Each week, The Coach will offer pre- and postgame analysis for Ohio State as the Buckeyes head down the stretch of the 2007 regular season.
Each Friday, The Coach brings you "Chalk Talk's Game Plan" where he outlines three different ways the Buckeyes need to attack their opponents on offense, defense and special teams.
Then after each game, he returns to analyze what OSU did right and what they needed to work on.
THREE DOWNS TO VICTORY – DEFENSE
1. DTs need to hold the point of attack.
Without the ability to review the game due to the game being on the Big Ten Network, it was very hard for me to evaluate this goal. Having said that, I am going to make an educated conjecture here. The Buckeyes held the Badger running backs to 60 yards on 23 carries – 22 of those yards came on one big carry. When you couple that with number of tackles James Laurinaitis had, it is safe to say the DTs played much better this week and did what was needed.
2. Win first down.
Ohio State did a solid job on first down. They forced the Badgers into 11 second-down plays that were 8 yards or longer. The Buckeyes were also able to force a punt five times without giving up a first down following those second-and-long situations. Even so, the Badgers had more success in those long yardage areas than I thought. We also must remember the long yardage led to a 10-sack day for the Buckeye D.
3. Confuse the first-year starters.
The Buckeyes were able to recover a couple of fumbles in the game, one by first-year RB Zach brown when the Badgers' backs were against the wall. While QB Tyler Donovan did not force any throws, the Buckeyes were able to garner 10 sacks. I think it is safe to say that some of these can be attributed to confusing the young Badgers.
THREE DOWNS TO VICTORY – OFFENSE
1. Protect the ball.
The Buckeyes did not put the ball on the ground. Todd Boeckman did an excellent job of protecting the ball when it came to the pass. Three more games like that and things should work out just fine for the Buckeyes.
2. Get 200 yards rushing.
The Buckeyes earned 211 yards rushing on the day. Beanie Wells is starting to move from a very good running back to a special running back. This is fun to watch.
3. Keep them guessing.
The Badgers came out on defense, and so the Buckeyes went with the "go ahead and throw it" mentality. Boeckman and the rest of the Buckeyes offense responded. The team's success in the air really opened up the running attack. The offense did struggle to get a rhythm in the second quarter, but found itself in the second half.
We witnessed the Buckeye kickoff unit return to form this past week. They did an excellent job of covering the kicks. The punt team did a fine job after their "off" week. They almost forced a huge fumble in the game. The concern on special teams right now is the low kick that the Buckeyes had on a field-goal unit.
The Badgers really only had three meaningful drives all day. The first drive, which continued on the fake punt and the first two drives of the second half. On the first drive of the half, they ran a pick play for a huge gain. For the TD, Donovan and tight end Travis Beckum made wonderful plays. Ohio State did hold the Wisconsin backs to 60 yards on 23 carries, and you can certainly beat the Badgers when you do that.
While there are some things the OSU defense needs to continue to improve on, we must remember it held the Badgers to under 300 yards of offense and 17 points. That is a pretty good day at the office.
On offense, the second quarter was not the best. OSU needs to get rid of all the penalties. The second half was an excellent job by entire Buckeye offense. It is great to get tested and still pull out a large victory. Next up, Illinois!
Chalk Talk's Game Plan: Wisconsin Postgame
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