Ginn-less Buckeyes struggle
The Florida defense has throttled the Ohio State offense.
The absence of Ohio State wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. had a profound effect on the Buckeyes' offense. Without his leading pass catcher -- and a fierce Florida rush -- OSU quarterback Troy Smith was running for his life.
He tried to rely on Anthony Gonzalez, but the Gators were able to double-team the junior and force Smith to have pinpoint accuracy. And that wasn't happening.
The Buckeyes were able to get back some of the game's momentum, but with a 20-point deficit, they needed to turn that momentum into points.
Through three quarters, Ohio State had just 96 yards of offense, was 1-for-7 on third down conversions and had almost as many punts and turnovers (six) as first downs (eight).
What went right
Ohio State finally won some field position, starting its first drive from the Florida 46 and its second from its own 44.
But the Buckeyes went three-and-out, losing 1 yard on the series, and a holding penalty on Alex Boone, his second flag of the night, short-circuited the second possession.
The best news of the quarter was that, finally given some field position, the Buckeyes' defense was able to keep Florida off the scoreboard.
But again, the way night went, Ohio State was unable to put up any points, either, and the 20-point halftime deficit stayed right where it was.
Through three quarters, running back Antonio Pittman had rushed for 50 yards, averaging better than 5.5 yards per carry, but because of the Buckeyes' anemic offense, the Gators' defense and Florida's powerful offense, he had just nine carries.
What went wrong
Smith may have won the Heisman, but Florida's Chris Leak was the better quarterback tonight. He found his receivers open and there was no pass rush to speak of by the Buckeyes, save for one sack in the quarter by Vernon Gholston.
Running back DeShawn Wynn was able to break free for a 17-yard gain, his longest of the night, and had 36 yards on 10 carries through the end of the quarter.
Defensively, Florida's secondary was able to keep the Ohio State receivers in front of them, without Ginn to stretch the field.
They were quicker and held Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie in check, limiting Smith to have only Gonzalez and Pittman to go to. In fact, through three quarters, Hartline had one catch for 13 yards and Robiskie hadn't smelled the ball.