Ohio State Showed Strides vs. Army, Needs to K.O. UNLV

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Quarterback J.T. Barrett
COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Quarterback J.T. Barrett /

Nobody did anything crazy in the Army game and no Ohio State player badly blew a play. Further more, the Buckeyes appeared in control for four quarters of a football game. After being so out of sync in the loss to the Oklahoma Sooners, the Buckeyes finally fell into a rhythm against the Black Knights.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is something of a wizard, but the wax on his play sheet looked more like missed oil spots after a car wash. Suddenly, it seems like that play sheet is starting to once again look like a crystal ball.

The pieces came together for Ohio State in the game against Army. Much like a jig-saw puzzle to a family gathering, it took some time and wasn’t always pretty but it got the job done. The Black Knights rode into Columbus 2-0, the Buckeyes were 1-1 and were the perfect suitors to really throw gas on the early season Ohio State fire.

Instead, we saw the Buckeyes (finally) come together.

Ohio State’s snoozer of a 38-7 victory over Army on Saturday showed a trend in the right direction. After an anxiety-attack of a game against Indiana and a letdown performance against Oklahoma, the Buckeyes finally showed that, contrary to earlier performances, they can play a complete game.

Although the Scarlet & Gray headed into the half holding just a 17-7 lead, there was no sense of lost control; the Buckeyes had the game locked because they are just a better football team than Army.

This weekend when the UNLV Rebels roll into town, the motive is similar.

Buckeyes need to land knock-out punches Against Rebels

The one thing missing from the 38-7 victory was the demoralizing moment for the opposition. Against UNLV, you’ll want to see one of the following:

  • A defensive or special teams touchdown
  • Some sort of big passing play leading to a touchdown
  • Mike Weber or JK Dobbins breaking an unbelievable touchdown run

Notice what I said there THREE TIMES IN A ROW? A TOUCHDOWN. It just feels like the Buckeyes keep settling for field goals. That said, if I’m Urban Meyer and have watched this offense look lost in key situations for the past three weeks, there’s no way I’m risking a turnover in opposition to scoring three points.

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Gaining confidence will determine the magnitude of this offense. JK Dobbins is really the only guy on that side of the ball who looks like he believes in himself.

Delivering knock out punches, via a quick seven points, changes more than the dynamic of the game. The Buckeyes are tasked with a lowly UNLV team, sitting at 1-1. If I’m the No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes, I want to run these clowns off of my field.

Big Ten play starts next week, meaning the long haul of the season is creeping inward. Coming out flat AGAIN means the starters will be on the field longer, meaning injuries are much more of a factor.

Granted, Ohio State plays the 1-2 Rutgers Scarlet Knights next week and they aren’t a threat.

However, coach Meyer will want his best players on the field against Maryland on October 7th. After Texas took No. 5 USC to overtime, the Terrapins’ win over the Longhorns looks very impressive at the moment and should be a team to be taken seriously.

Next: J.T. Barrett sets record to the sound of silence?

Urban Meyer and Company are due for an easy win after three games that took some extra muscle. In essence, this game needs to be a tune up for the conference schedule , otherwise there’s reason for concern when Big Ten play begins.