Opening kickoff: A shame—Navy read that reverse, just couldn’t get the proper angle.
13:50, first quarter: That’s just an above-average catch in traffic by Ohio State’s DeVier Posey. Too good.
12:37: Terrelle Pryor is so agile in the pocket. Todd Boeckman, OSU’s prior quarterback (pun not intended), would not have made that play. This is what Navy’s up against today. Can’t fault the effort of the Midshipmen defense on that drive. There’s a reason why Ohio State’s a top-tier program.
10:46: Don’t know why the Buckeyes had such wide line splits on that 3rd and short, but Navy will gladly take the first down, thank you.
9:39: Another 3rd and short. If the wide line splits emerge, just go behind center and push ahead for the first down again.
8:58: OSU loaded the box a bit more this time, good read by quarterback Ricky Dobbs.
7:19: That’s a well-timed pitch by Dobbs. Quality execution from the Navy signal caller so far.
5:43: And the Mids finish the job, with Dobbs appropriately taking the ball into the end zone. After the horrible offensive performances on Thursday night, both offenses start strong in Columbus. Tremendous response from the visitors in the intimidating atmosphere of the Horseshoe.
3:27: Navy’s defense beginning to look a bit overmatched.
2:15: Midshipmen didn’t look overmatched on those last two plays. Huge play next. False start means that Pryor is less of a threat to run the ball in from the 14.
1:30: Solid third-down defense from the Mids. It looked like the drive was getting away from them, but they produce a big red-zone stand. Typical fight from the Men of Ken. Fully in the conversation near the end of the first quarter.
END OF FIRST QUARTER SCORE: Ohio State 10, Navy 7.
12:41, second quarter: As Navy forces an Ohio State punt, it’s worth noting that the Buckeyes are not pushing the ball deep down the field with the passing game. The Mids are keeping the OSU backs and receivers in front of them. Containment a must against Pryor and these other skill position studs.
12:00: Oh, Ricky. Not the right time for a fumble.
10:06: Pryor’s throwing a good ball into traffic, especially on short sit-down routes. Navy’s effort is still good. Taking the right angle always needed, but still, it’s more OSU’s excellence than any Navy deficiencies.
9:01: Ohio State’s athleticism took over there, but the key is that with Navy dictating the flow of this game, Dobbs fumbled away both great field position and momentum. That’s the takeaway from this—pun intended.
5:44: Navy trying to mix in the pass, but Ohio State’s defensive front gaining leverage in the trenches. Midshipmen, after a quarter and a half of slugging, might be hitting a wall. Let’s see…
5:40: Pryor out. This has to have been something pre-planned by Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Probably just a series, two maximum. In terms of game flow, this move makes no sense, so it had to have been something that was already in the offing before kickoff.
5:14: Without Pryor, Navy has to load up against the run. That’s very poor tackling.
2:51: On 4th and 1, Ohio State gets the big forward push. The size differential between the farm-fed Big Ten hogmollies (as Kirk Herbstreit would call them) and Navy’s front is showing up. Just to be clear, though, Navy will beat all the beatable teams on its schedule with the way it’s playing today…
2:15: Just a great play call from Tressel. Ohio State in form right now. This has been a good display from the Buckeyes.
0:55: Another really good stand for Navy. Don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize that Navy needs to control the ball more and keep the Bucks’ offense off the field.
HALFTIME SCORE: Ohio State 20, Navy 7.
10:02: Navy gets a stand after the offense stalls, but to be perfectly honest, a Buckeye receiver was running wide open on a deep-in route, and Pryor simply air-mailed the pass. Navy will take it. Can Ricky Dobbs generate some first downs on the next series?
8:37: There’s a start. Piece by piece, the Mids have to work their way back into this contest.
6:41: Dobbs has his groove on again. Great, quick reaction complemented by the speed to get to the perimeter and outrun the Buckeyes’ defensive front. Three first downs on this crucial drive for Navy.
5:56: Two timeouts on one third-quarter drive? That’s something that can be tolerated in week one, but not later in the season. World of difference between first-half timeouts and second-half timeouts, the latter being far more precious than the former.
5:11: Dobbs making great reads on this drive (then again, he’s had two timeouts during which Ken Niumatalolo could coach him up an extra bit).
3:41: Can Navy finish? That’s what everyone’s wondering right now.
3:15: Oh, someone flinched up front on a play where the fullback had a big gainer. Must…. maintain….. focus.
1:24: Dobbs sticks a perfect ball into the breadbasket of Marcus Curry on 3rd and long. Suddenly, Navy is within one possession of Ohio State near the end of the third quarter. GAME ON!
END OF THIRD QUARTER SCORE: Ohio State 20, Navy 14 (Believe it!)
14:38, fourth quarter: Navy stacks up the Bucks (curious play selection by Tressel on 3rd and 7), but Aaron Pettrey steps up and nails a clutch 52-yard field goal to push OSU’s lead back to two possessions at 23-14. Huge difference-making play, proof that not all field goals are created equal.
13:19: Killer. Just a killer. Painful beyond description.
11:56: Absolutely no surprise whatsoever, as the Bucks push the lead to 15. Navy’s played Ohio State dead-even, except for two plays. But oh, how costly those two fumbles have been.
9:31: It was fun while it lasted. The plot has been lost. Ball security the first, second and third priority for this offense. The Mids made Ohio State sweat bullets for 46 minutes and 41 seconds. Not too shabby for week one in front of nearly 100,000 people. Weeding out turnovers, combined with this level of effort (defense) and execution (offense), will lead to a superb season in Annapolis.
6:27: That was weird. If Ohio State kicks a field goal, the lead goes from 15 to 18, from two to three possessions. Well, Navy won’t be one to complain.
6:15: IS THIS ANOTHER BACK-FROM-THE-DEAD COMEBACK, AS WAS THE CASE WITH BOTH TEMPLE AND NOTRE DAME LAST SEASON???!!!!! DOBBS TO CURRY FOR AN 85-YARD THUNDERBOLT, AND IT’S A ONE-POSSESSION GAME!!!!!! UNREAL!
4:55: Naturally, containing Pryor a huge Pryor-ity for Navy, because the OSU quarterback can move the sticks without risking a clock-stopping incomplete pass.
4:03: There’s one of those clock-stopping passes. Navy has a chance to get the ball back. 3rd and 9.
3:51: CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?! Pryor doesn’t set his feet, and Merchant picks off the pass and returns it to the Ohio State 33! Only a third of a field to go, and Navy will have a chance to tie with a two-point try.
2:23: DOBBS! DOBBS! DOBBS! Two-point try next! Timeout, Ohio State. Buckle up!
2:23: The two points for Ohio State really doesn’t matter all that much. Navy has only one timeout left, so the Mids have to try and recover an onside kick.
1:40: This is where those two lost second-half timeouts matter so much.
1:35: First down, Buckeyes. Wow. Shades of last year, particularly the Notre Dame game. Just three plays (2 fumbles, one 2-point try) carried an inordinate amount of impact in a 60-minute slugfest. Good fight, boys. Now maintain consistency and confidence going forward. This performance will beat most teams.
FINAL SCORE: Ohio State 31, Navy 27