott on a few long runs. 

- J.T. Barrett was allowed to run the zone read, and he ran it to perfection. He had so many great decisions in this game, and ran the offense to perfection as a distributor. He wasn't put in position to have to win the game, unlike last week when everything was put on his shoulders. He played the way everyone hoped he would play this season. If he carries that over into the playoffs, should Ohio State get in, they will be a tough out. 

- It's too soon to know what the rest of the season holds for Ohio State, because they need help. They made a strong statement against Michigan, and now they have to pray the committee has the opportunity to vote them in. I would think North Carolina, USC and Florida are the teams to root for this week, and hope one of them pulls off a victory. I'm not good at the What-If's, so I'm not about to guess at what the committee might do in each scenario. Ohio State had a chance to control their destiny, but came up short, so now they need help. But for one day, against Michigan, this team looked like the best team in the country. 

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