Marshall vs. Ohio State: Buckeye Leaves

By: T.J. Zuppe

Final Score: Ohio State Buckeyes 45 -Marshall Thundering Herd 7

DeVier Posey Celebrates a Touchdown

Great Start: The Buckeyes could not have asked for a better start at the Horseshoe against Marshall. On the opening kick, Marshall’s Andre Booker fumbled away the ball, and was recovered by Ohio State’s Nate Oliver. The Bucks made Marshall pay for the early mistake, as the offense capitalized behind a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Terrelle Pryor to receiver DeVier Posey. After the extra-point, Ohio State never looked back, holding an early 7-0 lead.

Kicking Miscue: With a new unit in the kicking backfield, the Buckeyes experienced some growing pains on an early field goal attempt. Kicker Drew Basil had his kick blocked by the Thundering Herd, and Marshall’s Ahmed Shakoor returned ball for a 60-yard touchdown. That brought the Thundering Herd within seven in the first quarter, as Ohio State held a 14-7 edge.

Head coach Jim Tressel holds special teams in high-regard, and considers it a vital part of the game plan. With that in mind, he could not have been pleased with his special teams unit on that play, and will use it as fuel for a learning experience for his troops.

A Pryor Engagement: Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor got off to a terrific start in the first quarter, and used it as a spring board to a great first game, in what he hopes is a Heisman season. Pryor opened up 7-11 on passing, with 130 yards through the air, tossing two touchdowns to both starting receivers, one a six-yard pass to Posey, and a 65-yard toss to Dane Sanzenbacher.

Pryor finished 17-25 through the air, with 247 yards and three touchdowns. He also added eight carries for 17 yards on the ground.

He also showed much better pocket-presence, and appeared more comfortable under center. It was very clear that Pryor’s footwork and passing accuracy was much better than in years past as well. Tressel and the Buckeye’s faithful hope it was a sign of more positive performances on the horizon for the junior quarterback.

In-Saine in the Membrane: One of the most important factors for the Buckeye offense, outside of Pryor will be the running game. Brandon Saine did a lot to ease the concerns of the Ohio State backfield, and was very consistent in his carries. Saine finished the

Buckeyes' Running Back Brandon Saine

night off with nine carries for 103 yards on the ground, including a long touchdown run of 45-yards. He was able to cross the goal-line twice on the evening, in addition to being a legitimate home run threat to the Marshall defense with two runs of 40-yards or more.

As a team, Ohio State finished with 280 yards on the ground, on an average of 6.8 yards per carry. If Saine is able to settle more into being a dominant back that teams are forced to respect, the road will be a little easier for the entire offense. And more importantly, it will create more big-gains for other play-makers on offense.

Most Impressive: The most encouraging part of Thursday night’s thrashing of Marshall at the Horseshoe, was Ohio States ability to put their foot on the accelerator, and put Marshall away quickly and emphatically. In years past, the Buckeyes would allow opponents to hang around, or get back into ball games.

That was not the case on Thursday, as the Bucks made big plays on both offense and defense that put the foot on the throat of the Thunder Herd, and kept them from gaining any momentum.

Also encouraging was the ability for Ohio State to bounce back from a blocked kick for a touchdown early by Marshall. It seemed as though Tressel’s squad took exception to being scored on in that nature, and took it out on the Herd the rest of the game.

Three-Leaves

*** Terrelle Pryor – Quarterback – 17-25 – 247 yards – 3 TD- 0 INT

Buckeyes' Running Back Brandon Saine

*** Brandon Saine – Running Back – 9 carries – 103 yards – 2 TD

Two-Leaves

** Brian Rolle – Linebacker – Interception return of 30-yards for a touchdown

One-Leaf

* Dane Sanzenbacher – Wide Receiver – 113 yards receiving – 1 TD

* The Entire Ohio State Defense – 1 sack – 1 INT – 1 Fumble Recovery – 1 Defensive TD

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

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