Dave Thurman (9:27 am) @Dkthurman7
Confession is Good for the Soul: Confession time. I picked Penn State to defeat the Buckeyes last Saturday in a close one, as I thought the injuries, poor tackling, and life on the edge would finally catch up to OSU. I admit my lack of faith in a team that has consistently found a way to win, and in that way, has somewhat mirrored the Ohio State team of a decade ago, that wasn't pretty but always came out on top. But then again, I do live by the adage, "There's no such thing as a disappointed pessimist."
In many ways I think the PSU victory was the best of the season, and was the product of good coaching, teamwork, hard-nosed effort, and help from the referees (okay I threw that last one in dripping with sarcasm due to all the crying by Penn State fans and bloggers).
Champions that were identified by Urban Meyer at his Monday press conference were three offensive linemen (you can guess which ones but I'm assuming one isn't Marcus Hall), Jake Stoneburner (who has responded to a heart-to-heart a couple weeks ago), Evan Spencer, Carlos Hyde; and, Braxton Miller who was the offensive player of the game. On defense only two guys graded out as champions, Ryan Shazier (who had a monster game) and Bradley Roby and they were co-defensive players of the week. Although he had no catches at PSU, Devin Smith took home special teams player of the game for his work as a gunner on the punt team. Meyer called Smith "the fastest player on the team", a fact Roby may wish to dispute. In addition, Adam Griffin was awarded the scarlet short for extra effort in Saturday's game.
Meyer was noticeably tired at the Monday press conference but was effusive in his praise of what he called "a special team." He gave a nice shout our to Chase Farris, who he said is "on fire", praising his development since his move from defensive line to offensive line. He also mentioned how much improvement there has been from Zach Boren since his mid-season move to linebacker, but in typical Meyer fashion moved from compliment to challenge, saying he was disappointed that Boren didn't grade out as a champion, noting he has to get better. For me that is the essence of what makes Urban great. He walks that fine line between lifting players up with positive praise, and challenging them to dig deeper and get better. And he seems to know when each is needed most.
(AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
The No. 4 ranked Buckeyes took the floor for the first time tonight, facing off in an exhibition against Walsh for yet another year. The Cavaliers got off to a hot start leading the new look Ohio State squad for much of the first half. Finally, OSU would take over, scoring 17 of the final 20 points to lead at halftime 39-30. They would cruise in the second half to an 83-71 victory in front of a crowd of just over 13,000 at Value City Arena.
It was preseason All-American Deshaun Thomas that did the most damage, scoring 25 point and adding six rebounds. The biggest surprise may have been LaQuinton Ross though, who got the start and scored 13 points. Sam Thompson and Evan Ravenel both had 11 points. Matta played 10 total players on the night.
After the break you can catch the post-game comments (via OhioStateBuckeyes.com).
Basketball season is here! And no, we're not talking about the NBA.
The Buckeyes are playing an exhibition against the Walsh Cavaliers at 7 PM, which you can watch on BTN.com for a charge. Even if you don't watch it, stop by and chat with us on the LiveBlog. We'll be joining all the good folks from around the BBN - Fox Sports Ohio, The Buckeye Battle Cry, the Buckeye Blog, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, Buckeye Empire and Our Honor Defend.
Fickell has been a controversial figure.
Drew Thurman (3:33 pm) @osusilverbullet
From the moment Urban Meyer was hired nearly a year ago, he talked about assembling the best coaching staff in the country at Ohio State. This was music to Buckeye fans' ears, as Tressel's staff was mostly anonymous to the college football world outside of Buckeye Nation in his final few years.
Urban backed up that talk as well, aggressively taking well thought of coaches from around the country and paying them salaries not previously seen at Ohio State for assistants. It was a move that in the right direction for the B1G as well. Going into this year, the conference ranked fourth in assistant football coach compensation, behind the SEC, Big 12 and ACC.
Still, we all know that it isn't the salary that makes the coach, it's the on the field product. So how is Meyer's new staff doing?
Well, the 9-0 record would suggest this newly compromised staff has done their jobs very well. As a whole this group easily gets an A. Individually? Well, let's dive in a take a look:
Zach Clark (11:13 am) @Zach_TSB
Iowa 17 – Northwestern 28
My Prediction: Iowa 14 – Northwestern 24
Most Shocking Statistic: Turnovers: Iowa 0 – Northwestern 2
My Northwestern MVP: QB Kain Colter (6/9-80 yards-1 touchdown-1 interception, 26 rushes-166 yards-3 touchdowns)
Fortunately for the Wildcats, the Hawkeyes provided a great opportunity for the Kitty Kats of Evanston to get back on their feet. As expected, Northwestern won by a double-digit deficit. Iowa’s key man Mark Weisman struggled, rushing 9 times for 21 yards and catching 2 passes for 20 yards. Shockingly, despite achieving more 1st downs, gaining over twice as many passing yards, and turning the ball over 2 less times, the Hawkeyes were dominated from start to finish. I had the rare opportunity to speak with a native Iowan and Hawkeye student this past weekend after the game. After I politely suggested that it may be time for the Hawkeyes to move on from the Kirk Ferentz era, she looked at me like it was the most outrageous thing she had ever heard. As long as Iowa fans keep up that attitude regarding Mr. Ferentz, the Hawkeye program will be committed to B1G mediocrity…
Indiana 31 – Illinois 17
My Prediction: Indiana 38 – Illinois 14
Most Shocking Statistic: Total Yards: Indiana 292 – Illinois 372
My Indiana MVP: RB Stephen Houston (21 rushes-71 yards-2 touchdowns, 2 catches-16 yards-1 touchdown)
I started off hot on Saturday, coming close to predicting the winner and correct score of the first two games of the day. Despite outgaining the Hoosiers by 80 yards, the Illini were wrecked by 2 touchdowns. Shockingly, the Illini cannot blame the loss on the turnover ratio, as they only turned the ball over once more than Indiana. Additionally, Illinois was vastly more successful on 3rd down, converting 7/17 compared to Indiana’s 1/13. Fans in Champaign desperately want this season to come to an end. In fact, some have already begun to call for Tim Beckman’s head. He’ll be given a couple more years at least, but he’ll have to drastically improve this squad if he wants to stick around for much longer. As I’m reminded by some Illini faithful, the Illini are still bowl-eligible! All it would take is victories over our Buckeyes (in the ‘Shoe…), Minnesota, Purdue, and Northwestern. Yeah, right…
Andrew Chirico (8:01 pm) @Bucknut22
Saturday was another enjoyable night to be a Buckeye fan. Being at the game, Penn State had an atmosphere where you honestly couldn’t hear the guy next to you. In the first half the offense was not there, which was partially due to them not getting in a rhythm due to the crowd noise. The other factor was that Braxton was missing passes and not running like himself, which was not surprising at all considering it was his first time in a game situation after being hospitalized. The defense, on the other hand, did not give up a single point the whole half. Penn State’s only points came from a blocked punt.
Momentum finally changed in the second half on Penn State’s first drive when Ryan Shazier stepped in front of a Matt McGloin pass and took it to the house. After that Ohio State looked like a different team. Many unexpected players had solid contributions in the game like Evan Spencer, Rod Smith and Nick Vannett. All three underrated players shined on this night.
Everything seemed to click for the Buckeyes in the second half, and the game was iced when Braxton threw a beautiful 72 yard pass to Jake Stoneburner for a touchdown with just over 6 minutes remaining. Not surprisingly, after that Penn State fans started leaving.
Here are my thoughts of what stood out...
The first half was brutal to get through as both teams missed opportunities, played sloppy and punted a lot. The Buckeyes managed to even the score at seven just before halftime, and came out like gangbusters in the third quarter.
Ryan Shazier opened things up with a sack and pick six of Matt McGloin, and the offense line out-muscled the Nittany Lion defense to make way for a pair of Braxton Miller rushing touchdowns. That 21-3 third quarter would give the Buckeyes all they needed as they closed things out in the fourth quarter for a 35-23 victory and 9-0 record. Here were a few of the big notes:
We have a full video of Urban Meyer's post-game comments (via GoPSUsports.com) after the break.
Dave Thurman (0:00 am) @Dthurman7
Mascot: Nittany Lions
Stadium: Beaver Stadium (107,282)
2011 Record: 9-4
2012 Record: 5-2
Head Coach: Bill O'Brien (1st year at PSU, 5-2)
Letterman Returning: (33; lost - 25)
Returning Starters: Offense - 2; Defense - 4; Specialists - 1
Base Defense: 4-3
Base Offense: Ace (3 receivers) & Power-I
Lisa Salters, ESPN reporter
Todd Blackledge, NFL quarterback; TV sports analyst
Adam McKay, Screenwriter and director of Anchorman and Talladega Nights
Tom Verducci, senior writer, Sports Illustrated
Mike Scioscia, MLB catcher and manager
Franco Harris, NFL Hall of Fame running back
David Morrell, author of First Blood (beginning of Rambo series)
Cheerleader Scouting Report:
Cast of Characters:
#11 Quarterback, Matt McGloin
This fifth year senior is actually a graduate student, known by Buckeye fans as the quarterback with "moxie"! McGloin is tough, intelligent and competitive, and is having a whale of a senior season now that he has a coach who believes in him. Thus far he has hit 62.5% of his throws, leads the B1G with 255.4 ypg, and most impressively, has 14 TD's and only 2 INT's.
#8 Wide Receiver, Allen Robinson
A year ago this sophomore caught all of 3 passes and this season was supposed to back up players like Devon Smith and Justin Brown who decided to transfer. Now, Robinson is the star of the show, and has 47 catches, 563 yards and 8 TD's. McGloin has other threats, but Robinson has become his favorite target, and he is a big one at 6'3", 201 lbs.
#47, Defensive Tackle, Jordan Hill
Hill is a big guy at nearly 300 pounds, and is a rock in the middle of the line, pairing with the even bigger DeQuan Jones. Jordan is the Lions fourth leading tackler with 37, which includes 4 for loss and 2.5 sacks. He also has an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery and will be a load for the OSU offensive line.
#42 Outside Linebacker, Michael Mauti
The best of an excellent set of Nittany Lion linebackers, Mauti is a senior who was hurt last year but has returned with a vengeance. He showed this week that he has a big mouth but he also backs it up, leading the team with 65 tackles, with 3.5 for loss, including 2.5 sacks. He has also picked off 3 passes, forced 2 fumbles and recovered one.
#97 Kicker, Sam Ficken
If you are looking for a weakness on the Penn State team you might look no further than their kicker. Ficken, a sophomore from Indiana, has struggled, hitting just 4-11 FG's with a a long of 34. He has also missed two extra points. Now, he may look great this week, but so far it has been tough sledding, and his accuracy issues cost PSU the Virginia game.
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
Talk about a guy who inherited a tough job, O'Brien not only followed PSU legend Joe Paterno, but had to endure an offseason of incredible turmoil, and the loss of some of his best players. After starting the year with a couple of losses, he has steered the Lions to five straight wins, and showed some of the offensive expertise that he is known for from his days with the Patriots, guiding Tom Brady.