Captain's Corner - NC State

Ol' #35 is back with a look at the NC State game and some thoughts on the coming week.

They don't ask "how"…they ask "how many".

The Buckeyes climb to 3-0 in an overtime thriller against a very good football team. North Carolina State had talent on both sides of the ball. More importantly, NC State had a spectacular quarterback that was about as good as they come at the college level. We may have made it tougher than it needed to be, but we escaped with a win like all the great teams do.

Let's just tell Craig Krenzel it is 4th down or we are in overtime every single play. Is there a better clutch player in college football? Has there ever been a better clutch player? 10 of 12 in overtime along with some key rushes. He is not always dominating, but he has the ability to hit the switch and shine.

Michael Jenkins played like a three-year starter and captain, especially on his two touchdowns. Yes, throwing to the tight end needs to be part of the offense, but a tight end doesn't take a crossing route and turn it into six the way MJ did. Our receivers are talented and deep. We need to call on them and they need to answer the call like Michael did.

Early in the game, it looked like another Heisman campaign would flop as Rivers struggled against our silver bullet defense. At the end of the first half, we saw a dazzling 7 for 7 display in a two-minute drill that left my head spinning. From that point on, Phillip Rivers lived up to the hype and battled. He wore our defense down (the officiating didn't help either). He used a ball control approach to create 28 first downs. It is a good thing we have more than 11 capable guys on defense. We needed them. We would have lost that game if we weren't well conditioned and deep.

Okay, now the running game. Three yards by our top two tailbacks is not good enough. I realize teams are bringing up safeties and playing eight or nine in the box, but it can't be used as an excuse for our lackluster rushing performance. Eight or nine in the box has been used for decades. That should mean 150 yards for our running game instead of 250. It all starts up front. We need to control the line of scrimmage. We need to sustain blocks. We need to play with lower pad levels. We need to play angrier. Whether Hall and Ross are good, great, or average, we need to create lanes and creases. We rank 93rd out of 117 in Division 1-A in team rushing. An average back should be able to pick up yards at OSU. Hall and Ross are way better than average. This line is capable of doing it. Last year, this same group made for some big rushing performances. I have faith in Spencer, Bollman, and Tressel. They will not throw in the towel and neglect the running game. They will work it and work it and work it until this gets fixed. In addition, we can't blame the Stepanovich injury. Mangold did fine on Saturday and is on track to have a great career.

I think it would help to push the scout team aside for a few periods this week in practice. Force our offense to run against our defense. If they can do that, they can do it on Saturday. I would hate to see an injury or wear our guys down, but 44 total rushing yards will cost us a game in the near future.

Bowling Green will be ready for this. The Falcon players have been getting ready for the Buckeyes since they signed their letter-of-intent. They are coming in to win this game. They beat a Purdue team that physically got after us last year.

1.) Bottle up a very good BG quarterback (Josh Harris is a Westerville North grad).

2.) Force feed the ball to our perimeter players (We can exploit a significant speed advantage)

3.) Take better care of the football

It sounds so easy sitting behind my computer typing this up.

Buckeye Leaves..

Craig Krenzel – Stepped right up to his critics with another courageous performance.

Ben Hartsock – Career day. Looks quicker and lighter on his feet.

Luke Fickell/Jim Tressel – Kickoffs are generally booted to the corners of the field for coverage purposes. Hanging those first half kickoffs down the middle into the sun was a great move. (If it was unintentional…sshhh…but I truly believe that was done on purpose).

B.J. Sander – 49+ yard average against the Pack.

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