Joe Moore Award Big Ugly Spotlight Game Review – Week 2: Oklahoma vs Ohio State
In what has become one of the most eagerly anticipated early season premier matchups in the country, in Week 2 Oklahoma traveled to Columbus to visit the Buckeyes. Two college football heavyweights looking for their marquee early season win, the action started slow in the first half, but picked up in the second half.
The matchup between the Oklahoma offensive line versus the Ohio State defensive line, one of the more feared fronts in all of football, was a focus prior to the game, and for good reason. The diverse styles of play lend to an entertaining competition, and this year would be no different.
Let’s take a look at each team from a scheme and personnel perspective up front:
The Sooners run a No-Huddle, up tempo offense under Lincoln Riley in his third year as a play caller but first year as the Head Coach for Oklahoma. Almost exclusively out of shotgun, the offense is based around Read Options, Screens, Run Pass Options, as well as both Gap and Zone run schemes in order to keep the defense guessing. Led by a mobile quarterback, Oklahoma’s offense is very diverse and tough to shut down.
LT Orlando Brown Jr. – RS JR 6080 341
LG Ben Powers – JR 6040 310
C Erick Wren – RS SR 6010 306
RG Dru Samia – JR 6050 302
RT Bobby Evans – RS SO 6040 312
Brown is the headliner of the group, but the entire unit is rock solid. Their versatility in the run game paired with their pass protection prowess is impressive, and allows the team’s offense to operate with balance.
How They Can Succeed
Going up against a tough Buckeye defensive front, Oklahoma will have to create a run game in order to avoid Ohio State pinning their ears back with a defensive front that runs about nine deep of quality interior and perimeter rushers.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State, in their first season under Kevin Wilson, have shown to be an up-tempo offense heavily utilizing a spread zone run scheme, and a vertical attacking offense. In the first game of the season, the Buckeyes threw for over 300 yards, and ran for 292. They use mainly five man protections, trusting the athleticism of their offensive linemen to win against most defensive fronts and schemes.
LT Jamarco Jones – RS SO 6050 310
LG Michael Jordan – RS JR 6070 310
C Billy Price – 6040 312
RG Brandon Bowen – 6070 312
RT Isaiah Prince – 6070 310
Returning four of five starters from 2016, the Buckeyes have one of the most talented offensive lines in the country. Jamarco Jones and Michael Jordan are both two year starters, and Billy Price is one of the top interior linemen in college football. The right side is pretty clearly less talented than the left. Prince has shown the propensity to struggle in pass protection. .
How They Can Succeed
Ohio State is most effective when they’re able to establish the running game, which leads into their play action pass game. The Buckeyes can be nearly unstoppable if they’re able to get their inside zone run game going, which then extends to read option with their mobile quarterback. If they get the run game keeping them ahead of the chains, it’s a long night for their opposition.
Good vs Good
Jamarco Jones vs Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Jones is the Buckeye’s best pass protector , and Okoronkowo is the Sooners’ best rusher. If the Sooners can get pressure on the Buckeyes’ passer, Oklahoma can be opportunistic on defense.
Orlando Brown Jr. vs Sam Hubbard/Tyquan Lewis. Brown is a mountain masquerading as a man, and if he can neutralize the Buckeyes’ edge pressure, Ohio State’s secondary will have increased pressure to hold up in coverage for longer periods of time.
The game started slowly in Columbus, with the score 3-3 at the half. Ohio State scored to take a 13-10 lead, and it would be all downhill from there for the Buckeyes.
The Sooners refused to respect the Buckeyes’ downfield passing game, and with Ohio State unable to make them pay, Oklahoma was able to pull away during the second half as their run game was able to keep the Buckeyes defense off balance enough to negate their pass rush.
A semi-boring game in the first half turned into a bit of a shootout in the second, with 43 of the 49 points being scored., Oklahoma’s 28 second half points eventually pulled them away from the disappointing Buckeyes’ offense.
Plays of Note
Early in the second quarter, Ohio State took a shot down the field, and Oklahoma brought a blitz. In a standard half-line slide 6-man protection, the Buckeyes flawlessly picked up the linebacker blitz from the Sooners. The ball would narrowly fall incomplete, in a nutshell of the offensive struggles for Ohio State on that night. However, running back Mike Weber (#25) does an excellent job sliding across the protection, recognizing the blitz and picking up the linebacker. Pass protection like this as a unit will give an offense every chance to succeed.
To open the second half, Ohio State took advantage of an exceptional return, starting in Sooners’ territory. On this play, Ohio State runs inside zone, and a phenomenal “Ace” block by left guard Michael Jordan (#73) and center Billy Price (#54) created a crease for freshman runner J.K. Dobbins (#2), and a thick outside release by left tackle Jamarco Jones (#74) made the defensive end indecisive and unbalanced once in the backfield, and the Buckeye ran nearly untouched touched into the endzone.
After exchanging possessions in the third quarter, Oklahoma was able to threaten the Ohio State defense, getting into the red zone. The Sooner offensive line was able to give Baker Mayfield all the time he needed, and he found his receiver in the end zone to take a lead that the Sooners would not relinquish. Mayfield was rarely pressured during the second half, as Oklahoma’s quick passing game and run game kept the Buckeye pass rush off balance.
One of the staple runs on the night for Oklahoma was a direct snap to their tailback, who was next to their quarterback in formation. They pulled their backside guard around to seal the edge for what essentially turned into a counter trey of sorts. The athleticism of Oklahoma’s linemen was on display, it’s a tough ask for a backside guard to pull around to play in space across the formation against much more athletic defenders , and they executed it well. Runs like this were stopped in the first half, but as the second half wore on, these runs were more and more effective.
As in Week 1, a very anticipated matchup, didn’t end up as closely contested as anticipated. Oklahoma put it to the Buckeyes in Columbus, and left the Horseshoe with a W and a massive resume builder to their credit.