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Ohio State Breakdown: Tailbacks

A breakdown and grading of an offense that manages seven points at home against a defense, however talented, that's breaking in nine new starters is going to slant towards the negative. Our first look at the quarterback wasn't terribly rosy, but there were some bright spots on offense. We'll get to one of those now with our look at the tailbacks.

Tailbacks Selvin Young (11 rushes for 95 yards, 8.8 avg, long of 30) and Jamaal Charles (16 carries, 76 yards, 4.4 avg, long of 16) were very solid Saturday night. So solid, in fact, that one's jaw drops when a glance at the box score reveals 32 passing attempts for Colt McCoy. Make no mistake about it - those weren't all garbage time throws in an attempt to catch up. We threw the ball all game long, often at the expense of the rush.

As has been iterated several times over now, the passes were underneath throws that were the equivalent of rushes. If I wanted Billy Pittman rushing the ball, though, I'd line him up in the backfield. We don't, though, because we have Young and Charles.

What's so disappointing is that the 'Horns had an opportunity to have a gargantuan offensive performance rushing the football. The Texas offensive line was outstanding at pushing the Buckeyes off the ball, opening up ample holes for the backs to scamper through. Worse yet, the dominance on the line was only increasing as the game wore on. Texas should have been pounding the Buckeyes on the run late in a close game, but they never got that chance.

Why? The gameplan called for a balanced ball control offense that utilized short passes in equal number with the rushes. To what end, I don't know. If the passing was supposed to compliment the rushing, it failed. Rather, it wound up replacing the rushing attack, with poor results. It's just a shame, because Selvin and Jamaal were up to the task, and might have kept Texas closer had we stuck with the rushing attack.

This is probably as good a time as any to note that Young (6 catches) and Charles (4) were our leading receivers on the line. I wonder how difficult it was to be a Buckeye defender last night. Do you think that, as Texas huddled, they said, "Do you think it'll be a hand off or a 3 yard pass?" And then another defender saying, "What's the difference?"

We'll enjoy the fact that the rushing game is right where it needs to be, that Selvin Young looks healthy, quick, and effective, and that the 'Horns can still run the ball pretty much whenever they want to. Which ought to be more often. Grade: B+

Next up: the wide receivers