We had a few penalties on Penn State's first drive that really hurt us. We had two big holding penalties on our offense that brought back a Ginn reverse and a Smith scramble for a first down early in the third quarter. Overall, we had eight penalties vs. Penn State's three. We had our quarterback and tailback drop the ball only to have the Nittany Lions recover. We had a field goal blocked. We didn't field a punt that was downed by PSU at the 1-yard line.
It was a beautiful day in the Horseshoe.
Despite a lack of perfection, despite a lack of "mistake-free football", despite playing good and not great, the Buckeyes were in control of Penn State from beginning to end. That is encouraging in my mind. You sometimes worry when you have to play almost the perfect game without a single mistake to come out with a close victory. It is comforting to see the Buckeyes won fairly convincingly and had some regrettable mistakes they would like back.
Don't get me wrong; I am not being pessimistic about the game. Sorry to point out all the negatives in the first paragraph. What I am talking about is very encouraging in the big picture.
As a fan that probably takes Ohio State football too seriously, I have a
drawn up the scenarios I would love to see:
1. The Buckeyes play great and win by 45 points.
2. The Buckeyes play good and win by 21 points.
3. The Buckeyes play average and win by about 10 points.
4. The Buckeyes play poorly (basically we don't show up) and we have ourselves a nail-biter. Yet we still have a good chance to win.
The scenarios take me back to the Penn State game. We blow them out if we don't make the mistakes listed above. And by the way, the mistakes listed above are very fixable. Extra concentration and focus will eliminate many of the things that kept PSU in the game.
Mistake-free football works. Tressel doesn't want mistake-free football though. He wants mistake-free football mixed with Tyler Everett breaking on the ball for the pick and scoring. He wants mistake-free football with Youboty's pick and Ginn's punt return and Hall's 62-yard kickoff return and Nugent booming kickoffs into the fifth row. It could be a real nice scene when everything comes together.
Awesome win for the Buckeyes. Lets quit talking about Joe Paterno's age and start talking about closing in on a bowl game. We showed some flashes that are real exciting.
Ted Ginn Jr. - When the opponent punts the football, the coaches call one of three things. You either call for a block, a return, or "punt safe". Basically, punt safe means it is 4th and short (or the ball is around four-down territory) and you leave most your defense on the field to better defense any potential fakes or trickery. I don't know what was officially called and I don't review the film with the coaches. However, it definitely looked to me like OSU called punt safe. What I am saying is this: Ginn returned that punt without maximized blocking for a return.
Ashton Youboty - Defensive backs need a short memory. They need to worry about the most important play in football, which is the next play. After a mistake in the first PSU drive, he played for the present instead of worrying about the past as he intercepted a Robinson pass. This guy will be a big time player. I am bullish on Youboty.
Maurice Hall - Kickoff return record and 4.6 per carry against a solid defense.