Thoughts on OSU/PSU

Jerry Rudzinski checks in with his thoughts on the OSU/PSU game.

I am so glad that game was played at home. Home field seems to be everything in this series. Eddie George scored late in 95 to steal one in Happy Valley, but other than that, the home field ADVANTAGE has been huge. Beaver Stadium and the Horseshoe are two of the most hostile environments you will ever find in college football. I am not talking about Kent State or Northwestern rolling in to town, I am talking about the big boys like Michigan and Notre Dame coming on the field. Penn State and Ohio State -- both the fans and the players -- take their football very personally, and Saturday's game in the Horseshoe was evidence of that.

Tressel and his staff made great schematic adjustments at half time. Paterno and his staff made great schematic adjustments at half time. Tressel and his staff made great "rah rah" speeches at half time. Paterno and his staff made great "rah rah" speeches at half time. But we need to mention that those things don't really mean that much in a game like this. You need to play fast, high-energy, violent (but within the rules) football to win. When Penn State broke their huddle for their first offensive play of the second half, our crowd hit a switch that I haven't seen in a long time. Our players fed off the energy while Penn State players said in their sub-conscious minds, "my goodness…wow." The crowd noise doesn't affect the communication as much as you would imagine. Nor does it sway officials to make favorable calls like you would think. It simply raises the emotion of the home team. The home team knows this is their canvas to make something beautiful happen. The home team knows they are on stage. The home team knows a big hit or a diving catch will create electricity. The crowd and home field encourage making a big play rather than not screwing things up. I'll admit it…I don't think OSU wins that game on the road.

Maurice went down early and that worries me. He pounds his body so hard when he runs. This time it just broke down on him. He can play with all the pain in the world, but do we want to screw his career up by throwing him in there too early? Do we want this to continue every other week? Bill Davis, Doug Calland, and the doctors will address the situation. You can play with pain. At times, no further long-term damage is done with contact. It is a matter of "if you can stomach the pain…you can play." But most cases require rest and therapy to actually heal the situation. In these cases, playing on Saturday does more damage. Thank goodness our medical staff is concerned with the long-term picture. Unfortunately, not all teams think like that. I believe in the saying "You can play hurt, but you can't play injured." Let's sit Maurice down if he's injured. If you take away his physical running style, you take away his effectiveness. He is a power runner, not a finesse runner.

Chris Gamble was huge. Do we talk about his interception? Do we talk about the touchdown he saved off the Krenzel fumble? Do we talk about the downfield blocking he provides for our backs? Do we talk about cover units being scared out of their minds when he catches a punt? He is awesome. As we all get swept up in the defensive thing right now, let's not forget he is as dangerous an offensive weapon as you'll see in college football. Personally, I think he is an extremely good defensive back and would be an extremely good defensive back in the NFL. But he is a receiver. He needs to touch the ball on offense and put pressure on opposing defenders. That is where he is at his best. Play him and talk about him on defense, but his role cannot lessen on offense. The defense absolutely needs him, but the offense absolutely needs him as well.

Let's be careful, Minnesota matches up very well against us. Mason wants this game more than any player, coach, or fan in the stadium. An extra week for him to prepare means the Golden Gopher game plan will be ready to go. Don't overlook Minnesota.

Buckeye Leaves…

Donnie Nickey – While the coaches sent the defensive calls in between plays, it was Donnie Nickey that choreographed everything on the field. He lined people up. He made adjustments. He barked out signals. It's kind of nice having a coach on the field.

Chris Gamble – "On a warm summer's evening…on a train bound for nowhere…"

Andy Groom – I know he seems to get these leaves every week, but come on, 59 yards followed up with 55 yards. On top of that, his pooch punts in the first half we beauties. Our cover guys need to get those downed.

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