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Ohio State Athletics Fan Community

1. The Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0; 1-0; #1 AP; #1 CP) remained undefeated with a 34-27 win over the Indiana Hoosiers (4-1; 0-1) that literally came down to the last play of the game. The star of the afternoon was Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott who had 23 carries for 274 yards and 3 touchdowns (runs of 55, 65, and 75 yards), and another 12 yards on a pair of receptions. The rest of the Buckeye offense combined for 231 yards and 3 turnovers. The Buckeye defense was generally solid (10 punts, 9 three-and-outs), but could not force any turnovers and allowed Indiana's back-up quarterback Zander Diamont to run for a 79-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. At the end of the game, Indiana had the ball at the Ohio State 9-yard line with the chance to tie the score, but Diamont's final pass attempt fell incomplete in the end zone.

2. The Michigan State Spartans (5-0; 1-0; #4 AP; #3 CP) had a surprisingly difficult time with the lowly Purdue Boilermakers (1-4; 0-1), barely holding on with a 24-21 win. Sparty had a significant edge in total yards (406 to 301) and turnovers (3 to 0) and time of possession (37:24 to 22:36), but Purdue's Markell Jones had 157 yards rushing and a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns (including a run of 68 yards) to make the game close. Even with the win, Sparty dropped two spots in the AP poll and one in the coaches poll.

3. The Michigan Wolverines (4-1; 1-0; #18 AP; #21 CP) whitewashed the Maryland Terrapins (2-3; 0-1) by the score of 28-0. It was the second straight shutout for the Wolverines, who have given up only 38 points on the season. Michigan is #2 in scoring defense in FBS (7.6 points per game), #2 in total defense (184.0 yards per game, 3.1 yards per play), and #1 in third-down defense (.194 conversion rate). The Wolverine offense, on the other hand, has been barely competent, checking in at #77 in total offense (392.6 yards per game) and #74 in scoring offense (27.8 points per game). Maryland has been bad all year, and this marks their...
1. Teams like to come up with a slogan for the season: All In (Cavaliers) ... What If? (Indians) ... Send in the Clowns (Browns). For this year's Buckeye team, the slogan should be A Win Is a Win Is a Win, because all this team needs to do is keep on winning no matter how narrow or ugly those victories might be. If the Buckeyes end up with a 13-0 record and a second-straight Big Ten championship, then they will be invited to the playoffs regardless of what anyone else does.

2. Okay, I'll say the un-sayable: Ezekiel Elliott is the best running back ever to play for Ohio State. Archie has the gaudy numbers and those two Heisman Trophies. Eddie posted the best single season in Buckeye history and has a Heisman of his own. MoC had a special combination of speed, power, balance, and vision, and led the 2002 team to a national championship. Robert Smith was so smooth and fluid and just plain fast. And then there's Hopalong and Beanie and El Guapo and Keith Byars and Tim Spencer.... But Elliott is simply the best.

3. And here are some of the reasons why Zeke is the best. Through 31 games (20 starts) Elliott already has 2,869 yards, which puts him in 12th place among the Buckeyes' career rushing leaders. Elliott needs only 900 yards to move past Eddie George and into second place, and with at least eight games remaining this season he should accomplish that feat.

Elliott is averaging 92.5 yards per game, which is 4th best in Buckeye history, but only 1.6 yards from second place (Jim Otis, 94.1 yards per game). Zeke's average per game is especially impressive when you consider that he was the third-string tailback (behind Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall) as a true freshman in 2013, and he averaged only 23.8 yards per game during that season (262 yards in 11 games). In his 20 starts, Zeke is averaging 130.35 yards per game, which would be the best ever at Ohio State (Archie Griffin averaged 121.5 yards per game in 46 games, all starts).

Ohio State - The Buckeyes (4-0; #1 AP; #1 CP) have played sloppy ball (10 turnovers) and relied on big plays (9 offensive TDs of 20+ yards; 3 defensive TDs) to score points. Their schedule has been mediocre at best (opponents' combined record is 7-9). But they are still the defending champions and until someone actually knocks them off they are still CONTENDERS.

Michigan State - The Spartans' (4-0; #2 AP; #2 CP) reputation is based on their seemingly big win over Oregon (31-28) at home in week two. That win has since been tainted by Utah, who destroyed Oregon (62-20) at Autzen Stadium. The rest of the Spartans' resume' consists of closer than expected wins over Western Michigan (37-24), Central Michigan (30-10), and Air Force (35-21). Michigan State's vaunted defense ranks 46th in scoring (20.8 ppg) and 77th in yards (395.8 ypg). Despite the lofty poll rankings, this MSU team has taken a step back from its highly successful seasons in 2013 (12-1 record; #3 AP; #3 CP) and 2014 (11-2 record; #5 AP; #5 CP). Sparty is a PRETENDER that will eventually be exposed, perhaps as early as October 17th when they take a trip to Ann Arbor.

Ole Miss - Throw out the blow out wins against Tennessee-Martin (76-3) and Fresno State (73-21) to open the season. In week three, the Rebels (4-0; #3 AP; #5 CP) went into Tuscaloosa and defeated the Crimson Tide (43-37), which is one of the biggest wins for any team so far this year. Granted, the victory over Alabama was somewhat fluky, and Ole Miss followed it up with an unimpressive showing against lowly Vanderbilt (27-16), but for now the Rebels are CONTENDERS.

Alabama, Georgia - These two SEC powerhouses square off this Saturday. The Crimson Tide (3-1; #13 AP; #13 CP) already have one loss and if they lose another they're done. If the Tide can hold...
Poobert had it very rough before we found him. He was a stray kitten, starving and struggling to survive in a big, scary world. To this day it shapes who he is. Most cats are independent, aloof and adventurous. He is none of those things. He's needy and friendly, but most of all, timid. Open the front door for him, and he'll act like he's interested in what lies beyond the threshold before retreating. Don't give him enough attention, and he'll cry until you pet him for at least five minutes.

The first time we turned on a ceiling fan in our house...
The Buckeyes finished their non-conference schedule with a record of 4-0 and they stand as the number one team in the country. Western Michigan was the latest victim, falling 38-12 yesterday in The Horseshoe (or the Bronco Hoof, if you prefer). Here are some takeaways from yesterday's game:

1. Facing the 109th ranked run defense in FBS, the offensive staff did a better job of getting the ball to their tailbacks. Ezekiel Elliott had 16 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown and Curtis Samuel had 2 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown. Elliott had long runs of 15, 20, and 26 yards, while Samuel's runs went for 15 and 40 yards.

2. As noted in the pre-game report, Zeke broke off an 80-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the season. After that great start, he managed to gain only 251 yards on his next 60 carries (4.2 yards per carry) with a long run of just 13 yards. On his first run yesterday, Zeke broke out of his little slump by going for 26 yards. He also added a 20-yard run late in the third quarter.

3. Last season, Elliott rushed for 1,878 yards (125.2 per game; 6.88 per carry) and 18 touchdowns (1.20 per game). So far this season, Elliott now has 455 yards (113.8 per game; 5.91 per carry) and 5 TDs (1.25 per game). The big difference is in the yards per carry, which is down almost 1.0 yard this year compared to last year.

4. If Elliott were averaging 6.88 yards per carry this year instead of 5.91, he would have 530 yards rushing (+75 total yards) for an average of 132.5 yards per game (+18.7 yards per game).

5. With his 124 yards rushing against WMU, Elliott now has 2,595 career rushing yards. Yesterday he moved past Jim Otis (2,542 yards) and Cal Murray (2,576 yards) into 13th place on the list of Buckeye career rushing leaders. Next up on the list is Raymont Harris (2,649 yards).

6. With his 288 yards passing, Cardale Jones now has 1,485 career passing yards. Cardale moved into 23rd place on the list of Buckeye career passing...
I didn't watch this game live. I elected to go to a party where the game wasn't being shown. I drank copious amounts of the finest craft beer the midwest has to offer, then came home and watched the game on the DVR. I'm reacting to what took place today on an alternate timeline from nearly everybody else. Now, still half-drunk off Dark Lord and B.O.R.I.S. (yes, I'm a name dropper) I'm going to attempt to make sense of what we all saw today.

The Buckeyes did what they failed to do in either of the last two weeks and won comfortably against an inferior opponent. The scoreline perhaps didn't reflect most homers' wet dreams from last night, but it was an easy win where the Buckeyes mostly did what they wanted.

It was a comprehensive performance. They ran the ball efficiently. They passed the ball decently. Cardale Jones looked more confident and made wiser decisions than last week. The offense made explosive plays. The defense did too. Special teams contributed with a blocked kick. The Buckeyes controlled field position the entire game.

There are still things to work on. There were big plays left unfulfilled due to underthrown passes and wide receivers who didn't adjust and make plays quite like last year's guys did. The defense, while performing at an elite level for much of the season so far, could have done a better job stopping the inside run and limiting the length of WMU's drives.

All in all though, it was a good win that should have us coming away feeling like the Buckeyes are getting back on track...
After week two's results, Poobert was super excited about week three. He came up to the bedroom at 8:45 and got me out of bed so he could watch Gameday. He kept saying, "Come on, Josh. THEY'RE COMING TO OUR CITAY!"

I got up, got dressed, went downstairs, turned on the TV for him, and he promptly crawled into one of his beds and went to sleep. What a butthole!

He must have known what was coming though, because the noon games all sucked and made me wish I had taken a nap too. After that, the Buckeyes played like they were half-asleep and made me want to close my eyes for most of the time throughout. The late games all delivered though. Close contests, crazy plays, upsets and intrigue were taking place everywhere, and it lasted until nearly 2 AM when BYU's attempts at a third straight Hail Mary win came up short. I should have followed Poobert's lead - maybe then I wouldn't have been dragging ass all day Sunday.

Neither Poobert nor I did well with our picks last week. I did manage to beat him again - getting 18/32 correct versus his 16/32. It wasn't our best showing, but we didn't care. As fans of the kind of random craziness that only college football generates, Saturday was a fun night to be a fan. Who cares if our picks suffered for it...


Three quarterbacks my ass. Have they changed the Heisman odds in Vegas yet? Did we even try to recruit Golson? Is Michigan open to a trade for Rudock?

3/4 front or 4/3 front - who gives a [Mark May]! Just run the damn ball and block somebody!

Four possession that started in NIU territory - and we scored 10 points. They gave us the ball on the 35 on EVERY kickoff! And why the hell is NIU kicking off four times to begin with?

17 possessions and one drive longer than 44 yards?

Have we broken the record for average points in a season? Or are we still working on that?

Five possessions that ended in turnovers and 5 three and outs?

And just why were both Taylor Decker and Pat Elflein on the list for having made tackles yesterday? Did we move them to special teams to take advantage of their blistering speed? Or are we having a bit of a problem taking care of the ball.

14 turnovers in five games. 3.5 turnovers per game if you drop Hawaii.

And thank goodness Jalin Mashall has learned from his mistakes and no longer takes chances on punts - particularly when all we need to do is gain possession and run out the clock.

Capital "W" Capital "T" Capital "F"!

That said - I'm Good.
It was a good week for Ohio State to have a stinker. USC went down to Stanford. Ole Miss beat Alabama. TCU found themselves in a dog fight with SMU but pulled away late. M*ch*g*n State thoroughly dominated their matchup with Air Force, even if the final score didn't reflect it. Teams that struggled or played like crap like the Buckeyes, Florida State and Clemson got reprieves... for now.

So if everybody was losing (or coming close to it,) who were the winners?...
To very loosely paraphrase William Shakespeare, Tresselball by any other name would smell just as bad as that mess yesterday.

1. Let's begin by addressing the 275-pound quarterback in the room. Cardale Jones first signed with Ohio State as part of the 2011 recruiting class; after a post-grad year at a prep school, he re-signed as part of the class of 2012. In reviewing both classes, I picked Cardale as the player least likely to succeed at Ohio State. With Cardale's Twitter indiscretions and the emergence of J.T. Barrett, it appeared that I would be right and Jones would be a career bench warmer. But Cardale proved his doubters wrong with his historic run through the 2014 playoffs. Or did he?

Cardale took over the Buckeye offense in the fourth quarter of the Michigan game after J.T. Barrett suffered a season-ending injury. With Cardale at the helm, running back Ezekiel Elliott began to put up some record-setting numbers:

OpponentRush AttsRush YdsRush AvgRush TDs30+ Yds
Wisconsin2022011.00260, 81
Alabama2023011.50254, 85
Totals797469.4496 runs
Wide receiver Devin Smith was the premier deep threat in college football last season, and he was able to bail out Cardale on several passes that we would have called "arm punts" if a certain Michigan quarterback had thrown them:

OpponentReceptionsRec YdsRec AvgRec TDs30+...