#MOTSAGRising #NewBlood Buckeyes Set For A Silent Night in Beaver Stadium by Mike Scharf

Penn State’s traditional prime time, “Whiteout” game against Ohio State is the most exciting game of the year and has an atmosphere like no other. Although, the 7:00 primetime game will NOT have that same electric feeling due to fans not being in attendance as a limited number of family members of players, coaches, along with the staff are the only ones permitted in the stadium. 

This includes no gathering around the stadium. The Big Ten announced fan attendance and tailgating is prohibited this year because the health and safety concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19.

That being said, the primetime game will have an uncanny feeling of not seeing 110,000 in white screaming for all 3 hours and 24 minutes giving the Buckeyes an advantage come game time. 

There’s no denying that Coach Franklin’s team uses their Whiteout game to bring them liveliness. No better example of this as last season Michigan was forced to call a timeout on the first play of the game due to the noise created by the fans in the stadium. When the Big Ten announced there was no season former Buckeye quarterback Kirk Herbstreit voiced his disappoint (on ESPN) with regards to a Penn State whiteout against the Buckeyes not taking place saying: “I always tell people that have never been to Penn State, or they ask ‘What’s your favorite venue to watch a game? You go to Penn State at night when it’s a White Out, it’s as good as a scene there is,” Herbstreit said. “When Ohio State comes in there it seems to be amped even a few more notches.”

Ohio State will take full advantage of the atmosphere this Saturday as play-calling will come much more relaxed in the sense of thousands not being there making noise. The Whiteout would have been many of the Buckeyes first, notably big-name players on the offense: Justin Fields, Master Teague, Trey Sermon, Garrett Wilson, Josh Myers, Jameson Williams, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Julian Fleming. True Freshman Julian Fleming, a Pennsylvania native also has some added incentive since earlier this week speaking about his home state team and how his recruitment went down. Looks for Fleming to do as much damage as he can against a Nittany Lion team that desperately wanted him on their team a year ago.

#MOTSAGRising: Studs and Duds

1-0! Yes, there are still games going on, but the Buckeyes are done for the day and we here at The Men of the Scarlet and Gray need something to accompany Mike’s post game review. His analysis was spot on and I have a few tidbits to add to it! Here we go!

  1. STUD: Justin Fields was efficient and poised for the entirety of the game amid getting off to a slow start and being sacked four times. Fields finished the game with 2 passing touchdowns after slinging it 21 times, with a single incomplete pass. He rushed 15 times for 54 yards and a score as well. Coach Day would need to prevent that many rushing attempts, but the line collapsed and his receivers were covered tightly during those plays–so lets see if they will improve against Penn State. For now lets enjoy the win!
  2. STUDS: Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba were balling out today! The duo of Wilson and Olave were a given, but toe-tapping action Jaxon stole the show! We all heard the hype about the inbound group of elite receivers, but wow is all we can say. For contrast, this catch and debut reminds me of Olave’s explosive debut against TTUN, but with less usage and just a splendid catch that made an impact. The future of Zone 6 is definitely bright, but the dangerous duo of Wilson and Olave grabbing 13 catches for 233 yards and a score will a staple of this years offensive attack.
  3. DUDS: A combination of the Slobs, Sermon and Teague started off too slow, landing them on the dud-side of things. Not by a lack of effort or talent, but they did not fare too well and it limited the offense as a whole during the first half. Let me explain before I get blown up–the offensive line got beat up early and often before turning it around in the second half. While it is true that their line is elite, they are still bringing along two new starters at Left Guard and Right Tackle and they look like they need additional time to gel. The thunder and lightning combination of Sermon and Teague need to be better too as they looked hesitant to hit the holes aggressively when they had them. Sermon looked good late while Teague had little to no wiggle and looks to hulk-smash defenders with his style of play. I have faith that they’ll get better, but this is just a minor setback for a major comeback.
  4. DUDS: Linebacker tackling, D-Line pass rushers, and tackling. Linebacker has always been a problem for the Buckeyes, but this week featured the trio of Borland, Browning, and Werner leaving tight ends open in the seams and the flats–and it is infuriating as always. The tackling could be better, but they did enough to stop the bleeding during the second half. The D-Line needs to provide consistent pressure and they need to do better with containing and stopping the quarterback runs. For the defense as a whole–they need tackle better, but again–they shut them down late. Overall great showing and promise. They need to fine tune things a bit, but the promised return of the vaunted Silver Bullets is achievable this early in the season and we are just a game into this short season.
  5. STUD: Haskell Garrett’s return. Garrett attempt to stop a fight this offseason resulted in him getting shot in the face and it seems like he has recovered. Garrett finished game one with a sack and a forced fumble that led to a Banks touchdown–which ultimately shifted the momentum toward Ohio State and halted the Nebraska offensive attack. Hopefully his stellar performance in week one will pave it forward because the confidence is there, but they need more people to step up in the absence of a dominant pass rusher like Joey and Nick Bosa and Chase Young. They have the pieces but they need to step up against Penn State.

#GoBucks

#MOTSAGRising #NewBlood Amid Slow Start, Buckeyes Roll, and Impress Late by Mike Scharf

No. 5 Ohio State officially started their quest in its pursuit of another second-straight College Football playoff run, pulling away with a 52-17 win against Nebraska. Although the Buckeyes led after every quarter, they only led 24-14 at halftime, but ended taking control of the game, dominating the second half out scoring Nebraska 28-3.

As the fifth-ranked Buckeyes opened their season against Nebraska things were looking interesting early. As noted, the ability to run the ball with dual-threat quarterbacks Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey was going to be a key factor heading into the game and the duo showed up poised and confident. Nebraka took advantage of an Ohio State defense that lost seven starters to the NFL draft and marched 75 yards in four plays for a game-opening touchdown drive, a drive that took less than 2 minutes. As Nebraka stuck with the ground game, the Buckeyes defense tightened up over the course of the game, allowing one touchdown and causing a couple of second-half fumbles.

The Justin Fields Heisman campaign is officially underway and it didn’t disappoint. The Junior quarterback had a flawless 2020 debut. Fields completed 20-of-21 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns along with 54 yards on the ground and one touchdown. Along with Fields his wide receiver core did not let down. Garrett Wilson (seven catches, 129 yards, and one touchdown), Chris Olave (six catches, 104 yards), and notably an incredible highlight toe-tapping touchdown catch by freshman Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the back of the endzone in the fourth quarter. 

Going forward, the Buckeye coaches have stressed enough not relying on Fields in the running game. Fields was two yards shy of being the team’s leader in today’s game with 54 yards on 15 attempts. Though Nebraska defense came to play and looked very much improved from a year ago. The effort to replace JK Dobbins’ was on full display as three running backs saw quality time on different drives. The trio of Master Teague, Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon and redshirt freshman Steele Chambers combined for 128 yards on 27 carries.

Next weekend is possibly the Buckeyes biggest test of the season as they travel to Happy Valley. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions will clash in a 7:30 primetime game on ABC.

The Clash of Allies: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs #5 Ohio State Buckeyes by Mike Scharf

After the Big Ten cancelled the 2020 football season in August, and then reversed that decision last month, Ohio State’s pursuit for another CFB Playoff trip starts this week as Nebraska comes into Columbus to take on the Buckeyes. 

The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers are meeting for the seventh time since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011. The Buckeyes have won seven of eight matchups including five straight. This Buckeye team is starting their season in October for the first time since 1939.

The Big Ten was the first power 5 conference to cancel its fall schedule, only for the decision to be backpedaled due to constant strategies within the conference along with an eight week schedule that features eight games with no off dates. The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers both voiced their opinions strongly on the desire to play so it’s only right these two face off in Ohio stadium this weekend.

Ohio State fell just short of a visit to the national championship game last season losing to Clemson 29-23 in the CFB semifinal, but this Buckeye squad led by Head Coach Ryan Day reloaded for another run at it this season. Day returns a Heisman Trophy Finalist at quarterback in Justin Fields, one of the best offensive lines in the country, along one of the most talented wide receiver groups in recent years, and a stout defense.

The Buckeyes will also have some new faces displaying their ability this weekend with Oklahoma transfer running back Trey Sermon and a talented freshman recruiting class led by the receiving core of Julian Fleming, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Gee Scott.

Like Day, Nebraska coach Scott Frost also re-establishes some key members for his squad. Notably starting quarterback Adrian Martinez along with a returning offensive line. Martinez was in a fight for the starting job as redshirt freshman Luke McCaffrey, who offers a unique, similar skill set as a dual-threat quarterback for the Cornhuskers. So the Buckeyes defense needs to have their focus on both quarterbacks come game time as both could see snaps. The offensive front for the Cornhuskers is experienced as they get returning all five starters from last year including three seniors in tackle Brenden Jaimes, and guards Boe Wilson, Matt Farnoik. 

There’s no denying the notable talent gap between the two programs as the Buckeyes have won its last five games against the Cornhuskers in dominating fashion and is 7-1 all-time including a 48-7 matchup in Lincoln last year. Many are expecting Ohio State’s high-powered offense to blow the doors off Nebraska. Although it shouldn’t be eye opening if Nebraska makes some plays on the offensive side of the ball as Ohio State’s defense is playing its first game without seven starters who were all drafted into the NFL including two of the top three picks in Chase Young, and Jeff Okudah.

SCORE PREDICTION: 52-20

#MOTSAGRising Depth Chart Preview: The Specialists

For the last position group available, I will tackle the vaunted specialist group that is leaned upon during crunch time. Whether it is to flip the field position or to score field goals, either group can be crucial to the team’s overall success against opposing teams. Not only are they viable weapons in the kicking game, the Long Snapper position and the returners are also a part of this group.

First the kicker, Blake Haubeil is the leading leg that is on his fifth year with the program. He is as experienced as any, but there could be some room for improvement. He was nearly automatic making 23 of 28 field goals for a respectable 81%. He also has made all of his extra point attempts, making 122 total through two seasons. Total points so far? 258 is the current number, but that could grow into a larger one after this season due to the sheer explosiveness of this years offense.

The bottle flipping champion of the world Drue Chrisman will re-engage the team as their starting punter. Like he flips his bottles, he will flip the field with his leg to trap teams inside of their 10-yard line or deeper during games. A weapon like this is useful for a defensive-minded team like Ohio State that forces teams to take the entirety of the field to possibly score. The field position battle will be important and this aspect is in capable hands to turn the tide in tight games.

The back-ups for both of the previous positions would be Dominic DiMaccio and Jake Seibert at the #2 and #3 positions respectively. DiMaccio, a walk-on at Missouri is doing the same for this years team. He will compete with Siebert, a signee from the 2020 class for the top spot after Haubeil departs for the NFL. Either way, the talent is definitely there for the not-so-distant future.

The same could be said for the punter position. Behind Chrisman there Zach Hoover and a class of 2021 commit, Jesse Mirco from Australia. Same situation from the kicker position, the punters have good competition behind Chrisman and they too will duke it out the following off-season for the starting gig.

For the long snapper position, Roen McCullough continues the family tradition of long snappers. His brother Liam was the 2019 seasons long snapper and he will look to continue in the Scarlet and Gray. Behind McCullough, Bradley Robinson is right there.

Finally, the returners. Returners can be used to score and to flip the field–and Garrett Wilson and Demario McCall are the kick and the punt returners respectively. Sure, there can be other people behind them, but they have established themselves a season ago. Sure, both have botched or muffed a few, but that is the exciting part about special teams. You just never know where it’ll leave a mark.

I am hoping for a lot of fireworks, but I am hoping for special teams type of fireworks. The last three special teams touchdowns? The most recent was in 2014, where Jalin Marshall took it to the house against Indiana. There was also the time where Jordan Hall did the same thing against The Team Up North in 2010.

If Ohio State wants to succeed, they might want to get back to returning kicks and punts for scores, but it’ll come in time and this offense is potent enough to do without. BUT, I won’t be too upset if they start tearing it up from this aspect either. They have plenty of ammo and weapons to field two full squads of “starters” waiting in the wings, but until they are asked to step up, we will just have to hope that they wait and be patient as they bide their time.

And there you have it folks! All aspects of this years teams broken down by Chris and I–and I really hope that you all enjoyed it! Thank you for the love and support. As we look ahead, I personally cannot wait to do more content for the Buckeyes and my team is also itching to get back to the best part of the year.

#GoBucks

#BeatNebraska

#MOTSAGRising Depth Chart Preview: Linebackers

Today friends we will be talking Linebackers and boy oh boy–they are deep at experienced at these positions! The Buckeyes have Captain Tuf Borland, Pete Werner, and Baron Browning taking up starting roles at the Linebacker. I am positive that Borland will take the lead at the Mike and both Werner and Browning would each be on the outside.

Behind them will be another talented group of back-ups in Dallas Gant, Teradja Mitchell, and Justin Hilliard. Behind them talent is still there and Tommy Eichenberg, Melton Mitchell, K’Vaughan Pope, Cody Simon, Craig Young, Trayvon Wilburn, and Cade Kacherski will be there to learn their own respective positions.

As starters, the collection of Borland, Browning, and Werner are one of the most experienced groups in the nation when considering both, the total downs being played and the impact plays they have made. Borland taking up middle will place a capable player to lead and call the audibles and the plays. Coming off a severe injury, he did well, but as a healthy body–I think he will do better this season.

Browning was playing at the Mike, but he will find himself on the outside and I think he will wreak havoc. Think how amazing it was to have Darron Lee–and I think it’ll be a similar fit scheme-wise and he will impact games for the Buckeyes. Browning was one of those players that has been buried by ballers ahead of him and this year will potentially be his last year with the program. He pondered leaving after last season, but like all others–he has returned for one last run.

Lastly, Pete Werner is like a missile that can cover and rush the passer. A Swiss Army Knife, Werner will also be used to disarm potent offenses that they will face this season within the conference. I think he will blitz more often than normal and he will do well against slot receivers, tight ends, and even backs out of the backfield. He may do it all this season in what also should be his last year with the program.

The Buckeyes second team are all great talents too! Hilliard has been through a lot, with injuries taking him out repeatedly but last year he was healthy and he balled out! This is his last season and he will make an impact with whatever role he is assigned. Dallas Gant is another star that was buried by the depth and talent ahead of him, but this is his season to shine to gain some consideration for next season. A speedy, coverage guy who is willing to get his nose dirty–he will be vying for time in the middle. Finally, for the second outside spot, I think talented thumper Teradja Mitchell is a shoo-in for that one.

Think about who could surprise us all too. I would think Pope will be that guy to make huge splash plays when asked to. Eichenberg and Young will also be leaned on once the starters are spelled when games get out of hand. Talented freshmen Mitchell and Simon could also be used on special teams to get a handle while the upperclassmen work. As I stated before I began, the talent is immense and they have a lot of it.

On the recruiting trail, ILB Reid Carrico will join the team in the summer. In the summer of 2022, a trio of talented player Dasan McCullough, C.J. Hicks, and Gabe Powers are all committed to uphold the tradition of being stellar players at their respective positions. This should excite us all and I cannot wait to see who the 2021 and 2022 classes finish off with. For now lets enjoy the season.

#GoBucks

#MOTSAGRising Depth Chart Preview: The Slobs

In today’s installment its all about the Slobs. This years offensive attack will be co-dependent on the ability of the entire offensive line to win their match-ups in the trenches. This group one of the most talented in the nation and Justin Fields will be hoping to rev things up when the season is officially underway. 10 more days left until Nebraska at home. This unit has definitely will have a championship-caliber team that can control games entirely, but again–we shall see.

The offensive line will return Wyatt Davis, who opted out due to the uncertainty of the 2020 season even happening. As the lone Captain on the offensive line at Right Guard, he will lead by example with Center Josh Myers and Left Tackle Thayer Munford also returning for what many consider “their last ride” in the scarlet and gray.

Although the trio of Davis, Myers, and Munford is wonderful, they have two available spots up for grabs at the Left Guard and Right Tackle spots, but they do not have a shortage in talent to fill them. At Guard, the Buckeyes have Harry Miller, Enokk Vimahi, Gavin Cupp, and Ryan Jacoby. The first three are in a competition for the two deep, while the latter falls behind. Davis in the depth chart.

If I were a betting man, I’d give it to Miller by virtue of setting up Vimahi as the back-up. Not a slight, but I can see Myers doing his thing and then leaving for the draft, and Miller either slides in at Center or he dukes it out with Matthew Jones. Vimahi would then slide into the starting spot or battle it out with Cupp next season. Either way, the talent for this spot is there for the Buckeyes.

At Right Tackle, Nicholas Petit-Frere gets the nod with Big Thanos Dawand Jones right behind him. Big Thanos had flashes at Left Tackle, but with his athleticism and agility he’d fit on either side, but for the future Right Tackle is his spot for now. Jones would have the nod over Max Wray, who would fall behind him for third on the depth chart.

If you are keeping score the first team would look like this, from the left side of the line to the right: Munford, Miller, Myers, Davis, and then Petit-Frere. The second team in the same order would be: Johnson, Vimahi, M. Jones, Cupp, and then D. Jones. So basically two versions of the Monstars that will basically maul people, but I will try not to get too ahead of myself.

With the Buckeyes in general, attrition would be a factor in this position as we’ve seen it over the past few years. Yes, the Buckeyes are loaded, but sometimes players look elsewhere for consistent playing time. They are developed and ready to go, but they haven’t received their shot yet. Hopefully that is not the case, but we won’t know.

Ahead of the 2020 COVID season, the Buckeyes have started much later than anticipated or expected, but we all know they are ready to go. We have all seen the videos and it hasn’t changed my mind about what I personally think the season would look like, but again–I am containing myself and reserving judgement until 10 days from now.

There are also a few studs in the 2020 class still in the fold too. The trio of Donovan Jackson, Ben Christman, and Zen Michalski currently committed, more talent is on its way. They may close out with the trio, but big names are still out there despite being close to being out of the running. Until it becomes official you just never know in recruiting. Stay tuned until either National Signing Days and just enjoy it.

#GoBucks

#MOTSAGRising Depth Chart Preview: Wide Receivers

Alrighty folks–it’s Zone 6 time and I am on deck with the preview at the Wide Receiver position! This is by far my favorite position to cover and I am gushing over the fact that I get to do this. Not only does this room have a superior Coach in Brian Hartline, he has also amassed a ton of talented players that will make noise in this very moment or later down the road. Sure, there will be injuries and attrition, but being able to polish their skills over the course of their time with Coach Hartline–its only a matter of time until they are unleashed.

Wide Receivers: Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Mookie Cooper, Julian Fleming, Gee Scott Jr, Demario McCall, Ellijah Gardiner, Jaylen Harris, Kamryn Babb, Jameson Williams, Sam Wiglusz, Alec Taylor, Austin Kutscher, Marvin Davies, Chris Booker

  • WR-X: Garrett Wilson, Gee Scott Jr, Jameson Williams
  • WR-Z: Chris Olave, Julian Fleming, Kamryn Babb
  • H-B: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Mookie Cooper, Demario McCall

As I stated earlier, there is a ton of talent in this group, and by me leaving out a couple of talented players from this depth chart. At WR-X Garrett Wilson is the leading candidate that could move into the H-Back position if needed. Behind him is talented freshman Gee Scott Jr and Jameson Williams. The next person would be Jaylen Harris as the fourth player in line. This is a group of players that excels at making tough, contested catches routinely with the added ability to gain separation from defenders. Wilson has been a star and he can definitely groom Scott, Williams, and Harris to take their game up a notch.

At the WR-Z it is Chris Olave taking the lead once again with Julian Fleming and Kamryn Babb behind him. The fourth in this group would be Ellijah Gardiner. Olave returns to close his career out on a high note after the end of the Fiesta Bowl. He will lead by example in an effort to win it all this season and he will mentor Fleming, Babb and Harris in the process–like what Wilson is doing. Pay particular attention to Babb to come back strong after injury-plagued seasons. He is another talented player that has been buried by injuries and was left behind with the stockpile of talent at the position. I have a good feeling that he would have a Johnny Dixon type of end to his career–so watch out for him.

Finally, at the H-Back position, Jaxon Smith-Njigba will get the first shot as the new H-Back. Behind him is another talented freshman in Mookie Cooper and Redshirt Senior Demario McCall. Depending on what the offense wants to do, I could see Wilson or Olave filling in at this position to give others a shot at the X and Y positions, but for now, Smith-Njigba and Cooper will get the first shot at it.

This collection of talent is great and I think they’ll put up some Madden stats up if used properly. They will run a balanced offensive attack, but I expect big things from Zone 6 for years to come. There is a lot of potential and I cannot wait for them to unleash it.

#GoBucks

Quarterbacks

With two Saturday’s left before the opening game of the season, we here at The Men of the Scarlet and Gray are getting antsy–and I am especially excited to provide more content to all the people that have supported us amid the content drought.

With the season fast approaching (finally!), I will be starting out with the basics–talking about our beloved Buckeyes. Today’s content will feature our projected two-deep of the offense and a combination of writing styles between Chris and me over the next couple of weeks. This roster is definitely packed full of talent, but we will make it work. Here we go Buckeye Nation.

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

  • QB1: Justin Fields
  • QB2: Gunnar Hoak

The QB1 throne belongs to Fields and we can all expect a Heisman type of season from him this year. The heirs to the throne are the pair of C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller III, but QB2 duties would most likely be entrusted to Hoak, due to his in-game experience (for now at least). QB3/3A would fit Stroud and Miller. They are talented and they are the future along with 2021 stud Kyle McCord. Don’t be surprised if either Stroud or Miller overtake Hoak mid-season. The rest of the group are scout team personnel. This is not to devalue their talent, but they are not going to be leaned upon. Looks for the trio of LaRoe, Vanatsky, and Andrade to pull scout team duties.

Why?

Justin Fields is without a doubt the starter of this prolific Buckeye offense. He is a polished product and with his historic numbers in 2019–he will be looking to cap off his Buckeye career with the accolades and a natty. After he left 2019 behind, he has all the motivation in the world and he will lead this deadly offense to the promised land. With weapons at every level this offense is going to be fun to watch with Fields leading the charge!

Hoak at the backup slot is highly dependent on how Stroud and/or Miller perform in camp over the next two weeks. He is a safe pick, but it could change if either perform well. I can see all three getting in-game experience IF Fields and company are blowing out Nebraska, but we will see. I’d love to get a glimpse of the future, but I won’t be mad if Fields pads his stats for a Heisman run.

MOSTAG Rising: Tongaricious

Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by to read this! This is a newer, fun-styled segment that introduces the writers in the #MOTSAGRising movement that is on Twitter. It is a closer look at our origins and our backstories that is needed to better get to know us as a unit. I am up first.

I am Tongaricious on Twitter, but my name is Richard. I was born and raised in Guam and I am a little over 15 years into a career in the Air Force. I became a Buckeye fan after watching them thrash Nebraska in their first season after joining the Big Ten and I never looked back.

I enjoy talking about games and I pay close attention to recruiting. I wish I had insider powers and I hope to follow it more closely, but with the lack of sources–I am just a fan and a regular guy. I started out with the Men of the Scarlet and Gray for a few years–I did my interview with Jeremiah in 2015 and I have been a staple for the brand since.

I still enjoy writing and I jumped at the chance to get things back since the season is about to begin. It is crazy that I have been writing for five years and I am glad for every person that has contributed and is still contributing today. I am also glad for every person that I have interacted with over the years. Let us bring it forward as we all prepare to have another awesome season. I am excited to continue the tradition of bringing you awesome content.

#GoBucks