DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
Ohio State was missing starting quarterback Braxton Miller after a knee injury knocked him out of last week’s game. But the offense didn’t miss a beat with backup Kenny Guiton at the helm. In fact, the senior backup led the Buckeyes to 52 points, and while the defense gave up some big plays, Ohio State was able to hang on for a 18 point win over the Golden Bears in Berkeley. Here’s a look at how some of the draft-eligible players fared in Saturday night’s game.
#13 QB Kenny Guiton
- Read option fake to the RB and hits Chris Fields on a WR screen
- Fakes the handoff, fakes the WR screen and goes deep over the top to Devin Smith for a 90-yard TD pass
- Play action and has plenty of time – hits Smith in stride in the end zone for another long TD pass
- Fourth and goal rolls right and hits Fields for a short TD toss
- Hits Smith on third and nine right past the first down marker
- Read option fake to Hall but doesn’t pull the ball back in time and fumbles it – turned over to Cal
- Lots of time on third down and has the WR open but sails it way over his head incomplete
- Tries to air it out for Smith again on second and long from his own end zone but overthrows him
- Side arm delivery to WR Corey Brown right at the marker for a first down
- Looking deep again for Evan Spencer – diving attempt but incomplete
- Keeps on a read option and runs straight ahead for 13 yards – follows his blocks well
- Tons of time to throw again but overthrows the TE near the right sideline
- Fakes the handoff and keeps for another big run – gets close to the end zone
- Looking deep for Brown and overshoots him
- Rolls and fires the ball high over the head of the TE
- On fourth and one out of the pistol he runs an option and keeps for a gain of 33 yards – picks up a downfield block from Brown
- Hits Brown on a corner route in the end zone for a TD – lays it out and Brown makes a diving catch
- Play action, rolls right and throws it away to avoid the sack
- QB draw on third and ten and carries for nine yards
Overview: Guiton started red hot, cooled a little before halftime, and then settled in for an even performance in the second half. The senior tossed four TD passes, picked up 92 yards on the ground, and operated the offense effectively. He is setting himself up to be drafted next May despite being a backup for his entire college career.
#9 WR Devin Smith
- Beats his man deep down the right sideline and hauls in a bomb from Guiton that goes for a 90-yard TD
- Gets open deep again and makes a catch in stride with his arms extended on another long TD from Guiton
- Blocking down on a WR screen to Brown and gets banged up when Brown crashes into his hip
Overview: The junior receiver got open deep on several occasions and finished the game with 149 yards and two touchdowns on three receptions. He is establishing himself as the team’s best long ball threat.
#10 LB Ryan Shazier
- Rare pass rush attempt and he beats the tackle on the blind side to get a sack and force a fumble
- Makes the tackle on RB Brendan Bigelow after a short catch and run
- Tackle on a run play but he is driven back a couple of yards by the RB
- Big hit to make the run stop right at the line of scrimmage
- Called for a late hit out of bounds on the QB
- Injured on a run play – arm or shoulder
Overview: Shazier was on fire to start the game, but was limited after the injury. The Buckeyes will need to keep him healthy to get the best out of their team defense.
#2 S Christian Bryant
- Flies up and makes the hit immediately after the catch on third down – stops the receiver short of the marker
- Lost his man deep in coverage on the long TD pass to Roby’s man
- Not fooled by the flea-flicker and fields the deep overthrow for the interception – nice job tracking the ball
- Almost picks off another pass deep down the middle – breaks it up
Overview: Bryant’s plays on the ball are encouraging, as this has not been his strong suit. He had an apparent miscommunication with Roby on the long TD pass, but otherwise produced a solid performance.
#1 CB Bradley Roby
- Goes over the top to break up a pass on first down – ball was fired in there
- Gets beat deep down the left sideline, gives a token shove but the WR stays in bounds and Roby jogs after him
- Makes a tackle immediately on back to back pass plays
- Beat deep again down the seam but the ball is just slightly overthrown – may not have been his man but he was trailing on the play
- Diving attempt to get underneath the WR and almost gets a pick
- Flies up to make a shoestring tackle on a short gain and hold Cal to a FG right before half
- Beat for a TD on the corner route – tight coverage, well placed ball and WR gets some separation with hand fighting
- Beaten again on a corner route but he knocks the ball loose just enough for the WR not to complete the catch
Overview: This was not the junior cornerback’s best performance. Regardless of miscommunications, he allowed his man to get open deep on a number of occasions. Still, Roby is an aggressive player and a strong tackler, and is likely to bounce back from this uneven showing.
#2 RB Jordan Hall
- Reads the block and makes a terrific open field move to free himself up for a long run of over 30 yards
- Runs wide on second and ten and turns the corner for a big gain
- Shovel pass from Guiton stopped just shy of the end zone
- Stopped shy again on third down but gets in for the TD on a fourth down carry
- Takes a handoff up the middle and bounces outside for a short first down run
- Takes it outside for a nine yard gain and finishes with spin move to pick up an extra yard
- Takes a carry and goes right up the gut for a gain of 16 yards
- Takes the swing pass on second and 15 and follows his TE to pick up a gain of 11
- Picks his way ahead for a short gain and picks up a first down
- Cutback run on fourth down and one goes for a solid gain – gets tripped up before he can break it long
- Shovel pass from Guiton and gets close to the TD – follows with his third TD run on the next carry
- Two straight carries to pick up another first down from deep in their own territory
- Stuffed for a loss on the next carry
Overview: Hall has been highly productive carrying the load while Carlos Hyde serves his suspension. The senior running back established career highs in carries (30), yards (168) and touchdowns (3), and added five receptions out of the backfield. Once Hyde returns, Hall’s workload will lighten. He has had injury issues throughout his time at Ohio State, so 35 touches is probably not a number he can sustain from week to week. Still, Hall’s early season performance has been impressive thus far.
#10 WR Corey Brown
- Runs a good route to the first down marker and makes the catch
- Good downfield block on a run by Hall
- Blocking downfield on a fourth down option run from Guiton that picks up 33 yards
- Carries on an option reverse and picks up seven yards – shows his speed around the corner and makes a nice cutback move to pick up an extra yard or two
- Terrific diving catch on the corner route in the end zone for a TD – he’s made a couple of fully extended diving catches thus far in the season
- Takes a screen for a solid gain and gets tackled right into Smith while he tries to throw a block
Overview: “Philly” Brown has become a complete receiver, getting open deep, throwing blocks in the run game, and catching just about everything that comes near him early on this season. With excellent speed and reliable hands, he could be working his way into the middle rounds of the draft.
#3 S Corey Brown
- Makes a tackle on special teams after a short return
- Has an INT go through his hands and off his chest for a completion
- Makes a big hit after an eight yard gain on the next play
- Arrives at the same time as the ball to break up a pass late in the game
Overview: The “other” Corey Brown has been primarily a special teams player, but he is establishing a role for himself in some defensive sets. He would no doubt like to have another shot at securing that near interception, but he finished with a couple of positive plays on the day.
#5 RB Brendan Bigelow
- Stuffed on his first carry for a loss of yards
- Makes a catch in space near the line of scrimmage, makes a move and picks up a solid gain
- Tries to make a move on a short catch near the left sideline but has very little room to operate
- Nice move on the sideline and breaks a tackle to gain about seven yards on the carry
- Unable to gain much on run up the middle in the red zone
- Runs a counter, spins, breaks a tackle and picks up a big gain – called back for a holding penalty
- Carries for a tough four yards in the red zone
- Runs wide and picks up a first down – tripped up by safety C.J. Barnett before he could break a big run
Overview: Bigelow was the big playmaker against Ohio State last year, with four carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns. But on Saturday night he could never quite get going. His best run of the day was called back due to a penalty, and at times he was visibly frustrated. He finished the day with just 49 total yards on 13 touches from scrimmage, and gave way to backup Daniel Lasco during the second half of the game.
- Cal WR Jackson Bouza made a catch after the ball was tipped into his arms after nearly being picked off by Brown.
- OSU C Corey Linsley was part of an offensive line that paved the way for over 330 rushing yards and six yards per attempt, but he had a rough go of it early. He was called for a personal foul during a scrum for a fumble recovery, and he snapped a ball way over Guiton’s head deep in his own territory.
- Senior receiver Chris Fields of Ohio State caught a short TD pass from Guiton on fourth and goal – his third TD catch of the season so far. He also gathered in a short completion and picked up some yards after the catch, delivering a stiff arm at the end of the run.
- Buckeyes junior cornerback Doran Grant was not fooled on a hook and lateral play, making the tackle near the line of scrimmage. In coverage, one of the Cal WRs got a step on him but the ball was overthrown down the sideline. Later, Grant had tight coverage and excellent position on a deep ball to the end zone.
- Junior defensive end Steve Miller played well for the second game in a row. He had back-to-back run stops in the red zone at one point
- Safety C.J. Barnett got a pass break up in the end zone on a short fourth down pass attempt. Later he tripped up the RB on a first down run stopping him from breaking a big gainer.