Spring Game 2020: Defensive Depth Chart

With the all of the firepower and potential of the offense, the defensive side of the ball is looking to flex their depth and talent as well. With losses of a few key cogs on the defense, the Buckeyes are re-loading once again as they look to not taking a step back in production. Laden with high four stars and many more five stars, the talent in this room is unmistakable. Most have been biding their time and most finally have their shot. Lets take a deep dive into this pretend depth chart for the Silver Bullets.

Defensive End: Zach Harrison, Tyreke Smith, Javonte Jean-Baptiste, Jonathan Cooper, Tyler Friday, Noah Potter, Darrion Henry-Young, Cormontae Hamilton, Jacolbe Cowan, Ty Hamilton and Aaron Young.

Coach Johnson’s room have lost a few key players over the previous few NFL Drafts, but he always finds a way to keep it stocked full of talented players. With the departure of Chase Young, Jonathan Cooper is the unquestioned leader and he has Zach Harrison and Tyreke Smith to make up a trio of experienced players. The talent of the younger players is also an added benefit as they prepare to wreak havoc on opposing defenses in 2020.

Scarlet Team: Jonathan Cooper, Javonte Jean-Baptiste, Cormontae Hamilton, Jacolbe Cowan and Tyler Friday

Gray Team: Tyreke Smith, Zach Harrison, Darrion Henry-Young, Aaron Young and Noah Potter

Reserves: Ty Hamilton (summer enrollee)

Defensive Tackle: Taron Vincent, Antwuan Jackson, Jerron Cage, Tommy Togiai, Jaden McKenzie and Haskell Garrett.

Like at Defensive End, the Defensive Tackles also suffered a few key losses over the years and with both BB Landers and Davon Hamilton’s eligibility being over, the young bucks will continue the great tradition of interrupting the trenches. Experience is there but not to the level that Landers and Hamilton had, but it is a start. Each player on this list has impacted the game in some form–notably Togiai and Garrett have been players that saw time when the game had been put away. They will be counted on, but do not discount Vincent, Jackson and Cage because they’ve also seen some time with Jackson playing SEC football with Auburn before joining the Buckeyes. Jaden McKenzie is the new guy on the block, but with the strength coaches–he is in good hands just as long as he continues to work.

Scarlet Team: Taron Vincent, Haskell Garrett and Antwuan Jackson

Gray Team: Tommy Togiai, Jerron Cage and Jaden McKenzie

Reserves: N/A

Linebacker: Teradja Mitchell, Baron Browning, Dallas Gant, Pete Werner, Tuf Borland, K’Vaughan Pope, Craig Young, Tommy Eichenberg, Justin Hilliard, Ben Schmiesing, Cade Kacherski, Mitchell Melton and Cody Simon.

Linebacker was one of the few positions where they lost a key cog. Out of all the potential players to depart, only Malik Harrison left after his eligibility ran out. It could’ve been more with Werner, Borland, Browning and Hilliard all coming back into the fold. Like all other position groups, this room is filled with star power and talent that have all been waiting on their chance to shine. This room returns starters and they will attempt to dominate as usual. It is another season of waiting for a few, but you better believe during mop-up duty they’ll get their shot.

Scarlet Team: Tuf Borland, Teradja Mitchell, Dallas Gant and Craig Young

Gray Team: Baron Browning, Pete Werner, K’Vaughan Pope, Tommy Eichenberg and Justin Hilliard

Reserves: Ben Schmiesing, Cade Kacherski, Mitchell Melton (summer enrollee) and Cody Simon (summer enrollee)

Cornerback: Lejond Cavazos, Sevyn Banks, Tyreke Johnson, Ryan Watts, Marcus Williamson, Shaun Wade, Cameron Brown, Lloyd McFarquhar and Darryl Sinclair.

Cornerback saw the biggest loss in talent with Arnette and Okudah leaving for the NFL. At one time, they could’ve had Wade on that list too, but he returned after leaving the Fiesta Bowl on that ejection and wanting a shot at redemption. He comes back and the only two experienced players in Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint are currently facing legal issues. The other players who they will lean on are Banks, Brown, Johnson and Williamson and a pair of highly touted 2020 early enrollees Cavazos and Watts are all vying for playing time to help the Buckeyes for the season.

Scarlet Team: Shaun Wade, Marcus Williamson, Ryan Watts and Lloyd McFarquhar

Gray Team: Sevyn Banks, Cameron Brown, Lejond Cavazos, Tyreke Johnson and Darryl Sinclair

Reserves: N/A

Safety: Josh Proctor, Bryson Shaw, Marcus Hooker, Ronnie Hickman, Kourt Williams, Kevin Dever, Ryan Batsch and Lathan Ransom.

At safety, Jordan Fuller had quite a career but he moved onto the the pros. There isn’t much experience at the position but Proctor got everyones attention after laying the wood on the Jack Coan in the Big Ten Championship Game as the time dwindled down. He is the frontrunner for the robber position, but the talent behind him is unquestioned. He leads a young room that could blossom into something special.

Scarlet Team: Josh Proctor, Bryson Shaw and Kevin Dever

Gray Team: Marcus Hooker, Kourt Williams, Ronnie Hickman and Ryan Batsch

Reserves: Lathan Ransom (summer enrollee)

And there you have it! The defense is the hardest to predict with the amount of losses, but the talent is undeniable. The talent is there to take the Buckeyes back to the big dance, but it is all work from here. The Buckeyes are now two weeks away from the Spring Game as the anticipation steadily builds for the players and the fans.

#GoBucks

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: Second Round

Credit: Naperville-lib.org

In the second round of the West Region, eight teams remain standing. With a couple of upsets and hard-fought battles along the way the tournament gets a little more hectic as the games come underway. So far, the top three seeds remain in the fight to advance in the region and the rest of the field consists of lower rated seeds with a couple of cinderella teams still in the tourney. Can they continue their run to the big dance?

The first matchup pits top-seeded Gonzaga against LSU. Petrusev, Kispert and Tillie goes up against Mays, Watford and Williams in a battle from the get-go. A back-and-fourth game in the first half turned into a more efficient game down the stretch for Bulldogs in the second. In a defense-to-points stretch in the final 4 minutes of the half, Gonzaga puts it away for good with a pair of free-throws, a steal and a layup in the waning minutes to seal it as they advanced 74-70.

In the battle of the cinderella’s, Yale and New Mexico State face-off to continue their dream runs. Yale and Atkinson came ready to play while New Mexico State came out flat and uninspired after their huge win over #4 Oregon. Queen tried to spark a comeback to no avail as the game got out of hand early as Yale closed the game out on a 16-0 run. Yale advances 68-52.

The third matchup has BYU against Seton Hall. Seton Hall took control early with a 10-0 run and the momentum carried into halftime as they led 45-33. A halftime speech for the ages ensued and BYU came out on fire bombing three after three until the waning minutes of the contest as they overcame the halftime deficit and defeated Seton Hall for the only upset of the second round. BYU wins 69-66.

In the last game of the region, Texas Tech faces off against San Diego State as this game became an instant classic. Malachi Flynn and Jahmi’us Ramsey duel until the bitter end. Back-and-fourth, both teams make key defensive stops for the duration of the game. Flynn makes a key play as he ripped the ball from Ramsey and too in all the way to the rack. Ramsey responded with a clutch three to take the lead 54-57. Flynn, not to be outdone hit a three in response to tie the game at 57 each. In the waning seconds Ramsey calls his shot and takes it down to .3 seconds left to try to win it, but it clanks off the rim. Overtime ball! Flynn took control despite Ramsey’s late game heroics. A steal from Ramsey and a clutch basket tied the game once again at 66 each, but Flynn responded by taking the clock down to nothing and setting up a pick-and-pop play where he fed Wetzell in the paint for a game-winning layup. San Diego State advances 68-66 in a thriller.

And there you have it! Round two in the books with a pair of memorable games coupled with a couple of duds. The cinderella of the west, Yale continues their run into history, but they will be tested more throughout. The next round on its way and we have some great matches ahead of us. Gonzaga versus Yale and BYU Versus San Diego State. Someones run has to end, but until next week folks!

Spring Game 2020: Offense Depth Chart

The Horseshoe Wide Shot. Credit: News.osu.edu

Since we here at The Men of the Scarlet and Gray have plunged off the deep end with our Pretend March Madness series, I have succumbed and jumped on the hype train. I have this idea in mind that would do two things: fill the void with Buckeye content and to distract us from the on-going chaos around us. This mini-series not only fills the void in my heart, but it keeps me occupied as well so enjoy!

Quarterbacks: Justin Fields, C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller III, Gunnar Hoak, Danny Vanatsky, J.P. Andrade and Jagger LaRoe.

With Justin Fields returning, he will be the unquestioned starter coming into the spring game. Fields’ spot is his to keep, but the depth behind him was a huge question up until reinforcements from the 2020 recruiting class entered the fray to bring some competition to the room. Chugunov left and Hoak had some in-game experience, but he is not ready to contribute just yet. The Buckeye starter job is set, but the back-up battle has just heated up.

Scarlet Team: Justin Fields and Jack Miller III

Gray Team: Gunnar Hoak and C.J. Stroud

Reserves: Danny Vanatsky, J.P. Andrade and Jagger LaRoe

Running Backs: Master Teague III, Trey Sermon, Demario McCall, Steele Chambers, Marcus Crowley, Miyan Williams, Xavier Johnson, Mitch Rossi and Robert Cope.

The tradition at the Buckeyes Cadillac position has been great over the years and with J.K. Dobbins departing for the NFL early, the legacy gets passed onto another back ready to prove his worth. Enter Master Teague III. Coming into the offseason, the starting nod was all but his, but the injury bug bit and an injured achilles later–he is shelved for a little while. Marcus Crowley is still shelved too and the depth was lacking, leaving a single scholarship player at a key position for the Buckeyes in Steele Chambers. True Freshman Miyan Williams won’t be on the roster until the summer and news broke today from Birm that former Sooner and former Buckeye target Trey Sermon has chosen the Buckeyes. I have plugged him into the spring game for funsies.

Scarlet Team: Steele Chambers, Demario McCall and Mitch Rossi

Gray Team: Trey Sermon (Grad transfer), Xavier Johnson and Robert Cope

Reserves: Master Teague (injury), Marcus Crowley (injury), Miyan Williams (summer enrollee)

Wide Receivers: Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Julian Fleming, Jameson Williams, Kamryn Babb, Mookie Cooper, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Gee Scott Jr, Jaylen Harris, Jaelen Gill, C.J. Saunders, Elijah Gardiner, Sam Wiglusz, Austin Kutscher and Chris Booker.

In a crowded, talent-stocked room the Buckeyes reloaded at the position once again. With the departure of a trio of leaders in Austin Mack, K.J. Hill and Binjimen Victor, the need for leaders is needed to continue the tradition. Enter Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. Two younger players that have been key parts of a lethal downfield attack are back to wreak havoc once again. The legendary 2020 haul featuring Julian Fleming, Gee Scott Jr, Mookie Cooper and Jaxon Smith-Njigba did nothing but boost the profile of Brian Hartline and increased his stockpile of weapons to unleash for years to come. C.J. Saunders is still awaiting an answer eligibility, but he is another one of the leaders on the team until we get a final answer on him.

Scarlet Team: Chris Olave, Julian Fleming, Kamryn Babb, Jaylen Harris, C.J. Saunders, Jaxon Smith-Njigba (H-Back),

Gray Team: Garrett Wilson, Gee Scott Jr, Jameson Williams, Mookie Cooper, Elijah Gardiner, Jaelen Gill (H-Back),

Reserves: Sam Wiglusz, Austin Kutscher and Chris Booker.

Tight Ends: Luke Farrell, Jeremy Ruckert, Jake Hausmann, Cade Stover, Corey Rau and Joe Royer.

Tight Ends saw an uptick of usage in the Buckeyes offense last season and they will look to build on that momentum. Luke Farrell, Jeremy Ruckert and Jake Hausmann all return and a former defensive standout in Cade Stover joined the fold along with Corey Rau, a grad transfer from SMU joined the team. The depth is fairly stocked, but thin due to all three players being upperclassmen after this season. The Buckeyes are looking to secure two additional players in the 2021 class and they have Sam Hart as the only player at the position. They are still searching for a partner to join him, but that is looking too far ahead.

Scarlet Team: Jeremy Ruckert, Jake Hausmann and Corey Rau

Gray Team: Luke Farrell and Cade Stover

Reserves: Joe Royer (summer enrollee)

Offensive Line: Nicholas Petit-Frere, Nathan Brock, Wyatt Davis, Matthew Jones, Luke Wypler, Zach Stevenson, Ryan Smith, Gavin Cupp, Chris Kuhn, Jack Jamieson, Enokk Vimahi, Ryan Jacoby, Max Wray, Trey LeRoux, Thayer Munford, Harry Miller, Paris Johnson Jr, Dawand Jones, Josh Myers, Grant Toutant, Josh Fryar and Jakob James.

The offensive line is still in great shape following the departures of LG Jonah Jackson and RT Branden Bowen. They managed to retain LT Thayer Munford, C Josh Myers and RG Wyatt Davis in another deep position group for the Buckeyes. Stocked full of ballers the one guarantee is that the best players aside from the aforementioned three will get the nod. This could be another ultra-competitive group and it’ll be another great battle.

Scarlet Team: Thayer Munford, Gavin Cupp, Josh Myers, Ryan Jacoby, Paris Johnson Jr; Luke Wypler, Max Wray, Nathan Brock and Jack Jamieson.

Gray Team: Dawand Jones, Enokk Vimahi, Harry Miller, Wyatt Davis, Nicholas Petit-Frere; Trey LeRoux, Matt Jones, Zach Stevenson and Chris Kuhn

Reserves: Grant Toutant (summer enrollee), Josh Fryar (summer enrollee) and Jakob James (summer enrollee)

With the offense set-up for both the Scarlet and the Gray teams, the contest inches closer as we remain three weeks away until game day! The collection of talent at just about every offensive position accompanied by projected gains in the summer make this game more exciting. I hope you enjoyed my little piece of happiness and next week we will bring you the Defensive depth chart. Following that Special Teams and then the game. Thank you to all who have stuck with us and Go Bucks!

MOSTAG Pretend March Madness: West Region

Credit: Channelguidemag.com

In the first game, the top-seeded Gonzaga will take on #16 Prairie View after a successful play-in game against NC Central. Filip Petrusev led his team to a convincing victory against an outmatched Panthers team. Devonte Patterson led the team but fell well short of their goal to advance as the Panthers are the first to exit the tourney with a final score of 67-54.

In the second matchup #8 LSU and #9 Oklahoma clash against one another. Skylar Mays orchestrates the offense and keeps the game interesting as both teams go back and fourth throughout the game. Kristian Doolittle is also doing his part for the Sooners as they chip away at Mays double-digit lead, but they fell short on a last second half-court heave for the win. The Tigers advance 69-67 in a thriller.

The third game of the tourney pitted The #5 Michigan Wolverines against Ivy League representatives #12 Yale. Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske make their presence known and immediately overpower the Yale Bulldogs in the early portions of the contest. At the half, the Bulldogs are down 31-48 and a scorching half-time speech put their minds at ease and the trio of Paul Atkinson, Eric Monroe and Jordan Bruner began to work and chip away at Michigan’s halftime lead. With a team effort, they forced turnovers and played hard defense as Simpson’s brilliance turned into a frenzy of bad shots and turnovers. The lead dwindled the Wolverines found themselves on the bad end of a game-winner from three–the first for the tournament. Atkinson’s three with .2 seconds left sealed the first upset of the West bracket as Yale advances, 77-75.

Next, #4 Oregon faces #13 New Mexico State. Payton Pritchard versus Trevelin Queen. Both teams game out flat, especially Oregon as they felt as if this was not going to be a competitive contest. Queen executes and makes timely play after timely play as the Aggies go into halftime tied at 45. Pritchard goes into the second half and is lights out, but at every step of the game, Queen responded time after time up until the clock hits zeroes. Queen puts the game out of reach with two clutch free-throws to seal the game 71-69.

#6 BYU and #11 Indiana start the next round. Jake Toolson and Trayce Jackson-Davis lead a high-paced attack on offense. Fireworks begin to happen and the game steadily increases the drama on the court with both teams fighting to advance. Jackson-Davis did all he could do as the Cougars built an insurmountable lead with a combination of effective defense and with deadly shooting. BYU advances 70-59 in the first blowout of the tourney in the West Region.

#3 Seton Hall goes up against #14 Eastern Washington. Myles Powell and his team were too much for the Jacob Davidson’s squad. An offensive onslaught accompanied by tough defensive possessions were like a lightning rod of momentum for the Pirates. Seton Hall led from start to finish, in what was a mostly one-sided game. Seton Hall looks like a team that could pull off a deep tourney run en route to a dominant 81-60 victory against Eastern Washington.

#7 Arizona slept walked into the game against #10 Texas Tech and it cost them a chance to advance. Jami’us Ramsey came out motivated and ready to make some noise. Zeke Nnaji tried everything in his power to motivate his teammates, but to no avail. Ramsey came up big time after time, and his play throughout the game snuffed out any chance at leading in the game. Red Raiders advance 60-52.

Lastly, #2 San Diego State and #15 UC Irvine clash for the last game of the first round and it was closer than most people expected. Malachi Flynn and Yanni Wetzel got more than they bargained for as they faced a scrappy Anteater team led by Collin Welp and Brad Greene. Shellshocked, Flynn and Wetzel fire up the team at halftime despite a six-point lead. This translated to a back and fourth second half with San Diego State surviving on a clutch basket from Flynn and a pair of Wetzel free-throws to seal the game 72-68.

Scarlet Seven: Kyle McCord by Zack Downing

Kyle McCord Commitment Pinned Tweet.

Its about that time where we writers struggle to find the proper material to fill the massive void in our lives, but look no further! Today, we will be unveiling something different or familiar (if you’ve seen the previous two articles similar to this) that adds more flare to the Men of the Scarlet and Gray–Q & A sessions!

For our first in hopefully many interviews with Buckeyes commitments and targets, we somehow got a shot with current Buckeye 2021 QB commit Kyle McCord out of St. Joes Prep School in Philadelphia. By sheer luck or the humbleness of this kid, we reached out and got a shot to start with a bang.

Below is the excerpt of the back and fourth between one of our own Zack Downing (Disclaimer: These are mostly direct quotes from the interviewee that have slight edits to them):

ZD: How do you feel about the competition with the other QB’s for next season? What are you looking forward to with that?

KM: I think it’ll be a great opportunity to compete with the other guys and it’ll definitely make me better.

ZD: Who are some names of the recruits you are personally recruiting to join the class of 2021?

KM: Right now guys I’m going after: Evan Pryor, Donovan Edwards, Emeka Egbuka, Troy Stellato and JC Latham.

ZD: What are some of your top Quarterback qualities?

KM: I’d say my top 3 would be leadership, poise and accuracy.

ZD: What do you hope to accomplish as a freshman at Ohio State?

KM: I want to fulfill whatever role the team needs me to play. I’m going to go in and put my head down and compete everyday.

ZD: Who is the toughest defender you have faced in school?

KM: Going against Jeremiah Trotter Jr everyday in practice. He’s one of the best players in the nation.

ZD: How excited were you to find out that Marvin Harrison Jr wanted to join you at OSU?

KM: Marvin and I have been wanting to play in college together before Ohio State had even offered us. So, to be able to know that we are going to play together at the next level, and especially at a school like Ohio State, it’s a pretty cool feeling.

ZD: Lastly, what is some of your interests outside of football?

KM: Outside of football and working out, I really just like to chill out with family. My favorite thing to do with my down time would either be playing basketball or watching documentaries.

Although I didn’t conduct the interview, I can read people easily and know their personality. Kyle McCord, who is likely to be the only signal-caller in the 2021 class is another great addition to the QB room for Coach Day and Coach Dennis to mold and develop. Words are cheap, but McCord will form these words into action and he will shine in any role he is assigned.

Buckeye Nation and all of us at MOTSAG are happy to have such a humble and driven player in the fold. Good luck to you and we cannot wait to have you in the fold, when you make your commitment official!

#GoBucks

Ryan Day extension was a matter of when, not if by Zack Downing

Ryan Day had a better season than I think most fans thought imaginable so it was no surprise that Ohio State officially extended Day through the 2026 season. Day was only making 4.5 million a season on his original contract and after an amazing season that resulted in Ohio States first playoff birth since 2016 and an undefeated regular season most fans assumed if was only a matter of time until the extension was official.

This new contract shows the faith that the Ohio State administration has in Day that he can continue to lead the Buckeyes forward positively on and off the field. It’s also shows that perhaps former HC Urban Meyer knew what he was doing when he suggested Coach Day to be the next head coach of the team.

Not only has Day made huge strides on the field but off the field in the world of recruiting things couldn’t be going better. Ohio State finished with a top 5 class in the nation in 2020. Also 2021 is starting off amazing as Ohio State currently holds the #1 spot in the nation though it’s still a few months until that will be finalized but the future is bright.

Lastly this extension will definitely help to ease the mind of recruits/fans that Day is looking to take the next step to the NFL. I do believe Day would love to coach in the NFL but I also believe he is very happy to be the HC of The Ohio State University for as long as Buckeye Nation wants him.

Buckeye Draft Profiles: Chase Young

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jp Waldron/CSM/Shutterstock

Chase Young, a stud at defensive end has left it all on the field during his time at Ohio State. He has been a force his entire career as a Buckeye, but the 2019 season was a great send off season for him before stepping foot into the pro ranks. Young and his team finished the season with a 13-1 record, but he did a ton of damage to opposing teams and their offensive aspirations. In an era where stats are recorded and scrutinized, Young’s individual stats are impressive. He finished 2019 with 16.5 total sacks (14 solo/5 assisted sacks), averaging 1.38 sacks per game which led the nation. He also led the nation in forced fumbles with 6 for the year. With tackles for loss, he had 21 for the season and averaged 1.8 per game.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Most draft experts are pegging him as a can’t miss prospect and the former Buckeye is projected as a Top-2 pick for this years NFL Draft. According to Sascha Paruk from SportsBettingDime, “there is no debate about who the first Buckeye off the board will be at the 2020 draft.” Adding, “Chase Young is the consensus best prospect in the class and will only fall from #1 because the Bengals have the #1 pick and need a franchise QB like Joe Burrow.” Paruk also speculated that “IF Chase Young doesn’t go second overall, it will be because Washington trades its pick to another QB-needy team, like the Dolphins or the Chargers.”

Mike Mulholland | MLive.com

For now, Chase Young is mocked to the Washington Redskins but with talks about potential trade down chatter, would make the 2020 NFL Draft more interesting. It makes sense from a re-building standpoint to stockpile picks to accelerate the entire process. The Redskins had a tough time this year finishing 3-13, but they have a few pieces in stock. Former Buckeyes, Dwayne Haskins might be their QB of the future and Terry McLaurin appear to be solid building blocks of the future. Their defense needs some help and Young makes sense, but Okudah does too with an aging Josh Norman. We will never know until Commissioner Goodell unveils the pick to make things official. The ball is in their court and the choice to make the pick or trade down is theirs alone. This draft will definitely be interesting and an exciting one.

Recruiting Targets: Hits & Misses

In another long-awaited installment of the hits & misses content, I will be looking at the 2017 class which features a bunch of familiar names. This was the year where eventual stars would join the fold and what better time to do it than right now?

DeMatha High School’s own Chase Young. Credit: 24/7sports.com

Hit: Chase Young, WDE

When I spoke of a legendary class in terms of talent, the 2017 class was the tipping point when building depth and collecting talent. Defensive Ends were plentiful and most players at Ohio State had to wait their turn, but Young, the Buckeyes own predator took the same route the Bosa’s took to their rise to stardom. The slight wait was worth it and while he turned into the guy, the impact he made was by his talents along, but we have seen this before with lesser known or less heralded recruits.

Chase Young has declared for the NFL Draft this year and he is locked in to be a potential top-3 pick. He also might join two familiar faces in Haskins and McLaurin, but we will see how the draft process unfolds. It is unpredictable, but it has been worth seeing the development and the talent turn into stars and make an impact like Young.

Jeffrey Okudah in high school. Credit: Dallasnews.com

Hit: Jeffrey Okudah, CB

Like Young, Okudah also was highly recruited and he excelled after some time in the system. He was recruited and he sat and learned behind the likes of Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward, but the wait has been worth it as well. He essentially played it out and played himself into being a top-10 pick in this years draft. He was the shutdown corner that everyone avoided during games. He was one of three cornerbacks taken in the class, with Sheffield blossoming into a good player in the NFL and with Wade turning down the NFL for another shot at redemption.

Okudah has been preparing himself for years and he has maximized his talents. He left an everlasting impression and he should have passed-on some pointers to Wade and the younger BIA stablemates. His legacy has been fulfilled, even though it has left a year early.

Dobbins carrying the ball. Credit: Hudl.com

Hit: J.K. Dobbins, RB

And the hits keep coming, with J-K-All-Day being the third member of a stellar class to blossom into a full-fledged star in the Buckeyes offensive attack. In 2018, he shared the ball carrier duties with Mike Weber. He had over 1,000 yards that season, but he thought it was a failure. Fast forward to this past season, he reached his potential en route to breaking records and cementing himself and his legacy in Columbus. The added time and conditioning have been wonders and he surely plunged himself into uncharted territory being a top 3 running back.

Cass Tech’s own Donovan Peoples-Jones. Credit: Bleacherreport.com

Miss: Donovan Peoples-Jones

Now, let us get a couple of misses in the article, and this one comes from our most bitter rival, Michigan and a one-time Buckeyes lean, Donovan Peoples-Jones. The pipe line at Cass Tech was flourishing, but I have no clue what went wrong in his recruitment. It also was a miss, but the team has been stacking talent over the past two seasons and well into the 2021 season. Sure, he is a star returner and he was needed in an unproven class that has two 6-5 players in Jaylen Harris, Elijah Gardiner and a 6-3 playmaker in Trevon Grimes.

DPJ is now leaving for the NFL and he left 0-3 against the Buckeyes and he never really made an impact during The Game. He is a valuable player, but the older, more-experienced players have held the team together for the time being.

The Replacements: Fast forward to now, the two big-bodied players have yet to reach their potential and Grimes is returning to Florida for one last ride. There are a lot of factors to consider, injuries, lack of experience or playing time, but it takes time to build yourself. Prime example, Johnnie Dixon. Injuries have plagued him his first three years, but the last two were memorable and productive. You cannot close the books on them but Grimes is no longer on the team and the other two could still make some noise.

The last NSD I watched with a hilarious twist with Darnay Holmes’ UCLA decision. Credit: Larrybrownsports.com

Miss: Darnay Holmes, CB

Last miss would be the youtube sensation “decision” from cornerback Darnay Holmes. He spurned the Buckeyes to go to UCLA and his little buddy was not happy to say the least. I know it is based on their decision in the end, but this is funny and it is needed during recruiting. Separating myself from that has helped and I don’t think it is that serious anymore. This one really grinded my gears, but now its all water under the bridge. Now he has announced his intent to pursue his NFL dreams, but with the transfer portal, rumors have been flying about him coming to Ohio State to sharpen his skills. I doubt that’ll happen, but I have seen weird things happen since following anything College Football.

Replacements: To call Sheffield, Okudah and Wade the replacements is foul, but with Holmes slipping away, they stepped up big-time. I would not change anything with this class, and I am happy that we still have Wade for one more season. If Holmes does come full circle, cool, but if not, it’s fine. You cannot predict things, but things have turned out pretty well so we can’t complain.

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: Collegefootballnews.com

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: Rubbingtherock.com

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: Jsonline.com

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: Saturdaytradition.com

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

Prediction:

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

#GoBucks