On the opening drive of the 2nd half, Central Michigan went 75 yards in 7 plays for a TD that gave them their first lead of the game at 13-10.
The vast majority of the OSU fan base went
On the ensuing drive, the Cowboys flashed a glimpse of the offense we were hoping would be plentiful, with Mason Rudolph running it in as OSU retook the lead 17-13.
The defense forced a 3 and out, and the offense got the ball back. Here we go. Offense will now put this away.
Eleven plays and 69 yards later, a missed FG.left them empty-handed.
The defense forces another punt.
Twelve plays and 83 yards later, OSU's best receiver of the game, Marcell Ateman, took a perfect pass from Rudolph for a TD that finally allowed Cowboy fans to relax a little.
The defense forces another 3 and out, and now it's time for an offense that seems to have found some footing to put this away for good.
It only took 0:44 to go 3 and out.
No worries, as the defense completely shut down CMU after that opening TD drive to start the half. A win is a win, right?
We've said all along that the offensive line would be something watch.
There was a lot that wasn't watchable.
Pass protection was actually decent, as Rudolph generally had enough time to do his thing. The Reindeer had a respectable game, going 22/33 for 266, TD, and no turnovers. The talented WR's were ok but fairly underwhelming, with Ateman, Lacey, and Sheperd all dropping catchable balls. Despite a number of horizontal pass plays that went for short yardage, Rudolph still averaged over 12 yards per completion, and completed passes to 11 different players.
But there were plenty of chances for Mason to leave the pocket, and he tended to stay put, venturing out only twice, with one of those being a TD.
The run blocking, however, was not decent. The numbers were ok, as Carson went for 21 carries and 89 yards and Childs added 36 yards on 5 attempts. That's ok, but a number of those yards came on plays where the RB had to dance outside because of no place to go in the middle.
These struggles were exacerbated by some mystery play calling.
Yes, it was a win, but it was frustrating, and it definitely caused a number of us to regurgitate some of the kool-aid we've been drinking.
I'm not so concerned about the defense. Ramon Richards got run around and run over several times, so I'm definitely looking forward to Kevin Peterson's return. The defensive line was first class, and the young tackles were great. Taylor and Daniels were constantly blowing up plays. The LB's were good, but missed some assignments on a few swing type passes and a couple of QB scrambles. There speed was evident most of the night.
The freshmen acquitted themselves quite well in the return games, and McCleskey looked really solid fielding punts.
I'll say this...I'm concerned, but still positive. CMU is not a complete bum, it was a huge game for them, and it was our opener on the road. Rust was evident.
But I need to see complete dominance next week at home against FCS Central Arkansas. UTSA is giving Arizona all it can handle as this is being written.
Full stats are here, and highlights below...