After each ohio state match in the 2022 football season, LGHL will offer its market analysis of Buckeyes performance. Using a standard bond rating system, we will rate offense, defense and special teams, according to this formula:
AA: very strong
BB: facing great uncertainty
Then we’ll look at individual players whose performance stood out (in one way or another!) and assign them a stock rating: Blue Chip, Solid Performance, Penny Stock (similar to a junk bond, dangerously high risk).
All season, it’s been said and reaffirmed that the Buckeyes have problems with physical teams — problems running the ball, problems stopping the run. Wisconsin? Iowa? Penn State? Ohio State handled these physical teams, not necessarily with ease but decisively. No, I was worried about the Buckeyes’ main vulnerability — the defensive secondary, especially cornerbacks — against a good quarterback and strong passing offense. Like the one in Maryland. We found out yesterday that the Buckeyes struggled with that.
Without a doubt, Terps’ Taulia Tagovailoa topped CJ Stroud. More yards, more touchdown passes, more yards per attempt, higher completion percentage, higher QB rating. Still, OSU won due to several important factors.
The Bucks, in the second half, had a far superior running game, which consumed time and took some of the fight out of Maryland. Second, the Ohio State defense managed to pressure Tagovailoa late in the game when the outcome was still up in the air, collecting a total of five sacks. Finally, the Terps committed suicide with costly penalties. Of course, the Bucks also had their part in that sloppy play, but were often saved by an error from Maryland, usually a hold or interference.
It was the closest game the Buckeyes had this year, a game that wasn’t really decided until Zach Harrison’s strip fumble and Steele Chambers’ touchdown recovery with nine seconds left. One wonders if this close game, having to play in critical time, will be good for the Bucks as they host TTUN or if it will shake their confidence. Of course, the Wolverines didn’t have it easy at home against the Illini. Obviously, a lot will depend on injured players returning to the field – for both teams.
Overall Rating: BBB Adequate
Behind at intermission, 13-10, Buckeye’s attack was dismal in the first half. A great drive on the first possession led to an early 7-0 lead. But it was followed by two punts (both threes and outs), a field goal (after a few bad plays in the red zone) and another punt. Stroud had only completed half of his attempts, TreVeyan Henderson had 19 yards on 11 carries and the Bucks had 28 yards rushing for the half.
The second half saw a different Buckeye team, one that scored on four of its five possessions, one that topped possession time, one that rushed for 132 yards. Granted, part of the difference was rookie Dallan Hayden’s run. Henderson didn’t play much in the second half, and we saw him on the sidelines wearing a boot, so maybe he was in pain throughout the game. (He didn’t look hurt, though, when receiving the 31-yard pass for the Bucks’ first touchdown.)
Either way, Henderson couldn’t move the ball on the ground. After losing a total of eight yards, he scored just 19 for an average of 1.7 yards per carry. Hayden, meanwhile, rushed 27 times for 146 yards (5.4 yards per carry). He hasn’t lost a yard. Bottom line: The Bucks work better with Miyan Williams, who was out for the Maryland game, or with Hayden than with Henderson as star guard.
Again, CJ Stroud was not at his best. His passes weren’t as accurate as usual, especially when he was throwing while running. And there really wasn’t a pattern; some throws were high, some low. For the game, Stroud made 60% of his throws (not bad, but not typical for Stroud) for 241 yards and a TD.
Buckeye’s offense certainly wasn’t unstoppable and gained just over 400 yards for the day. They converted a respectable eight of 15 third attempts and gave up no sacks or turnovers. The playcalling was quite conservative, however. Hold for next week? I do not think so. This game was a battle.
Overall rating: BBB Adequate (i.e. good enough to win)
Buckeye’s defense seized the opportunity late in the game – and put it away. But they’ve had issues with Tagovailoa all along. He completed 72% of his passes for nearly 300 yards and a few touchdowns. He was successful in the clutch on several third games (and a fourth). The cornerbacks – Denzel Burke, Jordan Hancock and Jyaire Brown – were all torched for big plays. And ABC’s advertisers were right: why did they give receivers such a big cushion? Third and six, and Burke was 15 yards behind his man. ??? Generally, I thought Cam Brown played better in that position than his teammates.
Stuffing the opponents run game has become familiar, and I sure hope it continues next week. The D line and linebackers Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers were almost always on running backs quickly.
The Bucks’ passing susceptibility and some bad penalties kept the Terrapins in the game.
Overall Rating: BBB Adequate
What a mixed bag. First, the good. For the second game in a row, Lathan Ransom blocked a punt and Xavier Johnson recovered it, setting up an easy score. This time, in the Terps’ first practice in the second half, it was a game-changer. The Bucks scored in their next four practices, and it took Maryland a while to recover. X. Johnson also had some good kickoff returns.
The bad. Two late game penalties on extra points? Ridiculous. The first didn’t matter, but the second was really expensive. (See “ugly” below.)
The ugly one. In the fourth quarter, Maryland scored a TD and hit a two-run attempt to close the score at 27-21. The Bucks came right back, as Hayden scored on a 13-yard run. The Buckeyes lined up for a two-point conversion, only to be flagged for the second downtime. Supported, they opted to kick the pointer. But he was blocked and came back all the way for two runs for Maryland. A potential four-point swing, while the outcome was still uncertain. Ugly.
Dallan Hayden. With so many injuries at running back, Hayden has been durable and productive. Damn, it’s been a godsend, especially yesterday. He dominated the second half of the game, gaining 143 yards on 26 carries and scoring three rushing touchdowns. He does not fumble. He does not lose yards. He does not hesitate. He hits the line hard and has good balance.
Zach Harrison. Harrison’s two sacks in the fourth quarter really put the finishing touches on Tagovailoa and the Terrapins. The strip fumble was the icing on the cake. Harrison finished with four tackles, but he was a problem for Maryland throughout the course.
Lathan Ransom. Seven tackles and the punt blocked. Strong support on running games. Good pass coverage. Ransom had a solid game in every phase.
Tommy Eichenberg. A record 12 tackles. Eichenberg was a one-man wrecking crew, filling in the run and confusing blocking patterns. It really is an exceptional season.
Jack Sawer. Sawyer played a solid game, collecting four tackles, including a sack. He proved a handful for offensive tackles and tight ends trying to block him and keep him out of the backfield.
Emeka Egbuka. I thought Egbuka had played his best game for several weeks. He made some great catches – and they were on crucial plays, often keeping drives alive when the offense wasn’t very consistent.
Taron Vincent. Vincent, as he has done all season, played well against the run. But that unsportsmanlike conduct penalty towards the end of the first half? It didn’t really cause any problems in this situation, but what was he thinking?
Despite another frustrating game, the Buckeyes are still undefeated and have consistently beaten all of their opponents by double digits. The season, as we kind of knew it, all comes down to next week. The Buckeyes will need to play better on both sides of the ball. But you know what? I think they will.
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