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What We Learned from Ohio State’s 77-10 Thrashing of Bowling Green

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Six returning starters is all Ohio State brought back from the super-talented 2015 Buckeye squad, but the missing players were not missed in Week 1. The new-look Buckeyes started with a pick-six to fall behind 7-0, but then everything else went right for OSU.

Eleven touchdowns later, the Falcons left the Horseshoe battered and bruised, while the young Buckeyes have a good first performance to build on. The play was not perfect, but the results are good enough as this young team moves onto Tulsa next week and bigger challenges beyond that.

Let’s take a look at three things we learned from this opening-week beatdown by the Buckeyes.

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1. The Offensive Coaches Finally Have It Figured Out

There were many mistakes in the 2015 season which caused what was arguably the best team in the country to fall short of winning the Big Ten championship and making the playoff, but perhaps the biggest errors were not deciding on a single quarterback and having trouble figuring out how to run an offense with the different styles of Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett. However, now that Tim Beck and Ed Warriner have had a full offseason to work out the best way to run an offense with just J.T. Barrett, the results speak for themselves.

Granted, BGSU is not bringing a top-flight defense to the field, but the numbers still speak for themselves. 776 yards of total offense sets a school record and breaks the former record by over 50 yards, while the 77 points is well above the maximum number of points (49) the 2015 put up in any game last season. Urban Meyer likes to hit an ideal of about 250 yards passing and 250 yards rushing, and the first-team offense had almost eclipsed both of those numbers in the first half.

J.T. Barrett threw for 349 yards and 6 touchdowns, leading what was clearly designed to be a pass-heavy offense. The deep threats and quick passes opened up rushing lanes for Mike Weber, who took full advantage with 136 yards on 19 carries. Weber was tripped up on about 5 to 6 runs which could have broken for the big plays Ezekiel Elliott was famous for a year ago.

In short, what the Buckeyes put on the field was a competent offensive game plan that clearly had purpose as well as effectiveness. It was built to exploit the strengths of this team, including a deep wide receiver corps as well as an experienced quarterback.

The 2016 offense may live up to the potential the 2015 offense never did. That it very scary for other Big Ten teams.

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2. Ohio State is absolutely loaded with weapons

Everybody knew J.T. Barrett would likely be a star, but what was unknown was the star talent he has around him in the 2016 offense. Starting with Mike Weber, there’s no doubt why this freshman running back has locked up the starting spot. He looks like a powerful running back just like Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott, but he also has serious explosive capabilities as well.

Weber may be outshined by another offensive weapon, this being Curtis Samuel. In his debut as a full-time hybrid back, Samuel put up 84 rushing yards and 177 receiving yards, accounting for 3 touchdowns overall. On one play in particular, Samuel showed everything he brings to the table as he moved out of the backfield into a slot position, finding a mismatch in coverage with a Falcons linebacker. J.T. Barrett saw this mismatch too and hit Samuel in stride in the middle of the field, at which point Samuel streaked past all of the Falcon defenders for an easy touchdown.

The fun does not stop there. Barrett throw touchdowns to three other receivers: Noah Brown, K.J. Hill, and Dontre Wilson. Demario McCall joined the reception touchdown parade when backups took over led by Joe Burrow at QB. Meyer says this is the deepest group of receivers he’s had at Ohio State, and that was on full display Saturday.

Anybody still missing all those talented skill players from the 2015 team? Didn’t think so.

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3. Ohio State’s defense is clutch, so far

Bowling Green drove down the field on a few drives in this game, but you would not know it from the 3 total points that unit put on the scoreboard. The primary reason for this ineffectiveness in scoring was the Buckeye defense coming up with big plays in clutch situations and on their own end of the field.

This includes 3 total interceptions, including a 75-yard touchdown return by Rodjay Burns for the final score of the day. Linebacker Malik Hooker also picked off two passes on the day, one of which was the most athletic play of the day. Hooker jumped high in the air to tip the ball straight up and then stuck with it to grab the interception as he fell on his back to the ground.

The Buckeyes also stopped BGSU on a fourth-down attempt deep in their own territory in the first quarter as well. By limiting the Falcons to 69 total yards rushing, the defense was able to play strong coverage and make big plays in the backfield. Those big plays will be critical when the opponents get tougher.

In short, just like the offense, the new players on defense will be just fine. Bigger tests await in the future, but this group is starting to develop from a good place.

Beware Oklahoma and Big Ten: the Buckeyes look solid, and they are on a mission to recapture what was lost in 2015.

Dave is a FWAA member and a Columnist focusing on Big Ten football for talking10. Before joining talking in 2014, he was a Featured Columnist for three years at Bleacher Report and previously wrote for seven years on SouthernCollegeSports.com. He was born in Hawkeye Country and went to college in Columbus, so there's plenty of B1G running through his blood. Dave is a patent and trademark attorney in his day job. If you have any questions in those areas or about his latest articles, please contact him on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy.

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Talking10 Podcast Episode 100: Something, something Urban Meyer

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Ohio State made its decision on Urban Meyer. Andy and Phil are here to break it all down for you and give you the truth in a hazy situation. What better way to celebrate episode 100 of the podcast than to spend 50 minutes breaking down a mess of a situation in Columbus, right?

We’ll talk our reactions to the press conference, break down the actual findings of OSU’s investigative report and we’ll even talk how the media-at-large and the OSU media handled the fallout from Wednesday night’s press conference.

Don’t forget you can listen to the podcast each week via Radio Public and other podcasting apps. 

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @talkingB1G

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Urban Meyer and OSU AD put on suspension following investigation

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The media stakeout of the Ohio State Board of Trustee’s meeting can now end. It only took 12 hours or so, but answers finally came. 

According to multiple reports, including from the AP, OSU head coach Urban Meyer is suspended for the first three games of the season. In addition, athletic director Gene Smith will serve the same suspension from Aug. 31 to Sept. 16 — both will not receive pay during that time frame as well. 

Both came under fire as this story unfolded. It began just prior to the Big Ten media days in late July, the story that Zach Smith had been arrested for criminal trespassing in April of this year broke and Meyer fired Smith on Monday morning of the start of Big Ten media days.

Brett McMurphy then detailed in an exclusive report that Smith had previously been “arrested” back in 2015 for a second allegation of domestic abuse against his then-wife Courtney Smith. 

Meyer was questioned about that arrest and allegation from 2015 at media days and struck out against reporters repeated questioning. He would deny knowing of the arrest report back in 2015. 

However, further reporting by McMurphy put that denial in to further question and Ohio State decided to get to the bottom of it. 

Once Meyer was put on paid administrative leave, he would put a statement out admitting to knowing about the 2015 incident and alerting athletic administrators of the domestic abuse allegations. 

Meyer has stayed silent since that statement and awaited the outcome of the 14-day inquiry in to whom knew what and when and what action was taken. 

That investigation ended this past Sunday, with the committee verbally advising the Board of Trustees on Monday morning of its findings. Two days later, the Board of Trustees would come to meet publicly and then behind closed doors to discuss what would happen to Meyer and others involved in this situation. 

Meyer’s suspension is for the first three games, and on the field that is a big hit with three FBS games coming at the start of the season. OSU kicks off the year against Oregon State, plays a Big Ten contest against Rutgers and a massive game against TCU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 

We will have more on this situation and the reaction to what Meyer and Smith had to say on the talking10 Podcast tomorrow. 

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Buckeyes Football

Report: OSU to suspend Urban Meyer

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The Ohio State University board of trustees have been verbally read in on the findings of a 14-day investigation in to the conduct of football head coach Urban Meyer. 

So, what will happen next? 

According to the Columbus Dispatch, it appears a suspension or even lighter punishment is coming for Meyer:

“Two sources connected to the investigation said the likely recommendation to university President Michael V. Drake is a suspension for Meyer. Drake and the board could also opt for a ‘time served’ punishment since Meyer has been removed from football activities for more than two weeks.”

Meyer has already been on suspension (or paid administrative leave) for the better part the month of August.

The meeting on Monday was able to take place because it was an “informational meeting” and no public business was conducted. However, there is a meeting scheduled for 9a.m. on Wednesday to discuss just what punishment would be recommended. 

Ultimately it will be the university president that makes the final decision, but the board of trustees will meet to send their recommendation to President Michael V. Drake, who is likely to adhere to the recommendation of the board. 

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Ohio State wins Cotton Bowl Classic: The good, bad and what it means for 2018

Buckeyes defense dominates USC en route to Cotton Bowl Classic victory.

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Some may say that Ohio State had a real gripe about not being selected to the College Football Playoff this season. Whether the Buckeyes believed they were snubbed or not, they certainly took out any frustration on USC in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Ohio State used a dominating night on defense and just enough offense to beat the Trojans 24-7. Four turnovers were forced by the Buckeyes defense, resulting in a pick six and a huge shift in momentum late in the game too.

The win sends quarterback J.T. Barrett out on a high note, but it wasn’t his best effort on the field. He had just 114 yards passing and no touchdowns, while also putting up a Buckeyes-best 66 yards on the ground as well.

Luckily those 66 yards were enough to find the end zone twice in the first half for OSU.

Barrett got the Buckeyes on the board on their first possession and then put the Buckeyes up 24-0 on a 28-yard run late in the second quarter. However, it appeared momentum was shifting late in the half as Ronald Jones II put the ball over the goal line with just 1:29 to play in the first half.

That was it for the scoring though and it was a massive defensive message to the critics of the Buckeyes.

It all added up to the Big Ten coming away from a loaded day of action with a 5-0 record. Not only did the Buckeyes win, but so did Northwestern to help the Big Ten continue its banner bowl game start.

The Good

J.T. Barrett Continued to be Legendary

Few players in the history of Ohio State football have had the career that quarterback J.T. Barrett has had. Yet, it feels strange to say his career has been legendary. Maybe its the fact that he missed out on a Big Ten and national championship in 2015? Maybe it’s the fact that it somehow took until his senior season to win a Big Ten title as the quarterback?

Whatever it was, Barrett’s career just seemed incomplete. But, on Friday night Barrett added to his collegiate legend, setting the Big Ten’s total yards record that was previously held by some guy named Drew Brees.

There’s little doubt that Barrett is going to be remembered in Columbus for some time. Most importantly, Barrett was able to complete a post-season with a Big Ten championship and a win in a New Year’s Six game.

Not a bad way to go out in your college career.

Defense Got Turnover Happy

Ohio State showed it had a really good defense down the stretch run of the regular season, but it seemed to finally all come together in the Cotton Bowl. The Buckeyes forced USC quarterback and talked-about No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Sam Darnold, to look rather average at best.

Part of Darnold’s issue came in the form of turnovers. Well, Darnold and USC in general, as the Trojans gave up the ball via turnover a whopping four times.

The last of which came as Darnold got hit from behind and let the ball fall right in to the waiting arms of an OSU defensive lineman.

It all added up to a USC offense that came in averaging 35 points per game being completely shutdown.

Let’s just say it was a great time for OSU to give its best defensive performance of the season too.

The Bad

Ohio State’s Offensive Performance

While a 24-7 scoreline would seem flattering, Ohio State’s offense really did minimal work on Friday night.

The Buckeyes amassed just 277 yards on 55 plays in the game, including just 114 yards in the passing game. Barrett getting a win in his final game was nice, but his passing game wasn’t. Barrett finished the game 11 of 17 passing for just 114 yards and no touchdowns.

Even more telling? The dynamic duo of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber was held to just 57 yards combined.

Given the domination of the defense all of this seems to be a bit nit-picky, but it should also be worrisome because this offense was up and down all 2017.

What it Means for 2018

It’s hard to say that this one game was make or break for any Ohio State players and their NFL draft status, but that is really the key from this game. Did Sam Hubbard’s great night make his decision easier? How many other guys will take off after this game?

Ultimately that is what is going to matter most heading in to the 2018 offseason.

However, what we can take away from the Cotton Bowl is the fact that the Buckeyes need some real work on the offensive side of the ball. Some of it is just simply growing up for young players, but we also saw what we saw most of this year in the pass game for OSU — there aren’t a lot of receiving options.

That group has got to regroup in a major way or the Buckeyes won’t be going anywhere but backwards on offense in 2018.

Dwayne Haskins is a better pure passer than J.T. Barrett, but it may not matter if no one can get open. Sure, you can give credit to the Trojans secondary, but the Buckeyes receivers did nothing to help themselves either.

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