Halfway through the 2010 season, The Ohio State University is probably where most expected they would be: undefeated (6-0) and ranked in the top-five.
The surprise may be that the Buckeyes are ranked No. 1 after Alabama’s loss Saturday.
As with all teams, there’s been the good, bad and ugly. I’d give OSU a B overall.
The Buckeyes are racking up the points (259) and yards (465.83 per game), but finding a consistent ground game is something that is still a work in progress. Daniel Herron leads the running backs at 355 net yards (tied for 94th nationally at 59.17 per game). Backfield mate Brandon Saine has just 183 net yards. Dane Sanzenbacher and Devier Posey are as reliable wide receivers out there. The offensive line is also doing a good job. The offense gets a B.
The defense has been outstanding all season, ranked in the top-six nationally in six categories. The one that particularly comes to mind is turnover ratio at +1.67. The defense has allowed just seven touchdowns on the season. They get an A.
The special teams is getting better, but they are 111th nationally in punting and have allowed a blocked kick and two punt returns for touchdowns. A kickoff return by Ohio’s Julian Posey was called back because of a penalty. They get a C.
Here are some mid-season awards:
MVP: Quarterback Terrelle Pryor has continued the momentum from the Rose Bowl game. He’s already thrown for 15 TDs against three picks, completed a school-record 16 passes against Eastern Michigan and leads an offense that is averaging 43.2 points per game. He’s also second on the team in rushing at 354 yards.
Top newcomer: Sophomore John Simon appeared in 12 games on the defensive line last season and had 15 tackles, including four for loss and one and a half sacks. He’s now started all six games and already has 14 tackles, including three for loss and one sack, through six games.
Top freshman: Safety Christian Bryant and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins have worked themselves as backups on the depth chart.
Bryant has eight tackles and Hankins 10, including a sack.
Best win: In their toughest non-conference game, OSU downed Miami 36-24 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes capitalized on four interceptions against the then No. 12 Hurricanes. The defense allowed just two touchdowns.
Toughest win: There’s been no losses, so there’s no worst loss. The most hard-fought win was Oct. 2 against Illinois, 24-13. On a windy day in Champaign, the Buckeyes put the game away with a late score. Pryor went out for a few minutes in the third quarter with a thigh bruise. He did come back, but OSU relied on its ground attack to get the job done.
n Biggest disappointment: Special teams, which is a point of emphasis for coach Jim Tressel. They are 111th nationally in punting and have allowed a blocked kick and two punt returns for touchdowns. The rushing attack from the running backs. Herron is averaging just 59.2 yards per game and Saine is at 30.5.