Elliot Saves The Day With Explosive Second Half!

Photo used courtesy of: Sam Howzit (CC) Some rights reserved

Photo used courtesy of: Sam Howzit (CC) Some rights reserved

 

No one said it was going to be easy to defend the title. The #1 Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) trailed 10-6 at halftime thanks to a sloppy and horrifically slow start  before limping out of Bloomington, Indiana with a  34-27 win. Despite finishing with 517 total yards, the Buckeyes turned the ball over three times and were penalized eight times for 109 yards. The Indiana Hoosiers (4-1, 0-1 Big Ten) were penalized seven times but for only 50 yards, and they also ran 92 plays, which took up 34:14 of game clock. The saving grace for the Buckeyes came in the form of Ezekiel Elliot, who did all of his damage in the second half.

Elliot finished his career day with 23 carries for 274 yards and three touchdowns. His previous career-high for rushing yards came against Oregon in the national title game (246 Yds). His three touchdown runs came from 55, 65 and 75 yards out. Elliot not only saved the day, but he also possibly saved Ohio State’s title hopes as well. Outside of Elliot, there wasn’t much to talk about. Cardale Jones had a decent day, completing 18 of 27 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown and interception. Jones also ran nine times for a whopping -20 yards.

Jalin Marshall led the team in receiving with 6 receptions and 110 yards. Michael Thomas caught four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. The Buckeyes lost receiver Corey Smith with a lower leg injury and was carted off the field.

The Buckeye defense wasn’t much better. That stellar Luke Fickell defense was torn apart for 402 yards, with 176 yards coming on the ground. His defense also didn’t force a turnover, which isn’t going to fly the deeper they get into the season. The defense also just recorded one sack.

Starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He finished 10 of 21 for 134 yards. Zander Diamont came on in relief and provided a spark offensively with 174 yards of total offense. He broke off a 79-yard touchdown run, and finished with 98 rushing yards on seven carries. He also threw for 76 yards and completed 6 of 14 passes. The nation’s leading rusher Jordan Howard went down in the first half with an ankle injury, and that helped the Buckeyes a lot. Howard left with 14 carries and 34 yards. Devine Redding played the rest of the way and scored two touchdowns, but only managed 45 yards on 30 carries.

Final Thoughts

Indiana hasn’t beaten Ohio State since 1988, but they made an already gloomy day even worse with the upset threat. What’s more concerning is the slow starts that the offense has had the past four weeks, and a large part of that has to do with the quarterback. J.T. Barrett gives the offense a little extra boost when he’s on the field. He’s faster, and personally, he’s smarter with the football. Not to mention, he is quicker with his release too. Cardale seems to try entirely too hard to make plays, and it shows with his turnovers. If he isn’t trying to make plays with his arm, he’s trying to make plays with his feet. Cardale does have some wheels, but he’s not as dangerous as Barrett on the ground.

Ezekiel Elliot made his case for Heisman, but unless Leonard Fournette gets hurt, it’ll be really hard to be the first Buckeye since Troy Smith in 2006, and first Buckeye running back since Eddie George in 1995 to win the award. I also think he has made his case to be drafted in the first round. I personally would draft him with my first pick, but that’s just me. Elliot has speed and power to go along with great hands, which will make him very valuable in the passing game.

Unless both the offense and defense start clicking, the Buckeyes will most likely miss out on the playoff in January. They have a stiff test against Michigan State the week before the Michigan game, which is shaping up to be a tough one too. As long as they keep winning they’ll be safe, but again, they need both sides of the ball to start playing like the defending national champions they are. Luckily for Ohio State, they weren’t the only ones that struggled in the top-5. All but #3 TCU had a rough go of it yesterday. It’ll be intersting to see how the rest of the season goes, and if things start to click.

Up Next: vs Maryland (2-3, 0-1 Big Ten)

Game Ball: Ezekiel Elliot (23 Car, 274 Yds, 3 TD)

 

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Raymond Bosak About Raymond Bosak

Hello everyone. My name is Raymond Bosak and I live in Cleveland, Ohio. I am a die-hard Cleveland fan, and have been my entire life. I am looking forward to bringing you some excellent Browns, Buckeyes, and Indians coverage, and maybe some Cavs things too. Everything I write will be honest and upfront. I’ll aim to have a couple articles per week, including some game previews and reviews, 5 things to watch for, and game ball and game MVP(s).

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