CSU upsets No. 7 Vanderbilt

By Emmett Golden

While most of you were being tortured by the Browns Sunday afternoon, the Cleveland State Vikings were on the road giving Cleveland something to feel good about. Gary Waters and the crew defeated seventh ranked Vanderbilt 71-58 in a regional game of the Legends Classic.

The Vikings were lead by senior swingman D’Aundray Brown. Brown led the team with 18 points. In his first game after missing all of last year with a wrist injury, he also pulled down 8 rebounds and picked Vandy’s pocket for 7 steals.

The difference in this game was the play of the bench. Freshman Anton Grady and Sebastian Douglas both scored 7 points. Sophomore Devin Long chipped in with 5 points as the Vikings opened up their season with what may become a signature win for this team.

CSU returns to Cleveland Tuesday night, taking on Rio Grande at 7pm.

Follow Emmett on Twitter @EGoldie80

Showing Some Grit

By: Emmett Golden

Here we are Buckeye fans. After starting 0-2 in the Big Ten OSU is three wins away from a Leaders division title. With all of the distraction that took place during the off-season as well as during the season this very young team has shown it has some grit.

The opening stretch against the heavy weights of their division is over. The remaining three games are against the wounded ducks of the Big Ten. Purdue has struggled for most of the year and when we looked at the schedule at the start of the year just about everyone thought this would be a win.

Next week Penn State comes to Columbus. You want to talk about distractions. I do not know how anyone on the team can focus on football. They can say that they are but who are they kidding? In the midst of the biggest controversy in sports history, I find it hard to imagine that they will win anymore games this year.

The Buckeyes finish the season at “that school up north”. That will be their biggest challenge of the final three weeks. I know the Buckeye fans wouldn’t have that any other way.

With the road to the first ever Big Ten Championship game laid out right in front of them, which OSU team will show up during this stretch? Will the mentally tough team that battled for the entire Wisconsin game show up or will the team that took the field last week against Indiana sneak on the field?

I will be honest with you. I never thought Ohio State would be where they are right now and I don’t think they did either. This team has shown that when they are disrespected and forgotten, they rise to the occasion.  They also showed that they peak in the local and national news papers and take their foot off the gas thinking that they can just show up and get a win.

If Luke Fickell and the gang want to make a statement about the quality of Ohio State football there should be a sense of urgency on Saturday. The last thing they can afford to do is play from behind. If Fickell can keep this team focused, he just might be laying the foundation of his legacy.

Buckeyes Look To Regain Lost Respect

By: Emmett Golden

This Saturday’s game in Columbus against Wisconsin is a big one for the Buckeyes. It may be the biggest game of the season, even bigger than taking the trip up north at the end of the year.

This is an opportunity for Ohio State to regain it’s on field respectability.

Buckeyes Running Back Dan Herron

The Badgers come in licking their wounds after dropping a heart breaker to Michigan State. Many people (including myself) thought that Wisconsin would walk away with the Big Ten title this year.

After seeing them play MSU they don’t look as unbeatable as they did earlier this season.

I will say that no matter what Wisconsin will come to play. OSU head coach Luke Fickell feels the same way. “Just like any good program, good team, sometimes that wake up call burns that fire in your belly a little bit more,” Fickell said..

If the Buckeyes plan on beating the Badgers they will have to do it on the defensive side of the ball. With defense being coach Fickell’s strength you can bet he will/has studied the MSU vs. Wisconsin game film. On that film he will see the Badgers struggle with rush of MSU.

If the Buckeyes will have any chance of beating Wisconsin the cast of Sweat, Simon, Klein, and Howard will have to play the games of their college career.

The offensive side of the ball is a different story. They have to protect the ball and feed Dan Herron. Getting the senior running back going is the best and safest way for the Buckeyes to control the ball game.

If OSU can win Saturday night in front of a national audience that will help make the Buckeyes relevant again for their play on the field. It will help people move on from all the suspension talk, all the who will be the coach next year columns.

With their bowl game eligibility in the air, winning on Saturday will be just like winning a BCS bowl. Remember the players are kids. They haven’t had a chance to be “kids” all year.

So turn on the lights, tee up the ball and LET THEM PLAY!

Cleveland State: Will You Be There?

By: Emmett Golden

Attention Cleveland! There will be basketball this year. The Horizon League regular season champion, Cleveland State Vikings are back. Coach Gary Waters has a good mix of seniors and underclassmen this year. Even after losing the conference player of the year in Norris Cole, the Vikings have five returning starters.

Senior D’Aundray Brown, who miss all of last season with an injury is back at 100 percent. Starters Trey Harmon, Jeremy Montgomery, Tim Kamczyc, and Aaron Pogue all return as well.

This should be another good year for CSU but will Cleveland notice?

D'Aundray Brown of the Vikings

On many nights last year I watched a group of young men play a very entertaining style of basketball. They defended, pushed the rock up the court, and scraped their way to a league title and a trip to the NIT.

The only time the city got behind this team was when the Butler came to town. There was a “decent” crowd for the last home game of the year when a win meant not having to share the league title.

I know how fans will rationalize their lack of support. They will say, “Hey when we did get behind them they loss.” sorry Cleveland sports fans, that is a lame excuse. During the football season you (the Cleveland sports fan) sellout Cleveland Browns Stadium to watch the Browns lose, almost every Sunday.

You pay twice, in most cases three times the ticket price to watch what has been a last place team lose. When was the last time the Browns even played a meaningful game?

More people go to see the Gladiators and Monsters play and no offense to them but that is inexcusable. At the very least the crowds should be equal. Don’t let the “mid” in mid-major fool you.

Cleveland State is a major college basketball program. The only mid-major team that has been more successful than the Vikings is Butler. That may be where the problem is.

The issue with fans in Cleveland is that their expectations are always ridiculous. Fans in Cleveland see Butler make it to the Final Four and the championship game and think, “Why isn’t Cleveland State making it that far?” not many teams do people.

Instead of expecting Final Four appearances why not just support kids that play and STAY for four years. I am not saying that the Vikings are the best team in college basketball, I’m saying they deserve your support.

The best thing about the NBA lockout is that if you want to see some basketball you won’t have many choices. Maybe your local high school or sitting on your couch watching college teams in other cities and states play.

That might satisfy your basketball jones but the experience won’t be the same. Did you know that last year when the Cavaliers players wanted to watch some basketball, they came to CSU?

Why wouldn’t you do the same?

I will tell you this, if you go to the Wolstein Center this year to see the Vikings play, win or lose, you will enjoy yourself. I’m challenging you Cleveland! Be the great sports fans that I know you are.

Support YOUR college basketball team.

No Stone Left Unturned

By Emmett Golden

This Saturday afternoon The Ohio State Buckeyes face Michigan State. After four games MSU has the number one ranked defense in college football only giving up 172 yards of offense per game. OSU’s offense is averaging 340 yards per game, but that stat is deceiving, as the Buckeyes have yet to play a defense the caliber of Michigan State‘s.

Ohio State has run the ball very well to start the season. Junior running back Jordan Hall along with freshman QB Braxton Miller are two of the most explosive players you will find running the football, but there is no question Michigan State will be ready for the Buckeyes run game.

If the OSU offense wants to be successful on Saturday their passing game must be effective. With a young quarterback and a flock of young receivers you expect there to be some growing pains. Receiver Devier Posey’s return from suspension will add some veteran leadership in the passing game.

Right now there is only one guy that can provide that, junior tight end Jake Stoneburner. Stoneburner started the year on fire. He had three touchdowns in the first game against Akron and followed that up by getting in the end zone against Toledo the following week. The main element to Jake’s success was Joe Bauserman. When Bauserman was getting the majority of snaps at quarterback Stoneburner had 93 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns. When head coach Luke Fickell turned to Miller late in the Miami game Stoneburner disappeared.

Over the last two games Jake has not had a catch. This is inexcusable. Stoneburner has the skills to be a dangerous pass catching tight end. Has he disappeared because Miller is not looking for him? Is Stoneburner unhappy about the move at quarterback, and if so, is it affecting his play? I don’t know what the problem is to be honest with you. What I do know is that when Stoneburner is utilized in the passing game this team is better. Whether it’s Braxton staying in the pocket a little longer or Jake running a little harder, they must get on the same page.

If Ohio State wants to be in the Big Ten Championship game at the end of the year, they need EVERYONE to make an impact. Braxton needs to grab Jake and get on the same page. The team will be better for it.

Follow Emmett Golden on twitter at @EGoldie80

The Best Eleven

By Emmett Golden

There was a theme to the media’s weekly meeting with coach Luke Fickell. On more then one occasion coach Fickell stated, “It’s my job to get the best eleven players on the field.” That should have been the focus from day one. Whether it’s the quarterback position or the placekicker, a coach’s job is to put the best team he can put on the field. That is easier said then done, of course.

For Fickell, unexpectedly losing his best player to the NFL was a bad way to start his job as head coach. Having four other players suspended for the first five games hurt even more. The final blow came just before the first game, when Fickell learned three more players would miss time. In a short period of time Luke Fickell has learned that being a head coach at a big time university can be brutal.

It is no secret that the quarterback position for the Buckeyes has been a mess.  No one knows how much either Joe Bauserman or Braxton Miller will play. I believe that will change this week. If coach Fickell puts the “best eleven” on the field, then Braxton Miller will start on Saturday against the Colorado Buffaloes. Miller should not only start, but he should play the entire game.

If coach Fickell puts the “best eleven” on the field, then running back Jordan Hall will start on Saturday. When Hall returned from his two-game suspension last week he proved he should be the feature back. Carlos Hyde has done a great job at running back in the first two weeks. He should be part of the rotation, but there is no question that Hall is the guy.

Coach Fickell has had many critics this season. By committing to Miller and Hall as the starters at quarterback and running back will get some of the critics off his back. The Ohio State football team and its fans are in a very unfamiliar place. That place is uncertainty. Playing the “best eleven” will be the beginning of stability this program is looking for.

Follow Emmett on Twitter @Egoldie80

 

Block O Recap

By Emmett Golden

For those of you who thought the Ohio State Buckeyes would overcome the loss of a legendary head coach and their best player leaving for the NFL, Saturday night was a wake up call.

What I saw was a team with a defense that is good enough to win games. The Silver Bullets gave up 240 yards on the ground to the Hurricanes. Even so, at the start of the fourth quarter the Buckeyes were still in it the game. In the fourth quarter it was plain see that the defense had run out of gas. This was evident on Miami’s last drive of the game. Miami had the ball for almost nine minutes before locking up the win with a Mike James touchdown.

The offense struggled a great deal Saturday night. Neither Joe Bauserman nor Braxton Miller performed well. Bauserman protected the ball during his time at QB. He kept the ball nice and safe for punter Ben Buchanan.

When Braxton Miller entered the game the offense moved the ball better, until Miller put the ball on the ground. Miller threw an interception in addition to his fumble. Miller looked nervous, and this wasn’t the first time it looked as though nerves got the better of him. Watching him during my time in Columbus, he looks like everything is still setting in. Playing in front of 106,000 fans, the speed of the game and the microscope that he has played under so far this year is all still new to him.

It looks like coach Luke Fickell is giving both quarterbacks the chance to take the job. Neither has played well enough to be THE GUY.

At this point I think Fickell has to go with Miller.  I don’t think Miller is ready to perform at a high level week in and week out, but it’s important that he gets a chance to settle in and get over those nerves. In the long run Braxton and the Buckeyes will be better for it.

Mulligan Monday – I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong. Boy, was I wrong about Jordan Hall! I didn’t think he would be very productive at running back. When he was on the field he was OSU’s best offensive player. Hall rushed for 87 yards on 14 carries. He should have had more. With questions at the quarterback position, I think Hall should be the focal point of the offense going forward.

Follow Emmett on Twitter @Egoldi80

 

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