Ohio State’s John Simon almost didn’t play today. Ohio State almost lost to Cal.
And the end result of all this was a postgame speech that impressed the heck out of Buckeye football coach Urban Meyer.
“[John] had a sore shoulder. They kept telling me all week, it should be fine, it should be fine,” Meyer said. “It just didn’t heal as fast as we hoped. Boy, he just lost it in the locker room as far as just sharing, opening up his soul for this team.”
“He was crying,” Devin Smith said. “He gave it all for us, and you can tell by the way he played. We love that guy.”
Simon had just one tackle today, a 7-yard sack of Bears quarterback Zach Maynard. However, he helped create the pressure that led to a total of 6 sacks and 9 tackles-for-loss for the Scarlet and Gray.
The more aggressive approach was all the more necessary because of bad tackling. All of of the Buckeyes near misses and Cal’s narrow escapes allowed the Bears to rack up 512 yards this afternoon.
“We’ve gotta get that figured out. It’s time to play Ohio State defense and that wasn’t Ohio State defense at all,” Meyer said.
On offense, the Buckeyes were as good as their quarterback, Braxton Miller. At the end of the first half, he had personally outgained California with 193 yards of total offense to the Bears 181.
Not coincidentally, OSU led 20-7 at the break.
Cal started mounting their comeback in the third, when Miller was just 2/8 passing for 5 yards, and -6 yards rushing. It was, unsurprisingly, the only quarter in which the Buckeyes were outscored by their opponent.
Miller’s two touchdown passes and diving 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter eventually helped seal the 35-28 victory.
Done and Dunn
Jordan Hall traveled a long road to finally make it back from his foot injury, and he started for Ohio State today. He carried the ball 17 times for 87 yards.
Meanwhile, Bri’onte Dunn, who was expected to get some touches with Carlos Hyde out, did not see any meaningful time at tailback.
And make no mistake, OSU missed having a a change of pace runner.
“There were a lot of runs in there today that probably should have been kind of crammed up in there, get your 4 or 5 yards, and Jordan probably didn’t do a great job doing that where Carlos might have,” agreed co-offensive coordinator Tom Herman.
However, he added they wanted their more experienced players on the field today.
After being whistled for 10 penalties against UCF, Ohio State managed to lose 101 yards on 11 penalties today.
The Left Behind Series
All three times Cal’s kicker attempted to put three points on the board today, he sent the field goal attempt wide left.
Bears fans will, without a doubt, point to Vincenzo D’Amato as a big reason they lost this game.
But several of OSU’s players said they think the Buckeyes deserve some credit, as well. The Bucks put some of their best players on special teams, and that can disconcert the opponent.
“Give it to our fans, too,” pointed out CJ Barnett. “It’s kind of intimidating hearing that crowd going like that, and it adds a lot of pressure on the kicker.”
Scenes from the Shoe