Archives for December 2019

Thank You Buckeyes by Ben Van Ooyen

Thank you Buckeyes

Thank you Seniors Damon Arnette, Jordan Fuller, Binjimen Victor, Jashon Cornell, Austin Mack, Rashod Berry, K.J. Hill, Malik Harrison, Davon Hamilton, Joshua Alabi, Robert Landers, Jonah Jackson, Brandon Bowen, and C.J. Saunders.  

Thank you Juniors J.K. Dobbins, Chase Young and Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade

Last night was a hard pill to swallow. I watched like the rest of you as the Buckeyes roared out to a nice 16-0 lead with the intensity that they played with all season.  I watched as after that 16-0 lead the Buckeyes had a 3rd and 5 with a chance to get the ball back when Shaun Wade came on a blitz and lowered his body to sack Trevor Lawrence. The Buckeyes were going to get the ball back with around 5 minutes left while still keeping Clemson scoreless in the first half. That is when it all shifted. The call on the field of a sack and a 4th down punt got sent to the review booth to look at targeting. After a few minutes of deliberation with the review booth it was determined that Wade lowered his head and hit with the crown of his helmet while Lawrence ducked as he knew the sack was impending. Was it targeting? Some will say yes, and others will say no. I know that Wade did not go for that hit with the intent of targeting Trevor Lawrence. He had a clear sack and wanted to wrap up and make sure he took the 6’6” gunslinger to the ground. He accomplished that goal and got thrown out of the game because of it. There are pictures and videos out there of different angles and Chase Young getting a fist in the face during that same play, but nonetheless it was called and the game shifted. Clemson then took advantage of Amir Riep who came in for Wade getting a pass interference call and went down and punched in the touchdown. 

The Buckeyes got the ball back and immediately went three and out, and Clemson got the ball back with all the momentum and broke off a big play. We hadn’t seen the big play go against this defense much this season, but Lawrence juked Josh Proctor and took it 67 yards to the house to make it 16-14 at the half.

Clemson would get the ball to start the half, riding a 14-0 close out to the first half. The Buckeyes were without one of their leaders on defense in Wade, and J.K. Dobbins was favoring his ankle and it looked likely he wouldn’t be able to continue the amazing first half he had. Speaking of people not being able to continue, I am not sure how a guy who is held out of the rest of the first half after he hit his head, is able to all of a sudden come back in the second half as if nothing happened. I’ve never had a concussion, but I am assuming that if the doctors keep you out as a precaution then you probably shouldn’t be on the field again. 

The second half started and the Buckeyes forced the surging Tigers to go three and out giving the Buckeyes the ball with a chance to extend their slim margin. Master Teague was now the feature back as Dobbins worked on his ankle. The Buckeyes drove down to the 45 and were stopped forcing a punt by Drue Chrisman who knocked a pretty punt down to the 1. 

The defense again came out and it looked like they were going to get themselves off the field and the Buckeyes would get the ball back in great field position. On 4th and 6, the punt unit for Clemson came out and Cameron Brown came off the edge on what looked like a punt block attempt. He didn’t make it there in time and ran into the kicker for Clemson who I might say did a pretty good job of grabbing onto Brown and making the hit look way worse than it was. If you watch the play again, you can see Brown slowing down and hitting the kicker, but to call that roughing seemed a bit much. Clemson keeps the ball, and marches down the field and takes their first lead at 21-16. 

The Buckeyes thought they had taken the lead when a Lawrence pass to Justyn Ross was completed and Jeffery Okudah knocked the ball out after Ross took three to four steps with the ball. Jordan Fuller picked up the loose ball and took in the distance giving the Buckeyes an apparent 23-16 lead. The call on the field was a fumble and after another quick review it was determined that Ross never had possession of the football during the catch and it was determined to be an incomplete pass. Someone tweeted that if that catch had been in the endzone it would have been called a touchdown, and I don’t disagree. Another stomach punch to the Buckeyes late in the game. 

After that punt, Justin Fields threw his second interception of the season. The Buckeyes quickly got the ball back with a little over a minute left in the 3rd quarter.  Dobbins was back from his ankle injury, and the Buckeyes marched the ball down the field in a little under five minutes. Fields hit Olave with a beautiful pass on 4th and 1 and the Buckeyes again had the lead. 

The Buckeyes forced Clemson to punt on their next possession and looked to be driving down the field again to make the lead two scores, but after getting stopped on 3rd and 5 for a one yard gain, Ryan Day punted and Chrisman knocked another one down inside the 10.  Four plays later Travis Etienne was again in the endzone and the Buckeyes found themselves down 29-23 with 1:50 left on the clock. 

Fields hit Dobbins for two quick passes to start the drive and then K.J. Hill for another to get the ball to the Clemson 40 with a little over a minute left. After another completion out of the backfield to Dobbins, Fields missed Mack and set up a 3rd down which he converted with his feet. 1:04 on the clock and the Buckeyes had the ball with a first down on the 31 yard line. Another run by Fields for three, and a timeout for the Buckeyes. The play call looked very similar to the 4th down play that was scored on earlier in the 4th, but Chris Olave broke off his route thinking that Fields was scrambling and the throw was intercepted by Clemson sealing the Fiesta Bowl in their favor.  

The Buckeyes were the better team last night and probably deserved to win. I said it last night, and I will say it again, I am not going to say the officiating cost us the game as they had plenty of chances to score, but the amount of very judgemental calls certainly did not help either.

This Buckeye team ranks pretty high for me on a best team I’ve watched play in my lifetime scale. We dominated nearly every game from start to finish all year, and had three of the top six Heisman vote getters. Chase Young set records on defense, and J.K. set records on offense. I assume that next year we will see them suiting up on Sunday along with about 50 other Ohio State Buckeyes in the NFL. While we will be losing a lot of talent to the draft and graduation later this year, we are also bringing in a very highly regarded recruiting class next summer/fall. 

The future is still bright at Ohio State. 

Thank you Buckeyes!

College Football Playoffs: The Semi-Final in the Desert

Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl. Credit:

We are nearly 24 hours away and a collision course between the #2 and the #3 team in the nation. The battle in the desert will pit Ohio State against the reigning champion Clemson against each other with a championship game up for grabs.

This contest seems like must-watch tv and the stakes and pride are also up for grabs. For the Buckeyes, they are 0-3 all time versus Clemson with the two losses being fresh in the minds of Buckeyes fans across the nation.

The 2014 Orange Bowl ended in a Clemson comeback and the Buckeyes fell 40-35. In 2016 at the same venue in Glendale, the JT Barrett led team failed to score in a 31-0 shutout that hurt their credibility. The Big Ten has failed to score a single point in the last two appearances with the last time a point was scored, the Buckeyes won it all.

This is a game of matchups and the coaching should be the determining factor in the end, but the build-up has been quite one-sided. Every analysts and every talking head on sports outlets are giving the Buckeyes no shot to dethrone Clemson. ESPN has been killing the Buckeyes and FOX has went to bat for them, but opinions are only opinions. It is up to the Buckeyes to take care of business and shock the world once again.

I will be taking a look into the x-factors and matchups that make this game so exciting. There are many twists and turns, and there are many storylines that intertwine and make this matchup a great one.

Two former five-star quarterbacks, Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence. Credit: 10tv.COM

Battle of the Five Star Quarterbacks

The Quarterback is arguably one of the most important positions in football and both of these teams have studs at the position. Fields and Lawrence took high school rankings and excelled. Lawrence has stuck with Clemson and being one of the stars on the offense. Fields committed to Georgia, played sparingly and ended up developing into a star at Ohio State.

Their paths will cross once again with an appearance in the title game up for grabs. Lawrence has been off, but he has carved up teams even though he turns the ball over. Fields has been the focal point, but he has caught a few licks and he is somewhat hobbled for the contest against Clemson. 80-85% is low but I don’t think he will be running a ton, but you never know.

This matchup will come down to the coaching and the overall team mentality when dealing with turnovers and executing. Both barely turn the ball over, but the body language will tell the story by the end of the game tomorrow.

Clemson Offensive Line walking out to the field. Credit:

Trench Warfare

For the most part, Dabo Sweeney’s pitch of Urban Meyer retiring came to fruition. He was the top rated player in the state of Ohio and he slipped through and spurned the hometown team to play for the Clemson Tigers. Fast forward two seasons, fate seemed to play a part and it pitted the teams against each other.

This o-line has been stingy with sacks and through the regular season they have allowed 1 sack per game and they are tied for 5th in the nation. For comparison purposes, Ohio State is ranked 94th in the nation allowing 2.38 sacks per game. To be fair, the competition and caliber of defenses they have faced is questionable, but hey, stats are stats and they could use the numerous slights as an added edge to disrupt this offense.

The Buckeyes and Chase Young thrive on pressuring the quarterback and ruining offensive game plans and they are tied for best in the nation along with Pitt and SMU with 51 sacks through 12 games, averaging 3.92 per game. Clemson is 22nd in the nation with 37 and 2.85 per game. Whoever wins in the trenches will win this contest. I sense a motivated Buckeyes team, especially at the line of scrimmage. I could be wrong, but I can feel that crazy look in the players’ eyes.

Dobbins breaking through the Wolverine defense on a career day. Credit:

Underdog Mentality

Dobbins is third in the nation in rushing behind Chubba Hubbard of Oklahoma State and Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin and it seems like he is the third wheel in this contest. Building up to the game, he used the “most disrespected team in the nation” interview and he might go off like Zeke did in 2015. As I stated earlier, this game, the build up and the hype–it is eerily similar to the 2015 run with no one giving the Buckeyes a shot.

Channel after channel, analyst after analyst–same saying. “Clemson will defeat the Buckeyes with a minimum margin of 14 points–easily”. The Buckeyes as you know overcame a slow start and won it all that year. This team has the horses to do the same thing, but the balance cannot be understated.

The Dobbins and Fields combination has worked and he will be leaned upon heavily with Fields being dinged up with a knee injury. So expect a heavy dose of Dobbins and passing.

Ohio State DB’s celebrating a turnover. Credit:

Best In America

In what was one of the most head-scratching moments of the season, ESPN said to pick on Shaun Wade cause he is the weak man in the DB rotation. What?! A projected first round pick seems to get picked-on as the slot corner, but he also holds his own when called upon. His pops knows of the slander and I am positive that bulletin board material is posted, but that is just one out of the two starters who weren’t mentioned. The other, Damon Arnette is the enforcer in the DB room and he might feel some way after not even being mentioned. Okudah will also come with the juice because he will fight for his brothers. It’ll be a battle, but it will be a fun contest of wills.

Jordan Fuller will look to be the eraser with the Linebackers in between. The seams have been the a concern and with the new scheme, we have seen less splash plays at the beginning of the season, but they’ve been coming more frequently the last three games. Is that concern? Maybe or maybe not, but they will be ready. Freiermuth really had a decent game and his size and speed were a factor, but this group of receivers should be a good challenge. Five stars against five stars will be something great to watch.

Matchups To Watch

  • Fields vs Lawrence
  • The Trench Battle
  • Clemson WR’s vs Ohio State CB’s
  • Dobbins vs Etienne
  • Young vs Carman
  • Ohio State LB’s vs Clemson TE’s
  • Coach Day’s Lack of Experience vs Coach Sweeney’s Experience


I am honestly torn in this one. I want revenge, like 31-0 type of revenge, but I don’t know. The hype and the snubs won out in the end and I have a feeling Ohio State is the team peaking at the right time. The narratives and the disrespect will be the tipping point.

The Ohio State Buckeyes defeat the Clemson Tigers 45-35


Recruiting Targets: Hits & Misses

In our second installment of the hits & misses content, we will be looking into the class of 2018. Last weeks piece focused on the 2019 class and we will be working our way as far back as we can, but this week is 2018’s weeks to shine.

The recruiting game is great when the dominoes keep falling in place and the recruits commit and stick throughout. It is a terrible thing when coaches leave and there are questions that leave uncertainty, and they all of a sudden look around and ultimately leave for reasons.

The 2018 class was great and it was the last class prior to Coach Meyer’s retirement and this class finished second only to Georgia, but his class could’ve been better if it weren’t for departures from formerly committed players who found opportunities elsewhere.

Chris Olave visiting. Credit: Twitter.

Hit: Chris Olave, WR

When you think of Chris Olave, you think of all the impact plays he has made since he has step foot on campus. From slaying the Wolverines or just making a key play on a tremendous route or blocking a kick, he has made an impact in both years in Columbus. He is one of the biggest gets in recruiting and he was discovered accidentally while scouting JT Daniels in California. While catching passes from his quarterback, Olave was highly underrated and he was recruited lightly, but those who take the time to scout will often find a gem like Olave. That is exactly what the Buckeyes found and he is tearing it up.

Jeremy Ruckert at The Opening. Credit: 24/7 Sports.

Hit: Jeremy Ruckert, TE

Speaking of playmakers, Jeremy Ruckert showed his playmaking skills last week during the Big Ten Championship Game to bring the Buckeyes back from the dead, to secure their third consecutive conference crown after going down 21-7 at the half. On their first score during the second half, Ruckert made a one-handed snag that looked like a Jordan logo that brought the team back to life, that ultimately brought the juice back to the team and it started the run to the finish. This score gave the team the shot in the arm to go on a 28-0 run to close the game out, to win the conference championship for the third straight year.

Master Teague III. Credit:

Hit: Master Teague III, RB

Who would’ve thought Master Teague would make an impact as a backup to JK Dobbins!? Although he didn’t get a snap in the Conference Championship game, he still has more yards that some starts at the position, as a backup. He has 128 carries and 780 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is averaging 6.1 yards per carry, but imagine if he was the starter? I think he would easily have Dobbins-like numbers, but he has a beast in front of him. If there is a chance where Dobbins stays another year, similar to Chase Young, we will all be excited to see him try to overtake Archie Griffin in the record books, but it is more doubtful than Young’s situation.

Anyway, if he leaves Teague is the next man up with a stable of young, but capable backs in the Cadillac position. He runs with a purpose and he runs through would-be tacklers. He has that burst and the vision and the future is bright with Marcus Crowley and Steele Chambers in the mix too. They have Miyan Williams, a former Iowa State recruit in the fold too and the future is bright with Teague being the leader of next years squad. There are other potential backs in the mix, but if they don’t grab another one, it should be fine. The 2021 class will likely grab two backs to make it up.

Jackson Carman. Credit:

Miss: Jackson Carman, OT

Jackson Carman was once a heavy, heavy Buckeye lean and he grew up in their back yard in Fairfield, Ohio. He was heavily recruited by Meyer and his staff, but the questions about Coach Meyer’s future was the final nail in the coffin before he ultimately made the choice to spurn the Buckeyes for their CFB Playoff opponent, The Clemson Tigers. He has been inconsistent all year, but his team has dominated 90% of their games this season. If the Buckeyes hadn’t had questions about Coach Meyer’s future, which was the final nail that Dabo had used to steal him away, he would’ve been in the class instead of Nicholas Petit-Frere, but it is what it is.

Substitions: Nicholas Petit-Frere and Max Wray

Aside from losing the top prospect in the state of Ohio, they made waves after they snagged the best Offensive Tackle in Florida in Petit-Frere and they also kept Max Wray in the fold for some needed depth. Petit-Frere has been inconsistent and he was a starter at Right Tackle after Brandon Bowen went down with that gruesome leg injury. Fast forward into the 2019 season, he hasn’t played as much, but he is a solid depth piece and he saw some meaningful snap after Davis was injured and Bowen slid into the Right Guard spot and Petit-Frere played in Bowen’s spot. Petit-Frere will be looked at after Bowen departs this season and they just need more depth to add for the time being.

Micah Parsons. Credit:

Miss: Micah Parsons, WDE

In another bizarre situation, the Buckeyes lost out on another Weakside Defensive End/Hybrid Linebacker recruit due to unfortunate circumstances. Parsons was so close to being a Buckeye but an impromptu interaction with the College Gameday crew left many questions and the Buckeyes eventually cut ties with him afterwards to prevent the NCAA from taking action and leveling punishment against them for the interactions between Buckeye Alumni and a highly rated recruit. (Sigh). What could’ve been.

Parsons is a terror on the edge and he has helped Penn State’s defense with his skills and his leadership on the field. In two seasons, he has 177 tackles, 92 of which are solo tackles. He has 4.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles, with one recovered. He has been on a tear and minus the fact that he is thriving, he has done well for himself and he could’ve been ours.

Substitutions: Tyreke Smith and Alex Williams

Although it was a miss, the Smith and Williams have flashed but not to the extent as Parsons, but they are on their way. Smith filled in admirably for the suspended Young and he flashed his potential during cleanup time when games are put away. Smith has 9 tackles and 3 sacks, while Williams has 8 tackles. They aren’t producing but they are going to be cog’s on the defense in the future. There were clips of Chase Young potentially coming back for a senior season, but we will see what the future holds. Regardless, if he does come back, that frees up a rusher opposite of Young. That would be cool, but we will see if he would turn down a Top 5 pick NFL salary. I am skeptical, but who wouldn’t want that to happen?

WBB: Buckeyes Head West, Take On #1 Stanford then High Flying Sacramento State

After taking down #2 Louisville

The over-all youngest team(6-3) Coach McGuff has put on the floor since being in Columbus has been making some big waves in the NCAA already and at the same time cause some head scratching at other times.

It is what happens with youth and inexperience but this young team has shown flashes of being a team to beat on the national stage, in the future. They already have a hard fought loss to then #4 UCONN that garnered some respect and confidence that clearly carried over a bit against Louisville.

On the menu today is the Tara Vanderveer led #1 Stanford Cardinals(8-0). This is a very intriguing match-up just because of how similar the two teams are across the board. Neither has a true center so to speak but are guard heavy and rely on defense to set things up.

What will be crucial for the Buckeyes will be to slow down guard play and hopefully limit shot opportunities. The Buckeyes have been content with the smothering defense recently in the fact that teams have to make tough shots. Offensive rebounding and more steals than usual will have to be the flavor of the day, and of course make the best of their own opportunities.

Ohio State at #1 Stanford
Date:December 15, 2019
Time:8:30 p.m. ET
Venue:Maples Pavilion – Palo Alto, Calif.
Watch:Pac 12 Networks
Live Stats:Sidearm
Game Notes:Ohio State | Stanford | Big Ten

The Buckeyes stay out west and take on Sacramento State Tuesday evening with a 10:05 tip!


Ohio State Buckeyes


131-50Value City Arena Recap Final StatsSUN NOV 10

Ohio State Buckeyes


89-38Springfield, Ohio Recap Final StatsWED NOV 13

Ohio State Buckeyes


78-73 (OT)Cincinnati, Ohio Recap Final StatsSUN NOV 17



68-74Value City Arena Recap Final StatsTHU NOV 21

Kent State


75-65Kent, Ohio Recap Final StatsSUN NOV 24



62-73Value City Arena Recap Final StatsFRI NOV 29

Ohio State Buckeyes


53-68Las Vegas, Nev. Recap Final StatsSAT NOV 30

Ohio State Buckeyes


64-46Las Vegas, Nev. Recap Final StatsTHU DEC 5



67-60Value City Arena Recap Final StatsSUN DEC 8




Parallels and Similarities: A Buckeyes Call To Arms

#2 Ohio State vs #3 Clemson, CFB Playoffs 2019 semifinals at Glendale, Arizona on December 28, 2019. Credit:

When I sit back and try to enjoy sports shows, I can’t help but feel disrespected as a die-hard fan of the Buckeyes. Every show that I have put on, there are analysts spinning the story of the Buckeyes being just another unmatched team in the way of the reigning champs, Clemson Tigers. They are giving the Buckeyes a slim shot to defeat them and their reason? The 31-0 beatdown in Arizona, three years ago.

Clemson’s defensive front swarming JT Barrett in CFB Playoffs semis in 2017. Credit:

Yes, we all remember the last time these two teams played each other, the 31-0 blowout in the same field where they will meet on the 28th, and that was the last time they Buckeyes got invited to the big dance. It is also coincidentally where the “when was the last time the Big Ten scored” joke was born, with the conference no-showing 2 out of the last 3 years. In 2017 the Buckeyes fell to this years opponent at the same venue 31-0 and in 2016 the Spartans fell 38-0 against Alabama.

Derrick Henry rumbling through the Spartan defense in the 2016 CFB Playoffs semis. Credit:

As irritating as the joke is, it is true and both Ohio State and Michigan State had lost for a combined score of 69-0 and an 0-2 record. This acts as a black eye to the conference and its fans. And changes need to happen and they have to right the ship against Clemson this year! The Big Ten has been waiting for this moment and the Buckeyes have been licking their chops to avenge their last loss and restore their image as a College Football blue-blood and one of the heavy hitters in the nation to go alongside the Clemson’s, the Alabama’s and the LSU’s of the world. As much as I need this, the Buckeyes need this as well. They have been disrespected so much and with them dropping to #2, it might add that extra edge to their argument.

The edge is already there, but the media has sharpened it just in time for the contest against Clemson. A lot of talk is made and I think this team will do the talking on the field, whether it’ll be in a blowout win or a close one, they will be ready. Think about it for a second. Ryan Day doesn’t show up to the ESPN College Football Playoffs special to recruit for the future. I think it actually is deeper than we think. I might be over-analyzing it, but what if he feels disrespected after saying “if there’s a better team than ours for #1” after that epic comeback win against Wisconsin? He might feel slighted and his team will reciprocate that feeling and are we gonna see a Buckeye buzzsaw as a result?

The Buckeyes felt disrespected after they were selected for the #4 seed in the inaugural CFB Playoffs, and even though they were down at the half, they came back against the Tide and won it all. I sense that kind of vibe from this years team. Dobbins will be Elliott, Olave is Thomas, Young is Bosa and Harrison is Lee. Think about the similarities and parallels of those two teams. Add in a healthy Justin Fields, with his ability to scramble around and the BIA squad with Okudah, Arnette, and Wade? This team has the weapons on both sides of the ball to win and compete and this might be the year.

Remember, the last time the Buckeyes scored in the playoffs was during the inaugural College Football Playoff run where they won it all. They came back and defeated a good Alabama squad 42-35 and they steamrolled a Mariota led Oregon squad 42-20 to win the first ever CFB Playoffs. 84 was the last points scored and they need to break the streak to gain the respect of the nation and these talking heads that spew nothing but hatred for the Buckeyes.

I might be paranoid, but I have high hopes for this team. I might be too positive, but I expect this team to shine when the light looks like it is fading. The Buckeyes will find a way to win and I will die an idiot or a scholar by the waning moments of the 28th, but for now, no predictions or previews. This is just a fun article for me about how I feel about this team. This team and the 2015 squad have similarities across the board, but for now let’s see how many of you think like me and us here at the Men of the Scarlet and Gray.



OSU WBB String Ting – Episode 2

Charles, Scott and Chris celebrate the win over #2 Louisville and discuss the upcoming west coast affair with #1 Stanford.

Recruiting Targets: Hits & Misses

With the season winding down, we at Men of the Scarlet & Gray have been scrambling to find new and innovative ways to last through the College Football offseason. My colleagues have individually brainstormed and my site content will consist of something that has kept my interest, but it has been exhausting, yet exciting.

Once the season concludes or even sooner, I will be churning out weekly content every Tuesday called Tuesday Targets: Hits & Misses. This would cover recruiting battles that have captured the attention of the nation, that specifically affected Buckeye Nation. I have been paying attention to recruiting for a long time and if you haven’t followed it, you should.

The drama and the suspense can become taxing and it could be pure nirvana–you just don’t know until a decision is made. Doors close and some remain cracked. Some remain open and once the choice has been made, it could shock the nation and rattle some cages in the process. The cult-like feel to recruiting has been a staple and it is the lifeblood of all College Football Programs and we have seen how that could play out.

Let’s start with this years recruiting class and work our way back. The advances and the exposure of recruiting websites is key to a recruits success and with multiple showing at camps and all-star games, it makes the pageantry of college football great and it adds another layer to what catches our intrigue. Here is a small sample of what is on the horizon. Enjoy!

Garrett Wilson. Credit:

Hit: Garrett Wilson, WR

The most obvious hit for the 2019 class is already tearing it up this season. A highly touted recruit out of Texas, Wilson was highly sought after by all teams, especially the home state Texas team that was in need of a playmaker at that position. Wilson has been a stud so far this season, but he has made some mistakes that almost cost the Buckeyes against the Wolverines a week ago, but he was resilient. He finished the game with 3 catches for 118 yards and a highlight score during Justin Fields’ Heisman moment.

So far in 2019, Wilson has 24 catches for 368 yards and 5 TD’s and he is averaging 15.3 yards per catch. He is the playmaker and he has been as good as advertised. The special part about this is he broke out during The Game just like Chris Olave did and if the is any indication of his talent, he will be a beast next year alongside Olave. Factor that, along with the incoming freshmen in Scott, Jaxon-Njigba, Cooper, and Fleming, we can safely say that Coach Hartline’s players will try to outshine Olave and Wilson for next years contest.

Harry Miller with the family. Credit: Lettermen Row.

Hit: Harry Miller, T

Harry Miller is another key cog on the offensive line and he looks the part so far this season. Although Miller plays during mop-up duty, he makes the best of it and he earned the role of backup Center behind Josh Myers. He is a true freshmen with loads of potential and he is also a talented prospect that nearly backed off of his commitment to Ohio State when the news broke out where Coach Meyer would step away from the game upon completion of the 2018 season.

Georgia came calling and he did visit, but his commitment to the program won out in the end. He has played sparingly, but he has to wait it out. Waiting for your time has been a yearly tradition for the Slobs, but like a fine wine, it’ll take time to develop and it will be worth the wait.

Jordan Battle at St. Thomas Aquinas. Credit: Hudl

Miss: Jordan Battle, S

To begin, Jordan Battle was one of the biggest names in the nation and at one point, the Buckeyes had him in the bag. Following a drama-filled season where we saw Urban Meyer get suspended for three games after Brett McMurphy dropped a bombshell leveling allegations against a coach on his staff, Zach Smith. This caused friction between the head coach and his leadership, which ultimately resulted in a Buckeye legend him stepping away which directly affected his 2018 class.

A recruit from a well-known pipeline, St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was a should have been an addition to the 2019 class, but the news of Meyer Calling it quits caused him to look around. He was on flip watch from what I can recall and he eventually flipped and signed with Alabama. He is a small cog in the Tide defense and he has played in 11 games this season and he has logged 26 tackles (16 solo, 10 assisted) with one fumble recovery, one interception and a sack. He is young but a playmaker and that is what the Buckeyes saw and tried to keep, but it happens in recruiting.

Miss: Dax Hill, S

The recruitment of Dax Hill, an Oklahoma native at powerhouse Booker T. Washington High School. The Buckeyes lost the battle to their bitter rival, but besides losing out, they had starters with eligibility remaining in Jordan Fuller and Brendan White. This is not to discredit his skills and the need because it was evident that they needed to bolster the depth behind those two. Dax Hill was a heavy favorite to become a silver bullet, but it was not meant to be. The momentum swung in Michigan’s favor and with the uncertainty at head coach looming over the program, the best possible move was to sign with them in the end.

A playmaker in the back-end of a defense, he was and he would have been perfect in Hafley’s system. He is aggressive, but he is also young and the Buckeyes picked on him last week for a little bit of fun. Love it or hate it, he made the move for himself and we shouldn’t blame him or his family. It would’ve been amazing to have him, but it will also be fun seeing if he can develop into a stud and we will look forward to seeing him every year.

Positional Substitutions: Ronnie Hickman (S) and Bryson Shaw (S); Craig Young (Ath)

With Battle and Hill out of the 2019 Class, the Buckeyes scrounged what they could and they have some potential gems in the process. Hickman and Young are dynamic prospects. Shaw has hit a growth spurt and could blossom into a Pete Werner type of play with his frame. The class still has time to develop, but the future is still bright.

Doug Nester Army All-American Game. Credit: 24/7 Sports

Miss: Doug Nester, OT

Doug Nester, another longtime Buckeye commit was also in the bag and once Urban Meyer announced his retirement, a few commitments began to unravel and they found themselves looking around. Like Battle, ditto for Nester. Urban’s last class had potential and Nester was another staple to the future, but it was not meant to be and he ended up signing with Virginia Tech, which is close to home and not too far away.

Nester has not played this season and a redshirt may be in effect or it will be in his future. He was most likely behind the eight ball or he suffered an injury, but blessings to him and his future as a Hokie.

Positional Substitutions: Ryan Jacoby (T) and Dawand Jones (T); Enokk Vimahi (OG)

Both Jacoby and Jones have potential as big-bodied shields for the Buckeye signal-callers. After losing out on Nester, they stocked up on Slobs. Jacoby is 6-5, 270 and Jones is 6-8, 360. The Buckeyes came in late and snagged Vimahi to fill the class. Vimahi is 6-4.5, 263 and he could be a key cog in the offensive trenches in the future.

Ohio State vs Wisconsin II

Two conference heavyweights will square up one against each other one more time and this game will be another good one to watch. This is another high stakes contest that will garner a lot of attention with so much on the line. Wisconsin’s pride after being shut down in Columbus a few weeks ago against Ohio State’s streak and their dream of winning rings. Not to mention, the Big Ten conference crown being up for grabs too. This contest will be a fun one to watch and the nation will be curious to see if Wisconsin can redeem themselves OR they will tune-in to watch Ohio State roll another opponent into obscurity in another Top 10 battle.

Taylor breaking away from the Wolverine defense.

It is sort of a dream scenario for the Badgers who suffered a loss in Columbus and they got trolled with the “jump around” song right as the game was put away by the home team Buckeyes. A few Badgers had expressed their desire for a rematch and they got their wish. For Ohio State, they will try to beat Wisconsin again, but this time at Indianapolis. The Buckeye fans travel well and this might potentially be another home game with the best fans in the land.

Chase Young with one of his three strip-sacks.

Ohio State versus Wisconsin will be exciting. The last contest was 38-7 and the Buckeyes shut it down early and often. Jonathan Taylor was also shut down and he finished with 20 carries for 52 yards and no touchdowns. Jack Coan was also harassed a lot by Young and company as he was sacked five times and he was strip sacked three separate times. He had 17 attempts and only mustered 108 yards and one score. The defense will also be looking to rebound because they had made a few plays and they did get to Fields quite a bit, but they need to show up to make it interesting.

Justin Fields reading the Badger defense.

For Fields, he had a game and he left after the first half was over. He finished with three scores, two through the air and one on the ground. He had 195 total yards before leaving the game. For Dobbins, he had 20 rushes and he finished with 163 yards and two scores. He also added 3 catches for 58 yards as well. Wisconsin’s mission will be to keep the game close and shut down this dynamic duo in the backfield. With Fields a little banged-up, they will look to pressure him and keep him off his game.

Dobbins celebrating another touchdown through the ground.

Many folks are assuming this game will be closer, but I don’t think Coach Day would settle for a loss at this point of the season. He will have them ready to work for what they’ve been vying for and this is the time to show the nation that they are indeed, for real. It’ll be another close game, but with Wade being cleared, he will help the Buckeyes once again shut down and pressure Coan into mistakes. The defense is getting healthier again and what better opportunity to show out in front of the nation, while everyone watches. Another well-rounded performance and potentially another beatdown would keep the Buckeyes at #1 for the big dance, but barring a blowout of Georgia, we will have to see how it shakes out. The committee has been consistent so far, but we will see what ensues on Saturday evening.

Match-Ups To Watch:

  • Jack Coan versus Justin Fields
  • Jonathan Taylor versus J.K. Dobbins
  • A.J. Taylor and Quintez Cephus versus Jeff Okudah and Shaun Wade
  • Garrett Groshek and Jake Ferguson versus Tuf Borland and Pete Werner
  • Slobs versus Baun and Orr
  • Olave versus Jim Leonhard and his defense
  • Rushmen and Young versus Badger O-Line

Prediction: This is high-stakes drama and the Badgers will start ready and fast. This is Fields’ Heisman dash toward the end of the season and he has Young and Dobbins nipping at his heels as well. A trio of Buckeyes will look to put the finishing touches on an astounding season and what better pretense than earning another conference crown before securing a spot in the big dance? They cannot overlook the Badgers, but it may go in their favor again in what is an audition for the top spot in the playoffs. LSU will have theirs against UGA. Let’s see if the magic can return for another run into history.

Buckeyes defeat the Badgers 48-21


WBB: Buckeyes Shock #2 Louisville at Home in B1G/ACC Challenge 67-60

OSU 67, Louisville 60 Photo courtesy of

Yup, I wrote it yesterday morning, ” The Buckeyes return home after a trip to Vegas and the South Point Invitational, went 1(Northern Iowa W on Saturday) and 1(South Dakota loss on Friday) and have been on a roller coaster early on just due to their youth.”

The Buckeyes(5-3) and the #2 Cardinals(8-1) traded punches early and often and made it clear it was going to be an evenly paced game. Head Coach Kevin McGuff’s game plan early on was the same as against UCONN and it was working. The difference on this night was that shots were falling for the Buckeyes.

The shooting would prove to be the difference as the Cardinals led in every statistical category, especially points off of turnovers. The young Buckeyes have struggled early this season with taking care of the ball. In the third period they played even with their counterparts in the turnover category and made Louisville take some bad shots.

The Buckeyes shot almost 50%(48.8%) overall for the game but they held Louisville to 36.9% for the night and the biggest difference was the turnaround during the second and third periods. The Buckeyes shot well during this stretch and it was enough to win the game. (44.4% to 35.3% and 53.8% to 35.7% respectively). Some clutch shooting at the FT line finished off the Cardinals as the Buckeyes were 19 of 23 for 83%.

Dorka Juhasz continues to be the leader of this team in scoring with 15 points, Frosh Kiersten Bell had 14 points, 6 rebounds and was Miss Clutch from the FT line making her 5 she took. Sophomore Janai Crooms and Frosh Rebeka Mikulasikova chipped in with 11 points a piece.

Post Game interviews via Ohio State Buckeyes official web site.

The Buckeyes stay home for their next contest with Radford from the Big South on Sunday at 2PM.

The next String Ting episode should be a jolly episode!

What If?

Written by Ben van Ooyen

Life is full of what ifs. 

Your personal life is full of them, the sports world is full of them, they are all around you.  

Sometimes the what ifs in your life consume you, or you let them consume you. Other times they fall beyond the wayside.  

This is my first column in over a year. 

The reason behind that is one of my biggest what ifs in my life. Let me explain.

Over a year ago I was writing as a hobby for an Ohio State fan website about recruiting. It was simply something that I had started following closely while I was in high school and then while I was in college at Ohio State. It became a passion of mine to follow closely what the Buckeyes were doing on the recruiting front (signing day was a day off work for me).

I was provided the chance a few years ago to start writing about recruiting for this very website.  I then moved on to another site, and then finally to my final stop in 2017. I was enjoying myself, not earning a penny for writing about a passion of mine. 

A website which is one of the larger sites in the Ohio State network of websites wrote one of their daily pieces that focused on my actions as a member of the 247 Sports Crystal Ball projectors. 

They used all sorts of graphics and timelines showing how I copied other people’s picks and had no insight of my own to make these picks—basically saying that their two writers were making the picks and I was following suit. 

While that allegation is the opposite of truth, their misguided actions aren’t the biggest concern I’d like to address. 

I let the words of another website stop me from doing what I love.

I took what they said about me to heart and told the owner of the website I was writing for that I was going to hang it up.  

I agonized over the decision and convinced myself it wasn’t worth doing if I was going to be called out. 

That leads to my first what if. 

What if I didn’t care what anyone said about me back then?

I believe I would still be writing about Ohio State football for a great website about something I enjoy chronicling and following. 

I basically went from an avid Ohio State recruiting fan to one who stopped paying attention at all. I had been basically bullied into a corner by people I had never met — spreading lies about me that were nowhere near accurate.

When the 2018 season started, I did not have the same interest in paying attention to games, the team, the recruiting or anything to do with the alma mater I cherish. 

The 2019 season brought back some of my interest, but I still do not follow recruiting nearly as closely as I did before. I am not sure how often I will write going forward, but I know that I have gotten some renewed energy back cause of some friends and family who knew how much I enjoyed what I was doing. 

I wish that my what if moment didn’t happen, and if you are reading this, do not let people say or do things to make you give up on your passions. 

It isn’t worth it.

Buckeye What Ifs 

So now that we have gotten that part out of the way – a follower on Twitter asked me the other day, 

“What if Justin Fields wasn’t granted immediate eligibility to play for Ohio State for the 2019 season?”

I figured that would be a good place to start this series of “What Ifs”. 

We knew that before Justin Fields was coming here that we had a quarterback room of Tate Martell and Chris Chugunov after the departure of Dwayne Haskins to the NFL.  Not the ideal quarterbacking situation having an unproven redshirt sophomore along with a graduate transfer from West Virginia with limited playing time being your options going into the season. 

The Buckeyes knew that this was not an ideal situation and when Fields made it known that he was leaving the Georgia program they reached out and eventually landed the former 5-star quarterback recruit.  Once Fields was in the fold, Tate Martell decided that he was not going to see the field and transferred to Miami (where he subsequently did not see the field). 

Where are the 2019 Ohio State Buckeyes today on the eve of the Big Ten Championship game against Wisconsin if the series of events that happened last year didn’t happen?

First off, if Fields does not come to Ohio State, then it would appear that Tate Martell would have been the odds-on favorite to start the season at quarterback for the Buckeyes.

He had a relatively small sample size as a backup to Haskins in 2018 completing 82% of his passes with one touchdown and running for two others.  Fields also had a small sample size playing for Georgia his freshman year, completing 69% of his passes with four touchdowns, and another four on the ground as the backup to Jake Fromm. 

How would the offense have been different under a Martell led team vs what we saw this year with what Fields put up? 

Thankfully, we will never have to know the answer to that question.

The safe answer is to say that things would not have ended up where they are today. While Martell was a gifted quarterback/athlete in high school, leading his Bishop-Gorman team to multiple state championships, his arm was never seen as a game changing. 

Sure, he could make plays with his legs, and make the occasional throw, but would he have been able to take advantage of a Chris Olave or a Binjimen Victor running deep routes down the field?

 I think you would have seen more KJ Hill-type short interior catches.

Now I am not saying that the offense would not have still scored points and moved the ball, because the Ohio State offense of 2019 was a juggernaut that I don’t think any of us reading this have ever seen.

Do we go into Michigan State and win an early-season test against a ranked Mark Dantonio team? 

Do we put Wisconsin into the ground as easily as we did in the eighth game of the season? Do we get by the last two games of the season at home against Penn State and on the road against Michigan with Martell leading the way?

We will never find out the answers to these questions, but if I was a betting man I would say that the Buckeyes would not be sitting on the verge of yet another Big Ten Championship if the quarterback room stayed the same as it did before Justin Fields came aboard. 

The Buckeyes still had a loaded team outside of the quarterback position, but we all know that without a great leader on the field your team will likely struggle.

So no matter if you have J.K. Dobbins running the ball or Chase Young manhandling the opposing offensive line, you still need a solid signal caller who can lead your team. 

Thankfully as Buckeye Nation we didn’t have to see that what if play out. 

We could be sitting in the same spot today, but you and I both know that probably isn’t the case. 

We got a magical year with Justin Fields leading the way for the Buckeyes and there is still much more to come.