2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 1 - Akron at Ohio State
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Sept. 3 at Ohio State 42 … Akron 0
CFN Analysis: Remember, Ohio State didn’t always start out hot under Jim Tressel, either. It might have taken a little while to put away Akron and make it a true blowout, but the defense was the Ohio State defense – holding the Zips to just 90 yards – and the offense wasn’t as poor as it should’ve been considering all the personnel problems. The one concern was an offensive line that wasn’t quite as physical that it should’ve been, but as the game in the heat wore on, everything started to click and the Buckeyes rolled up 224 yards on the ground. Joe Bauserman did his part, completing 12-of-16 passes for 163 yards and three scores, and Braxton Miller looked great in his time, completing 8-of-12 passes for 130 yards and a score, and both ran well combining for 62 yards on 12 carries with Bauserman running for a score. It might have been a little ragged, but really, everything was fine.
CFN Analysis: The Zips were going to have to sit back and take the beating against a team desperate to get back on the field and show what it could do. Ohio State’s defense was frothing at the mouth, and there was nothing the Akron O could do about it. Clayton Moore struggled to find an open receiver, partly because there weren’t any, and the running game was nowhere to be found when Moore wasn’t taking off. The Zip defensive front did a nice job of holding up, but this was a payday game; the Temple game should be more indicative of where the program is at.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Starting his first game in eight years, quarterback Joe Bauserman ran for a touchdown and threw for three to tight end Jake Stoneburner to lead No. 18 Ohio State to a 42-0 win over Akron on Saturday in a sweltering season opener.
Luke Fickell made his head-coaching debut for the Buckeyes after being elevated from defensive assistant to take the place of Jim Tressel, who was shoved out in the wake of an ugly NCAA scandal.
Stoneburner became the first Ohio State tight end to catch three TD passes in a game.
Bauserman, starting for the first time since he was a senior in high school, ran for a 15-yard score and threw TD passes of 28, 11 and 2 yards to Stoneburner.
The nearby Ohio State Medical Center reported around 20 people were treated for heat-related illnesses.
Buckeyes freshmen also had a big day. Heralded freshman quarterback Braxton Miller tossed a TD pass to another true freshman, Devin Smith, and classmate Rod Smith ran for a score.
Bauserman, who spent the last two years on the sidelines watching Terrelle Pryor play, completed 12 of 16 passes for 163 yards and the three scores with no interceptions.
Akron's offense managed just 90 total yards. The Zips, 1-11 a year ago, came closest to scoring when a 41-yard field goal just before the half went wide.
In addition to the final score, every stat was lopsided in Ohio State's favor, including first downs (27-5), rushing yards (224-35) and sacks (5-0).
Almost half the crowd was gone by halftime as the temperature soared to the high 90s with high humidity. One official had to leave the game due to dehydration.
The first half lasted almost 90 minutes thanks to three lengthy video reviews. It was way too long for the Zips, that's for sure.
The Buckeyes scored on their first possession and twice late in the half.
Bauserman, a 25-year-old former Pittsburgh Pirates prospect as a pitcher, completed passes for 9 and 28 yards on the opening drive, capped by an Akron misplay. On a blown play, Bauserman turned to hand off the ball to a back but there was no one there. He sidestepped a defender and zigzagged through several more potential tacklers on a lumbering 15-yard touchdown -- his first in college.
The Buckeyes led 21-0 after Bauserman hit Stoneburner on scoring passes of 28 yards and 11 yards, the second coming after Andrew Sweat picked off a pass that was tipped by teammate Dominic Clarke.
Not everything was golden for Ohio State. Acclaimed freshman tailback Rod Smith fumbled the ball away at the Akron 4 on the Buckeyes' second possession. Miller was ineffective, losing yards on his first series. And Bauserman could have been sacked several times but the Zips failed to wrap him up when they had a clear shot.
But just about everything else went the Buckeyes' way.
Ohio State went with one of its youngest starting lineups ever with just six seniors starting. Another reason for all the youth is the legion of NCAA problems surrounding the program.
The Buckeyes were without seven players for the opener. Leading returning receiver DeVier Posey, top 2010 rusher Dan Herron, starting offensive tackle Mike Adams and backup defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, are all suspended for the first five games for accepting cash and tattoos from the subject of a federal drug-trafficking probe. They were also without linebacker Jordan Whiting, who will sit out only the first game for the same NCAA violation.
This week the Buckeyes announced that starting tailback Jordan Hall, first-team cornerback Travis Howard and backup safety Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown were suspended indefinitely for receiving less than $300 in gifts from a charity earlier this year, also an NCAA violation. Ohio State has appealed to the NCAA for their reinstatement after one game, but no one knows when they'll return.
Ohio State is already awaiting final sanctions from the NCAA after its hearing before the committee on infractions on Aug. 12. The school has vacated the 2010 season's 12-1 record because Tressel used ineligible players, will pay $338,000 in bowl money to charity and will go on two years of NCAA probation. In addition, Tressel was forced to resign on May 30 and star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, a focal point of a lengthy NCAA investigation into improper benefits, left the program to jump to the NFL.
The 38-year-old Fickell is the sixth former Ohio State assistant to assume the head coaching job.
Clayton Moore, a junior-college transfer making his first start for Akron, completed 6 of 16 passes for 54 yards when he wasn't being harassed by Ohio State's line.
The road loss was the Zips' 15th in a row.
Akron (0-0) at Ohio State (0-0) Sept. 3, 12:00, ESPN and ESPN3
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Here’s The Deal … Finally. After all the controversy, all the magazine covers, all the coverage, and all the ugliness, Ohio State gets to play football again. The situation is still a wee bit up in the air with the NCAA still to come up with its final ruling, it seems like the Buckeyes might have weathered the storm, and now it’s full steam ahead and now it’s time to start thinking about doing what the program has always done.
The expectations will be lowered a bit without Jim Tressel and a still-developing quarterback situation, but Ohio State is still the most talented team in the Big Ten and there aren’t any excuses to not win yet another title. But first, before diving into the new-look league, OSU has to deal with the non-conference schedule that kicks off with a layup, gets a more dangerous than it looks tune-up against Toledo, and then comes the date at Miami and the home game against Colorado. It’s a good preseason slate, but there’s no reason to not be 4-0 before facing Michigan State. Can the Buckeyes do it impressively?
Akron is coming off a miserable season and was in the discussion for the honor of being America’s worst team over the first part of last year. Second year head coach Rob Ianello isn’t going to come up with a miracle in Columbus, but any success of any sort would go a long way to changing around the attitude and perspective coming off a 1-11 campaign.
Why Akron Might Win: While Ohio State is still ridiculously talented, and it’s still one of the favorites to win the Big Ten title, there’s still that little issue of turnover. How will Luke Fickell handle the pressure in his first game as the head man? How will the quarterback situation look? Will the attack sputter? Akron isn’t going to be able to do much offensively against a frothing-at-the-mouth Buckeye defense that shouldn’t lose anything off its fastball, but the Zip defense has a good enough linebacking corps and a decent enough secondary to not get ripped apart. If the Akron O does have any success, though, it’ll be with a decent-looking passing game that should be able to come up with a few big plays. Akron won’t win, but if the OSU offense is off, it could be tighter than expected for longer than OSU fans might like.
Why Ohio State Might Win: Consider it a major shocker if Akron runs for more than 50 yards, and even that might be generous. For all the problems the Zip offense had last year, but the biggest problem started with the lack of running game, averaging 155 yards per game. There’s no returning experience to the Zip backfield, and while the line should be stronger, it won’t have a chance to hold up against the Buckeye defensive line that should set up camp behind the line. The Akron skill players won’t get any time to work, and it wouldn’t be surprising if OSU comes up with a several sacks. The Buckeyes finished third in the nation in run defense last year, and there isn’t going to be much of a drop-off, if any. The Akron offense will see why.
What To Watch Out For: If this is a preseason tune-up game for Ohio State, then it’ll be breakdown time for the quarterbacks to see who the right one might be going forward. There’s Joe Bauserman, the safe veteran choice who might be just good enough to not let the offense screw up, but there’s a hard ceiling on what the team can do and what the season can be if he’s the game manager. More of a Tressel Ball style of passer, he’ll keep the chains moving against Akron and he’ll look steady, but he’ll never be spectacular. If Ohio State is willing to take a shot at the stars, then true freshman Braxton Miller could be choice going forward. Terrelle Pryor might not have turned out to be the be-all-end-all he was expected to be, but he was the best quarterback on the roster as a freshman, and he was brought along slowly. Miller might not get the same time, and with two MAC games to start the year, now is the time to see if he’s ready. Looking great in practices at times, he has all the tools and all the talent to be special.
What Will Happen: Not only will this be a cathartic exhale for
the Buckeye nation, as Ohio State applies a Screw
You, World stomping, but it'll also show something
different: the conservative days might be over. No,
the Buckeyes aren't going to start winging it around
the yard, but is it possible that the Buckeyes might
actually be, dare it be said, entertaining? Fickell
isn't Tressel, and while there won't be a 180-degree
shift in philosophies, this won't be your older
brother's Ohio State and that should be obvious from
the start. Consider it a good game if Akron is
anything more than a speed bump. If the Zips score,
enjoy the moment..
CFN Prediction: Ohio State 45 ... Akron 3
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Ohio State -33.5 O/U: 45
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