With the score 28-7 toward the end of the 3rd quarter, I received a phone call from my dad, who was sitting in Spartan Stadium. This is usually the "well, we did our best, OSU looks good" call, tinged with the conciliatory emotion that has dragged Spartan fans through the last 15 years. But the phone call didn't follow that typical script; he sounded upbeat and optimistic, impressed with OSU but still believing that the Spartans could score again and make this game respectable.
Three plays after he got off the phone, OSU ran a cornerback blitz, new QB Kirk Cousins failed to check his blindside and Thaddeus Gibson scooped up the fumble, rumbling 70 yards to make it a four touchdown lead. My father should have known better than to keep his hopes up. Five turnovers doomed the Spartans, while the forearm shivers and power runs of the Buckeye's helped dominate the speed of the game. This was a game of trench warfare and everytime the Spartans tried to come over the top, the Buckeye's threw them right back. From James Laurinitis smashing Brian Hoyer into last week, to the stiff arms of the OSU stars, this was a physical beatdown of the highest level. Coach Tressel even lined the Bucks up in an uneven 3 back I-Form, similar to the OSU offenses of the 1970's that focused on smashmouth running football. Somewhere Woody Hayes is swearing up a happy storm.
What did we learn: This Ohio State team is similar to the 2002 team that averaged a measly 23 ppg in Big 10 play, relying on its suffocating defense to make the game winning plays and hoping that the offense didn't make mistakes. As for the Spartans, this was simply a case of being outclassed by a similar team with better athletes and a solid gameplan. The Spartan's vanilla plain offensive attack was no match for a veteran Buckeye defense that leads the Big 10 in rush defense.
Also, the discussion about whether Beanie Wells is better than Javon Ringer is a useless one. Wells is bigger and faster; he destroyed Spartan defenders with stiff arms and power. Ringer is a good sized scatback with a mean streak; he depends on his lineman to stop penetration so he can sneak through holes. I would take either off them, even if Wells did have the far better day.