Saturday, September 17, 2011

No O in Ohio State tonight

There must be a hell of a lot of H's and I's running around the state tonight, because there's not any damn O in sight. And I've been looking.

Ohio State played one of the worst offensive games I've ever seen on Saturday night in their loss against the University of Miami. And remember, I'm a Browns fan.

After the Akron game, I was gaga for Bauserman, and really impressed by Braxton Miller. After Toledo, I was concerned yet not panicked by the QB play. Now, after three games, as they say, "it's over Johnny." Before absolute garbage disposal time in the last twenty seconds, Ohio State had 13 more yards passing tonight than I did.

The game was marked by some of the worst quarterback (and receiver) play I've ever seen, as early in the game, throw after throw went behind receivers, and even those catchable balls were dropped. At one point I thought maybe the receivers were on some kind of strike. Miller had a tipped ball (on an off pass) interception. And then in the fourth quarter, when Miller started humming in the QB run-keeper offense, he coughed up a BCS-killing fumble that ended it for Ohio State.

The defense played well, forcing Jacory Harris into two interceptions in the first half. But the killers were in the fourth quarter--on two separate plays in the Miami game-clinching drive, Ohio State missed easy interceptions, one of which would easily have ended up with a pick-six.

Undoubtedly the blame will be spread wide and thick across the Ohio State program. And players and coaches who are now banned from campus aren't all to blame. Luke Fickell looked overmatched and confused against the Hurricanes, and no amount of QB-bait-and-switching could turn this offense around. The nail in his lame-duck coffin might have come in an ultimately meaningless play with about a minute and twenty left, where Miami got stopped on the one yard line of Ohio State, and Fickell basically conceded the game down by 11 (14 with a potential Miami Field goal) by not calling the timeout, letting Miami run the clock down to 40 seconds, then say "screw it" and run the ball up the middle. Even if the Buckeyes had stopped the Hurricanes, it still would have meant 99 yards.

Ultimately, they didn't anyway. But you can bet the calls for a veteran head coach will be heard from far and wide this week. Urban Meyer, hopefully you have voice mail. Because your phone might be ringing soon.

"Does this mean Ohio State's not very good?" ESPN's Brad Nessler asked at the end of the game. Yes, Brad, I'm afraid that's exactly what we are looking at. Amazing how fast the air can go out of a football program. All is not dead for Ohio State this year--but some serious work is needed on the team and the playbook this week--because we need an infusion of O, and soon.