Saturday night Wisconsin beat the Buckeyes 31-18 What follows are my take aways from the game. I know this column is called the twelve pack, but there is little chance I’m going to re-watch that game in order to get to twelve.
No. 1- Wisconsin came to play. It wasn’t just the stadium and environment, they were determined to take this one from the Buckeyes. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said that John Clay had the most intense week of practice he had ever seen. He said that he challenged his offensive line, and they most certainly responded. Ohio State did not match their intensity. Not until it was just too late.
No. 2- Which DE is the preseason All-Everything award finalist- Cameron Heyward or J.J. Watt? Watt made the big plays in this game, sacking Pryor 3 times from at least 2 different positions. He beat Adams and Brewster both, and may have gotten Shugarts too. (Like I said, I’m not watching that thing again.)
No. 3- You know how there are times when you hate being right? I hate that I was right about our LBs last week. I said they would be key to this game, and particularly Brian Rolle-
Our LB play was great in this one, but it is this unit that concerns me most heading into the game next week against Wisconsin. We have not seen a back quite like John Clay this season. The Buckeyes held him in check last year, but he is a better back and has a running mate in Freshman James White. They are Wisconsin’s version of thunder and lighting. We’ve seen Brian Rolle excel against teams that run the spread. He is quick laterally, and really is a very good defender against that offense. Wisconsin does not run the spread. John Clay is a 255 pound cannon ball. This game will hinge on how well Rolle, Homan and Sweat are able to stuff Clay inside, while tracking down White on the edge.
Yep. Rolle was a complete non-factor against the run. Forget stuffing Clay, he couldn’t even get off of blocks. In fact the best of the bunch was Sweat after he moved over to Homan’s spot following his injury.
No. 4- Pryor did not have a good game. He was off target on a number of throws, and really seemed indecisive on designed running plays. Now, there wasn’t a whole lot of room to run, especially in that first half, but hesitating only made things worse. Then there was the pitch over Herron’s head on the option play. In fact, Pryor threw 3 balls over Herron’s head in the game including screen passes. Dane Sanzenbacher bailed him out a couple of times by going up to get passes in traffic and paid a price for it. He was blasted several times, but got up and kept going.
No. 5- Another prediction came to pass, but this one was made by everyone who had watched a Buckeye game this season. “Our special teams are going to bite us in a close game someday.” Ding ding! As if the team and that crowd weren’t fired up enough. That killed. And he didn’t even look like he was touched. Straight up the middle. Good grief.
No. 6- I’m disgusted. I’m done talking about this one. The Buckeyes have to regroup to play Purdue next Saturday. They owe the Boilers a good kick in the pants for last year’s loss. I have very little hope for a share of the Big Ten title. Not even thinking about that right now. I’m in full on let’s get ready to beat Michigan mode.
(AP Photo/Andy Manis)