The Ohio State Buckeyes showed a large amount testicular fortitude in gutting and scrapping their way to a 40-30 victory over Northwestern Saturday night in Evanston. The Buckeye nation showed itself to be lacking in testicular fortitude as the message boards filled up with whining, crying Bucks fans certain that everything we wanted for this team was lost after Northwestern ‘hit us in the mouth.’
Well buck up fan base. Ohio State fought back and won the game. We have now won 18 in a row. Urban Meyer has not lost a game as the head coach of the Buckeyes and the Leaders Division, Big 10 and National title are all still within reach. Let’s enjoy another victory and talk about what’s real and what’s not in this addition of the Arm Chair Quarterback, Northwestern style.
Let’s be obvious and start out with Carlos Hyde. Carlos Hyde was a monster Saturday night accumulating 168 yards and three touch downs. I never saw him go down on the first hit. Carlos carried the ball 26 times and Urban Meyer and the offense rode him like Secretariat. The only thing as impressive on the offensive side of the football was the offensive line.
Aunt Jemima was on the field Saturday night because we had to have syrup for all the pancakes the offensive line was making. Linsley, Hall, Mewhort, Norwell and Decker were very impressive. Carlos Hyde had a lot of yards after contact but that contact was being made four and five yards down the field, the line was dominate.
The Defensive line probably saved this game in a lot of respects because the only time our DB’s looked good was when the DL got pressure. Barnett, Bosa, Washington and Spence were a problem for the Wildcats passing quarterback all night. The adjustments they made to the option in the second half forced Northwestern to abandon something that had worked really well for them in the first half.
Cameron Johnston put all three of his punts inside the Northwestern 20 yard line. Somewhere near Akron, Jim Tressel was smiling. So was I.
Somebody needed to call an abuse hotline because Northwestern’s passing game beat up on our DB’s so bad that we needed to get a restraining order. NU’s two quarterbacks netted 343 yards passing. Part of the problem was the soft coverages that we were using through much of the game, some of it was just bad technique and great routes run by NU’s receivers. The DB’s just did not play very well and there is no reason or way to sugar coat it.
As strong as Braxton Miller was against Wisconsin last week, he struggled in Evanston Saturdaynight. Braxton was a statistically adequate Braxton, as he ran for 68 and passed for 203 but he lost two fumbles and threw an interception. He should have been intercepted on the opening drive when he forced a pass to Corey Brown inside the 10 yard line in triple coverage. The reads on the option plays were not crisp and Braxton would tell you that he definitely didn’t have a great night.
Jeff Heuerman had the ball hit him in the hands on two different occasions Saturday and he didn’t get close to catching either one. He must be one of the healthiest kids on the team because he couldn’t catch a cold Saturday night.
The fake punt from near our own 30 in the first half was uglier than a Michigan homecoming queen. Enough said.
Buckeye Nation, the message boards at half time were ugly. This team will have to fight through some adversity to get the national title we want for them. Our coaches made some great adjustments during the course of this game and the lack of faith and negativity was disappointing. I hope nobody got hurt jumping off the bandwagon at half time Saturday.
We have won 18 in a row. Twelve last season and six this season. The chase for the national title is still in tact. We get an off week next week which could be a blessing or a curse. We’ll just have to wait and see. It was not a crisp, resounding victory but we were on the road in a hostile environment and we persevered.
I don’t know if we’re good enough to be Alabama, but I do know that we have a tough football team. We have another week to get better and keep chasing that crystal football. Enjoy the bye week, the fighting Ferrentz’s of Iowa City will journey to ‘The Shoe’ to receive a pain sandwich in a few weeks.