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Well, That Wasn't Fun

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A Look Back at the Most Uninspired Shutout in Recent Memory

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

What in the sam hill was that, Buckeyes? Five days after an putting on a clinic at the Hokies' expense, Ohio State looked as lethargic and unpolished as possible against the sartorially impressive Hawaii Warriors. Was it the short week? Did the Bucks struggle in the face of an emotional letdown after expunging the stain of VT from their memories? Or is Ed Warriner not nearly as accomplished a playcaller as Tom Herman? Too many QBs? Flat tire? Tux was at the cleaners?

In short, was that just a bad game? Or is something wrong in Columbus?

The obvious barrel-fire hot take is that Urban has managed to turn three quarterbacks into none by refusing to settle on a starter. We're only a week removed from the rampant overreactions of week one, but few Buckeye fans--or fans in general--can say they weren't surprised to see Cardale Jones get the start last Monday. To his credit, the man with the cannon on his shoulder made some truly exceptional plays under the lights at Lane Stadium. A 30-yard zinger off his back foot and a 25-ish yard jump pass leap to mind. All in all, with the exception of some poor option reads, the hero of 2014 acquitted himself in fine fashion.

Fast forward to Saturday, and it was a completely different story. Flubbed snaps. Fumbles. Bad reads. Errant throws. The Cardale Jones of 2014 was nowhere to be found. To call on a hackneyed joke, he may have finally decided to play school, but he certainly ain't come to play football against Hawaii.

On the plus side, the defense was electricifying. Hawaii's offense was a non-starter for the entire afternoon. Sure, they made a few good plays here and there. But the warriors never threatened to reach the endzone. Once OSU scored 7 points the win was all but assured in light of the defensive pillow-smothering the Warriors found themselves facing.

Nevertheless, an easy game against Hawaii proved to be an ugly reminder of just how badly a preternaturally talented team can play. Even the most staunch Urban Meyer supporters have to ask themselves exactly what the man is doing with this quarterback situation. Just as important are the questions surrounding the run game. Why has the Zeke-based run game suddenly become second-fiddle to the QB run--and a Cardale run at that? Elliott's best run of the season came on the 80-yard TD burst following his first handoff of 2015. Even in the abysmal second quarter of the VT game, the powerful running back of Sugar Bowl fame got the ball only 3 times.

Against Hawaii, the line couldn't give Zeke or anyone else much wiggle room. A runner talented enough to smoke the VT defense and embarrass Alabama and Oregon averaged 3.7 ypc against seven guys who had to ride a plane from Hawaii.

The end result of all this was the most uninspiring 38-0 victory I think I've ever witnessed, and a bevy of questions about the state of the supposed best team in the land. A win may be a win, but you can lose a lot of face in the process.