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Balanced Offense and 24 Points Suits Buckeye Coaches Just Fine
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — The Buckeyes went right down the field with their first possession on Saturday. Nine plays, 94 yards, and all in under three minutes.

It was a precursor of things to come.

Or at least you thought it would be.

Ohio State scored on their first three possessions to start the game, building a 17-7 lead, only to completely lose a double-digit lead for the second-straight week.

After a 94-yard drive to start the game, and 207 yards on their first three drives, the Buckeyes managed just 91 yards yards on their next five drives, punting every time. It wasn't until the fourth quarter when they would score again, finding the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

Ohio State managed 431 yards of total offense, averaging 5.9 yards per play. That's not bad, though Nebraska put up 556 yards against the Wildcats and averaged 7.3 yards per play. Of course, even in that game, the Huskers managed just 24 points like the Buckeyes.

Michigan State averaged 7.3 yards per play against the Wildcats and they managed 40 points, though they still lost by 14.

The point here, obviously, is that folks have grown accustomed to an Ohio State offense that is the best in the Big Ten, yet for a while now this group has fallen well short of that.

Don't fret, however, because there were apparently plenty of positives from this game.

"I like the fact we started fast," Urban Meyer said. "It seemed like both teams had long drives. We had limited possessions in the first. I want to say just four other the one when we were backed up in the two-minute situations. So very good defense. You can see what they've done in the past to teams.

"We're good. We're not good, we're going to -- we're a project. We're in -- things are -- young players and we're still working things out. But I'll tell you what, I promise you I'm going to enjoy this win and so are the players and we're going to move forward."

Okay, so maybe that doesn't sound like that great of an endorsement, but clearly Meyer is happy that his team scored enough points to win.

The area on the box score where the Buckeyes were happiest?

"You had very balanced (offense), ran for 200 and threw for 230," Meyer said. "Most places that's a pretty good day. I understand here it's a little off a little bit. We've got to get that 500 number, I guess. But I'm very happy with it."

Meyer wasn't the only coach happy with it.

"It was pretty balanced today, wasn’t it?," offensive coordinator Ed Warinner asked. "Two hundred-and-some-odd yards rushing and two hundred-and-some-odd yards passing. Thirty-two minutes time of possession. Ten of 17 on third down. Three for three in the red zone, except we took a knee, so it’s three for four in the red zone.

"So, I mean, could we be better? Absolutely. I could be better as a coach. We could be better probably everywhere across the board. But we’re playing hard and we’re getting better. Just figuring out as you go through now, people start to see your stuff and see what you have and figure out how to defense you, and we get everyone’s best shot when they play us. That was a well-coached team and a well-coached defense."

Warinner isn't wrong while rattling off the box score in his hands, but what good does balance do you if you run three times, throw three times and then punt?

On Ohio State's first drive they ran the ball up the middle just twice. The other seven plays were six passes and an end around. That drive was their best of the game and it had nothing to do with balance.

Balance only gets you so far and it is no guarantee to get you into the end zone.

Against Oklahoma, the Ohio State yardage was 2-to-1 rushing-to-passing, and the 24 on that scoreboard belonged to the Sooners and was three touchdowns shy of the Buckeyes.

Balance is nice, but like a see-saw, sometimes all balance does is keep you from going anywhere at all. It's not exactly the best judge of an offense, and certainly not as accurate as the scoreboard.

The true measure of an offense is touchdowns. Always has been and always will be. To ignore that fact does absolutely nothing to help the problem at hand and virtually guarantees that they will continue this way for the foreseeable future.

Yes, the Buckeyes struggled with balance last year, but only because the offense struggled as a whole. This year they are trying to avoid those same struggles, but a better offense brings better balance, not the other way around.

And anyway, if balance was the end all be all, wouldn't we all be riding unicycles to work?

Player profiles relevant to story:
Coach - Meyer, Urban
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