Battered Justin Fields out shines Lawrence, setting up clash with Crimson Tide

Some players use criticism and comparisons to fuel their performance. Justin Fields did just so in Ohio State’s dominant 49-28 victory over the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl.

The comparisons and competition between Fields and Trevor Lawrence has been on display since the two were the best prospects in the 2018 recruiting class.

Lawrence has been the consensus number one pick for this upcoming NFL draft after Fields showed some weaknesses against ranked Indiana and Northwestern as he threw a combined 5 interceptions which was more then he had all of last season.

This, last year’s Fiesta Bowl clash, and Dabo’s ranking of Ohio State was more than enough fuel Fields needed for this CFB semifinal Friday night.

If he wasn’t already for his 19-1 record as a Buckeye heading into this game, Fields officially locked himself as a Buckeye legend for this gutsy performance.

Fields took off scrambling and took a big hit to the ribs from linebacker James Skalski that left him in a lot of pain through the course of the game. Fields missed one play before coming back in continuing to dominate.

Fields ended the night throwing 22-for-28 with 385 yards and Sugar Bowl record-six touchdowns.

Fields-Lawrence Battle

The first competition between Fields and Lawrence took place in high school at the Elite 11, where Fields was crowned MVP.

Lawrence took advantage of the second round after beating Fields and the Buckeyes in last year’s Fiesta Bowl.

Fields broke the 1-1 tie breaker in dominating fashion between the two Friday night as the Buckeyes advanced to the national title game against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Olave’s anticipated Tiger rematch: By Mike Scharf

December 28, 2019… State Farm Stadium… 29-23. 29-23. 29-23:

That final score has been entrenched throughout Woody Hayes Athletic Center. On the walls in the locker room, in the weight room. 

Everywhere. 

This score hasn’t left the Buckeyes team’s eyes since a last-minute interception in last year’s Fiesta Bowl ended their national championship hopes. 

This Buckeye team seeks redemption after having a bad taste in their mouth from last season’s clash with the Clemson Tigers, and none other than star wide receiver Chris Olave seeks it more than most.

Last season, Olave spoke up that he broke his route in last year’s Fiesta Bowl as he turned left instead of continuing his route thinking his quarterback took off to scramble which led to a Justin Fields’ interception right in the hands of Clemson’s defensive back Nolan Turner in the endzone securing a Tigers victory and national championship appearance.

As the NFL draft was looming, there was no denying in the mind of Olave what he was going to do—he came back to Ohio State to show everyone what he can do.

Olave met with the media ahead of the 2020 season expressing his love for Ohio State and the chip he has from last season’s disheartening loss:

“I care so much about this team, this university,” Olave said, “I don’t think I’ve gotten over it still (Fiesta Bowl loss), and I still got that chip on my shoulder and I want to show the world”.

Olave explained he found himself working out 2-3 times a day, trying to take his mind off things.

This Buckeye team knows who the underdog is and relishes it. The odds have been stacked against this group all season and they are ready to prove the world wrong.

In the Sugar Bowl trailer, narrated by Chris Olave, he acknowledge the team embraces the underdog narrative.

“We know you don’t want to see us here, and we know you don’t give us a chance. That’s fine,” said Olave. “After all we fought through, we just need one chance. A second chance.”

CO2 is ready.

Sugar Bowl X-Factor: Defense by Mike Scharf

There’s no denying Ohio State’s defense had a slow start to this 2020 season, which was predicted due to seven starters taking their talents to the NFL which included two of the top three picks in Chase Young, and Jeff Okudah.

Along with Okudah and Young, the Buckeyes lost Damon Arnette, Jordan Fuller, Malik Harrison, Jashon Cornell and Davon Hamilton to the 2020 NFL draft.

The loss of stars and slow start to the season didn’t stop the Silver Bullets from picking up rhythm and improving as a team through the abnormal 2020-COVID season.

The following is currently the Buckeyes’ defensive stats:

  • Total Defense: 34
  • Scoring Defense: 24 (Tied)
  • Passing Defense: 104
  • Rush Defense: 7
  • 3rd Down Defense: 19
  • Sacks Per Game: 26 (Tied)

In order for a Sugar Bowl victory and appearance in the 2020 National Championship, the Buckeyes defense needs to step up and execute the game plan for Trevor Lawrence’s high-powered Clemson Tiger offense.

Here are a few X-Factors defensively that could lead the Buckeyes’ to victory come Friday night.

Jonathan Cooper – Tommy Togiai – Haskell Garrett (Defensive Line)

Chase Young is dominating on Sunday’s for the Washington Football team and early on the Buckeyes faced problems replacing his 16.5 sacks from last season. That being said, the front seven has been dominate of late and the strong unit for the Buckeyes. (As noted above, they are 7th in the country in rush defense.) The experience and leadership of fifth-year senior Jonathan Cooper has been enormous all season long and will continue into championship season. Cooper has 20 tackles and 2.5 sacks on the season. The dominate-duo of the interior between Tommy Togiai and Haskell Garrett has been the biggest x-factor for the Buckeyes all season long and will cause disruption in the Tigers backfield. Togiai and Garrett have a combined 36 tackles and 5 sacks.

Pete Werner – Tuf Borland (Linebackers)

The Buckeye linebackers are a veteran group led by seniors Pete Werner and Tuf Borland. Werner leads the team with 37 tackles, 2.5 TFL, and one sack. Borland is second with 26 tackles, and 1.5 sacks. Both Werner and Borland are a big reason why the Buckeyes have played well against the run this season. These two, along with Baron Browning face their biggest test of the season Friday with the read option of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. Lawrence and Etienne have a combined rushing of 1,103 yards and 20 touchdowns.

The Buckeyes veteran group of linebackers are led by seniors Pete Warner and Tuf Borland. Warner leads the team with 37 tackles along with 2.5 TFL and one sack. Borland is second on the team with 26 tackles along with 1.5 sacks. These two, along with Baron Browning are a substantial reason why the team has played so well against the run this season. The biggest test will be this Friday as they look to contain the read option between Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. Lawrence and Etienne have a combined rushing of 1,103 yards and 20 touchdowns this season for the Tigers.,,

Shaun Wade (Secondary)

This is a redemation game for Shaun Wade. Although, the talk of this year’s Buckeyes has been the secondary and the struggles they faced at times. The starting corners from last year’s defense were Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette as they were both drafted in the first round last April. Along with those two the Buckeyes lost, Jordan Fuller, who was a dominate force at safety for last year’s secondary. The struggles have been apparent for the secondary, but the Buckeyes have picked it up led behind the fifth-year senior and future first-rounder Shaun Wade. Wade will be coming into this game LASER focused as he is looking for his redemption against the Tigers. Last year, during the Fiesta Bowl, Wade was called for a controversial targeting call on Trevor Lawrence which led to be the turning point of the game in favor for the Tigers. Wade has 20 tackles and 2 interceptions on the season.

Final Analysis

Wade won’t be the only one looking for redemption. This Buckeye defense, along with these X-Factors will come in determined to prove something. Not only have the media questioned the creditability of the Buckeyes due to the fact they only played six games.

Clemson Tigers’ head coach, Dabo Swinney added some fuel to the fire. Swinney ranked the Buckeyes 11th on the coaches’ poll ballot and stood by that decision saying “I didn’t rank anybody who didn’t play nine games or more in the top 10. That’s why they were 11. I have all the respect in the world for Ohio State.” — The Buckeyes will be ready.

Sugar Bowl X-Factors: Offense

Game week is here people! As we inch closer, the anxiety levels begin to rise. With how the Fiesta Bowl ended, there was that feeling of being robbed, feelings of anger, feelings of utter despair—that have bled into this turbulent COVID season.

The grudge and that unsatisfied feeling has come to a head and the time to release is just a few days away. We will have the chance to prove things to ourselves and to the nation. To silence the doubters and the haters.

In order to win, the Buckeyes need to put in the work and put on their hard hats. The preparation needs to be perfect and the game plan must be pristine from the execution to the play calling. Here a few X-Factors offensively that could tip the scales in the Buckeyes’ favor come Friday.

Justin Fields, QB

To be blunt, Justin Fields must show up in order to have a shot to take out Clemson. Ball security is a must and the execution must be perfect. Do not make bonehead throws into traffic and don’t hold the ball too long in the pocket. Sacks and interceptions are two things that he should avoid. Yes, making plays is needed but if it’s not there—throw it away or take the check down. Olave and Wilson will eventually get open, but he must trust do what he needs to do to control the game. If it consists of a steady dose of Sermon and Teague, so be it. It also doesn’t hurt that he will face backup safety since Nolan Turner was charged with targeting and he will be unavailable until the second half.

Trey Sermon, HB

Speaking of a steady dose of running it down their throats—Sermon needs to capitalize on the momentum after winning the Conference Championship Game MVP honors. Not to mention eating up the yardage to finish with a BIG 10 record 331 rushing yards—beating Ezekiel Elliott’s mark. It’s safe to say that balance is key, but running the ball will need to be at the forefront. Clemson will blitz heavily and what better counter is there than running the rock until they can show that they can stop it?

The Slobs and The Tight Ends

Blitzing will be an all game affair and one of the better blitzing teams is Clemson. The objective for these two units would be to block them enough to slow them down and to limit sacks. The slobs are solid but the weak link would be at Left Guard in Harry Miller (not a knock!). Holding penalties and allowing penetration are to be avoided and he has been consistently at fault for either of these. Miller has the potential but he has to has to play with little to no errors for either quarters. The big guys mauled the Wildcats in the second half and they need to do the same for the entire game to win it.

The Tight Ends must be ready for check downs or passes under duress. Blocking is also key but I think this group will get the majority of the work in the passing game. It’s pick your poison with Olave and Wilson but do not count out the tight ends.

If all these X-Factors play well, redemption is attainable. If they play out of sync, they will have a hard time and they may very well lose. Odds are with the amount of chatter about being worthy of a playoff spot—I’d say this is the quiet before the storm. Ohio versus the world. Redemption.

#GoBucks

Earned! Buckeyes Selected For Playoff Matchup Against A Familiar Foe Clemson

We made it Buckeye Nation! We got the matchup against the team that we wanted and in an odd COVID season, we can say we earned this spot after running past and shutting down a surprisingly potent Northwestern offense to zero points in the second half en-route to a 22-10 win.

Flash forward to January 1st and the matchup against Clemson and remembering the loss from a season ago, you know that final score is still around the weight room. The circumstances and the end result was tragic and what better way to slay your demons than this? Another shot at the demon is needed and it could have a cascading effect and it could propel this team toward greater things.

This year has been crazy, but the committee definitely got things right. I’m not just saying that cause of my affinity for the Buckeyes, I am saying it from an objective viewpoint. Why penalize a team for playing less? Why perceive our players having fresher bodies with the mental and sometimes physical toll while dealing with such odd circumstances? Everyone dealt with things different but let’s be real, the season wouldn’t have started without the fight our team showed. Yes, we were late to the party but this year has been incredibly hard for all team in the big dance.

This seeding has an eerie feel to it and think about the 2014 run. Ohio State became the only #4 seed to win it all. They find themselves at the #3 seed and history could repeat itself but they definitely need to take care of business. Winning it all in a COVID-ridden year would be a testament to the coaching staff and the players for Ohio State—the ultimate comeback/success story in the making. It’ll come down to implementing a good plan moving forward against Clemson and executing, being intensely interested in winning at all costs.

To be intensely driven and motivated is key for an Ohio State miracle run at a championship and a win against top-tier teams in Clemson and Alabama. Not saying that they aren’t but they need to be more driven than ever to accomplish what they want to and this team is built to do just that.

Save all the hate and anger for January first Buckeye coaches and players, Buckeye Nation hope and pray a sharp, motivated team shows up from start to finish, and let’s get ready to take care of business in the Sugar Bowl.

#GoBucks

Buckeye Football Looking Ahead by Mike Scharf

Last Week

After nearly a consistent recording of a 0% positivity rate since August, chaos entered the Buckeye program as their game against Illinois was canceled when additional positive COVID-19 tests were discovered after a round of testing took place Friday afternoon. Head coach Ryan Day was amongst those positive. Ohio State did not disclose the identities of the others who tested positive for privacy reasons. 

The Big Ten requires all programs to suspend organized football activities including practices and games for a minimum of seven days if both their positivity rate exceeds 5% and their population positivity rate surpasses 7.5%. The Buckeyes positivity rate crossed the 7.5% threshold, but had not gone above the 5% test positivity rate.

With the Buckeyes not going above the 5% threshold, Athletic director Gene Smith and head team physician Dr. Jim Borchers believed the best decision for the program going forward was to cancel, slowing down the spread of the virus.

Going Forward

Good news came as the Buckeyes resumed small group workouts on Monday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center according to a Ohio State spokesman — Team meetings will maintain being held virtually.

The noon ABC kickoff against Michigan State this weekend is up in the air as we still don’t know the exact number of positive cases the program is dealing with, but this is an enormous step in the right direction going forward.

#MOTSAGRising Buckeyes-Hoosiers Preview by Mike Scharf

The Buckeyes and Hoosiers are set to clash in a top-10 battle this Saturday in the ‘Shoe.

Buckeye football is back in action, after last week’s game being canceled due to a coronavirus outbreak within the Maryland program. As of now, the Hoosiers are first in the Big East Division because of the extra game and the Buckeyes are ready to attack the objective this weekend and keep their championship hopes alive.

When the Big Ten reinstated the season, and the shortened schedule was announced, no one had eyes on the Hoosiers coming into Columbus. Frankly, this noon kickoff on FOX against the 9th ranked Hoosiers is the biggest regular-season game for the Buckeyes.

THE HOOSIERS

Tom Allen, and his enthusiastic Hoosiers started their season off with a thrilling 36-35 overtime victory against Penn State and have not looked back since. Winning their next three games against Rutgers, Michigan, and Michigan State convincingly with a combined score of 99-41.

The Hoosiers offense is led by Sophomore quarterback Michael Penix Jr. who has looked like a true leader throwing for 1070 yards to go with 9 touchdowns this season. Penix threw for 25-38, 320 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 INTs last weekend vs the Spartans.

The key matchup to watch is how the Buckeye secondary covers star wide receiver Ty Fryfogle. Fryfogle was last week’s Big Ten offensive Player of the Week after having 11 receptions for 200 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Fryfogle also had a monster game against the Wolverines the week before with 7 receptions, 142 yards and 1 touchdown.

Along with the offense, this Hoosiers defense is no joke as they lead the Big Ten in interceptions (10), and sacks (12). The Hoosiers are tied for second nationally in turnover margin at plus-2 per game.

THE BUCKEYES

Fryfogle, and the Indiana receivers have been a huge threat for opposing defenses all year long. The Buckeye secondary has received criticism for their play in this early season, but look for Shaun Wade, Sevyn Banks, and the rest of the Buckeye secondary to respond in a major way with a big task ahead.

As we know, Justin Fields is off to an astonishing start to the 2020 season, having the same number of touchdowns as he has incompletions (11), with a near perfect 87 percent completion. Heisman hopeful Fields looks to improve his resume against a talented Hoosier defense.

The Buckeyes are waiting for a running game to emerge at a high level with both running backs still splitting carries. Master Teague III and Trey Sermon are both averaging a little 5 yards per carry (Teague 4.5, Sermon 4.8), but neither has established as the main back for the Buckeyes.

With that being said, left guard Harry Miller, and the offensive-line look to improve this week from the multiple penalties they were called for against the Scarlet-Knights two weeks ago. Miller was called for holding on multiple occasions but is learning and teammates look for him to bounce back. Center Josh Myers met with the media this week saying. “It’s not an easy thing to do, to be a young guy starting,” Myers said. “It took our offensive even last year a couple weeks to get rolling and looking like a solid unit together.”

THE GAME

The Buckeyes have won 24 straight games over Indiana. The Hoosiers last victory against the Buckeyes came in the year of 1988. The Buckeyes have averaged 42.2 points per game in the past 10 meetings with the Hoosiers. Although this is IU’s highest rank (9) ever facing the Buckeyes look for Ryan Day and his team not to take this game lightly and come out hungry.

PREDICTION

47-24

#MOTSAGRising: Conquering White Out-less Happy Valley

Credit: reportdoor.com

At The Men of the Scarlet and Gray, we were due to get into the Podcast scene and due to technical issues–we will hold off for about a week until we prepare for it. For now, I am doing it old-school and just bear with me.

As you know, our team has a ton of rising stars and I haven’t been writing that much, but I make it up by upping the tweeting to ensure you are all entertained. Today, it is a post game reaction and I am going to do my best to follow in the Stat Masters step (looking at you Jeremiah!). Here we go.

Saturday night, in the Prime Time TV slot #3 ranked Ohio State faced the #18 team in the land Penn State in a COVID styled White Out minus the mass amount of fans in the stands. Due to the state of the nation and how they are combating the global pandemic–the fans have been narrowed down to family members and cardboard cutouts were in the seats. An odd environment indeed in a collision between two teams with a ton of history.

The past three or four contests have been fire and this one went in the Buckeyes’ favor early and then the Nittany Lions offense showed up to make it interesting despite eventually losing by double-digits. This game always was exciting for both sides and they have been so close over the past couple of seasons. In a game that is not considered a real rivalry game–these games always have a lot on the line.

For perspective, Ohio State and Penn State, although deemed a “Rivalry Game” have played a total of 34 times. The inaugural game was played in 1913 and they began the rivalry by winning the first four meet with the Buckeyes with a margin of 81-13. The early years of this rivalry saw Penn State take win after win, but as of late–the Buckeyes overtook them for the overall lead in the series. Ohio State leads the series 20-14 and the Buckeyes just won their fourth straight. Fun fact: The Buckeyes have also tied Notre Dame’s 10 road game win streak against ranked teams. If Michigan State continues their upward trend–they could break that in East Lansing, but this season has been difficult to get a beat on.

Now back to the game itself, the Buckeyes started fast and with urgency as they quickly shot up to a 14-0. They looked calm and poised, but after a Penn State Field Goal–they kind of took their foot off of the pedal and went into the half with what looked like a 14-3 lead. Not so fast my friend (Lee Corso voice) on a fourth and short, Fields took a knee to drain the clock, but left a second that led to another kick for three. The Buckeyes were already in the locker room before being returned to the field and you could hear and see the frustration by a late start of the play clock.

In the second half, the Nittany Lions turned it up and Jahan Dotson had a game against Shaun Wade. He finished with 8 catches, 144 yards and 3 scores in what was a highlight reel type of performance for him against a likely 1st Round talent in Wade. The Buckeyes definitely attacked the secondary in the second half and they rattled off 24 more points in the second half.

Buckeye Stickers

Justin Fields continues to tear it up as he finished 28 for 34, for 318 yards and 4 scores. Although he took a huge hit from his blindside–he quickly popped up but we all took a collective exhale. In the Big 10, Fields is 3rd in passing yards and is tied for 1st with 6 TD’s. He will face a renewed Rutgers team with a familiar face, which would make things interesting to say the least.

Master Teague and Trey Sermon haven’t been playing well, but they are starting to put things together. Together, they combined for 166 total yards and a score, much improved from 89 from last week. They are finding holes and it is only up from here. Things obviously need to improve, but for now give them their sticker!

The Olave and Wilson connection is still going strong and they went off again in week 2. Both receivers went over 100 yards receiving and now they are 4th and 2nd in the Big 10. This connection between both of these studs and Fields is crazy and it is looking like Wilson is having his breakout season while teams focus on Olave. This duo is so valuable and they take the attention off of the other pass catchers so they could make plays. They deserve the recognition so far!

The Slobs also did well cutting their total sacks surrendered in half to two this game. A brutal blindside sack and a coverage sack is better than the four from two weeks ago. The O-Line showed up and contained the Parsons-less defense that usually gives teams fits. They looked strong and mauled the D-Line and pushed them back. They is more room for improvement, but the increase in yardage is a good sign of things to come.

Lastly, the Buckeye front seven showed you why they are one of the best groups of unheralded players in the nation. A bunch of forgotten players that were buried in the depth chart, the Rushmen were disruptive and played well racking up the sacks and spooking Clifford. 5 sacks with 3 going to Tommy Togiai. Cooper and Harrison combined for a sack and Jean-Baptiste gathered the last sack.

Room For Improvement

The Special Teams unit could improve. With two missed Field Goals inside of the 20, they need to be better. Haubeil and DiMaccio combined for 1 of 3 with Haubeil leaving with a groin injury on his only attempt. Punting was also an issue. Two punts with two touchbacks with one that should have been downed in the 5. Robinson bounced it off of his knee with Olave around and they gave up valuable field position. These things need to be cleaned up if they truly want to control every phase of the game.

The secondary looked bad and they were exposed by Jahan Dotson. He made them look some type of way with the cushion they gave them. Slants and streaks worked for a bit and they need to improve because that will be on film for other teams to try to do the same. They didn’t do terrible, but they didn’t do well either. The upside is Hooker (Malik’s little brother) had a key takeaway that swung the door closed on Penn State’s comeback hopes. That is encouraging to say the least.

#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