They had a shot on that final drive — and it was quite an impressive, methodical, patient drive — but the real reason Toledo fell 27-22 to Ohio State can be explained by penalties, and nothing further.
They had the big plays: a punt block and a successful two-point conversion in the first quarter, forcing OSU to play catch-up and get the score in their favor. They forced a fumble in the fourth quarter to set up the drive. But when the dust settled, the Rockets were responsible for 14 penalties totalling 110 yards.
But that doesn't even tell the whole story: on one of those plays, Vince Penza boomed a great punt inside the 20-yard line. It was negated by an illegal formation penalty. On the re-kick, Chris Fields shed a couple tackles and got soem key blocks, and OSU took the lead going into the half, 21-15.
Only one of those penalties resulted in a Buckeyes first down, but 110 yards is a ton. No OSU player even had 110 all-purpose yards. While the skill of Eric Page and Adonis Thomas were able to move the chains and score points, the 12th man in Ohio Stadium was not the scarlet and gray faithful, but the mental capacity of the Rockets on certain plays.
You may bicker that some of the flags were unwarranted, or that OSU only had two penalties so the refs may have had a bias, but it doesn't explain away the entire disparity.
Ohio State will breathe a sigh of relief, all the while people will remind them that a narrow win over Toledo is not impressive when you're favored to win the Big Ten. But I can guarantee that Toledo is kicking themselves for blowing this one. They should have won it, but you can shoot yourself in the foot only so many times before you run out of toes. If they play like this against Boise State next week they'll lose by 30.
|Final - 9.10.2011||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Ohio St. Buckeyes||7||14||6||0||27|