Northwestern Game Thoughts

I take any kind of victory I can get.  Whether the victory is convincing, unorthodox, dominating, or sloppy, it goes in the win column.  At times, this game fell in all those categories.  The bottom line though is that the Buckeyes went on the road in the Big Ten and took care of business.  They played a feisty Northwestern team, but our weapons were a bit too much for Coach Walker and his players.

It is obvious this staff is committed to Lydell Ross.  They know he is a very special player.  They know the offense needs him.  Maurice Clarett is our #1 tailback, but the sophomore from Tampa is a key piece to the puzzle.  Undertones about Lydell being unhappy with his situation are enough to make the Buckeye coaches lose sleep.  He is a quality person and a superstar athlete.  With or without Maurice Clarett fumbling the football, the coaches will make sure Ross has his share of touches through January 1.  That was clearly the case Saturday.  All Lydell Ross has done since he arrived at OSU is take advantage of his opportunities.  Remember that he is still only 18.  The guy is special. 

Oh, just another 140 yards for Clarett.  I think he even scored a few touchdowns.  Three fumbles is three too many though.  If we put the ball on the ground like that in one of our last six games, I assure you that we will lose.  Maurice realizes that fumbling is unacceptable, and I don't expect that to continue.  He is in the business of winning football games.  Clarett will fix this…and Coach Spencer will make sure of that. 

The Silver Bullets looked tough.  Coaches constantly say, "If you are going to make a mistake, make it going 150 mph."  That is the exact attitude our defense showed.  We had too many breakdowns and mental lapses, but our defense was playing hard and smacking people.  I truly believe that is the fastest our defense has played all year.  I am extremely encouraged by the tempo and punch our defense displayed.  If we hit people like that and continue to play with that velocity, this defense could be absolutely incredible by year-end.  You can teach a defense to take away a seam.  You can teach a defense to contain a reverse.  You can teach a defense to roll a coverage.  But you cannot teach a defense to play fast.  I saw a unit that wants to play "violently within the rules." 

I hated to see us give up return yards in the kicking game.  We work so hard to stop an offense from getting a first down.  Also, our offense works so hard to get 10 yards to move the chains.  When you let a team rip off a 70-yard kick return, it can deflate all you have been working for.  Think of it this way…that is basically 7 first downs the other team just got on you.  Ouch. 

On a brighter note, Mike Nugent is awesome.  Our kicker is playing his position better than anyone on our team.  If you stop the season right now, does anyone throw an MVP vote his way?  Not likely, but he is playing better than everyone else at this point.

Buckeye Leaves…

Craig Krenzel-His completion percentage wasn't perfect, but his "good decision" percentage almost was.

Offensive line-Best pass protection I have seen from us in awhile.  Not much of a rush by Northwestern, but regardless, we gave our quarterback some time.

Simon Fraser- Hey Simon, it is normal to get tired during the course of the game. Where did you get your motor?  If we had 22 motors like that, we would beat the New England Patriots.

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