The Press Newspaper
Despite the fact that Ohio State has the longest winning streak among major colleges at 20 games, they still fail to get the respect that some feel they should get.
If they needed a statement win to impress the skeptics, they certainly got one Saturday against Penn State. The fourth largest crowd ever at the Ohio Stadium saw Penn State, after coming off of a big win against Michigan two weeks ago, be manhandled by the OSU defense and run over by the offense.
Ohio State received the kickoff and five plays into the game OSU had the ball on the Penn State one-yard line. Carlos Hyde punched it in and two minutes and 17 seconds into the game it was 7-0. By halftime it was 42-7. The Buckeyes pushed, punched, outran and threw their way to 686 yards total offense to score 63 points. This was the most points ever for an Urban Meyer coached team and the worst beating Penn State has taken since 1899 (114 years).
Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller had another fantastic day and was responsible for 320 yards of offense which earned him the Big Ten Player of the Week award. His passing efficiency was 75 percent (18 out of 24) and it was his eighth career game of at least 300 yards total offense. Miller set a career high with 252 yards passing and scored two TDs rushing and passed for three more. He now has 61 career TD’s which ties Bobby Hoying for third in OSU history.
Coach Meyer said “We hoped he (Miller) would get better. He’s been better than better.”
Hyde continues to run with a vengeance since his three-game suspension and Saturday he was again the leading rusher with 147 yards and 2 TDs even though he only played slightly more than half of the game. Hyde is second in the Big Ten for rushing at 147 yards per game.
Kenny Guiton was given some playing time as he replaced Miller late in the third quarter and eventually added two rushing TDs to the OSU lopsided victory.
The Ohio State defense finally got it all together Saturday. Penn State’s quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, came into the game with the Big Ten’s best passing average per game at 278 yards. The OSU defense, including a previously weak secondary, held him to 112 yards and one TD. He was intercepted twice and sacked four times. The passing game, however, was not the only failure for the Nittany Lions as the PSU running game was just as hopeless, gaining 120 total yards. Ryan Shazier lead the OSU defense with 10 tackles.
Has Urban Meyer’s team finally gotten to the level he wants?
Meyer said he would take this offensive line over any other he's had, adding that he saw a lot of energy on defense that wasn't there in previous weeks.
"We're not Ohio State expectation-level at linebacker yet," Meyer said.
Meyer said St John’s Jesuit graduate and offensive lineman Jack Mewhort “played his best game ever.”
When you spend time watching a team that is consistently as good as Ohio State has been over the years you sometimes become critical about their play. It is hard to understand how they can have a close game or why each game isn’t perfect. How can they have a weakness in any area? I am certainly guilty of this so I got to thinking, just how good are they? I did some research.
Ohio State has a 20-game winning streak which is the currently the longest of any major college, but the Southeast Conference still is king in NCAA Division I in the nation’s eyes. Ohio State’s is the second longest winning streak that OSU has ever had. The longest is 22 games, which is also Coach Meyer’s longest streak. Meyer has had a 20-game streak three times in his career. Looking at the remaining schedule, there is no reason for the Bucks not to finish the season at 24-0, which will set an OSU record and a Coach Meyer record.
This game was only the seventh time the Bucks have rushed for 300 yards or more in the last 15 years (176 games) but it was the sixth time for a Meyer-coached Ohio State team (in 20 games). Ohio state is also on pace to set program records for total yards gained in a season and total points in a season.
OSU is first in the Big Ten and seventh nationally in passing efficiency at 70 percent.
Drew Basil, the senior kicker, has now set the school record of 88 consecutive extra points which is seventh longest streak nationally. He has converted 96 consecutive kicks, if you count his eight consecutive field goals.
OSU has not allowed a run of more than 20 yards this year and is one of six BCS schools that has not allowed a 100-yard rusher this year
While these collections of facts tell a story about how good the Ohio State football team is it won’t get the BCS system or the pollsters to change their opinion and get OSU an opportunity to move up to No. 1 or 2 in the standings. The Big Ten and OSU’s schedule is simply too soft. It is highly unlikely that Alabama or Oregon will get beaten this season, so the Buckeyes will likely get to play for third place nationally.
(Northwood resident and free lancer Harold Hamilton got his photographer’s field pass through The Press to cover the Ohio State-Penn State football game.)