Are You Not Entertained? Nebraska

Written October 8th, 2012 by Eric

Jason

Carlos Hyde breaks for his last touchdown of the game.

Contain. Martinez was held to 40 yards on 18 carries. He also ended up throwing 25 times. That’s a good sign, if not for Burkhead’s 119 yards on 14 carries.

Defensive line dominance. Pretty strong statement for the D-Line on Saturday. John Simon was particularly disruptive.

Be smart. The penalties and turnovers were kept to a minimum for the most part. I still think a few of the penalties qualify as “silly” though.

Carpe Diem. Moment seized.

Feed Carlos. Feeding Carlos only got us 140 yards and 4 touchdowns. What were you thinking, unleashing a monster like that on the world?

Jim

Shut down the run, again. Not so much. 119 yards for Burkhead that was only stopped because he lost the ability to make a cut due to an injured knee.

Force Martinez into bad decisions. I think Bradley Roby alone forced Martinez into bad decisions. 2 picks for Roby, three total for the defense, and you can say this was definitely done.

Attack the middle of the defense. They started to hit this a bit by tossing to the tight-ends, but the passing game was almost entirely a secondary aspect of the offense this weekend. Use it when you need to, stick it in your back pocket when you don’t!

Less read option runs from Miller. How about more read options, all of which are correctly delivered?

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Ohio State Out-Shoots Nebraska 63-38

Written October 6th, 2012 by Eric

It wasn’t always pretty, but it was certainly fun and exciting.

The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers fought a Shootout in the ‘Shoe to the tune of 14 total touchdowns in the game for a final score of 63-38. Braxton Miller finished the game with 7-14 completions for 127 yards and a touchdown, and added 185 yards on 16 carries for a touchdown. Taylor Martinez couldn’t keep up on the ground with 17 carries for 46 yards, but made up for it through the air on 15-24 completions for 214 yards and a touchdown, but also three picks. Carlos Hyde was a force in this one scoring 4 touchdowns and picking up 138 yards. The 63 points were the most scored by the Buckeyes since a 72-0 victory over Pittsburgh on September 21st 1996.

I’m impressed with the play of the offense tonight. They put in touchdowns on five straight drives, and it could have even been six or seven if not for the unfortunate Carlos Hyde fumble late in the third quarter. That is a testament of what this team can really do on offense. They’re figuring it out slowly but surely. It would be really nice if they could do it starting in the first quarter too, but it’s certainly better late than never. Simply put, these guys are making progress in picking up the system, and they’re making it work.

Despite what many will say about the defense, I want to give props to the unit for doing a fairly solid job all game long. As I’ll mention below, the big plays are still a concern, but the defense on the whole did a good job against a talented offensive team. If not for the offense struggling in the first quarter, Nebraska may never have made it to 30 points in this game. There’s still a long way to go, but I see this defense making progress slowly but surely – and don’t forget, you don’t get to 6-0 without at least some kind of defense.

That’s right, the Buckeyes are now undefeated halfway through the season. I doubt that many of us honestly believed the Buckeyes could find themselves in this position at this point in the season. There’s still a long way to go, but the players on this team have the heart to go the distance. One way or another, it’s going to be a fun ride through the last six games of the season.

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Across the Web: Special Husker Double Edition

Written October 5th, 2012 by Gary Russell II

To The MAX

Last year Nebraska joined the B1G and Ohio State traveled to Lincoln for an exciting game. Last year also introduced us to Tad Stryker, Dan “Husker Dan” McGlynn, and Husker Max.com. They joined us last year for our questions and they graciously decided to put up with us again this year and answer our questions about this year’s game.

1) Watching Nebraska defeat Wisconsin (woot!!) on Saturday, we couldn’t help but have deja vu with the second half comeback. Do you attribute that to great half-time adjustments, players executing the game plan better in the third and fourth quarters, home crowd momentum, or Bert Bielema just being awful? We’ll totally accept a combination of the two.

Tad Stryker: Yeah, that comeback did bring back a memory or two, didn’t it? The home crowd was a big factor, but the players settled down and stopped making critical mistakes. As far as coaching goes, putting Ciante Evans on Abbrederis for the second half was one of the best adjustments the Huskers made all evening. Second-year offensive coordinator Tim Beck stuck with the running game despite being down 17 points, unlike last year in Madison.

Husker Dan: The main cause of the Huskers’ second half resurgence was that they got out of their own way. There were also half-time adjustments to the offensive and defensive line schemes. Better execution, half time adjustments and the fact that Russell Wilson is playing for the Seahawks helped to contribute to the Husker win! Bret Bielema is a good coach, but clearly doesn’t have the talent he’s had the past few years.

Skipping Rocks? Hardly...

2) Taylor Martinez has improved his passing significantly this year, both statistically and in his decision making. However, there seem to be several moments of regression (UCLA game, 1st half against Wisconsin)… what are the coaches doing to help him put together a complete game?

HD: This is a great question. I’m not sure the coaches can do much, other than stay out of his way. Taylor Martinez is light years from where he was a year ago. He played most of 2011 with two bad wheels that limited his ability to throw and run. This year, he’s become much more of a leader. He is definitely in charge of the offense. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance this fall. When he reaches his full potential, look out. He has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

TS: Martinez has improved a lot, but I still don’t think he can beat a high-level opponent with his arm alone. I think the coaches just need to keep reinforcing his confidence and let him run the ball with abandon (no more hook slides). When the Husker run game improves, Martinez improves as a passer, and so on.

3) At the game in the Rose Bowl, the Blackshirts seemed to be out of position in a number of occasions. What adjustments have Nebraska’s defensive personnel and coaches made since UCLA? Read More

What do you Want to see on Saturday? Nebraska

Written October 5th, 2012 by Eric

Jason

More please!

Contain.Keep Taylor Martinez in the pocket and force him to beat them downfield with his arm. He’s much more dangerous with his feet.

Defensive line dominance. Continue moving the line of scrimmage one to two yards into the backfield. Keep the gaps plugged and force Burkhead to bounce his runs outside.

Be smart. No silly turnovers and penalties from the offense. Nebraska is going to give them a lot of different looks, some they haven’t seen this year. Keep your head in the game.

Carpe Diem. While being smart, enjoy the moment and seize the opportunity! “Who’s going to make a big play first? Me!” should be the thought on everyone’s mind. It’s national television in prime time, this is why you came to Ohio State.

Feed Carlos. Carlos Hyde had a pretty decent game vs Nebraska last year. He took the team, with the offensive line, on his shoulders in the closing minutes in East Lansing and won the game by the running the ball right into the teeth of the Spartan defense and keeping the clock moving. Now feed him! Let’s see a good dose of Carlos Hyde bashing into the Nebraska front seven!

Jim

Shut down the run, again. We did it last week with great success, but it may be more difficult this time around since Nebraska has more than one weapon on the ground.

Force Martinez into bad decisions. Nebraska’s QB has improved his throwing since last season, but he is still inconsistent at best. If the Buckeyes can get pressure on him and force him to make some mistakes that will severely limit the Husker offense.

Attack the middle of the defense. I don’t know if it is because the coaches don’t trust Miller to make the reads, but I have felt for weeks that the middle of the opposing defense has been extremely vulnerable and we haven’t taken advantage of that. Teams are focusing on stopping the run and the quick passes into the flats, leaving the middle of the field relatively open. I’d like to see the offense attempt to exploit that weakness a bit more this week.

Less read option runs from Miller. He’s still not very good at making those reads and it showed in the first half against the Spartans. Granted, that D was damn good which didn’t help, but I’d like to see us ease off those plays (just like we did in the second half against MSU) until Miller proves he can execute them consistently.
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Wednesday Night Rumble: Prelude to a Showdown

Written October 3rd, 2012 by Jason

This past weekend in East Lansing the Buckeyes put on a gutsy performance and came away with a narrow win over the Michigan State Spartans, 17-16. This week Ohio State returns home to the friendly confines of Ohio Stadium for a nightcap with the Nebraska Cornhuskers on national television (ABC 8:00 EST). It also marks the return of Bo Pelini, a captain on John Cooper’s 1990 Ohio State team. Saturday night also brings the opportunity for another shot at a goal achieved in East Lansing: Payback.

Not Funny

Wanna hear a dirty joke? A pig rolled in the mud. Want to see a dirty play? Watch this video of MSU’s Jack Allen (number 66) trying to gouge out the eyes of Jonathan Hankins at the end of a run caught beautifully by the ABC/ESPN camera crew.

I know what you’re thinking: Doesn’t this happen at the bottom of those dog piles for fumbles and after tackles all the time? Well, actually, no it doesn’t. See, despite what old school commentators or that guy at the bar who was all-league in high school and is now “in between jobs, but somethin’ll come up!” may want you to believe, sportsmanship does exist on a football field. Not everyone is trying to literally poke someone’s eyes out when they think nobody is looking. What drives me really insane about this is the thought of how often must it have been happening for Allen to pull it so blatantly?

The video has been turned in to the Big Ten offices for review. Anything less than a one game suspension for Allen is unacceptable. Remember Robert Reynolds choking Jim Sorgi in 2003 at Wisconsin? Reynolds was on the phone with Barry Alvarez the next day apologizing to both him and Sorgi for the incident. He then received a suspension and sat for a week. While Allen’s actions didn’t take Hankins out of the game like Reynolds with Sorgi, it is just as heinous and deserves an equal punishment.

By the way, if you recall, as an aside, Sorgi really played up that throat thing for all it was worth too, didn’t he? I mean come on man, you could have gone back in the game… I have to let things go.

After Further Review

Two other interesting tidbits came out of Spartan Stadium on Saturday, one was blown way out of proportion and the other has largely been ignored. Read More

The Week That Were: 9.8.12

Written September 10th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

This week’s soundtrack is colorful, but has a bit of a different taste to it: trust me, it makes total sense in the grand scheme of things.  Enjoy… language warning.

There’s no denying it… one group of conference-mates had an incredibly difficult Saturday.

Positioned for excellence, and featured in a number of nationally significant matchups, the on the field results just did not help dissuade the critics who argue that they have lost their prestige, and are rightfully scorned by college fans across the country. Once seen as powerful contenders for titles, it seems as if the results on Saturday have shown that the game may have passed them by.

Yup, it was a terrible day for the Big 12 expats.  Who did you think I was talking about?

Texas A&M, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska all dropped matches on Saturday, with two of these being significant “upsets” in terms of rankings and so forth.  The Aggies, after a week full of bravado regarding their new allegiance to the “we can spell three letter words” conference, saw the early lead against Florida disappear in the waning moments of the game, and couldn’t count on Kyle Field to help carry the day. You’ve got to wonder if the different understanding of the word “cheerleader” might have had something to do with it. Ah well, you know they’ll just say that they won later… it’s the SEC way.

Mustard? Really?

Missouri also opened SEC play by welcoming Georgia to play between the… uh… rocks in Columbia. The Bulldawgs emerged victorious, but you’re right in realizing that Mizzou is excited to be in a new home. There were too many Longhorns in the last one, and the B1G never returned their phone calls, so you can’t blame them for being OK with a loss in their prestigious opener.  So excited about the new opportunities were they, that they broke out their new school clothes… or someone else’s old school clothes from when they were in the Arena League. As goofy as they looked, though, they didn’t win our “awkward haberdashery of the week award”… more later.

Ah, CoLOLorado… See, here’s how it works.  You schedule a FCS opponent in the pre-season, you get them at home, you beat them and build up your alumni/student confidence in your program = profit.  But, the Buffs are constricted by no man’s social norms, and instead chose to allow the mighty Hornets of Sacramento State to kick a field goal with time expiring and upset the Buffs in Boulder.  I’m sure the fans will have to find some way to console their grief.

Which brings us to Nebraska. Read More

The Week That Were: Opening Weekend 2012

Written September 3rd, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

Sure, there’s games on Monday, but the weekend has been so amazing that we just couldn’t wait to get back in the saddle for our reflections on the games of note.  Plus, are we really all that excited about a game that’s all technical and stuff?  I thought not.  Obvious choice for this week’s soundtrack… happy Labor Day.

Whew… I’ve got to admit, I should have been working out with Coach Mick during the offseason. Saturday found me trying to knock the rust off of my college football regimen, although I can definitely say that I was well hydrated.  I’m guessing that’s what happened during the livechat- I hadn’t prepared enough, and brought the jinxation.  You can breathe a sigh of relief, though- when I caught the replay on Sunday, my presence made no difference in the outcome…  Baby steps, right?

That Isht's Cray, Bray

From the looks of things, a number of teams were still in “preseason” form, and didn’t have their moves down pat just yet.  For instance, while I’m sure that Dabo Swinney’s mom is sure proud of him for leading his fellers to victory over North Carolina State, she certainly couldn’t have been too excited that his first steps leading the team onto the turf ended up in a faceplant.  That, combined with this excellent display of exuberance are enough to remind Volunteer fans that their team still has some work to do.  Which is good… no one likes to peak during the first weekend of games- well, no one outside of the B1G, that is (more later).

Some of the butterflies were even  evident in the Southern Idaho State University trip to East Lansing.  Sure, the B1G represented well, as Michigan State showed many why they are a favorite for the conference title… but the game turned out to be “off-script” for both teams.  For instance, no matter how hard they tried, Rob Harley’s new squadron couldn’t “Sparty” the game away.  Shocker.  Oh, and SISU broke their streak of beating out of conference teams when they have a ridiculously long time to prepare… effectively ending their bid at a BCS bowl until they join a legitimate BCS conference in the Big Eas…. I’m sorry.  I just couldn’t bring myself to type that. The game also gave us a pretty amazing interception- as always, Tim Burke has ALL the great screencaps and stuff from the weekend’s events.

Saturday’s festivities kicked off with Notre Dame pounding the living stuffing out of Navy in their game in the Emerald Isle… Brian Kelly, why you no like America? And then, your boys let this happen?

Man, back in my day, we fought revolutions for less  <adjusts tricorner cap>. Read More

Ranking the 2012 Big Ten Quarterbacks- One Fan’s Opinion

Written July 19th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

Tim checks in again looking at the guy behind the guy behind the guy across the B1G

Throwing the forward pass is a big question mark for the majority of Big Ten quarterbacks. Their athleticism, though, is not.

Many of the 2012 Big Ten starting quarterbacks are doing everything they can to fight the stereotype of “game manager.” For a conference usually classified by others as boring, I see only four of the 12 projected starters as “pro-style” quarterbacks; the rest can be classified as “dual-threats” or “athletes.”

With that said, I give to you my 2012 Big Ten quarterback rankings.

Last? I haz a sad..

12. Matt McGloin (Penn State): McGloin has started ten games in his Nittany Lion career, but just hasn’t gotten any better. However, he’s far and away PSU’s best option at quarterback. Last year, McGloin threw for 1,571 yards with 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. With the Penn State program in such turmoil, it would be nice if they had a savior at quarterback. Matt McGloin is not that.

11. Tre Roberson (Indiana): Although he was just a true freshman, Roberson struggled as Indiana’s starting quarterback last year. His rushing ability can make him a dangerous player for defense to account for. And in Roberson’s defense, he plays for Indiana.

10. Andrew Maxwell (Michigan State): Maxwell sat behind Kirk Cousins for two seasons, not getting many opportunities to show off his talent. Inexperience is the reason why I have Maxwell ranked where I do. He’s got the physical skills, but just simply hasn’t played in enough games yet for me to rate him any higher than ten.

9. Kain Colter (Northwestern): Colter may not be the best natural quarterback for the Wildcats, but he’s definitely their best athlete. In addition to quarterback, he also spent time playing running back and wide receiver for Northwestern. In 2011, Colter threw for 673 yards and six touchdowns, ran for 654 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 43 passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns. For Northwestern, it is simple: Get him the damn ball.

8. Caleb TerBush (Purdue): From everything I’ve heard, Purdue doesn’t even know who its starting quarterback is going to be. It’s a race between TerBush and Robert Marve, who has been playing college football for about fifteen years now. My guess is the Boilermakers will go with TerBush, who threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns last year.

Resume: Not Ron Zook

7. MarQueis Gray (Minnesota): Gray has all of the physical tools to be an All-Big Ten selection. The 6’4” 240 quarterback has a deadly combination of size and speed, but he hasn’t lived up to all of his hype—now entering his senior season. He did take major strides last season, though, under coach Jerry Kill. Gray threw for nearly 1,500 yards last season and ran for 966, scoring 14 total touchdowns. But, like Roberson, Gray does not have much help as he plays for a team that finished 3-9 last season.

6. Nathan Scheelhaase (Illinois): Illini fans were left wanting more from Scheelhaase in 2011. After a very promising freshman campaign in which he threw for over 1,800 yards, ran for 868 yards and scored 22 total touchdowns, Scheelhaase showed little improvement in h is sophomore season. In fact, many Illinois supporters say he took a step backwards during his sophomore campaign. He threw for just 13 touchdowns and ran for 624 yards. Losing superstar wide receiver A.J. Jenkins won’t make things easier for him either, but Scheelhaase is another dual-threat quarterback that has the ability to drive opposing coaches crazy.

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