After years of great success, it’s like Ohio State is learning how to lose. And doing it in so many different and awful ways. Against Miami and Michigan State, it was offensive ineptitude. Tonight, Ohio State built a three-touchdown lead and seemed to have the game in hand when a turnover, an injury, and the inevitably fatal appearance of Laughing Joe Bauserman caused the Buckeyes to give up the lead and lose to a Nebraska team that got crushed last week and was on the ropes tonight.
Tonight’s game showed what has become increasingly clear as the season has gone on — for all of the criticism of Jim Tressel’s conservative play-calling, he was a great in-game coach. I’m confident that, with Tressel at the helm, Ohio State would not have lost tonight’s game. Even after Nebraska scored after Braxton Miller’s turnover, the Buckeyes still had a two-touchdown lead, and Tressel would have run, run, run the ball — and Ohio State was moving it on the ground — milked the clock, and worn Nebraska’s defense down. He would have kept the defense off the field, and he never would have put the game in Bauserman’s hands.
Instead, the coaches inexplicably went away from the run, and we got to watch the infuriating spectacle of Bauserman hurling the ball 40 feet over receiver’s heads out of bounds. Here’s a tip for the Ohio State coaches — forget Bauserman! He brings nothing to the table. If Braxton Miller’s injury keeps him out of the lineup, play Kenny Guiton, or Taylor Graham. They cannot possibly be worse than Bauserman, and you would be doing a service for the blood pressure of Buckeye fans the world over.
As for the defense, it’s time to show some guts and some pride. Even when the offense returns to its state of torpid, Bausermanesque ineptitude, you can still play like the Ohio State Buckeyes, instead of the gang that can’t tackle. We need the defense to step up, with the season now truly teetering on the brink of the abyss.