Rose Bowl Bound

Ohio St is after yesterday’s thrilling 27-24 OT victory over Iowa. Buckeyenewshawk was in attendance at the ‘Shoe and it was just a wonderful experience. Of course the Buckeyes had the Hawkeyes stymied until the kick return got Iowa back within 24-17 and then a couple missed opportunities for a turnover stop on Iowa’s game tying scoring drive. But 3 plays of exquisite defense didn’t let Iowa even attempt a field goal on their overtime possession and the backup kicker stepped up and nailed the 40 yarder for the win and pandemonium.

I would assume that Iowa fans are questioning Kirk Ferentz’ decision to not use his timeouts to force Ohio St to punt late in the 1st half, and to not try harder to move the ball for a winning field goal in the last 50 seconds of regulation. Ohio St wasn’t going to do anything to try to get that 1st down at the end of the 1st half, and the Hawkeyes had the momentum at the end of regulation.

As for the Buckeyes they have clearly buttoned things up after the Purdue debacle last month. Pryor was efficient but not asked to throw the ball much, especially in the 2nd half it was almost exclusively running plays. It is frustrating at times (I personally wanted to try harder for a 1st down in OT instead of trusting the kicker on a 40+ yarder), but I generally think it is the right strategy.

Now I think Jim Tressel faces an interesting conundrum. On the highly theoretical level the game this coming Saturday visiting The Team Up North is without meaning. The Rose Bowl bid is clinched and the Buckeyes have no shot at the national title game. Do you open things back up and try to get Pryor some experience, practice, and confidence throwing the ball? Do you not do that against UM but in the Rose Bowl? Or do you keep it buttoned up until spring practice? And, or course, The Game is never one to be taken lightly even when the conference title is not at stake. Still, its an interesting conundrum I think.

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