MSU vs. OSU game wrap (with pics!)

Submitted by SFBayAreaBlue on October 5th, 2011 at 10:09 PM

The defenses are yelling spoon!

And the offenses are the little guy pleading "Not in the face! Not in the face!"

This was a fun game to watch if you don't like either of the teams.  Both teams have pretty good defenses and horrible, horrible offenses.  MSU's only threat is B.J. Cunningham and OSU's passing offense is reminiscent of 2008 Michigan (The wonderful Threet/Sheridan days).  Both teams have major issues with their offensive lines. MSU's problems can be explained by a lack of experienced personnel, but this is a little surprising for OSU.

Luke Fickell will not be the head coach of OSU next year.  The only question is whether or not his replacement gets hired before the end of the season.  

Balls were slippery...

But before we get too giddy here, it should be noted that there was a misty rain and the ball was wet, so that accounts for a tiny bit of the Herpy-derpy-ness.  Like this:


The punter actually recovered the ball and got off one of his ugly-ass rugby kicks.


Here's Stanton Nichols Cousins doing his best Tommy Rees impression. 



MSU on D:

When you don't respect the other team's passing, you can walk up your safeties and do a lot of run blitzing. 


On this play, the short side safety walks up before the snap even though 2nd and 9 is often a passing down.


The flanker comes in motion which makes the other safety tip off that he's in cover 1.  The CB is playing run support all the way. The safety is blitzing the C gap.


The OSU TE is oblivious to the blitz and 76 (the RT) is doubling down the DT for some reason. Notice how the MSU MLB is completely free to clean up the place. OSU's O-line had trouble getting to the LBs all day long. I don't know if they've had a major philosophy change, but it looks like their linemen are not getting the right assignments on the zone blocking scheme.

So after that stuffed play, it's now 3rd and 9. It's a passing down. MSU responds by going to the nickel.


They've been doing this for a while, where the high safety shifts late to give a 5 man umbrella.


Except one of the CBs is locked on to OSU's "best" receiver.


But since Miller can't pass, OSU called an option play instead. (HA-ha!) The RG is getting shoved back pretty badly and Shugarts (#76) is wandering around without blocking anyone.


Miller just does a horrible, horrible job of reading the blocks and cuts right back into the MLB and free DE, neither of whom were blocked.

OSU's O-Line is bad.

Ok, so they're missing a starter due to tatgate, but they look really, really bad. MSU's got some athletes on the D-Line, but the bucknut linemen couldn't pick up any blitzers and couldn't get out onto the LBs. It seems like they're having major communication problems or they just don't understand zone blocking responsibilities.

Maybe they just didn't get those cute little belt buckles with all the plays on them.


Here they are trying to run a simple iso.  


The TE shifts to the left side of the line.


But Shugarts seems to think he's still got help over there and completely ignores Gholston (#2)


All three of MSU's LB's are unblocked.  The FB will pick up one, but it doesn't matter since Gholston has a free run at this slow developing handoff.  And it's not even like they're pulling linemen.


And because Sparty doesn't have to respect any threat of a play-action pass, both safeties are up to stuff the play even if Gholston misses the TFL.

On this next play, the MLB Bullough (#40) blitzes the A gap.


Both the center and LG completely miss him.


At least the LG eventually realizes his mistake. People were saying that MSU was timing the snap count, and that might be a contributing factor here. But still, that's just bad.

OSU also had trouble picking up the corner blitz.


This corner blitz isn't even from the blindside, but both the TB and QB fail to see him. As a bonus, the RT got beat too.  


Notice how there was still about 20 seconds left in the half, it was going to be 3rd and long and OSU still had a timeout. Fickell let the clock run out to end the half. This is one of the many reasons why he won't be head coach there for very long.

Things didn't really improve when Bauserman got in the game.


This is a blindside corner blitz with a bonus of Worthy being left unblocked.


The DT (#99) Worthy is what made me think of The Tick. He's big and strong, but not too bright. Many of you will recall that he got a tattoo of a Spartan stomping on a wolf that's wearing a Missouri helmet.

He spent the majority of the day owning various bucknut linemen, when he wasn't catching his breath on the sidelines. A man that big is bound to have stamina problems. 


On this play he's cocked at an angle (if someone could tell me the name of this alignment tech. I'd appreciate it).  This screams that he's going A gap. 


And again, both safeties are cheating the run. 


Not that it matters, since Worthy tackles Miller before he can even get to the handoff.

On this next play, Worthy abuses 3 bucknuts.


He's already dismissed the RG and is on his way to blow up the FB. 


If I'm not mistaken, that is the snow-plow's brother bouncing off of Worthy.


Ghoslton is also driving back Shugarts, but that's nothing new, and there's a host of DBs playing against the run because...

Braxton Miller is no T.P. 

(Insert your own joke here)

Miller might have some running ability, be he's no runner.  He can't read blocks, he's very indecisive, he has no sense for when to pitch the option, and his arm ain't all that great either. 

His first cut is a reverse pivot. I would bet he spent his high school years as a passing QB playing in the shotgun whose first instinct is to sidestep the rush or Fran Tarkenton his way around the backfield because he's faster than most fools at that level.

That doesn't work against B.1.G. speed. (BEEE ONE GEEE!,  BEEE ONE GEEE!). I can guarantee just from looking at how he runs that he wasn't in a veer option offense. And to top it all off, he's a freshman. I love freshman QBs (when they play against us, not for us).


This is a quick pitch option playaction pass. They had run the quick pitch option a little eariler (to mild effect). The blocking looks ok in this frame.


Then Miller jabs his foot in the ground and shuffles back to pass. I don't know who this play action is supposed to fool on 3rd and 13. All three of sparty's LB's are staying at home cutting off any slant passes. The pocket still looks ok.


And then you realize that 4 of the linemen are not in contact with anyone and one of the DTs is given a free lane to the QB.


BUT Braxton's athletic and easily sidesteps the big fat man with the stupid tattoo. 


Except where TP or any other running QB would have shot through the line for 5, 6, or maybe even 10 yards or more, herpy-derpy here sees that the far DE has beaten his blockers and collapsed the pocket.


So he cuts back and shows off his dog walking impression...


And gets up just in time to loft a wounded duck into the middle of the MSU defense. Meanwhile, #71 has gotten downfield and would have been flagged if the ump hadn't been so mesmerized by Miller's antics.


The sparty defender is camped underneath the ball


but can't make the catch.

And does anyone else think that Miller just has one of those faces... The kind of face you just want to punch.




This sparty knows what I'm talking about.

MSU on O:

The number one thing to remember here is that their interior offensive line just sucks. So everything they're doing is kind of a result of that. Most running plays are to the outside or some form of draw. Most of the passes are quick throws to the sidelines.

Their gameplan is to kill you early with short outs, comebacks, and hooks. Then if you sit on those routes, they'll try to hit B.J. on a double move. Their problem is that their O-line is only about 50-50 to give Cousins enough time to throw a deep route.

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but that center looks to be way undersized.


And the left guard is just not real good at the whole 'blocking' thing. 


If you want to stop them, you put tight coverage on Cunningham.

Not like this:



Cunningham just sits down in the soft part of the zone. Cousins is very accurate on these types of sideline throws.


That's just way too much room to be giving their number one threat.

Here's what they should be doing. But this wasn't until much later in the game, and was against Martin.


Martin goes in motion so the DB goes with him.


He's in man coverage but playing with his eyes on the QB.


As soon as Martin stops, he breaks on the ball.


And nearly gets the INT. This is the kind of thing that Charles Woodson has been doing with the Packers recently.

Immediately after you do this, you gotta back off and expect them to try the double move, that's when you send the extra blitzer and get the RPS sack.

MSU's lone TD was a play action pass that ended up being a broken play.


The safety got sucked in on the long roll-out


And then Martin just out jumps his defender.

MSU Rushing

They also added a bit of jet sweep action, probably after seeing us struggle to defend it in a couple of games. I didn't see them hand it off to the WR yet, but it's probably coming. On this play they fake the jet sweep and just run a power dive.


The flanker starts in motion.


He fakes the jet sweep handoff, and the backside guard pulls.


OSU's D-line is getting a decent push with their slants


And I think the RB actually screwed up the play because he's not following his blockers at first.


To me, this is a waste of potential, because you've got two guys who aren't really doing anything.  Or they're not selling any fakes well enough to deceive anyone.

And even though the MSU interior line sucks, their running backs are still talented. On this later play, Baker shows his ability to bounce outside.


With two defenders closing in, it looks like he'll be stopped for a modest gain.


But he makes a sharp cut on the fly and gets the edge for a good gain.  (Michael Shaw, this is how you set up your blockers.)

Bell seems to be the #1 guy right now and he's the greater receiving threat. But Baker and Capers still see plenty of action. Nick Hill seems limited mostly to special teams. 

Summary of MSU

  1. Their interior O-line sucks.
  2. Cousins is still deadly when he has time, but can be baited into bad interceptions
  3. They love the short routes, especially towards the sidelines. Probably gun shy about stuff over the middle due to batted balls.
  4. Beward of double moves once your DBs start sitting on the short routes
  5. RB's are still talented.
  6. Their D-line is Legit. Double Worthy, use judo-zen against Gholston (ride him out of the play)
  7. Rugby kicker + bad snapper means blocked punts are possible
  8. MLB looks pretty solid, get a hat on him.
  9. Focus on B.J. Cunningham.
  10. Their safeties are beatable on playaction (especially if the starter is injured)

On Ohio's last-second TD, the safety had a chance to make a tackle but decided he'd rather make a hit than help his team.



Summary of OSU

  1. Shugarts no understand who to block. 
  2. Boren, not really a great fullback as far as blocking
  3. QB LOL
  4. Decent CBs
  5. Will have to see how things change when they get suspended players back. 


  • You can't really expect me to believe Jordan Hall is innocent considering how closely connected he is to T.P.
  • Lots of bucknuts have full sleeve arm tattoos
  • I swear that Millen was wearing a Maize and Blue tie.
  • Sorry Sean, some people just have heads that weren't made for HDtv.  I hear Fedoras are very stylish and classy.





October 5th, 2011 at 4:23 PM ^

I think this is one of your best works ever(probably because you highlighted all the parts of the game I was laughing on).  

Seriously you did a great job of pointing out the total derp of OSU.   I loved the speed option play.  On tv it just looked like a stupid call.  You can see clearly that that could be a big play if Miller runs it like Denard and Shugarts was not good at football.

-Not using a TO at the end of the half is stupid.  Considering the state of your offense it was really stupid.

- I love the play action pass on 3rd and 13.  I never understand that play and it bothers me every time a team runs it.  Quick primer for anyone wanting to become a coach or play NCAA 12 effectively.

Play action is available on 1st down, 2nd down and 3rd down with less than 4 to go. 

Play action is not available on 3rd and long or end of half or end of game situation when the d is not playing run.





October 5th, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

This was good stuff, and you left some great material on the cutting room floor

People say this game sucked, but I've watched it twice since it was on line and it keeps getting LULZier and LULZier

How about the first play? When the MSU center rolled the ball past Cousins--who was under center--about 10 yards. Please do that against us, Mr MSU Center, whoever you will be in 10 days


October 5th, 2011 at 4:50 PM ^

"Y U No Fall Down Like Me"


Excellent work BlueSeoul. You are on the verge of taking over the title of the most anticipated mid-week content. Weds especially are awesome with FFFF, You and UFR-D - and this week TWIS also!

Waters Demos

October 5th, 2011 at 5:26 PM ^

However, it was BJ Cunningham that outjumped his defender on the MSU TD, not Martin. 

Also like this bit: "On Ohio's last second TD, the safety had a chance to make a tackle but decided he'd rather make a hit than help his team."

There's talent in the MSU secondary for once (can't remember the last time, actually), so I shouldn't complain, but I'd like to see less of this kind of stuff (and the nonsense that Adams gets into).


October 5th, 2011 at 5:05 PM ^

A plea to the Michigan coaches....please vary the snap counts. MSU seems very good at timing the snap, and intent on doing so to gain an advantage.

Awesome piece :)


October 5th, 2011 at 10:33 PM ^

I noticed that too with the jumps the MSU DL was getting ad having bad memories of the past couple of years.  But one other factor is young QBs.  With first year starters for Michigan the past few years, and OSU with a brand new QB it's probably harder to vary snap counts as it's one more thing for a young player to have to keep track of.  Lets see this year if we have the same problem, I'd think Borges could get a few 5 yarders from them on off sides calls if they try it again.


October 5th, 2011 at 5:12 PM ^

Favorite line: "dis not my under wear". The way you do these is a vastly enjoyable mix of football education and entertainment. Ever since middle school I've always thought most subjects should have a enjoyable/educational curriculum. You have done it. Congrats!


October 5th, 2011 at 10:44 PM ^

If MSU plays like that against Michigan, they'll get beaten handily. However, knowing them, they'll most likely save their one A+ game of the year for U of M, so IMO, it's going to be a dogfight. =\


October 5th, 2011 at 11:04 PM ^

I tend to think that it'll be a tough game for us.  ND's front seven is the only comparable group of athletes and they pretty much shut us down for three quarters.  MSU was closer to ND than the score showed and they might not be so herpy-derpy without rain.  

On the road, rivalry game, dantonio's obsession.  It's going to be a challenge. 


October 5th, 2011 at 11:37 PM ^

OSU interior OL is terrible even with Micheal Brewster, the so-called potential "1st rounder"(he's not) manning at C.  They consistently don't pass off defenders to the OL next to them and doesn't not do a good job of redirecting defenders.  Any team with a decent DL should dominate LOS against OSU.  Even with the suspended players returning, OSU still has a problem at interior OL and QB.  This will be a long year for OSU and I expect Fickell to be fired at the end of the year, not because of lack of offensive talents but because he's a terrible coach with poor clock management.


As for Worthy, I wouldn't bother doubling Worthy.  He's overrated as a DT and doesn't deserve the hype as a potential 1st rounder.  I watched MSU play and Worthy is consistently single blocked by OL yet doesn't make impact plays.  He's a good athlete but not elite.  He tends to get off the snap too high which causes him to lose leverage easily(BWC Syndrome basically).  If he doesn't get you with his first step, he's pretty much done for.  Worthy can't locate ball well and doesn't always make the right decision as a DT.


I like Kirk Cousins as a person, he's nice and a good leader, but he's not a great QB.  He has trouble in making accurate throws under duress.  His arm isn't strong and is inconsistent with accuracy.  If Michigan defense can pressure Cousins, which I think they will considering MSU OL situation and Mattison will figure out ways to call for exotic blitzes to confuse MSU.


The player that I'm most worried about is MSU's stable of RBs and BJ Cunningham.  As for MSU, their defense is overrated if you go by their ranking.  As long as Michigan can get out to the permetier, they will do damages against MSU.  The best way to attack MSU defense is down the seam which makes it all the more important for slot WR and TE to make an impact. Of course, Denard needs to be accurate in order for the plan to be successful.


October 6th, 2011 at 10:36 AM ^

...between Lego hair and Dark Helmet from Spaceballs.
<br>A 1/4" radius fillet at each end of the 'bangs', 1"x1" chamfer instead of sideburns, and straight line around the back. You suppose he takes an AutoCad template to the barber?


October 6th, 2011 at 1:43 PM ^

The only thing I'm nervous about: How much can Ohio improve between now and The Game? They get the suspended players back (maybe) and this isn't a talent-deficient team, at least if you believe recruiting rankings. Are the coaches and players good enough to make their offense capable enough to trouble our defense on November 27th?

Same question for MSU, although since it's only a week and a half away, I wonder more how bad can they get if they have any more injuries on the OL or secondary.