I have never seen a game in which fan reaction is so inconsistent. Some are thrilled Akron kept with Ohio State for the first half. Others are irate the offense couldn't capitalize on five turnovers.
In my opinion, both are right.
Here are my grades...
Quarterbacks: Is it time for Matt Rodgers? I don't think so. Chris Jacquemain needs a better play calling package. Carlton Jackson needs solid playing time (and not one where an overwhelmed offensive line is fending off a deep top-10 defense). If we are having the same conversation about quarterback incompetance after the next three games, then the coaches should consider Rodgers. In terms of a grade, I refuse to give the QBs a mark lower than a C when they avoid turnovers. Grade: B-
Running backs: This was ugly. It wasn't all the backs' fault because the Buckeyes are outstanding at stopping the run. But three rushing yards??? Three??? This offense was supposed to feed off the run. Awful performance. Grade: F
Wide receivers: It's hard to say. They had few chances to make extraordinary plays. Upon catching a ball in the flats, the Buckeyes immediately swarmed them. Grade: C-
Offensive line: A young offensive line allowed only three sacks to James Laurinaitis and Co. Not bad, but the passing plays often were quick shots to the flats, so the line didn't have to hold for long. Run blocking was atrocious. The backs were tentative, but line didn't do them any favors. Grade: D
Tight ends: Another week of minimal offensive inclusion (two Merce Poindexter receptions for 10 yards). I don't watch blocking enough to know if they were effective in that regard. Grade: D+
Place kicker: Matt Domonkos put a solid boot on the game's opening kickoff. That was the only time Akron used a placekicker. Grade: C+
Defensive line: Almondo Sewell and Nate Robinson each had a tackle for loss. Somehow, Eric Lively played the entire game without recording a tackle. However, the linebackers each played well, which is a partial indicator the line did its job. Grade: C+
Linebackers: John Mackey, Brion Stokes and Doug Williams should request a tape of this game from the Big Ten Network. Pull out the tape in 20 years and tell your kids you may not have gone pro, but you expended every bit of effort against Ohio State on Sept. 8, 2007. Kevin Grant also played well. Grade: A+
Secondary: If there were any doubters about Reggie Corner and Davanzo Tate, hopefully they leaped off the Y-bridge. Andre Jones led the team in tackles, too. Grade: A
Punting: All the special teams work paid off Saturday. The punting game, in particular, kept Akron in the game. Hopefully, John Stec can recreate that performance for the rest of the season. Grade: A
Coaching: The players were prepared. They executed to the best of their ability. My only concern is the offensive playcalling. To me, it appeared the coaches wanted to preserve a close loss, rather than win. When you're down two scores, why not take shots down the field? Passing to the flats clearly wasn't working for more than a couple yards at a time -- assuming the pass was accurate. I can't justify continuing that strategy in the fourth quarter. Grade: C
Media clips from today:
The AP wrote a terrific game recap.
The same goes for the Plain Dealer's game story.
Ohio State's Kirk Barton says next week, the Buckeyes will face "men" in the Washington Huskies. I didn't realize they were playing a powder-puff game Saturday. And Barton's offense certainly didn't do much against those non-men from Akron. Here's hoping the Buckeyes drop the game in Seattle.
The ABJ's David Lee Morgan pointed out that Stec set a school record with 14 punts.
Aside from the safety, the play of the game was Chris Wells' stiff-arm on Tate. The Plain Dealer discusses the play.
Chris Kemme tells the Columbus Dispatch about how difficult it was to block OSU's front seven and deal with the crowd noise at the same time.
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