The Halloween Spice Drops Award of No Retreat, No Surrender
I am very happy to give this award out this week, not just because it goes to a great player and a great guy, but because I feel that he has gotten a lot dumped on him by fans and, in some cases, the media.
Storm Woods has come out this year and said he is going to be a difference maker. He is going to run his butt off and be that special player that teams have to account for. In the vein of other great OSU runners, Storm has made a difference running the ball, catching it or blocking. Storm was on fire this last week and ran hard and smart en route to averaging 6 yards per carry. Had the offense stuck with him, there is no doubt in my mind he would have reach 100 yards on the day.
This award is for players that are excellent, but also for players that give everything they have. I think that could be said for all of the players that played on Saturday, but Storm just continued to stand out to me every time he was in the game.
The Jujifruit Award of Always Be Competing
I thought that this might be a good time to call out some linemen for their work. Especially Roman Sapolu who did a really good job in this game. But to be honest, I would be remiss if I didn’t give an award to the whole defense. Not only were they ready for USC, but they really dominated them until the offense stopped being able to move the ball. I feel like this defense, when healthy, is potentially the best we have had at OSU. While there were a few little things here and there, they battled all game long and through injuries and pain. I also really appreciated being able to see Dylan get a sack as he has done so much for the team this year that will never show up on a stat sheet.
If the offense can figure some things out and keep the ball on the ground more in the next few weeks, I think our defense will be one of the premier units in the nation. There are a ton of great offenses they have to compete against, but given a chance, I like our odds against all of them.
The Good N’ Plenty Award of Shameful Behavior
As I get farther from the game and have the poor taste removed ever so slightly, I am having a hard time giving this award to anyone. I was incredibly disappointed by the way the USC game went down, mostly from an offensive play calling and game management aspect, but I am not going to start eating our own yet. I wanted to give it to the refs who had a really hard time seeing obvious holds (like when DJ Alexander got spun around by his jersey on a play that they gave us an additional 15 yard Unsportsmanlike penalty. That would have negated a first down.). I also thought about giving it to the announcers, who continually misled the audience with poor anecdotes and mistakes in analysis.
But ultimately, I give this award to myself. I wanted to shut down this blog and walk away after this game. Not because it was necessarily the worst loss I have seen, but because it was the same story as last year and every year since 2011. Basically, it was the type of football that makes going to message boards a chore. It was the type of football that makes opening a newspaper or going to work a terrible, Herclean feat. It was the type of game that has me say “Yeah, we have no chance against good teams” because of flaws that have nothing to do with talent or even teaching skills. It all comes down to execution on the sidelines and getting the players in position to be successful.
But I am not a quitter. I am not going to just walk away from a team and a community I have dedicated so much time to in the last few decades. So while I am still here, I feel like I deserve this award because I would be walking away from something I love. I will most likely be more critical now, for whatever good it does, but I am going to continue to support and love this team, its players and even its coaches. I just think Mike needs to take a hard look at what he is doing and see what changes need to be made.
Now and always, I close with GO BEAVERS!