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Ohio State Buckeyes Finally Have Statement Game in 63-14 Rout of Penn State
The Ohio State Buckeyes have easily been the most questioned undefeated team all season in the NCAA. With not very dominant wins over their first three Big Ten opponents of the season, it seemed many were waiting for the Buckeyes to stumble and lose a game they were supposed to win easily.
Instead, Buckeye nation got what they have been waiting for all season long—a truly dominant performance on both sides of the ball against Penn State. Many thought the Nittany Lions could have the recipe for an upset after defeating then No. 18 Michigan Wolverines in four overtimes two weeks ago. However, that would not be the case as the Buckeyes won this one easily, 63-14.
In this week’s preview, one of the big keys this writer had was putting the foot firmly on the gas and not looking back. That’s exactly what the Buckeyes did, jumping out to a 28-0 lead with eight minutes on the clock in the second quarter. In fact, it was an early night for many of the Buckeyes starters, as running back Carlos Hyde racked up 147 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in just a little over two quarters of work—spending the majority of the second half in a parka on the sidelines watching his teammates continue to move the ball with ease.
Hyde was once again dominant against a Big Ten foe, lowering his shoulder and delivering bruising hits through the hole while gaining yard after yard. The impressive thing about Hyde is the burst and quick cutting ability he has for a 6’0” and 240-pound running back. He has continued to show impressive burst as the game has gone on, and is really moving his name up NFL draft boards.
Starting quarterback Braxton Miller also had himself quite a ballgame, completing 18-of-24 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Miller also ran the ball 11 times for 68 yards and two touchdowns on the ground—including a 39-yard scamper for a touchdown. After missing a few games with an injured knee, Miller is seemingly re-establishing himself as a Heisman Trophy candidate once again as his Buckeyes are now 8-0 on the season.
Another player who finally received increased attention—as this writer mentioned he should in the preview—was Devin Smith. Known primarily for his knack for the big play, Smith caught five balls for 90 yards on the day, with a long of 36 yards. He nearly broke a few of the quick hitters for big gains from Miller, and came just inches short of a touchdown on the day.
We could sit here and talk about all the good things done by the Buckeyes offense all day, but it is finally time to give the defense some credit. It has been a long season for Luke Fickell’s group, as they have been shredded by offense after offense all season long. But for one night under the lights in Columbus, this would not be the case as they allowed just 14 points—seven of those coming with the game firmly in hand with seven minutes left in the game.
Sophomore Noah Spence was a force to be reckoned with coming off the edge, as he forced a fumble and was in on a number of negative plays after the game. The team gave up just 357 total yards on the day, with the majority of those yards coming in the second half when the Buckeyes were in more of a prevent defense.
We also have to give a hand to the Buckeyes secondary for the first time all year. The unit intercepted two passes, and cornerback Bradley Roby finally stepped up and had a big game—holding Penn State No. 1 wide receiver Allen Robinson to just one catch in the first half. Robinson’s stat line will look like he had a huge day against Roby (12 catches, 173 yards and one touchdown), but the fact is Roby was already long gone from the game before Robinson made his impact against the Ohio State backups.
With just one home game remaining on the season, the Buckeyes needed to finally put the BCS voters on notice that they were for real. As No. 3 Oregon struggled early against UCLA, the Buckeyes put on a clinic in Columbus in front of a national audience. It won’t likely be enough to jump the Ducks for No. 3, but it should certainly help close the point gap.
The Buckeyes hit the road next week for their first of three road games in their final four of the season against Purdue. For whatever reason the Boilermakers always play the Buckeyes tough, so Urban Meyer’s group shouldn’t sleep on the 1-6 team at all next week.
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