A true champion will continue fighting even when the going gets tough. My mother, Gayle, is that kind of champion. Life has handed her lemons and you should see the batch of lemonade she made. The circumstance tried to break her down and she stood up and towered over the situation. Not only did she not look back, she led the march forward. She has yet to see an obstacle in her effort to accomplish her goals. As her fan club has watched in awe of her ability to take life happenings in stride, she gained a slogan; “Gayle will Prevayle”.
It must be an Ohio thing!
The 10th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes 8-2 (5-1) have had a season of adversity… adversity that they chose to overcome.
Beginning in week 2 when a freshman led USC came from behind to win in the 4th quarter and drew attention to the blaring weaknesses of the ’09 Buckeye squad to a shocking loss at Purdue 25 days ago; Ohio State has opened themselves up to more doubt and harsh criticism than any season in the recent past.
Scarlet blood was boiling as the disbelievers spouted such things as “Pryor needs to be moved to a receiving position”, “Tressel needs to hand over play calling responsibilities”, “the offense has too many holes left from the draft”, “the defense is too slow to handle ranked opponents”, and my favorite “they can’t win in a big game”. Not only did the Bucks win the big game but they won big!
“After it’s all said and done, people looking back on this season will say that Penn State and Iowa were turning points of that season, and the Buckeyes really came together.” TE Jake Ballard stated soon after learning that this weekend’s game is essentially a Big Ten Championship game.
Yes, you read that correctly!
The winner of the game at Ohio Stadium will get the Big Ten’s automatic Bowl Championship Series berth in the Rose Bowl and be assured of at least a share of the conference title, which would be the Buckeyes’ 5th in a row.
A Saturday victory in the Horseshoe will smell like roses! Even with an unthinkable loss to Michigan a week later in the regular-season finale (which I would like to remind my favorite Wolverine has not occurred in 2182 days), the Bucks would win any tiebreaker and earn a coveted spot in the Rose Bowl.
The plan to prevayle is simple. You have to want it:
Offense has been the (rose) thorn in the side of Ohio State for the majority of the season. Last week something clicked. “I don’t know why it happened that way but it did and I’m sure glad that it happened that way Saturday night,” QB coach Nick Siciliano said of last Saturday’s transition in Terrell Pryor. “He did seem to be a little bit calmer. He did make great decisions with the football. There were a couple of bad ones here and there (but) that’s part of the deal. But we didn’t turn the ball over and there wasn’t anything even close to a turnover. If we can do that again this week, we’ve got a chance.”
The loss to Purdue was considered by Pryor to be “maybe the best thing that happened to us.” Purdue showed Ohio State could not build an offense around Pryor and since the transition the sophomore QB has totaled 500 yds, 5 tds and (READ)1 int!
Pryor seems to be a lot more comfortable in the pocket and he’s actually running the offense now. With a mistake free (ok, a minimal mistake) game from Pryor and a continuation on the Herron and Saine run, the offense can pluck the feathers of the Hawkeyes D. I would anticipate Jordan Hall and Ray Small will make an impact against a line that is surrendering 291.7 yards per game.
This task will not be easy as the Hawkeyes are ranked 14th in overall defense and boast 19 interceptions, a stat which is tied for first in the nation. With that said, I would assume OSU receivers Devier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher will have fewer attempts at playmaking this Saturday.
Ohio State is third in the nation in rushing defense (85.4), fourth in scoring defense (11.2 points per game) and 11th in pass defense (168.7).Their work load was significantly lightened when Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi went down in the second quarter last week with a badly sprained ankle. He will be replaced by redshirt freshman quarterback, James Vandenberg. Vandenberg enters the capacity filled Ohio Stadium in his first collegiate start after throwing for 82 yards in three quarters against Northwestern on Nov. 7.
That means true freshman RB Brandon Wegher could get 20-plus carries for the second time in the past three games. It should be noted that Wegher has also moved up from second position as he had to fill the shoes of the Hawkeyes’ previous top rusher Adam Robinson. Robinson’s season ended after a foot injury during the Michigan State game in late October.
Good luck baby birds!
The only advantage the Hawkeyes’ offense has over the OSU defense is that the key players Iowa will be relying upon are so inexperienced that the Buckeyes don’t really know what to expect from them. “We just watch as much film as we can since we’ve only got a couple of quarters (of actual play),” DL Lawrence Wilson said. “We try to guess what they’re going to do.”
Part of prevailing is accepting the unknown. Taking chances and making changes. There is a Garth Brooks song titled “Unanswered Prayers”. There are things in life you pray do not happen. There are things in life you wish had never happened. Ultimately, all of those things happen for a reason and for the betterment of the future. All I can say is thank the big guy for Purdue and also for unanswered prayers! Go Bucks and go Gayle!
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Written by Rebekah Edwards