Troy Smith, proverbial pain-in-the-neck for the University of Michigan, just introduced Charle Weis and the rest of the Irish faithful (get it?) to Lloyd Carr’s reccuring nightmare. Single-handledly accounting for over 400 yards of offense, Smith shredded the Notre Dame defense with both his arm and his legs. He played like a man possesed. (A 2006 Heisman hopeful?) Notre Dame’s defense will also see Ted Ginn Jr.’s crazy legs in their sleep for the next eight months. Those moves he made on that 68-yard end-around were sick. Santonio Holmes may have played his last game as a Buckeye; talk about going out with a bang! And let’s not forget Antonio Pittman. That boy can run! OSU’s offense racked up 604 yards. That is insanity. They ran 66 plays. My handy-dandy calculator tells me that 9.15 yards a play. That is, as Brent Musberger so eloquently put it, was a Buckeye Butt-kicking.
Of course, there was the play of the stout OSU defense, which came to man-handle yet another team. Notre Dame certainly got off to a quick start but seemed to sputter the rest of the game. Throughout the game, the Notre Dame offense looked tight. They never looked comfortable. I was suprised with the number of dropped passes. Could that have been because of the tight leash Charlie Weis put on his players during the week? He called it a “business trip.” I don’t agree with that sentiment at all. Super Bowl trips in the NFL are business trips. College football bowl trips should be fun. Last time I checked, no one on either side of the football was receiving a paycheck after this game. That’s not to say Tressel let his boys party the whole time in Tempe, it just seemed like Weis was a little too strict.
Notre Dame just seemed overmatched. Their Brady Quinn-led offense never lived up to its billing. We knew their defense would struggle but we thought their offense would have put up a better fight than they did. Maybe OSU was too strong and a little faster. A.J. Hawk and Company may have been initially caught off-guard with that first drive but they buckled down and did a good job harassing Quinn all day along.
But in the end, it wasn’t OSU’s defense that won this game. It was Troy Smith. I’ll close by quoting a very prescient Charle Weis (speaking of Smith):
“He worries me the most of anyone on their team,” Weis said. “What scares me is any time you have a quarterback, and especially a quarterback who started out with a reputation of being a runner first and a thrower second, and now has reversed those roles, you have a problem.”