Ohio State won yesterday against winless UAB, 29-15. They won, but there’s not a lot of positive things to be said about Ohio State’s struggling performance.
The good? No Buckeye seemed to sustain a serious injury. Ohio State finally got a runner other than Braxton Miller — in the case, Jordan Hall — more than 100 yards on the ground in a game. The defense forced two turnovers, and John Simon and Johnathan Hankins are terrors on the defensive line. And that’s about it.
The bad? A complete breakdown on punt blocking that allowed the entire UAB team, and probably some of their fans too, to block a punt before it was even kicked and return it for a touchdown. Poor kick coverage that allowed UAB to get good field position. A defense that gave up more than 400 yards to the UAB offense, had some serious third-down breakdowns, and couldn’t get UAB’s offense off the field. An offense that sputtered for most of the game, can’t seem to control the line of scrimmage, had countless three-and-outs, and had to punt six times against a UAB team that hasn’t won a game. When the game was in the balance, the offense couldn’t produce the score that would put the game away. The team had more stupid penalties.
Overall, the team seems somewhat disengaged, and doesn’t play with much urgency or killer instinct. Urban Meyer reminded OSU fans after the game that this is a team that was 6-7 last year; it’s not reasonable to expect that they will crush every opponent. That’s a fair point — but it’s also fair to expect a team to be improving at this point in the season, and I’m not really seeing that from the Buckeyes. With the team now moving into the Big Ten schedule, starting with a road game against Michigan State and then a home game against Nebraska, some significant improvement had better come quickly.