J.D. Brookhart can't ask much more out of his defense, which forced five turnovers and scored a safety. Special teams, too, were just that, with John Stec pinning the Buckeyes inside the 20-yard line three times.
Ohio State prevailed 20-2 this afternoon in Columbus, however, mainly because Akron's offense had no chance against the Buckeyes' swarming speed.
The Zips gained 33 rushing yards and 66 passing yards. The offensive line protected the quarterbacks fairly well, only allowing three sacks. Zips running backs, though, had little chance to even return to the line of scrimmage after many handoffs.
Akron scored its only points when Brion Stokes tackled Chris Wells in the backfield, which also happened to be the endzone. Without that safety, it would've been a complete skunking.
There are many positives for Brookhart to take away from the game. Through the forced turnovers, Akron proved it still has several playmakers on defense. Also, the defense could have done much worse stopping Wells, Brandon Saine and Maurice Wells. They combined for 211 yards on 41 carries. Pay attention to Ohio State the rest of the Big Ten schedule and you'll see them surpass that against most opponents.
Stec played the game of his career, booming 14 punts for 575 yards. His first-half performance, in particular, kept Ohio State from pulling away sooner. All of the special teams, in fact, played even with the Buckeyes.
I watched the game at Johnny Malloy's in Cuyahoga Falls. It was a complete Buckeye fest. Quite depressing. As was my rude waitress. (Don't you hate it when a server pouts about doing her job?)
The Big Ten is really weak this year. Although Akron clearly had its own struggles, Ohio State's offense was pathetic at times. My early season prediction for the national championship game is Oklahoma and LSU.
I listened to part of the post-game show on 1350 AM. It was informative and entertaining. Kudos to those who came up with the idea.
Six defensive players get to share my game ball:
Andre Jones (led the team with 10 tackles),
John Mackey (seemed to be EVERYWHERE),
Davanzo Tate (played excellent coverage),
Doug Williams, Stokes and
Reggie Corner (amazing coverage and an interception). It's almost impossible for six people to share a football, so Stec gets physical possession for his outstanding work.
I think Zips fans have to be happy on the whole. You knew the offense was shaky going in. The defense proved itself. Special teams looks like it will be a strength (not including place kicking).
There are some issues with the offense. First off, this type of play calling simply won't work against speedy teams. (Note: Next week's opponent, Indiana, is pretty fast) You can't pass to the flats with 60 percent of the plays. Akron needed to take more shots downfield to keep safeties from creeping up and to force cornerbacks to give a larger cushion.
I haven't even mentioned the quarterbacks yet.
Chris Jacquemain played most of the first half and did OK. Ohio State couldn't take advantage of his awful passes. But those awful passes are probably why Brookhart substituted
Carlton Jackson for the second half. It's a shame one player didn't move the team, but did they even have a chance? Without an effective running game, Ohio State defended the pass even harder.
I urge anyone who attended the game to post some comments below. Or if you were watching at a sports bar, feel free to weigh in.