I really can't say that I am surprised with tonight's game. Ohio State played just like I thought they would play at home.
I think Barkley played pretty good from the 2nd quarter on. That final drive was a thing of beauty. He proved to ALL of his detractors (I am looking at you Matt Hayes) that he could handle the pressure...he just need to get his sea legs.
Props to Ohio State!
They played lights out in the trenches...they pretty much had us bottled up all nightThis was more about the OSU defensive line getting a lot of push against the USC offensive line. SC could not get the running game going. It is pretty clear to me that Pete Carroll was going to give Barkley every opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.
And did he learn...
I will not question Pete Carroll...we have come too far and had too many great games to be upset about some of the things I saw tonight.
To me this was about the USC offensive line not being able to keep the OSU defensive line out of Barkley's face. Barkley was shaky in the first quarter but he gained his composure and managed things pretty well. I WAS surprised that for all the experience I thought we had on defense that we saw a lot missed tackles and missed assignments early on confirming that SC is still a little inexperienced after losing all the talent that we had last season. They definitely stepped up as the game progressed.
I do think this showed us where some of our weaknesses are.
First...Special Teams was absolutely atrocious. For all the pissing and moaning we have heard about not having a special teams coach having one didn't seem to help with the poor punting and missed field goal.
Second...It didn't matter how many running backs we had in The Stable never was able to get up a lather to really be effective because the Offensive line was getting pushed around by their D line. But Props to Joe McKnight for stepping it up at the right time!!
Third...The defense did a great good job against Pryor, he made some plays...a few nice throws and some key runs but lets not get crazy he was not Vince Young tonight...At least not yet.
In the end it was all about Matt Barkley. He showed us a lot of poise. he also showed the rest of the world what may on the coaching staff have in practice.
There is so much more to look at but that is for tomorrow...tonight we celebrate a very hard fought win in a very nasty environment.
The Barkley era has officially arrived!!