I have to admit, I did not see a victory like that coming from the Pokes. I was sure that the game was going to be a toss up shootout. Give credit to the coaching staff for putting together an amazing gameplan. They came out early and set the tone for the type of game it was going to be. I'm not sure if I've ever heard a Texas Tech crowd so silent...especially for a sold out game. For the most part, the players executed and never seemed rattled in the least bit. With that said, there were still plenty of mistakes. A lot must be worked on this week as OSU welcomes their biggest challenge yet on Staurday against Nebraska. But first things first. Let's go over some positives and negatives of last Saturday's game.
- The OSU Pass Defense. Was anybody as happy as me to see a coverage sack??? That means the secondary was blanketing their receivers for so long that Potts had no option but to fall. Usually, people use coverage sacks in a bad light but in this instance, I see it as a HUGE positive. The secondary is getting better. When you can cover up the receivers of a top 5 rated offense for that long, it is a great sign for the future.
- The OSU Running Game. Holy crap, look at that. OSU remembered they had studs in the backfield. Both Hunter and Randle were absolutely solid. The run for the first TD was classic Kendall. He froze a defender and made him fall flat on his face as he juked right by him. The other play I saw by Hunter that I thought was equally as impressive was when we had a yard to go for a first down and he looked like he was stopped in the backfield. Instead, he squirmed around, ducked underneath defenders and dove forward for the marker which kept the drive moving. Greatest one yard gain ever. Randle was just as salty. The kid isn't as shifty as Hunter but he is very fluid. Gundy said he reminds him of Thurman Thomas (no biggie, right?). The thing I noticed is that Randle always dives forward for more yards when he is about to be tackled. He used that dive to get into the endzone for his TD of the day. Jeremy Smith turned in some hard yards as well. I hope he gets to see more action in the coming games because his toughness is definitely underrated.
- OSU Time of Possession. Yeah, that's right. We can finally say it. We dominated that stat line. By nine minutes no less. Anyone think Gundy got into Holgorsen's ear about how to defeat this Tech offense? The run set up the pass perfectly and it kept Tech's offense off the field. In the second quarter, OSU put together a drive that put three points on the board before the half. In my opinion, that drive was actually worth ten points. OSU ate up tons of clock and did not let Tech have the ball back with an opportunity to score before the half. It was methodical and well planned. Much of the second half was the same way. Some people may look at it and say OSU didn't put up enough points. That wasn't the plan. Playing keep away was. And it worked beautifully as Tech's offense could only manage to put three points on the board in the second half. You can't score if you're sitting on the sideline.
- OSU's Blocking. This was the most overlooked key to the game. That was hands down the best blocking this team has done all year. The line was solid. They opened holes for the runners and gave Weeden all day to pick apart the Tech secondary. But it doesn't stop there. What really impressed me was the downfield blocking by the receivers and running backs. Anytime there was a short pass, screen, or run that went to the outside, the OSU skill players were giving up their bodies to chop down the Tech defenders like trees.
- OSU tackling. Orie Lemon is a freak. 17 tackles. 14 of those solo. One HUGE 4th down stop. That stop pretty much ended Tech's chances of winning the game. Markelle Martin had a huge submarine torpedo tackle at the line of scrimmage. Johnny Thomas had a huge game (finally). And give it up to Brodrick Brown who absolutely crushed the Tech running back on a checkdown pass into the flat. There were a few missed tackles but for the most part it was solid and that was very important against a Tech team that thrives on making a defender miss once and taking the ball for another 10-15 yards.
- Brandon Weeden's Decision Making. This may seem like I am nit picking but I'm really not. The two interceptions thrown were forced into heavy coverage. On the first, Blackmon wasn't even looking for the ball yet. Weeden has to do a better job taking his eyes off of Blackmon and looking for other receivers.OSU may have gotten away with it against Tech but I don't think mistakes like those will turn out as favorably against Nebraska.
- 4th Down Defense. It's at the point where teams don't even care if it is 4th and four--they're going for it. The only way to stop this is to stop them. We stopped one which was very good but the other succeeded because of a missed tackle. In one on one situations, OSU's defenders must win that battle.
- Missed Opportunities for INTs. This game would have been a blowout if FOUR easily catchable INTs would have occurred. I mean all four of the throws could have been caught by me. And that's saying something. You never know when opportunities like that are going to determine a game. The back seven must do a better job of making the best of those situations.
So there you go. Obviously there was a whole lot more positive than negative (and there were even more positives that I didn't include that were obvious i.e. Justin Blackmon). But by all means, let me know what I missed. Did I leave anything out? Do you disagree with any of my takes? Do you enjoy long walks on the beach at sunset?
*cough* *cough* What? Just curious.