MOTSAG Pretend College Football Playoffs: #5 Georgia vs. #4 Oklahoma

In a battle for conference supremacy this round pits #4 Oklahoma up against #5 Georgia. Oklahoma got some much needed rest as Georgia ran managed to stave off Miami (OH) with a clutch field goal and a crucial defensive stop to end their dreams of advancing.

These two teams have explosive offenses and the last time both of these teams met was in the Rose Bowl the 2017-2018 season. That very game was a barn burner and it ended in a 54-48, double overtime thriller. This years hypothetical matchup would future a familiar foe for Georgia in Jalen Hurts, the former Alabama quarterback. Jake Fromm versus Jalen Hurts vie for a shot to advance.

During the coin toss, the calm before the storm was evident. Both teams stand tall, calm and stoic and Georgia calls the toss and defers giving Hurts the balls first. After a touchback in the opening kickoff Hurts approaches the huddle and calls the play out. Georgia, who had struggled against inferior opponents finds themselves with their pants down on the opening snap. Boom! Hurts finds Lamb on a slant and he takes it to the house for six. On the ensuing kickoff, Swift nearly provides an immediate answer as he takes it to the 50 yard line. Georgia takes their times during the drive, but is stopped in the red zone. Blankenship puts the Bulldogs on the board.

Hurts starts at the 30 on this drive and he leans on Sermon and Brooks and they drive to the 30 before adding three to their lead. Fromm begins the drive and he finds George Pickens on a streak to tie the contest at 10-10. Georgia usually struggles with the quick scoring game, but the cheating safety misjudged Pickens’ speed and got burnt for six.

Hurts controls the current drive late into the first quarter with a balance of QB option runs and timing routes and they are knocking at the door before the quarter came to a close. To open the second quarter, Brooks finds the seam and he barges in for a touchdown. Georgia’s defense was just bloodied in the last drive and the Bulldog’s got them some well deserved rest as they use up the majority of the second quarter before Swift plunges it into the end zone with a little over two minutes left in the half.

In a 17 all game, Hurts runs the two minute drill to perfection. Finding his running backs on swing passes before finding Lamb once again for a touchdown, Hurts puts his teams back up 24-17 before Fromm took a knee to send it into the half. To open the second half, Georgia came out firing. Fromm finds Cager in the seams at will, but in the red zone, Fromm forces a errant pass over the middle that ended up becoming a pick-six–Oklahoma extends their lead to 31-17.

On Fromm’s next possession, the timing and the momentum was all in the Sooners’ favor as they end up punting in the next three possessions. Both teams are struggling to find a rhythm on offense but the defenses are playing lights out. Hurts’ team has the ball late into the third quarter and he loses the exchange with Brooks and Georgia recovers. Three players later, Swift breaks through for a 20 yard dash to the end zone to cut the lead to 24-31.

The Sooners respond with a strike to Charleston Rambo to put them back up by double-digits early in the fourth quarter. Georgia tried to respond, but after back-to-back drive ending interceptions by Kenneth Murray and Brendan Radley-Hines, the Bulldogs fall 38-24. The same turnover-prone quarterback play resurfaced and Fromm just couldn’t put it all together. The Sooners get their revenge and advance.

MOSTAG Pretend CFB Playoffs: #6 Utah vs. #11 FAU

In a time where we remain sportless, in a time where COVID-19 rules the skies, we here at the Men of the Scarlet and Gray present the strictly hypothetical “Expanded College Football Playoffs”. We have all dreamed of expansion, but here we have a cool little set-up that was created by my colleague Chris. 12 teams with one goal, to make it to the Championship Game. All the Power Five champions along with the Group of Five Champions and sprinkle in a pair of at large bids and we have our football version of the “Big Dance”.

For the play-in we have an at large team from the PAC 12 going up against the Conference USA Champion FAU. In this matchup, Utah takes a stellar defense and they go up against a decent, quick scoring passing attack.

As the contest begins, Utah demonstrates their defensive prowess and for a quick 3-and-out, forcing Kiffin to an early change of possession and stopping them from getting into a grove. Utah gains possession and they impose their will as they run roughshod and beat the Owls senseless through the ground with Moss and Huntley gaining chunk after chunk before Moss takes it in for the score.

Visibly rattled, but while remaining calm, Chris Robison takes a huge chunk out of the first quarter before plunging it into the endzone to tie the score at seven each. Robison engineered quite the drive as he came up clutch for the better of the 8-minute drive and he gained some valuable momentum as he made the Ute defense pay.

As the Utes grabbed the punt, Simpkins takes one back to the house just as the first quarter had expired to push the lead up the 14-7. On the ensuing drive for FAU, lightning almost struck twice as Cousart nearly responded with a return for a touchdown of his own before being tripped up at the 50 yard line. The balanced effort became the focus of the Owls offense as Davidson does the majority of the work on the ground to grind the Utah defense into a pulp. On a 3rd-and-5, Kiffin opts for a trick play and it payed off! On the double-sweep, Antoine took it in for another Owl touchdown.

Utah, forever the puncher responds quickly. They use Moss and Huntley on the ground with jet sweeps from Simpkins to open up the offense, but a mistimed exchange on the QB option derailed a scoring drive that ended in the redzone. Rashad Smith comes out from the pile with the ball in tow with the game still tied at 14.

The Utah defense comes off the sideline angry and they quickly force a turnover courtesy of an interception by Burgess at the 50 yard line. Huntley is hitting open receiver at will before finding Kuithe in the seams for a quick score. The Ute defense held their own the rest of the game up until Coach Kiffin’s squad started making plays just before the half. Not to be outdone, they went on a drive that took the entirety of the second quarter. First down after first down they took the clock down just before kicking it for three to enter the half 21-17.

To open the second quarter the Utes again shoved it down the Owls’ throats. Run after run, the Utah offense opened up the third quarter with an efficient and quick drive for another touchdown. Utah goes up 27-17 on the heels of a missed extra point. The fighting Kiffin’s responded quickly as well with a bomb to Harrison Bryant, who found himself open as he sprinted 45 yards to the endzone. Kiffin trying to seize momentum opted for two and converted. The aggressive play swung momentum as the Owls were now down by two.

Utah failed to respond as they went three and out. FAU went on another drive and Bryant made an appearance in the endzone once against to take the lead 32-27. With another wasted possession that resulted in a punt, Utah forced a fumble in the redzone on the ensuing drive. Before we knew it, Moss plunged it into the endzone and Huntley ran it in for two to retake the lead 35-32. The Utah defense responded by forcing a punt and took the clock down deep into the third quarter before punting it as the quarter expired.

In the 4th quarter, FAU controlled the ball for the majority of the contest to try and slow down the Utah offense. They run and convert the ball before settling for a game-tying FG. Utah regains control of the ball with less than a minute left in the game. Huntley and his heroics shined in the waning minutes as he drove down the field from their 20 yard line before Moss took it to the house with 20 seconds remaining. FAU received the punt and nearly broke it off as a response. The drive ultimately fell short as Bernard and Anae combined for a strip-sack as they regained possession with no time left. Utah advances to face #4 Oklahoma.

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: Elite Eight (West Region)

With all but eight teams remaining in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the top two seeded teams out west remain in the fight. This has been a long hard road and with both teams overcoming two scrappy teams, do they still have gas remaining in the tank?

In a duel of two great programs, it is just mere minutes away from tip-off. The #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs and the #2 San Diego State Aztecs have locked onto each other in what could shape up to be a heated contest with the last two teams in the west.

Just moments before the tip-off, you can feel the tension and the anticipation in the air. With a trip to the Final Four at stake both teams cautiously approach this contest and we are off! The Aztecs gain control of the opening tip-off and the game gets underway. Malachi Flynn wastes no time and gets the initial bucket off of a hard screen from Wetzell. Not to be outdone, Petrusev penetrates the paint and kicks it out to Woolridge at the top of the key for two.

The opening half said a lot about both teams. Both started on fire until about 8 minutes before the half. After that it was all Gonzaga before going into halftime. At the half the Bulldogs are up 54-47. They rode a 7-0 run before the halftime buzzer and they kept control with pesky defense and well-timed buckets to keep the Aztecs at bay.

During the half, the Aztec coach is livid and gives out one of the most fiery speeches of the tournament and his team responded. Coming out of the locker room, the Aztec’s went 5-6 from three and they gained the lead after some stellar defense of their own. Aztecs lead 66-68 before the Bulldogs call a timeout. The well-timed break led to crucial adjustments on Gonzaga’s end that focused on shutting down and doubling Flynn to get the ball out of his hands.

Initially, it had worked out and it forced the Aztecs into a couple of turnovers and eventually a key backcourt violation. Flynn, visibly flustered called a timeout with 3 minutes left in regulation being down 77-70. In clutch fashion, his coaching staff drew some plays up and they executed it resulting in a 7-0 run to tie the game at 77 a piece. Shell-shocked, Gonzaga calls their last timeout with a little over a minute remaining in the game.

The coach drew up an isolation play to send the Aztecs packing in the waning minutes of the game. With 25 seconds left, Woolridge takes it down to under 10 seconds. He takes a pick from Petrusev, he loses his defender in the process and shoots a two at the top of the key… clang… in and out of the basket. Overtime ball for all the marbles!

From the initial portions of overtime, both teams are exhausted and it shows. Hunched over and visibly tired, both teams set-up for the additional minutes. This time Gonzaga controls the ball first. Petrusev wastes no time and knocks down a three in the face of Flynn to put the Bulldogs up 80-77. Flynn responds with a barrage of buckets–a layup and a three of his own to put the Aztecs up 82-80. Back-and-fourth both teams try to start a run, but focused defense is played on both sides.

The last two minute stretch was crucial and neither team was pulling away. With the game tied, yet again at 91 a piece. Neither team has buckled so far. Both a playing fierce defense and their offensive firepower hasn’t shied away. In the highest scoring game of the tournament, Petrusev takes the ball away from Flynn in the waning seconds and with 5 seconds remaining, he chucks it from half court with a prayer. It comes clean off his hands and it looks like it has a chance. The prayer was answered and he connects with the half-court heave to advance 94-92. Bulldogs advance in a thriller.

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: West Region, 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.

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!