GLENDALE, Ariz. – Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer always stresses one key point regarding his offense – it has to be balanced.
Against Clemson, that didn't happen. Not even close. In the 31-0 College Football Playoff semifinal loss, Ohio State threw it 33 times and gained just 127 yards through the air, meaning Clemson was free to clog the box, which limited the normal prolific Buckeye ground attack to just 88 yards on 23 attempts. Not counting a late 67-yard run by H-back Curtis Samuel, it would've been 22 rushing attempts for 21 yards.
The passing game, quite simply, wasn't there, and the problems can't be pinned on one thing. At times this season, Ohio State has struggled to pass block, get separation from defenders, catch the ball and throw with accuracy. Against Clemson, every one of those problems made an appearance.
After the game, Meyer acknowledged that the offense lacked balance, saying "that wasn't our game plan."
Going forward, he expects the improvement that never came this season.
"We will become a good passing team, we will," Meyer said. "Next year."
On the season, Ohio State's passing numbers look good on the surface. Quarterback J.T. Barrett totaled 233 completions on 379 attempts for 2,555 yards, 24 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, but the big plays and downfield consistency weren't there for much of the year.
Now the Buckeyes, who had the youngest team in the FBS this year, have plenty of room to improve, and their coach has confidence that will happen.