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Buckeye Leaves: Bowling Green
By John Porentas

COLUMBUS — My local Buckeye tree was shaking when I walked up to it and told it the score of the Buckeye game. If trees have emotions (I have a friend who tells me this is actually so) this one was worried as hell that it was going to have to spend the rest of fall mostly nude, because 77-10 means you need lots of leaves. 

The humanity in me took over when I saw those quivering limbs and I promised the tree that when possible we would award leaves to groups, not individuals, and that that strategy would probably leave it enough leaves to cover critical areas. If you are in the neighborhood, you will not be subjected to something as crude as nude tree crotch. This is, after all, a family web site, so we conduct ourselves accordingly, both on the web and off. Preserving the dignity of my Buckeye tree is therefore very important, so we're going to have some group awards.

Offense: A school record in total offense means a lot of leaves are in order.  Let the leafing begin.

The Offensive Line: All you have to do is look at the numbers: 359 net yards rushing and no sacks means that the offensive line, all of it, dominated. The group consisting of Jamarco Jones, Michael Jordan, Pat Elflein, Billy Price and Isaiah Prince did their thing for just over a half, but with six minutes to play in the third quarter players like Demetrius Knox, Evan Lisle, Brady Taylor and others got considerable time, and the offensive line never missed a beat. It was an impressive show.

J.T. Barrett: Six touchdowns passing and one running trumps a pick-six. I wanted to mention that early so those of you who comment on these awards don't waste time pointing out that Barrrett made a big mistake. He sure did. He also made so many good plays that he set records, all kinds of them, and was "The Distributor" that ignited an offense that was on fire all day.

The Running Backs:  Not to cheat Mike Weber in his first start, he surely earned a leaf on the merit of his own performance, but so did everyone else who lined up at running back and ran the ball, so this is another group award. Demario McCall, Dontre Wilson, and Curtis Samuel all share in this leaf. Every one of them was effective and played well.

H-Backs: Some of you probably think that Curtis Samuel deserves more than one leaf. He's kind of getting that because he's sharing this one along with the running back leaf. So is Dontre Wilson, and maybe Wilson doesn't deserve two mentions, but it's a small price to pay to save my tree from having to give up extra leafs.

Tight Ends: I don't want to jinx anything, but tight ends had five catches. On a team full of play makers, tight ends figured significantly into the offense as receivers and also did a good job blocking. The tandem of A.J. Alexander and Marcus Baugh were yet another bright spot on a day full of them. Could this be the year? 

Coaching: The preparation and play calling were excellent. So was the organization. There was no semblance of disorder on the sideline or confusion as to who should be in the game. The play calling was aggressive and took advantage of mismatches and opportunities. The starters played enough, but they got second teamers in the game for valuable playing time. There wasn't much not to like.  

Defense: The defense gave up just three points, but this was a weird game for defensive performance. No defender had more than four tackles. At times it looked like the pass rush was lacking, until you looked closely and realized that BG was getting rid of the ball so fast that a pass rush was impossible. The defensive backs didn't give up anything real easy, but they also were the benefactors of some bad drops by Falcon receivers that could have been completions. All that said, there's some obvious leafs that have to be awarded.

Malik Hooker: Hooker made a great interception and a spectacular interception. He was also one of the co-leaders in tackles with four solos. His first interception was probably enough to qualify him for a leaf, but his entire game was exceptional. Hooker will no doubt be a regular on this list for the duration of his OSU career.

Defensive Line: I've seen some comment that the D-Line didn't produce much pass rush, and during the game I was one of the people who thought that, but after watching a replay and talking to players and coaches in the post-game I've changed my mind. BG's scheme was to get rid of the ball quick, in under two seconds, and that pretty much negates even the best of pass rushes. The Buckeye defensive strategy then became to hurry the passer when they could but not necessarily expect a sack and at the same time make sure the running game was contained. BG rushed for just 69 yards on 28 attempts. In the second half when BGSU was trying to go downfield more and the quarterback had to hold the ball a bit the pass rush showed up. As a unit, they did what they needed to do to limit Bowling Green to just three points on offense. That's leaf-worthy.

Coaching: The defensive game plan was exactly right for the offensive strategy the Falcons brought on Saturday. The Buckeyes stopped the run and didn't fall into the trap of blitzing a team that was getting rid of the ball fast. Instead they kept their defenders in position to make tackles and defend passes. The coaching staff was also able to rotate a lot of players into the game.

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