Good morning and welcome to your Thursday Morning Hive. It’s Penn Hate week, and your 8-0 Ohio State Buckeyes will head to Happy Valley soon for Saturday’s showdown with the Nittany Lions. In case you’re counting, this will be Revenge Game IV on the year. The Buckeyes have already paid back Michigan State, Nebraska and Purdue for wrongs committed in last year’s zombie season, although we can all agree that we still owe the Boilermakers a little interest on that payback. Penn State is next, with TTUN looming at season’s end. I think we’d all feel pretty great if the Buckeyes went 5-0 in revenge games this year, but this week will be a tough challenge.
My personal opinion is that Penn State’s offense is a higher tempo version of Sparty’s, only with more tight end use and an efficient, experienced quarterback. Last season, I wouldn’t have been able to type that last sentence about Matt McGloin while keeping a straight face. Bill O’Brien has done wonders with McMoxie and it will be interesting to see if the Buckeyes can find a way to rattle or confuse him. The OSU defense has created far too few turnovers since the Nebrasky game. Consider this my personal challenge, Bradley Roby and Travis Howard. Meanwhile, we got great news out of practice yesterday: Braxton Miller participated fully the last couple of days and hasn’t been limited. Further, Kenny Guiton hasn’t taken any additional first-team reps. Looks like all systems are go, despite the opinion of “doctor” David Cucchiara of Bleacher Report. Let’s get to today’s Hive…
In case you missed it, the Plain Dealer’s Doug Lesmerises compares and contrasts the Ohio State and Penn State no-huddle offenses. Doug notes that Penn State is tied for first in the B1G in offensive snaps per game, with 90 or more in each of the last two weeks. That’s something Urban Meyer would envy. Ohio State’s offense produces more big plays than Penn State, but the Nittany Lions are adept at grinding out long drives. The Buckeyes, notes Doug, are a little more balanced. The Nitts average 406 yards and 29 points per game, while Ohio State is averaging 439 yards and 39 points. Here’s what Doug has to say about the consistency factor:
So the Buckeyes are much more likely to hit a defense with a big play. The Nittany Lions can grind out more methodical drives. Penn State converts a little more on third down, 45.7 percent to 43.9, and McGloin has a slightly higher completion percentage that Miller, 62.6 percent to 58.7. McGloin has thrown 14 touchdowns and two interceptions, compared to 11 and five for Miller, and overall Penn State is plus-8 in turnover margin, best in the conference, while Ohio State is plus-1.
It will be vital for Ohio State’s defense not to allow the Nittany Lions to have 85+ offensive plays. Third downs will be a critical factor in determining this game.
PSU Writer Says Buckeyes are a One-Trick Pony
David Jones from the Patriot-News isn’t too impressed with Buckeyes not named Braxton Miller this season. Jones calls the OSU skill guys “competent” but predicts not many will matriculate to the NFL. The next level is a tough one to reach, but let’s be honest, you can be a college stud and still not make it in The League. His most noteworthy comment is this:
A combination of residue from the Tressel sanctions, flunk-outs and simple lack of development has left the Buckeyes with, other than Miller, weaponry that looks more like it belongs on a Minnesota roster than an Ohio State one.
Ouch. Hey, good for Jerry Kill if he can get a Carlos Hyde, Devin Smith or Jake Stoneburner to go to Minnesota. Here’s to hoping Hyde goes into beast mode on Saturday and Smith continues his practice of scoring a touchdown after a game in which he doesn’t score—he hasn’t had consecutive games without a touchdown this season.
Shooty Pucks Gives Me a Sad
As someone who used to work in the NHL, and dedicated a big chunk of my life to hockey, two things happened yesterday that gave me a pretty big sad. The arduous labor problem has dragged on long enough that the full season is almost certainly gone, and any kind of meaningful season is severely threatened. Since the sport just had a labor stoppage recently (one which I hold responsible for the fact I’m no longer working in the NHL), this should never have been allowed to happen. In my view, everyone involved is responsible: the owners, the players’ union and the commissioner. The second was the announcement that the New York Islanders are moving to Brooklyn in 2015. Although they’ll still be known as the “New York Islanders,” and they aren’t moving all that far, things just won’t be the same without hockey on Long Island. No town should ever lose its pro sports team and my heart goes out to those who will be affected, even though I’m a Flyers fan and you bastards cost us a Stanley Cup.
Ohio State and Marquette will wear special Nike camouflage jerseys when they square off Nov. 9 in the Carrier Classic in Charleston, S.C. I’m not sure how we’ll be able to spot them…Ohio State picked to finish third in the conference in hoops by B1G beat writers…Former Buckeye Scoonie Penn has joined BTN as a hoops analyst…It’s not terribly surprising given his history of antics, but “The Torg” is no longer with 97.1 the Fan. He’s taking his firing about as well as you’d expect (hint: a lawsuit is mentioned)…Sick of not being able to text or Tweet in the Shoe? Having trouble checking in on Foursquare? Well, Verizon will be doing something about that (*cough* 3-year time frame *cough*).