Kickoff mess reaches breaking point

Matt BuckeyeInsider

Urban Meyer is known as one of the best recruiters in college football. But the Buckeyes’ head coach has failed to find a kicker that can do what is routine for most teams.

“You look at our kickers, and someone said why don’t you just kick it out of the end zone,” said Meyer in his weekly press conference. “I would kick it out of the end zone every time. We’re the only school in America that can’t kick it out of the end zone, even with the wind at our back. It’s not because of not telling them to kick the ball out of the end zone.”

Ohio State’s kickoff issues reared their ugly head against Penn State. In addition to allowing a kick return for a touchdown to Saquon Barkley on the first play of the game, the Buckeyes allowed the Nittany Lions good field position all day.

On the season, the Buckeyes have allowed 988 kick return yards. Yes, there have been a lot of kickoffs because Ohio State has scored a bunch, but that is still a ton of yards to yield.

The issue, according to Meyer, starts with the lack of being able to consistently kick the ball into the end zone. After Meyer’s statement Monday, former punter Cam Johnston posted on Twitter that he disagreed with the coach’s assertion, saying he routinely saw the team’s kickers reach the end zone in practice.

However, that has not translated to game day. It was so bad Saturday that Ohio State tried to squib the ball across the ground, but that didn’t work out much better. On one attempt, a 240-pound Penn State linebacker scooped up the ball and returned it 59 yards.

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