Although the spotlight was on Montee Ball it was Ryan Shazier, John Simon, Bradley Robey and the Ohio State defense who deserve the accolades as the Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Wisconsin Badgers in overtime to remain only one of two undefeated teams in the country.
In a classic Big Ten defensive struggle, the Buckeyes held Montee Ball to only one touchdown as he tied but did not break the college scoring record of 78 touchdowns. Simon tied a career high bagging four sacks while Shazier made 12 tackles putting him over the 100 tackle mark this season. Bradly Roby, providing dual coverage on a missed defensive assignment, knocked down his 17th pass of the season preventing a sure fourth quarter Wisconsin touchdown.
But it was the head to head match up between Ball and Shazier in the final minutes of the game that made the highlight of the night. Earlier in the game Ball seemed to fly as he jumped into the end zone on a 7 yard carry but this time Shazier was ready. As the Badgers lined up on the 2 yard line, Ball once again launched skyward in search of the end zone. Shazier was there to meet him knocking the ball loose and right into the hands of Christian Bryant. If not for a quick jersey grab by a Wisconsin lineman, Bryant pretty much had a long but clear shot at the end zone.
In his post game comments, Shazier said that he had been studying films all week and knew that Ball liked to go up. “So once he jumped, I jumped, and I punched the ball out,” he said. The fumble was only the second time in his career that Ball had given up the ball.
And Carlos Hyde
Statistically Wisconsin looked much better on paper than the Buckeyes putting up 360 yards offense to Ohio State’s 260. While Ball ran for 191 yards it was Carlos Hyde who did the most damage on the ground. Along with scoring the game-winning overtime touchdown, Hyde outscored Ball 2-1 and made a crucial 11 yard run on the opening play of overtime.
Balls 191 yards also came on a career high 39 carries. That breaks down to 4.9 yards per carry. Hyde averaged 5.8 yards per carry on his 15 touches.
Offensively the Wisconsin defense kept Miller in check shutting down his passing lanes and providing very little if any running room. That said, the Oho State offensive line got the push when needed allowing Hyde to break free. The SCUM with their newly found quarterback shuffle will give the Buckeyes a much different look offensively but Ohio State’s ability to stand tall in the trenches against Wisconsin will serve them well when TSUN comes to town.
At the time I write this (way to late/early Sat/Sun), the AP poll hasn’t been released. With upsets at Oregon and Kansas State, you would think that an undefeated Ohio State would fall right into the No. 2 spot behind No. 1 Notre Dame. Something tells me though that come week 12 AP Poll, Buckeyes will still find themselves behind Alabama and Georgia. Any other year and it would be a crime but I’m guessing that in the AP voters minds, an NCAA ban somehow equates to quality of play.
And thanks to Oregon and Kansas state we get to once again see the SEC assume their ESPN assigned seat in the BCS Championship game.
Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten!?
ESPN is reporting that Maryland and Rutgers will soon be announcing a move to join the Big Ten. According to the report, the announcement could come as early as Monday with Maryland being the first to go and Rutgers following suit.
From a basketball perspective, Maryland might make for an interesting member of the B1G. From a football perspective, not so much. With the Big Ten holding three of the top five spots in the basketball rankings, the B1G doesn’t need much in the way of basketball credibility. Football is a different story.
Unfortunately, although Rutgers holds the football history neither Maryland or Rutgers are going to do much for the quality of B1G football. Yes, it would create a 14 team playoff but the play off doesn’t take place at the mid-level of the conference. Of course, Rutgers leaving for the Big Ten would create an opening in the ACC for Penn State and when compared to the future of Penn State football, Rutgers and Maryland aren’t sounding all that bad.
But conference alignment really isn’t about quality of play. It’s about market share and television coverage. Granted Penn State stays in the B1G (which they will) the Big Ten will remain connected by state borders. Rutgers could bring in the New York television market and Maryland the Baltimore/DC region but both sit squarely in the middle of two large NFL markets (Giants/Jets, Ravens/Redskins).
Maryland will also need to come up with the $50 million Big East exist fee, an expense they recently voted against. Right now the Big Ten Network brings in around 24 million per school so they won’t see an immediate payback but it must look attractive. Unless Rutgers and Maryland bring in a much larger television revenue than I am giving them credit for, it might result in a small cut of the pie for all.
If the B1G is going to go looking for new members, look to the west. Although Notre Damn would be a natural fit, they have made it clear they don’t want to play. There are other big schools out there though that will.
Oh…it’s 8:03 a.m and…