Ohio State-Minnesota | Rob Oller’s second thoughts

Staff Writer
Buckeye Xtra
Minnesota Golden Gophers fans celebrate after a touchdown from Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim, not pictured, during the first quarter of a NCAA college football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. [Photo by Joshua A. Bickel]

Rob Oller's Second Thoughts  

• This is the time of year, I remind everyone, why so few teams finish the season undefeated. Games like this. Or Iowa in 2017. Or Michigan State in 1998 (ouch, now that hurts). It’s hard to win them all. Even the 2014 national champs lost one. Not buying it? Still feeling the angst? You point out how the Buckeyes were unfocused against Minnesota and the defense is dangerously inept? Fine. I get it. Wasn’t pretty against the Golden Gophers. But this bunch remains unbeaten. Some perspective is in order.

• We want what we don’t have. Admit it, Buckeye Nation, you’re seldom happy with the current situation. That’s not a knock, but a 10-cent commentary on the human condition. Or at least the fan condition. If the Buckeyes win 60-3, the complaint is “Another boring blowout.” Turn it around — an uncomfortable 30-14 win against Minnesota — and the closer-than-expected outcome equals a disaster. On the flip side, there is something to be said for having exceedingly high expectations. You think Rutgers fans — an oxymoron? — worry about anything?

• Going for it on fourth-and-short has become all the rage in football. The analytics gurus say that statistically it’s the smart move. When considering today’s high-octane offenses, it’s better to keep the ball than give it to your opponent. Still, I think it’s gotten out of hand. Twice on the same drive in the second quarter, trailing 14-10, Ohio State went for it on fourth down in field-goal range. It worked once (at the Minnesota 32-yard line) but failed at the Gophers’ 17. I would have put points on the board and given my kicker (Blake Haubeil, subbing for an injured Sean Nuernberger) some in-game experience. Never know when he’ll need to make a kick under high-pressure conditions.

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