Commentary: In-Game Thoughts
by Jonathan Hodges
Since I'm actually at home able to jot down my thoughts throughout the game,
here's what I'm thinking:
NU kicks off.
First OSU Drive:
threw in a different play with the end-around and got a good bit of yardage off
- The fumble by Small was definitely a chance for NU to capitalize
but once again the ball just didn't bounce right, and OSU retains
- Solid play action, went deep and picked on Battle for the long
OSU 7 - NU 0
- OSU is putting the pressure on, which didn't leave much opportunity
for NU to get the easy short passes.
- 3rd and long - what a surprise, a
blitz, and Bacher goes down.
- The first BAD punt of the year by Demos, for
only 18 yards, puts OSU in great field position - something NU cannot afford to
- Wells has a nice run on first down, but is stopped
cold on second down - something that NU will have to do to stay in the game.
- Another play action and another pass to Battle's side as he was getting
burned by Robiskie (again).
OSU 14 - NU
Northwestern cannot afford to
continue this first-half defensive meltdown like it has for the first 3 games of
The secondary cannot afford to keep biting on the play
- Starts off on a horrible note with a poor
return by McManis, who was flattened, plus an illegal block in the back
Even with decent
field position, NU would have a tough time with the OSU defense - but having 90+
yards to go is killer.
- Run by Conteh up the middle
(apparently Sutton and Roberson are unavailable) for no gain.
- Another penalty in the shadow of the
goal line, delay of game. Now NU is behind the chains with horrible field
- Screen to Peterman - for a loss.
The conservative passing game is playing right into
the hands of an aggressive OSU defense.
- Run by Roberson for about 5
yards, decent but not nearly enough. At least there's room to punt.
Another line-drive rugby punt by Demos, OSU gets a pretty good return.
Why have Demos rugby-style kick it when we've seen
such booming kicks from him in the past?!
Demos looked like the quickest guy
on the punt coverage team as he made the initial trip before Koehn finished the
tackle. Long punt returns off of poor punts are unacceptable.
- GREAT pass break-up by
McManis as he flies in on the play.
- 2nd Down: great stop by Arrington who
filled that hole to stop Maurice Wells.
and long - get off the field!
- Hartline catch right down the middle
for the 1st down, once again NU fails to get them off the field after a 3rd and
- Maurice Wells cutback run inside the 5 for a 1st down.
- TD as he
lunges over the pile.
afford to keep handing OSU the ball with great field position!
OSU 21 - NU 0
- Once again a
great OSU kickoff with a poor return by NU - and the 'Cats start inside their
own 20 once again.
- Bacher, under pressure once again, throws a bullet into
the hands of Conteh who can't hold on.
- Solid screen pass to Peterman to
pick up 6 yards, although Ward couldn't sustain the block.
- Nice catch by
Ward to pick up NU's first first down of the game, with about 6:20 left in the
- Conteh gains a couple on the ground.
Get Roberson into the game, he provides a better and
more experienced running option.
- The pressure is on Bacher from his
right side again, he's hit, the ball comes out, and OSU takes it in for the TD.
Unbelievable, you know the OSU pressure is
coming yet NU can do nothing to stop the pass rush or get a quick pass
OSU 28 - NU
I knew OSU was going to
get up early in this game, but this is getting ugly really quick. There's still
over 5:00 to go in the 1st quarter and OSU has 4 TDs on the board.
NU has a pass-first strategy on offense and is attacking on all fronts. They
are not afraid of the run at all and therefore can afford to send blitzers in
from the sides without regret.
Let's see if NU's
blocking improves at all on the kickoff.
- Nope, McManis is leveled at
the 15. Once again NU is inside the 20.
- 1st down incompletion around the
- 2nd down, Ward is open downfield but the pass is a bit high and he
can't hang on.
- 3rd down - NU finally gets a break with a pass interference
call on Jenkins as there was contact before the ball arrived (intended receiver
was TJ Jones).
- Hopefully, NU can capitalize on its second first down of
Simmons comes into the game for
NU, lines up wide.
- Reverse to Simmons who is stopped at the LOS,
although facemask penalty gives NU more yards. (NU now has gained 30 yards on
the drive on penalties alone).
- Run sutffed for no gain.
Announcers discussing Sutton's injury and the success
he had in his first 2 years. He did not dress for the game, although he did
make the trip and is on the sideline.
- First down completion to
Thompson, finally a little bit of something going.
- Run to the outside by
Roberson loses 2 yards.
- NU finally runs a screen pass, but by the time it
gets set an OSU defender tips the ball for an incompletion. Another 3rd and
- Bacher hit hard right as he throws the ball on yet another 3rd and
long blitz. Interception.
OSU gets the ball
back in NU territory again - on the 48 yard line.
Play action, deep pass to Robiskie again, but McManis lunges in front for the
Great play by McManis but unfortunately that puts NU
at its own 2 yard line.
- First down, Bacher
bootleg, throws a bullet to Peterman but he can't hang on. OSU will be
undoubtedly putting the pressure on.
- Completion to Woodsum out of the
backfield for a couple yards, at least some breathing room.
Third and long near the goal line once
- Conteh shoots through the hole for a first down run -
probably the best run of his NU career thus far.
NU may have had a fighting chance if it wasn't for
the horrible field position they have had and the great field position they've
given to OSU.
- Conteh gains about 3 on first down.
- Thiry is
burned and down Bacher goes with no time to react (Gholston with the sack).
Third and 10+ again.
handoff goes to the wrong side and NU is stopped close to the LOS.
Let's see what NU does on the punt with their punting
being otherwise unsuccessful thus far.
End of 1st
So far, the player of the game
looks like OSU DE Gholston, who has the sack plus the fumble return for the
- NU punt is pretty decent, although a good return is
allowed. Simmons completely missed the tackle which he should have made.
Oredugba is laid out on the play and is being tended to as he was injured on the
play (probably a concussion as the trainer had the smelling salts
ONCE AGAIN, OSU has
the ball in NU territory thanks to a punt from deep inside their own territory
and a 13 yard return by Smalls.
- Chris Wells 9 yard rush on first
down, once again NU can't get to the ball carrier in time.
- Wells takes it
down to the 20, and OSU is knocking on the door once again, as Wells just shoves
- Play action pass to Robiskie who's open in the end zone and
it's good for the TD despite McManis' best attempt.
OSU 35 - NU 0
Robiskie has 3 TDs on the day, and only a McManis
diving INT saved a 4th.
OSU is doing
exactly what they need to in order to win - throw the ball often (we haven't
seen any pressure on the OSU QB yet) and blitz NU like crazy. So far it's
- McManis and Phillips collide on
the kickoff return. McManis goes down, appearing to favor his right
McManis was completely laid out on a
block but walked off the field and looked fine, at least for the time being.
- Phillips gets the ball to the 21, thus far NU's best starting
- Grant is in on the OL in place of Belding but was completely
handled as the run by Peterman was stopped for a loss.
- 2nd down - the
Conteh run is stopped for a loss.
- 3rd and 16.... 10+ yards to go again;
shovel pass to Conteh for a few yards.
again NU is getting handled on both sides of the ball... NU only got close to
- NU punt by Demos isn't very good and OSU will take
over at the NU 43.
NU seems to be
getting worse as the day goes on - the game plan isn't giving the 'Cats a chance
and NU is being physically dominated on both sides of the ball.
play of OSU is especially evident on special teams where OSU gets to the ball
quickly every time and has almost none of their coverage guys
- Immediate 7 yard running pickup by Wells.
- Pass good along the sidelines for the 1st down.
- NU stops Wells for a
gain of only 2.
- Incompletion to the other sideline makes it 3rd and long...
NU needs to get a stop.
- Once again, limited pressure but fortunately NU
gets a nice open field tackle from Oredugba who made it back into the game.
- OSU goes for it on 4th down and finally, a SACK from John Gill! Thus far
that is the best play of the game for NU.
NU starts with its best field position of the day on
its own 38.
- Bubble screen to Ward for a couple yards on 1st
- Bacher on the keeper seems to stumble into an awaiting tackler for a
short gain, 3rd and 5.
- The pass to Thompson is in his arms but broken up.
Another punt for NU (none so far for
- Another directional punt puts OSU in its worst field position
of the day on its own 23.
- A C. Wells run for a gain of 8
on first down.
- Wells lunges ahead for the first down.
Still more than 7:00 to go in the half.
Wells 9 yard run. NU is getting nothing up
front as the runner is getting through the line untouched almost every play.
- Maurice Wells is wrapped up by Mims and company in the backfield
for a loss of about 5, unfortunately NU hasn't been consistent on defense all
- First down conversion with a short pass to the TE, Malleo covering.
Fortunately, OSU is going into slow-down
mode and is running the ball often.
- M. Wells stopped at the LOS by a
host of NU tacklers.
- Screen pass to Wells goes for the first down. Even with the slow-down gameplan, OSU is driving the
ball down the field.
- M. Wells carry for about 4 yards on 1st
- Chris Wells come s back in and immediately runs in for the TD.
OSU 42 - NU 0
This game is so far looking more lopsided than even
the most pessimistic NU fans'/optimistic OSU fans' predictions.
- Roberson with the return just past the 20.
The screen pass on first down is once again foiled - incomplete.
screen to Thompson is high and dropped for an incompletion.
- The pressure is
on, and coverage is good downfield leading to a 20 yard sack (once again its
Gholston with the sack). NU down ti its own 2.
- NU punt, OSU returns the
ball to the NU 46.
The blowout continues
- NU has only put OSU in its own end once in the game.
- M. Wells run to the outside for only a couple. NU PENALTY- Battle
hits Wells out of bounds and hands OSU 15 free yards.
OSU has already brought in some backups with
Schoenhoft taking over as QB.
- Wells gains a couple of yards.
Incompletion on 2nd down. Brings up 3rd and 7.
- Pass complete close to the
first down, Smith with the stop. After the measurement, it will be 4th and
inches at about the 19 yard line.
- 4th down - OSU goes for it but there is
a flag down for illegal procedure on the offense as the center was moving
forward before the snap.
- OSU FG attempt: the kick is good (40
OSU 45 - NU 0
If NU wasn't considered to be at the bottom of the
conference after last week, unfortunately it will after this
- Roberson with a
decent runback to the 30 yard line. (This was NU's 7th kickoff return of the
- Conteh runs for a couple.
- Belding jumps way early and NU gets
another penalty. Once again NU is piling up the penalty yards and is behind the
- Conteh gains a few on the ground.
End of 2nd quarter:
OSU 45 - NU 0.
OSU has the backups in
already, and I could easily see ABC cutting away from the game after the half.
Log this one in the ugly games category, and for the third straight year OSU
puts up 40+ points on NU.
NU has only 13 total yards (thanks partially to 4
sacks for -37 yards). No running game, and the passing game is ineffective with
OSU putting huge pressure on the short passes and getting sacks almost at
Start of 3rd quarter
- 99 yard kickoff
return by Simmons after bouncing off of an OSU tackle attempt, for the
OSU 45 - NU 7
So far, the only positive on this game is the Simmons
TD return - the first kick/punt return for a TD under Fitz.
- A quick pass and a C. Wells rush for the first down. Wells comes
out favoring his ankle.
- M. Wells gets a couple of rushes for the 1st
- Kadela with a nice stop for no gain.
- Kwateng gets the tackle for
- Another play action TD, this time to Small who was wide
OSU 52 - NU 7
- 5 yard pickup to Jones.
- False start negates the initial gain -
YET ANOTHER penalty on NU,
- Peterman a gain of 6, bringing up 3rd
- OSU brings the blitz and Bacher finds Roberson who picks up the first
- Conteh run for no gain.
- Inside pass to Peterman negated by a
- Screen pass to Thompson blown up for an incompletion.
Once again the pressure is on Bacher.
- ANOTHER sack on Bacher, 4th down.
- Punt puts OSU on its own 49.
Henton takes over at QB.
I'm not going to continue the play-by-play as OSU is
continuing to drive down the field even with the backups/3rd stringers. If you're still reading this you're nuts
- Fumble by M. Wells, recovered by McPherson, NU
ball. Unfortunately both of the turnovers picked up by NU have come deep in the
Kadela has had a great day so far with 12 tackles and
3 TFLs plus that forced fumble.
- Conteh trips over Thiry for a
loss of 4.
- Long incompletion to Jones as the ball hits the turf.
another incompletion to Ward as he can't hang on.
- YET ANOTHER deep
- Blocked punt (so much for the new punt formation working), recovered
at the 2 yard line.
- M. Wells TD run.
OSU 58 - NU 7
Peterman has had a couple of nice receptions
including a reception that brought the ball inside the 40.
- Penalty on Rucks (personal foul)
moves the ball back once again for NU.
End of 3rd quarter
shorts the pass for an INT (Ross Lane intended receiver).
NU forces the first OSU punt of the
game (not until the 4th quarter though).
Nothing going again - no first down and another punt
from inside the 10.
- Punt goes into OSU territory.
Davie with some nice stops on the
drive, although the play is getting sloppy with penalties on both sides (an NU
interception is negated by a defensive pass interference call).
Henton short-hops the 3rd down throw and on 4th down
almost throws an INT in the end zone (a smart play by NU not to intercept -
instead they get the ball back at the LOS).
NU doing a nice job of moving the ball; Kafka came in
during the drive, but unable to get any points on the board.
Runs out the clock.
OSU 58 - NU 7
This game was ugly, to say the least. NU looked like
it did back in the dark ages - unable to move the football and making mistakes
all over the place. I would guess that 3/4 of the game was played in NU
territory between the 'Cats' horrible field position and OSU's excellent field
position. OSU dominated the LOS on both sides of the ball and had very limited
mistakes. Look out for the postgame wrap-up to be posted later.
Around the league:
- Michigan looks like its bouncing back
with a solid defensive effort in its 14-9 win over PSU. Unfortunately, they're
next on NU's schedule and with the 'Cats' performance over the past 2 games,
things do not look good.
- MSU grabs the win over Notre Dame and 31-14 and
suddenly looks solid at 4-0 going into Big Ten play, but the real competition is
yet to come.
- OSU looks like the class of the league, although Purdue and
Wisconsin have looked respectable and have their Big Ten openers later today.
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