Chris Wells rushed for 135 yards and
1 touchdown and Todd Boeckman completed 14 of 25 passes for 218 yards
and 2 touchdowns to lead Ohio State to a 33-14 victory over the
Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium before a sellout crowd of 74,927.
Sailing along on cloud 9 after two
opening victories orchestrated by their savior to be, Jake Locker, the
Huskies were shot from the sky by a team loaded with Sunday players, and
now must face reality.
No running game other than Locker,
no pass defense, no run defense, too many young players on a learning
curve, no Sunday players -- just prayers -- and no help from lady luck.
Playing a top-ten team can dash
aspirations and hope -- for at least one week. -- for a team trying to
re-climb the long ladder that once led to respectability.
Coach Tyrone Willingham may wear a
purple, sweater vest someday, but right now it's in mothballs.
The Huskies had their chances to
win, but it was a dominating Buckeye defense in the second half that put
the kibosh on any hopes of getting off to 3-0 start this season. Instead
Washington (2-1) heads to Pasadena next week to take on the UCLA
Bruins (2-1) who will be out to avenge a 44-to-6 loss at the hands of
the Utah Utes on Saturday.
A Huskies' collapse in the second
half was the story of the game.
Leading 7-3, on the opening drive of
the second half, the Huskies drove 50 yards to the Ohio State 19, from where they
lost ground and were forced into a 46-yard field goal attempt. The kick
was blocked by Kurt Coleman, who slipped neatly by Johnie Kirton on the
right side of the Husky line.
On the second play of the ensuing
drive, Boeckman connected with Brian Robiskie on an 68-yard
pass-catch-run that went for a touchdown, burning true freshman Vonzell
McDowell who got caught in man-to-man coverage, and OSU took a 10-7
Then true freshman Curtis Shaw fumbled
the kickoff away, giving the Buckeyes the ball on
Washington's 25. Chris Wells carried the ball 14 yards
into the end zone to give the Buckeyes a 17-7 lead --
which was all they really ever needed to win; those two
quick second-half touchdowns, all within 27
seconds, sealed the Huskies'
Three three-and-outs and two
interceptions off Jake Locker in the second half killed
any meaningful attempt by the Huskies to get back in
the game after falling behind. Altogether the Dawgs turned the ball over four times.
In the first half, the Huskies had a
touchdown taken away from them as the referees ruled
that an errant lateral pass picked up and run into the
end zone was instead an incomplete forward pass.
QB Jake Locker ran 14 times for 102
yards, averaging 7.3 yards per carry. At times, he
looked like a faster version of Vince Young. Locker is a
brilliant young quarterback who is just learning his
trade. He needs some help from RB Louis Rankin so that
the sum of their contributions will be greater than
their individual ones. The synergism of Rankin and
Locker led to an opening win over Syracuse.
However, against the Buckeyes, Rankin
ran 14 times for just 42 yards. He scored one touchdown.
There were two blatant personal fouls
committed against Locker that were not called by the
officials. We have been assured that Coach Jim Tressel
does not teach dirty football; however, after being
tackled on one running play, Locker's head was twisted
around like a pretzel. I can still see the agonized,
pained look on the young man's reddening face.
Now for the bad news as if the
foregoing weren't enough.
-- Sloppy special teams play: Johnie
Kirton's chicken wing block that led to a blocked field
goal attempt. The Huskies netted 28.2 yards per punt.
-- Redshirt freshman quarterback
Locker has much to learn. His passing efficiency on the
game was 79.25, a horrible number by any measure. Under
pressure most of the time, the young quarterback
appeared to lock onto his primary receivers too much and
was inaccurate throwing out of the pocket -- some of his
missed passes thrown too hard and high. He hurried
some of his short passes, missing on some of them as
well. Locker had worked on his footwork over the summer as
it had affected his passing accuracy in the spring.
-- A lost fumble by true freshman
Curtis Shaw on a kickoff return and muffed pass coverage
by young freshman McDowell that resulted in an 68-yard
touchdown pass. After Shaw's fumble, Rankin ran the
-- Too much Rankin and no appreciable
help running the ball from anyone else but Locker.
-- Forty net yards rushing by
Locker's supporting cast. Like QB Isaiah Stanback last year, Locker is
forced into carrying the load of the Huskies' offense.
-- UW's defense allowed 263 yards on
the ground and 481 yards in total offense.
-- The four turnovers, with zero
reciprocity. Turnover margin is a significant statistic.
-- With just a few seconds remaining
on the clock, the arrogantly dressed Tressel should have taken a knee;
instead, Brandon Saine bolted on a 37-yard touchdown run with nothing
left on the clock. Tressel operates a pro-football
machine and doesn't need to wear a red-sweater vest to humble the
coaches he shakes hands with at midfield, coaches that teach and lead on an
amateur level with barely a pro-prospect in hand. A coach blessed with
talent should wear a genuine smile on his face, like Pete Carroll, and
thank God he was in the right place at the right time.
-- Okay, I am being too harsh on Tressel. He has the appearance
of a gentleman and a scholar, a kindly
chap indeed. His pro-producing machine runs on infinite energy, with a
protein footprint bearing the highest quality DNA.
-- In the Trojan/Cornhusker game
that followed, two injuries on kickoff returns. The 30-yard line kickoff
rule needs to be abolished to cut down on injuries, and return to the
35. BTW, the Trojans'
running game, something they really didn't effectively have last year,
is awesome. UW plays Troy two weeks from now at home, in a game that
will honor the 1960 national champions from Washington.
-- With its win over Washington, Is
the soft Big Ten on a its way back to respectability? Nope, this was a
team that struggled in the first half against a team ranked no better
than ninth in the conference by the media in a pre-season poll. I don't
expect any of the local media who vote in the major BCS polls will
remember that when they vote for the Buckeyes next week. USC, Oregon,
Cal and Arizona State are better teams than Ohio State.