Thoughts on Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State

November 21st, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Jack Conklin performed well against Ohio State

With two potential top-20 offensive tackles in the game, this was interesting viewing for Seahawks fans. Michigan State’s Jack Conklin had the better day — as the Spartans won on the road to all but end Ohio State’s hopes of the playoffs (this was their first game against a ranked opponent in 2015 — and they lost).

The Buckeye’s game plan on offense was bizarre. Instead of running Ezekiel Elliott (12 carries, 33 yards) and mixing some downfield/sideline shots to Michael Thomas, Urban Meyer constantly asked J.T. Barrett to run the QB draw (15 carries, 44 yards). Michigan State adjusted and shut it down — limiting Ohio State to 132 total yards.

Taylor Decker had a really mixed night. On the Buckeye’s first scoring drive he did a very good job winning 1v1 in the run game, driving defenders off the line to open up a crease on the left. Yet as the game went on he started to struggle.

Shilique Calhoun — a big underachiever in college football — won most of his battles against Decker. With 6:45 remaining in the first half, Calhoun worked off the tackle using length and superior power on a stretch run. Decker was quickly off balance, lost leverage and was shoved into the backfield. Calhoun tackled Elliott for a loss.

Calhoun beat him again in the second half with a nice stunt inside in what could be the play of the game. Braxton Miller had gained separation downfield and was wide open for a long touchdown. Decker was wrong-footed by Calhoun’s move allowing inside pressure to force J.T. Barrett into a bad throw. He missed Miller and Ohio State didn’t have another explosive play in the game on offense.

Decker never had a problem squaring up to a defender and winning with power. He also did a good job getting to the second level. His footwork on a simple edge rush needs major work though. He dances — trying to mirror the defenders action when really he just needs a firm base and kick slide. He was getting beat by even the most simple double move. Calhoun gets a good rep in the media — but Decker will face much tougher opponents as a pro. He has everything to be a very competent left tackle in the NFL — size, power, underrated athleticism. But this, overall, wasn’t a good look for Decker.

Jack Conklin on the other hand only had one bad play in the game. Tyquan Lewis drove him into the backfield in the first half to tackle the running back for a loss. Apart from that he was comfortable in protection — sliding nicely and running the edge rush out of contention. Technique wise he looked very assured. On a few occasions he got nicely to the second level.

It helps he didn’t come up against Joey Bosa (who stuck to the right tackle). Michigan State did a good job pulling Conklin at times to get him matched up against Bosa with some success. Whether Conklin quite has the athleticism to be as assured at left tackle in the NFL remains to be seen. However, this was a good performance overall. He keeps defenders off his pads with what appears to be decent arm length. His footwork is good. This was a nice outing for Conklin.

Perhaps the best offensive line performance came from Michigan State center Jack Allen. Time and time again he turned the interior defensive linemen to open up holes in the run game. It’s a very subtle but underrated art — using the aggressiveness of the interior rush to twist the D-liner and open up a very simple gap.

Allen is short and squatty and drew a couple of offside flags from Bosa with a classic head-nod pre-snap. He also loved to get to the second level which was good to see. His lack of size and upside might limit his stock at the next level — but this was a good show.

Ohio State’s offensive game plan gave limited their key playmakers on offense (Elliott, Thomas) but the defenders spent a lot of time on the field. Adolphus Washington had a good start working to the outside and finding interior pressure — but he slowly drifted out of the game. Bosa has Robert Quinn-style quickness off the edge and was a threat all game — but Michigan State’s heavy dose of run took away much of his effectiveness. Eli Apple is a first round talent but he’s susceptible to frustrating performances like this. He had a torrid time against Aaron Burbridge — who collected four catches for 62 yards vs Apple. Michigan State only had 91 total passing yards.

Going back to the two tackles — there’s no doubt for me that both Decker and Conklin belong behind Auburn’s Shon Coleman and Ole Miss’ Laremy Tunsil. Whether it’s technique (Decker) or a lack of great athleticism (Conklin) — they have outstanding issues the other pair avoid. Coleman in particular is just the complete package — size, athleticism, grit, second level blocking, helps gets the hard yards and has excelled in pass-pro against the likes of Myles Garrett.

That said, with a premium on O-liners in the NFL there’s every chance all four — and Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley — go in the top-25 in 2016. There’s quite a substantial gap from Coleman and Tunsil to the rest, however.

It’s also not a surprise, incidentally, that MSU rallied to win without starting quarterback Connor Cook. He’s quite the overrated talent as a thrower — but he’s also said to be not the most popular member of the locker room. He has a quirky personality — emphasised by his slightly unnecessary finger-to-the-lips gesture at the Ohio State fans at the end of the game. Don’t expect him to go the first round.

After the game Ezekiel Elliott confirmed it was his last home game for Ohio State, confirming he’ll turn pro (he also called out the play calling). Cardale Jones, surprisingly, also announced on Twitter it was his last home game for the Buckeye’s. If he decides to turn pro, it’ll be a bad decision. He isn’t ready. He’s getting bad advice. Unless he’s transferring — which would also be a bad move — this isn’t going to end well for Jones.

101 Responses to “Thoughts on Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State”

  1. Volume12 says:

    Michigan St’s O-line looked good. They got a nice blocking TE in Paul Lang too.

    Some strange stuff with the lack of ‘Zeke’ in the game/key situations and then his emotional comments after the game revealed some turmoul or something.

  2. Volume12 says:

    Oklahoma WR Sterling Sheppard kinda reminds me of WR Tyler Lockett.

    Having said that, Sheppard is such a good run blocker, and so explosive. Might be too similar, but a nice looking receiver.

  3. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    I’ve been switching between games so I haven’t seen every play. But Ronnie Stanley looks good tonight.

    • Volume12 says:

      I’m a fan of Ronnie Stanley’s. I do think he’s overrated. Not a top 10-15 pick. Yes, he’s incredibly frustrating at times, but he offers so much to work with, has the look and build of a modern day OT, tons of potential, and with him being a former BBall player, IMO he’s going to test really well athleticaly.

      Thing is, does Seattle need to gamble on a prospect like that on the O-line? They might have to, and it wouldn’t surprise me none.

      • CHawk Talker Eric says:

        Wasn’t really a fan of Conklin’s before today, but I have to give it to him. Ohio’s offense may not be fore real, but their defense sure is. He kept his rookie QB safe and cleared some nice holes in the run game.

        Not sure what to think about Decker. It’s not that he had one bad game. It’s that his one bad game came against the one good opponent they’ve played so far this year. I saw a tweet that went something like: “Ohio lost their season opener today”

        • Volume12 says:

          Funny you say that about Conklin. I felt that way up until yestetday. Watched a little film on him, in preparation for today’s game, and came away impressed. Like Rob, I wonder about his athleticism. Doesn’t look like a LT to me. IMO he’s a RT at next level, depending on scheme.

          I agree on Decker. His struggles today may be why TC doesn’t really like tall OL prospect.

          C Jack Allen looked good too. But again, Rob summed him up well. His size, potential, and a posible lack of athleticism might hurt him. Then again, his toughness/grit, strength, and football IQ could make up for what he’s lacking.

          • CHawk Talker Eric says:

            SEA don’t seem to mind shorter centers. Size wise, Allen is right there with Lewis and Nowak.

            He’s good value late Day 2. Great value Day 3.

        • bigDhawk says:

          Not disputing any of Rob’s criticisms of Decker, but regardless, he would be miles better at RT than anything we have on the roster right now. I would love to draft him.

  4. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    Fair criticism of Decker. But everything about the Buckeye offense was off today. Credit MSU for a strong defensive game. They really controlled the LOS on both sides of the ball all day.

    Was/is Elliot injured? He just didn’t look like himself.

  5. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    BC giving ND all they can handle. Even if they hold on, not sure this performance gets them in the 4.

  6. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    Eric Striker bring the heat.

  7. Volume12 says:

    Eric Striker has balled out tonight. Pressure, hurries, QB hits, etc.

    ‘Disruption equals production.’

    Reminds me of a smaller, faster, LB version of Elvis Dumervil.

    • Volume12 says:

      I should say, he’s Elvis Dumervil in LB Malcom Smith’s body.

      • CHawk Talker Eric says:

        Striker plays bigger than he is. Really fun to watch.

        • Volume12 says:

          Absolutely. He put on a show. Seattle got a good look at him.

          Has that ‘Deone Bucannon’ to his game, where he plays bigger than listed, like ya said. One of my favorite, ‘Seahawky’ prospects in this class. Give me him to replace Bruce at the end of the 2nd.

          Of course, he wouldn’t put his hand in the dirt. Doesn’t need to. The angles and leverage he creates is NFL level stuff.

          • CHawk Talker Eric says:

            That’d be a nice start to the draft:

            R1 – Conklin/Bisnowaty/Decker
            R2 – Striker
            R3 – Allen
            R3 – Perkins/Prosise/Dixon/Collins

            Don’t know if you watched UCLA@Utah but Perkins had himself a nice day.

            • Volume12 says:

              Great start. That would be an exciting draft my man. I like that.

              I caught a few glimpses of the UCLA, I did his box score numbers, which were impressive.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Striker’s an excellent prospect. Definitely a potential Bruce replacement if he doesn’t go in round one.

    • Trevor says:

      Love Striker. Plays much faster and bigger than he is. Great personality and would give Sherm a run for it in the interview room.

      If We got Shon Coleman and Eric Striker in this draft I would be pumped.

  8. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    And TCU punches Iowa’s ticket into the 4!

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      Well, not quite yet.

      • Volume12 says:

        Think so? Them over Oklahoma? Maybe ‘Sparty?’

        • CHawk Talker Eric says:

          Clemson
          Alabama
          MSU
          Iowa/Oklahoma
          ND

          • DC says:

            Iowa & MSU will sort that out soon unless one of them chokes.

            • Volume12 says:

              My money is on ‘Bama. Loaded with NFL talent.

              I think it’ll be them vs Clemson in the ‘ship.

              • Volume12 says:

                ND should be in there. Make no mistake about it, BC has one of the best defenses in the country.

                BC SO DE/LEO Harold Landry has all the markings of a 1st round pick next year, 2017.

                • Volume12 says:

                  How unique is Stanford OW Christian McCaffrey? Dude is legit. Love everything about that kid. He’s another 1st round looking guy in 2017, if he stays healthy.

                  • DC says:

                    Very unique.
                    Would be deadly as a Patriot.

                  • CHawk Talker Eric says:

                    He deserves to be in the Heisman discussion.

                    Clemson-Bama is where the smart money is. But you’re right about ND. Not only is BC’s defense for real – love junior DB Justin Simmons – but ND turned it over 5 times and lost CJ Prosise in the first half to a high ankle sprain. Prosise reached 1k yards on just 150 carries this season – 2nd best in ND history.

                    And ND WR Chris Brown had a nice game (6/104) with a spectacular TD catch over the top of his defender.

                  • Volume12 says:

                    ND WR Chris Brown is interesting. Good size, good run blocker, makes the most of his opportunities, plays in a passing game that spreads the balk around.

                    Didn’t know that about Prosise. Damn impressive when you consider some of the guys that have ran the ball in South Bend over the years. Jerome Bettis (who has taken Prosise under his wing/mentored him BTW), ‘Rocket’ Ismail, and I know I’m forgetting a coupe names.

                    How did DB Justin Simmons look last night? Has a lot of DeShawn Shead in his game.

                  • Volume12 says:

                    I also really like TCU WR Kolby Listenbee. IMO he’ll get turnt come combine time, ton of potential, should be a better pro than a college player, and has explosion, big time playmaker written all over him. He’s a pretty good run blocker too.

                  • CHawk Talker Eric says:

                    Simmons forced and recovered a fumble from Prosise in the 1st qtr. He also has 2 INTs.

  9. Ephrata12 says:

    Rob,

    Any thoughts on Vernon Adams jr being a possible later round QB prospect for the Hawks? Seems like he might be a system fit.

  10. DC says:

    Today would be great day to start a significant winning streak.

  11. Ehurd1021 says:

    Marshawn not activated for today’s game.

    • Volume12 says:

      Really? Time for ‘Lou’ Rawls to step up.

      I just can’t see BeastMode going out like this. Have a hard time imagining his last season being spent mostly on the shelf/hurt.

      • Trevor says:

        I really hope not Vol but RBS at the age of 30 rarely bounce back from a down year. Love the Beast but at $11.5 mil he might be on his way out next year. I have no focused on looking at Rbs and thought they would wait till 2017 with Beast coming back next year. It might be time to start looking a lot closer at guys like Alex Collins and Kenneth Dixon.

        • Volume12 says:

          I totally get where your coming from, but the money is on the table for Lynch already. I just can’t see him stepping awy from that and not going out on his own terms, so to speak.

          I think Seattle takes a back this year and 2017.

          • rowdy says:

            They can cut him and probably will. Why pay him not to run the ball?

            • DC says:

              I would ask Marshawn want he wants before taking action. For instance, if he’s not planning on retirement and you are really going to cut him, would he rather be traded to Oakland to finish his playing career at home. Maybe Seattle gets a 5th or 6th round pick rather than nothing. Retired or cut, the dead money is the same.

  12. Trevor says:

    Lets keep our fingers crossed for the Viks and Colts to win today to give us a shot at the WC.

    • Volume12 says:

      Pump the brakes a little. There’s still half a season to be played. I’ve seen better teams than the Vikings and Falcons collapse over the course of an NFL season.

      • Volume12 says:

        Tampa Bay is in the mix too.

        That boy Jameis Winston is ballin’ out. He’s the real deal.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

        I would root for the Bengals, before the Falcons or Colts opponents.

        • Trevor says:

          Going to be tough to catch the Cards I think we would have a much better chance of getting a WC spot. Atl and GB are in a free fall.

          • DC says:

            If it’s AFC vs NFC it’s a no brainer.
            There’s blood in the water with the Falcons. The Vikings are just starting the heavy lifting portion of their schedule. They can be caught.
            When we get to the playoffs the only NFC team that I really don’t like our matchup with is Dallas, health being equal.

  13. Trevor says:

    It is amazing how much Carolina remind me of our 2014 squad. Find way to win the tough games and blow out the weak teams. Great Defense with a shut down corner in Norman, Mobile QB who just finds a way to make plays and a no name wide receiver group.

  14. Trevor says:

    I know it is the 49rs but that is the best Q of football our offense has played in a long time. Rawls looks really good.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Rawls is playing great. I love him as a second back. Lockett has caught a TD too.

      • Trevor says:

        Why does everyone think Rawls can’t be a feature back? So far he has shown he is a capable starter IMO the games Marshawn has been out have been our best running games. I love Marshawn and we are not going to find another Beast Mode this draft. Does anyone think there is an RB in the draft this year who will come in an beat out Rawls? Based on what I have seen so far I really don’t think so.

        • C-Dog says:

          I think he can be. I think because he was a UDFA, folks tend to think he’s a flash in the pan. I think he can be the future.

          • AlaskaHawk says:

            I think he could be the featured back. But what I really want is two backs that are both used equally. Seahawks haven’t done that yet, even this season it was either lynch or Rawls. Why not deliver the one two punch?

  15. AlaskaHawk says:

    San Fran is useful for something after all. This game is the confidence booster that the Seahawks needed.

  16. WALL UP says:

    Somebody needs to give Bevell some props.

  17. Trevor says:

    My goodness the 49rs are awful how can a team fall that far that fast?

  18. Trevor says:

    Another thing to add to the off season plan. Learn how to cover the TE up the seam. That is at least 6-7 TDS given up on basically the same play.

  19. C-Dog says:

    That last drive before the half, yeah, that’s why I would love to see the Seahawks find a DT that can bring the heat. If not in free agency, then the draft.

  20. Mike B. says:

    Drafting a center: when and whom?

    I see drafting a center as a moderate priority, so perhaps somewhere between rounds 3 and 5. In that range, Max Tuerk might be available (but could be gone by mid 2nd round). I’ve watched Ryan Kelly (Alabama) a few times this season and have been impressed with his combination of balance, power, and quickness. Kelly is projected to go somewhere between rounds 3 and 5.

    • DC says:

      Forgive the double post.

      Whom?
      Nick Martin ND and/or/both Jack Allen MSU if it’s C via the draft.

      When?
      April 28-30, 2016.

      Ok, bad joke. First, second or third round.

  21. WALL UP says:

    That will change when Lane gets back. Williams will get phased out. That was his man to hold thru the route ad Earl was late. It should have had tighter coverage from Williams thru the zone.

    • John_s says:

      Hugh Millen said that it was on Kam not Cary

      • Ehurd1021 says:

        Wouldn’t surprise me. The story of the season in the red zone with TE’s. How many more “miss communication” excuses are we going to hear and see this season before it gets figured out with this secondary.

        I know its been said here before, but the loss of Quinn was heavily underestimated by so many people – on top of Kam missing a few months.

  22. DC says:

    Whom?
    Nick Martin ND and/or/both Jack Allen MSU if it’s C via the draft.

    When?
    April 28-30, 2016.

    Ok, bad joke. First, second or third round.

  23. Ehurd1021 says:

    Looks like Shead took Williams spot after that touchdown he gave up after half and then his horrible coverage to start the third.

    I really hope Lane comes back next week and earns that spot. We need him badly.

  24. Trevor says:

    Whenver given the chance this year Rawls has looked like a 3 down lead back. Definitely feel better about the future after Beast Mode.

  25. Ehurd1021 says:

    I know you probably seen it like everyone else but did you see how WIDE OPEN Jimmy Graham was and Russell just didn’t throw him the ball? How does Wilson not see that – even pre snap Jimmy is locked up one on one with not safety help over the top… Wilson should have been salivating. Not only does Jimmy beat his man but there is also a bust in coverage…. SMDH. Its so frustrating watching Wilson this year because of the missed opportunities and him not being able to break down teams pre snap and then flat out just missing WR’s.

    I know we scored the next play – my God the 49ers are bad at tackling, or they have simply gave up on the season already. Some might see it as nit picking but those are the missed chances that have continued to plague this team, especially against better competition.

    • Trevor says:

      There have been a lot of examples of that this year. It is worrisome. That being said he is definitely having his best game of the year today.

      • Trevor says:

        Another miss on that 3rd down Locket was wide open.

      • Ehurd1021 says:

        Against are worse competition of the year as well. I understand a win is a win in the NFL… got it. But does Wilson to you seem as sharp at this point of the season as he has the past three years? Or as sharp as you would expect a 4 year vet who just went to back to back super bowls and who has been in the same system with the same exact offensive staff since his rookie seasons? Because everyone I speak to its a resounding no… not even close. Just my opinion tho…

        • C-Dog says:

          Wilson’s having a solid day today. Dudes, he’s a short QB. This is not a new thing this season, it’s been going on for seasons. It’s very likely that there are going to be plays, even on great days for him, that there are going to be receivers open that he will not see. I think that’s something the team is willing to live with, otherwise they wouldn’t have extended his contract.

  26. Trevor says:

    I never thought I would ever say this but “Our secondary is a mess”!

  27. Trevor says:

    Wish they would just give Kevin Smith a chance and sit Kearse he has done nothing after the first game this year.

  28. nichansen01 says:

    I am happy with the win, concerned about some of the injuries, but absolutely vexed at the people saying Rawls isn’t a feature back. He has three starts in his CAREER and already has broken 160 and 200 yards, numbers marshawn has never put up. Ever. And he proved today he can catch the ball. What more does this guy have to do to prove himself to the fan base? To me he should start over lynch, and can be a more productive back than lynch ever was. What more must he do? He hasn’t fumbled, he’s been decent in pass protection, he can catch the ball and he is an OUTSTANDING runner.

    • C-Dog says:

      It’s got my vote for future featured back in Seattle. Kid’s got fight. Santa Clara had no answer for him, and he did what a feature back is supposed to do.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      I agree with everything you have said. However this was a weak opponent.

    • Trevor says:

      Agree I think we have our feature back for next year. Love Beast Mode but he is a huge Cap #

      Ask yourself with what would prefer?

      Rawls (RB) + Mack (Center) or Lynch RB + Nowak / Lewis (Center)

      Pretty easy decision I think.

  29. drewdawg11 says:

    The same thing I said about decker I said after this game. He’s playing high at times, especially when he has to move laterally. Athleticism is there in spades, but his technique is really up and down. I think he can develop in time, but is Cable the guy to get him there? Conklin is just a guy who doesn’t panic. He says within himself and has a really good punch. Would he benefit from a move to guard? I’m not sure if he can hang at tackle, but he’s a solid player.

  30. matt says:

    I agree that it would be a huge mistake for Cardale Jones to declare for the draft. It would be ideal for him to transfer to a pro style offense and get 12+ effective starts under his belt. That could boost his draft stock, and give him much needed game reps. Rob- I don’t understand how transferring would be a mistake for Jones. He can play right away as a graduate transfer. The OSU offense is not a great fit for Jones’ skill set. IMO