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Dave Thurman (3:54 pm)

As expected, Ohio State's Braxton Miller was named B1G Conference Freshman of the Year today.  The Dayton native took over as the starting signal caller for the Buckeyes in the season's fourth game and posted solid numbers: 67-134, 997 yds, 11 tds, 4 int. passing; and, 144-695, 4.8 ypc, 7 tds rushing.  Maybe most impressive was the way Miller played in close contests with the game on the line.  He showed the ability to make big plays even though stymied by a predictable offense, and in spite of lacking playmaking receivers.  Congratulations to Braxton Miller, who should become a great one before his career in Columbus is over.

Other award winners:

-Offensive Player of the Year: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
-Defensive Player of the Year: Devon Still, Penn State
-Coach of the Year: Brady Hoke, Michigan

No word on whether Jim Bollman is in the running for assistant coach of the year or not!

 
 
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Value City Arena hosts arguably the biggest matchup in college basketball thus far, as No. 4 Duke (7-0) comes to town to take on No. 2 ranked Ohio State (6-0). Not only is the Big Ten/ACC Challenge bragging rights on the table tonight, but the Buckeyes will be trying to prove they are tough enough to hang with one of basketball's perennial powers.    

The game tips at 9:30 PM ET, but the LiveBlog will get going at 9. Joining us as usual will be Men of the Scarlet and Gray, Our Honor Defend, The Buckeye Battle Cry, Buckeye House Call, the Buckeye Blog, and Fox Sports Ohio.

LiveBlog after the break!

 
 
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Dave Thurman (8:58 pm)

Happy days are here again!  The worst kept secret in college football became reality early this evening as Urban Meyer was introduced officially as the new head coach of The Ohio State University  football team.  The 47-year-old Meyer is an Ohio native, born in Toledo but raised in Ashtabula, and grew up as a fan of the Buckeyes and legendary head coach Woody Hayes. After playing defensive back at the University of Cincinnati, he began his coaching career at St Xavier High School in Cincinnati, before serving two years as a graduate assistant at OSU under Earle Bruce.  Overall, as a head coach at Bowling Green, Utah, and Florida, Meyer compiled a 104-23 record, including being 7-1 in bowl games with two national championships.  His resume is extremely impressive, and like most fans I was anxious to see his first press conference in Columbus.  I was not disappointed.  Very quickly, here are a few things that jumped out at me:

-It seemed surreal as the moment we had all anticipated finally became reality, and things seemed to get of to a bit off a slow start.  Gene Smith is far from my favorite person, and he underwhelmed again, droning on for over five minutes in a monotone voice, explaining the process of hiring Meyer, repeating himself in the process.  After about four minutes of listening to his drivel I sent Drew a text that said, "For the love of all that is good, Gene, shut up, sit down, and let Urban talk."  Drew's response: "I was just tweeting the same thing!"

-When Urban first approached the podium he looked nervous, read a prepared statement, and even dropped his notes at one point.  But as soon as he finished reading the brief speech and started fielding questions, he quickly relaxed and did a great job with his responses. 

 
 
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Multiple sources have confirmed this morning that Urban Meyer has accepted the job to become the head coach at Ohio State. Rumors have swirled about this move for over a week, and now things will come to a finale today. In fact, the press conference to introduce him will be tonight at 5:15 pm.

What is truly interesting about this move is the reactions from Buckeye commitments and recruits. Bucknuts and 247Sports have done some incredible work on that front, and you can read it here, here, and here. It appears that Bri’onte Dunn seems to be the only recruit that is having any issues with the hiring of Meyer.

Also of note will be who will make up Meyer's staff. Word is that Meyer met with Luke Fickell this morning in person to talk about him remaining on the staff. It also looks like Stan Drayton will stay on board. Outside of the current staff, Mike Stoops has been the most speculated name over the last 24 hours. We should fine out more on those fronts tonight.

We will keep you updated as more news comes...

 
 
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Dave Thurman (8:05 am)

Mulling over the disappointing and bizarre 2011 season, I took a look at the Ohio State stat sheet.  It isn't pretty, as one might expect.  But I must confess that I was not prepared for a few of the most shocking numbers.  I know that you can make statistics say almost anything you want.  Still I believe looking over them will allow us to get a feel for why 2011 wound up being a season to forget.  Lock up the women and children, though, because these numbers are not for the faint of heart.  Here are the stats that caught my attention and punched me in the gut:

1) 48.2%.  That's right - OSU completed less than 50% of their passes in 2011.  Unless you are Army or Navy that is unthinkable.  And by the way, Navy actually completed a higher percentage than the Bucks!

2) 14 catches.  The single most shocking statistic in my mind is this one: the leading receiver for Ohio State caught all of 14 passes (a tie between Philly Brown and Jake Stoneburner).  Come On Man! Even high school running teams usually have a guy with 20 receptions!  (By the way, the leading receiver in terms of yardage was freshman Devin Smith with 247.)

3) 328.6 to 319.8.  Would you believe that this talented squad could actually be outgained by opponents?  Look it up for yourself.  I realize that the Buckeyes still outscored the opposition by 4 points per game, thanks greatly to hidden yardage (kick, punt and interception returns) where they were almost plus 30 yards per contest.  But still - outgained in yards from scrimmage.  Are you kidding me?

4) 596 yards.  The top Buckeye running back had under 600 yards on the year!  Yes, I know that number was put on the board by Boom Herron in just 6 games, but how often has the top Ohio State tailback had such a paltry total?  Braxton Miller, despite losing 200 yards due to sacks, actually led the team with 695 yards rushing.

5) 20.8 points and 3.9 yards per carry.  Both of these defensive numbers stunned me.  In the Jim Heacock era the Silver Bullets have pretty much not allowed teams to score over 15 points per game. Of course when you can run the ball against a team, it makes it a lot easier to score on them.  Simply put, the '11 squad failed to make opposing teams one dimensional. 

6) 40-23.  Opponents sacked Buckeye quarterbacks 40 times (you read that right), which is 17 more than the Scarlet and Gray were able to register!

7) 69 tackles.  The leading Buckeye tackler totaled only 69, and it wasn't a linebacker, but rather safety C.J. Barnett. This is another asterisk statistic, since Andrew Sweat would have probably had around 90 tackles if he hadn't been injured early in the Purdue game and lost for the season.

 
 
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Drew Thurman (8:24 pm)

While we wait for more Urban Meyer news, we can at least celebrate with some recruiting news. Lakeland (FL) wide receiver Ricquan Southward switched his commitment from Miami (FL) to Ohio State tonight, becoming the 16th member of the 2012 class.

Southward, listed at 6-2 190 pounds, is ranked as a 4 star product on ESPN. His film is incredibly impressive, and the young man has playmaker written all over him. Despite losing out on Dwayne Stanford, the Buckeyes now have four wideouts on board in 2012 with Southward, Frank Epitropolous, Mike Thomas, and Roger Lewis. This season has proven that the Buckeyes are as in desperate need of more talent at wide receiver, and will be losing Posey again to graduation. Devin Smith and Evan Spencer show promise for the future, but more bodies are needed. These four guys are definitely a step in a the right direction.

With the Meyer situation going on, many will instantly link this commitment to him, but Southward made it clear to Bill Kurelic that he feels at home in Columbus. He had a great visit during the Penn State game, and has had a great connection with Stan Drayton. One has to wonder if he also sees the major potential for early playing time. Regardless, this is a huge pickup for Ohio State, and the 2012 class continues to beef up despite all the factors swirling around the program.

Check out his film after the jump

 
 
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Drew Thurman (7:55 am)

You may recognize the name Jack Lengyel. He was the head coach at Marshall from 1971-74. Most of you know of Lengyel, not because of his coaching prowess, but from the movie We Are Marshall.

The story that movie tells is arguably the greatest sports tragedy in history. On November 14, 1970, a plane carrying 37 members of the Marshall football team, as well as eight coaches, 21 booster members and multiple other athletic department staffers crashed. All in all, 75 people on board that plane were killed.

That disaster didn't just impact the football program or the university, it impacted the entire town of Huntington, West Virginia. Many were ready to cut the football program in the wake of the crash, but some key people and students fought to see it carry on and Lengyel would eventually be hired. The movie depicts this journey of healing for both Marshall and the town of Huntington. It's a story about carrying on and moving forward when quitting seemed like the more sensible option. As history shows, their resilience wasn't for nothing as Marshall would be the winningest Division 1-A program in the country during the '90's.  

As moving as that story line is, every time I watch the movie or read the story I'm more blown away with Lengyel than anything. He was a man who took over a program in it's darkest hour when no one else seemed to want to, a move that was both unselfish and heartfelt. In fact, he would go on to have a 9-33 record at Marshall, yet he's still a hero. While his efforts in today's sports climate would seem like an epic failure, they were essential in moving the program on for greater success.

Flash forward to 2011 and Luke Fickell.

 
 
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Drew Thurman (10:27 pm)

It's been 2,926 days since Buckeye Nation has felt this feeling. While we all knew the streak would come to the end, possibly even this year, it still is awful to watch it come to fruition. 

In many ways this game embodied what we have seen this team be all season. A mix of poor coaching moments and failed execution in critical situations plagued the Buckeyes yet again, who have not really been able to put a complete game together this season. In fact, that was the reason many saw the Buckeyes falling short going into Saturday.

The 40-34 loss isn't how most people saw this one playing out though. This game saw 816 total yards of offense and 74 points in an effort that looked like something you would see in the Pac-12 or Big 12, not in this heralded rivalry. In fact, it was the Buckeye defense that was the biggest storyline in the game. They struggled all afternoon to stop Denard Robinson, who amassed 167 yards on 14/17 passing and three touchdowns to go with 170 yards on the ground with 2 touchdowns. Some of the issues can be chalked up to the mounting injuries on that side of the ball, more even happening during the game, but at the end of the day this defense is just plain bad. Not since the Tim Biakabutuka debacle have the Buckeyes looked so sorry on defense in this game.

Honestly, if I were to assess the whole season I would have to start with the defense. While Bollman's play calling has been like that of high school coach in 1934, the Buckeyes have been a contender for a decade now with questionable offenses. The big difference this season has been the defense, or lack thereof. They looked bad in Miami, they let Nebraska come back, the tried to let Wisconsin come back, and they made Michigan look like a top five team. They say defense wins championships, and the 6-6 record this year backs up that statement.

So let's take a deeper look into some of what I saw in this game. It's with the defense I want to start.

 
 
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The Game is finally here. The Buckeyes come stumbling into this game on a two game skid, with rumors circulating about the future head coach. Michigan on the other hand played some of their best football of the year last week, and will be looking to end the complete domination of this rivalry by Ohio State in recent years. In case you missed out you can read more about the rivalry here, and a game preview here.

We’ll be joining the guys from The Buckeye Blog, The Buckeye Battle Cry, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, and Fox Sports Ohio. The Game kicks off at 12 PM ET, the LiveBlog will lead off at 11:30. (LiveBlog after the jump!)

 
 
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We'll be honest, we stole the idea for the TweetBeat. Our intentions are pure though. Past and present Buckeyes make Twitter an amazing tool, and many of you miss the most entertaining and interesting tweets that hit our timeline. So to save you time, we'll browse the Twitterverse for you and bring you the can't miss tweets.

In this week's TweetBeat we get serious as we check out tweets pertaining to Urban Meyer and Michigan week. Here's what you missed...

Thoughts on Meyer and Buckeye uncertainty: