Well, as if there were ever any doubts, OSU creamed Kent State by a final tally of 51 to 17 Saturday afternoon. Though it looked like this contest was about to become the ugliest game since the 72-0 shellacking of Pittsburgh in 1996, Kent State settled down when Ohio State began playing its second and even third string players. As a direct result, from the middle of the second quarter until the fourth OSU put only 13 points on the scoreboard to KSU's 17. However, don't be fooled. This game was never as close as the final score indicates (which is good news for Ohio State fans).
What about the grades?
QB – Craig Krenzel is going to make Ohio State fans very, very, very happy this season. He may make the occasional bad decision, but he does not make many. Again I am reminded and rest secure in the notion that in college football it is not about the arm strength and speed to burn the defense but about making intelligent decisions. Alabama won a whole host of games with a guy named Jay Barker, Applewhite did nothing but win at Texas (while the more athletic player in Simms never was able to get the job done), and OU won a national title with a coach's son named Heupel. For the day, Krenzel threw only one or two passes that he probably wanted back, and his final tallies were 12-14 for 190 yards and one touchdown. Also in the good news column is that Scott McMullen came into the game to relieve Krenzel and looked fairly sharp. He finished 5-11 with 81 yards. Neither had an interception. Both still need to hit wide receivers in stride a bit more. At the same time, I can't complain too much since Krenzel tied an Ohio State record by starting the game with 12 straight completions, and I no longer cringe when I see a pass being thrown over the middle of the field…
Grade – A
Offensive line -
Excellent job on our pass blocking for the first time in years.
Yeah, it was Kent State, but I doubt Ohio State's line would have kept
even KSU out of the backfield just two short seasons ago.
The rushing statistics were not there this week, but that was not because
of a lack of nice holes. So long as
Ohio State does not suffer a rash of injuries, we could end up with one of the
best offensive lines in the conference. How
long has it been since we said that at Ohio State?
Grade – A
Running Backs – Nobody really dominated today.
Clarett continues to look special both as a receiver out of the backfield
and as a rusher. He had two scores
before the middle of the second quarter. Maurice
Hall scampered for a nice gain and another score.
Ross showed his abilities to pick a hole and avoid the defense. After all of the nice comments?
Nobody rushed for 100 yards (partly because of a lack of carries), and
both Maurices put the ball on the turf. In
a big game, fumbles will cost you – SO HANG ONTO THE FOOTBALL.
Grade – B
Wide Receivers – This unit stepped up their play
from last week. Carter played quite
a bit today and had some nice catches. I
can't help but root for the guy given his hard luck career thus far for the
Buckeyes. Jenkins also made some
grabs, and for once he used his body and leaping ability to come down with a
long completion from Krenzel. Childress
had a catch, and Gamble came down with a pass reception every 3 seconds in the
first quarter. A solid job by the
receivers today, but they still need to improve a bit.
We are not breaking any long touchdowns after the catch.
Based on our talent, we should be able to break one every once in a
Grade – A-
Fullback – We did not talk about this position all
that much. That means that the
Fullback did his job in blocking and protecting the quarterback.
I would like to see more quick traps this season to keep a defense off
balance, but still – that is the coaches' decision and not the players.
Grade – A
Defensive Line – This line looks like it has the
potential to be one of the best ever at Ohio State. Cribbs looked like he was on a pivot in the first half.
Every time he tried to set his feet to find a receiver, he had to
scramble. Anderson, Smith,
Peterson, Fraser… they all were chasing Cribbs.
The one negative is that Cribbs broke out of too many tackles in the
backfield. Ohio State had at least
3 or 4 more sacks had the linemen held onto the KSU QB.
Some of this can be attributed to a strong, athletic QB for Kent State,
but some of it can be attributed to poor tackling by Ohio State.
Grade – B
Linebacker – Cie Grant showed that he might be the
difference maker for Ohio State. While
he was in the game, Ohio State dominated. After
his absence, Kent State was able to move the football (don't fret – Cie will
be full go for next week). Wilhelm
and Pagac both played well in the middle. Robert
Reynolds had a very disappointing first half but was solid in the second half.
Overall, this was a very workmanlike performance for the starters and a
couple of nice plays by the freshmen. Reynolds
needs to work on shedding blocks, and we need a solid backup for Grant.
Grade – B+
Defensive Backs – Fox's name was barely called
today. That tells me one thing…
Kent State was not interested in challenging him.
McNutt on the other hand had his number called all day long.
I am very concerned about the corner position with the upcoming
Washington State game. Richard is obviously doing the very best he can, but the guy
has to play every day and every game on a bum ankle. We really need one of the freshmen to step up and lock down
the other corner position if we are going to think about contending for a Big
Ten title. Thus far, we have faced
two sub-par offensive lines and the opposing quarterback has still picked on
McNutt for multiple touchdowns. That
does not bode well. Doss played
well and had a nice interception return for a touchdown.
Ohio State will miss Doss next year because although his pass coverage
abilities have been suspect, there is no doubt that the guy is a playmaker.
Grade – C+
Special Teams – I am disappointed so far in our
kickoff returns. I am also a bit
disappointed in our kickoff coverage team.
No way should we be limited to the occasional 25 yard return while our
opponents catch the ball 5 yards deep and still end up beyond the 20 yard line.
One aspect I am overjoyed with however is our placekicking.
Nugent has been stellar. In
fact, he has been PERFECT.
He is booming kicks into the end zone on kickoffs, and he has yet to miss
either a PAT or a FG. Again I am
reminded of what my wife exclaimed when she saw him against Texas Tech…
"Hey, did you guys get a new kicker?" Great
job Mike. Punt returns were
only so-so, and as usual – Andy Groom is a fabulous punter.
Where would Ohio State be without him?
I will take a dozen walk-ons like him any day of the week.
Grade – B+
The Freshmen – The freshmen played quite a bit
today. Though it is hard to get the
total picture from television because of the limited camera angles, I thought
Nate Salley had a very nice game. Yes,
he did get beat for a touchdown, but he had great coverage on that play.
The announcers said his coverage could not have been better -- which I
disagree with – he could have knocked the pass down and prevented the
touchdown! Still, Salley showed
some serious athletic ability and later in the game put a serious hit on a Kent
State player across the middle. A.J.
Hawk looks to be the best of the freshmen linebackers early on this year.
He had an INT return for a touchdown and a couple of very nice hits.
He just always seems to show up around the ball.
Carpenter, D'Andrea, Kudla, and others also saw the field extensively.
All of the freshmen that are seeing minutes will reap great dividends
later this season considering we have 12 games to go…
I am going to give them a high grade, but remember – these guys are
freshmen and not the starters. I am
grading as much on potential as on performance.
Grade – A-
Coaching – A solid job. We passed more today, and Washington State should have a enough offensive tape to keep their defensive coaches up at night. Should they sell out for the run or defend against the pass? The schemes of Ohio State force teams to do one or the other. Last year, the opposition forced Ohio State to throw, but Krenzel looks like he might be able to thoroughly thrash a defense if given some time to go through his progressions. We probably pulled the starters a bit too early, but at the same time? If we had kept the starters in too long and one had been lost for the season while we had a 38-0 lead, there would have been an uproar in the Buckeye State. Defensively Ohio State is still giving up too many yards through the air. I am not certain if this is poor scheming or whether this is just indicative of a weakness at the corner position (I would guess the latter is more to blame). The kicking game is much improved this year, but the coaches need to work on our returns. Good game overall. The coaches must be getting something right considering the low amount of penalties and the 51 points for Ohio State.
Grade – B+Solid game for Ohio State. Next up? The Washington State Cougars.