Game Day Observations: Ohio State
Does anyone remember what happened on Saturday? It’s Sunday night, I’m sitting here trying to write my weekly observations column and I just can’t remember a damn thing. Can anyone tell me the score? I think I was at the Horseshoe but maybe I was just hallucinating.
Hrmph. If only.
Penn State’s 63-14 loss to Ohio State was one I’m sure we’d all just rather forget. Nevertheless, here are my game day observations from Columbus, Ohio.
- First, a note on Ohio State’s fans. They generally get a bad rap around the conference, but really they’re just meh. Last time the Nittany Lions went into Columbus, just weeks after Jerry Sandusky was arrested and Joe Paterno was
firedretired early, Ohio State fans treated the Penn State faithful more or less like hurt puppy dogs. Save for a few drunken idiots, Ohio State fans either gave me funny looks, apologized, or just shook their heads in 2011. This time around, Ohio State fans pretty much just ignored us. No “thanks for coming” or “good luck” or “we just kicked your ass,” just a cold shoulder. That’s fine by me. Aside from one guy elbowing me in the chest walking into the stadium, another refusing to move his chair an inch at a restaurant so I could use the electrical outlet next to the wall, and a few “Uncle Jerry” comments from students in passing, Ohio State fans were really just very tame. And uninviting. But I’ll take tame, considering their reputation.
- Seriously, I heard five times as many negative comments about Michigan than I did about Penn State. These people LOATHE Michigan. There were Michigan scarecrows hanging from poles in the tailgating lot. The marching band formed a T-rex formation during the halftime show and ate a guy dressed up as a Michigan player. After the game, the sidewalks were full of fans chanting over and over, “We don’t give a damn about the whole state of Michigan, the whole state of Michigan, the whole state of Michigan…” It was vicious. And beautiful. I wish we had that — just a team that we collectively hate more than we’ve ever hated anything. Until we work out a situation to play Pitt every year again, we’ll never be able to experience that. I’m jealous.
- Speaking of the marching band, “The Best Damn Band in the Land” is an appropriate moniker for Ohio State’s band. While nothing will ever top the Blue Band pregame show in my heart, the Ohio State halftime show featuring classic movie theme songs was absolutely breathtaking. I don’t know much of the technical jargon about marching bands, but these formations are incredible. Here’s a video of the whole thing. I advise you watch every second.
- The Blue Band made the trip, too. I only wish they had the opportunity to play a bit more “Fight On, State”…
- Obviously, when I write these posts, I don’t usually have time to watch the game on television, so it’s hard to evaluate much of what happened on the field with any authority outside of the box score and my ostensive experience. However, it looked to me like Penn State’s D-line was getting more pressure than it usually does. Braxton Miller was just too fast and/or our tackling was just too poor. If we got a hand on his jersey, he’d either run for 6-10 yards or someone would get open.
- Ohio State averaged 8 yards per run. That’s what makes games demoralizing. You knew they were going to run the ball but our slipshod defense couldn’t catch up to Miller or Carlos Hyde. Clearly, since Ohio State’s 686 yards was the most Penn State has allowed in the modern era.
- Zach Zwinak’s story is a sad one. After coming out of nowhere last year to notch a 1,000 yard rushing season, his Penn State career might very well be, for all intents and purposes, over. He had problems with fumbling last season, but this year his inability to hold on to the ball is just uncanny. I hope he gets another shot — and with Illinois and Minnesota on the immediate docket, he may.
- The Horseshoe, while an impressive structure, didn’t seem that loud. I was in the upper deck, but it was awkwardly quiet all through pregame and even throughout most of the game. It seemed like the loudest the crowd got was to boo the Blue Band (#OhioStateHateWeek?). I don’t know if everyone was already tired after a long day of drinking, but it was nothing like Beaver Stadium. Not even close.
- Urban Meyer is an unmitigated sleazeball. We knew this already, but Saturday just proved it. I don’t mind running up the score, only because our defense couldn’t stop the run even when they knew it was coming, but challenging the spot of the ball up 49 points in the third quarter? That’s just not done. All I can say is I’m thankful he never became our head coach, despite his undeniable success on the field. I’ve heard some people rationalize it by arguing that he needs to score as many points as possible for the BCS. Whatever. What’s the difference to the pollsters between a 42 or a 49 point victory?
- Ohio Stadium doesn’t actually have real lights. They rent portable Musco lights for night games and roll them in a few hours before kickoff. This amused me a great deal at the time.
- Not many people were watching and it didn’t really matter, but Allen Robinson’s touchdown was something to behold. I’ll let the GIF do it justice.
I won’t drag this one on. Illinois is here in a week for one of those notorious noon kickoffs, but it could be the perfect recipe to get this season back on track and finish with a respectable record. Until then.