Monthly Archives: November 2017

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 12)

Pat Elflein and Taylor Decker swap jerseys on Thanksgiving Day in Detriot. Photo Credit: instagram.com/__taylordecker/

Week twelve of the 2017 NFL season started with several Buckeye Alumni spending their Thanksgiving Day on the gridiron.

Offensive linemen Taylor Decker of the Detroit Lions and Pat Elflein of the Minnesota Vikings met in the “Motor City” with the Vikings winning 30-23 to improve to a 9-2 record.

In Dallas, Rod Smith rushed 9 times for 41 yards and caught 2 passes for 7 yards against the Los Angeles Chargers. But Joey Bosa and the Chargers took the victory 28-6. Bosa had 4 tackles and several pressures on Dak Prescott. The ‘Boys are 0-3 since Ezekiel Elliot began serving his six-game suspension

Eli Apple was deactivated for the New York Giants 20-10 loss to Washington. It was his second healthy scratch this season. Linebacker Curtis Grant made 2 tackles in a losing effort. Washington wide receiver Terrelle Pryor did not play and has been placed on injured reserved after having surgery on his ankle. He finishes his first season in the Nation’s Capital with 20 catches for 240 yards and 1 touchdown.

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins made 2 tackles, a tackle for loss and had a pass breakup in a 31-3 win over the Chicago Bears. The Eagles are now 10-1 on the season and have the best record overall in the NFL.

Nate Ebner ran a fake punt for 14 yards and a first down for the New England Patriots in a 35-17 win over the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately, he injured his knee on the play and missed the rest of the game.

Nick Vannett caught his first career touchdown pass in a 24-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers. He finished the game with 2 catches for 29 yards. Carlos Hyde carried the ball 16 times for 47 yards and caught 7 passes for 21 yards for the Niners.

Johnathan Hankins made 4 tackles and John Simon 1 tackle for the Indianapolis Colts in a 20-16 loss to AFC South division rival Tennessee Titans.

New Orleans Saints receiver’s Mike Thomas caught 5 passes for 52 yards with his longest going for 24 yards and Ted Ginn junior made 7 catches for 71 yards with a long of 25 yards in a 26-20 loss to the LA Rams. Vonn Bell made 11 tackles and a sack in defeat. Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore missed his first career game with an injury. The loss ends the Saints 8-game win streak.

Kurt Coleman made 4 tackles for the Carolina Panthers in a 35-27 win over the New York Jets. Darron Lee made 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss and 1 QB hit in the loss.

Denver Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby had 3 tackles and a pass breakup in a 21-14 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The Broncos have lost seven consecutive games.

On Sunday Night Football, Buckeyes faced off in the trenches when Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley faced off with Cam Heyward and Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Heyward had a huge night with 2 sacks, 3 hits on the quarterback, 2 tackles for loss and 6 tackles. Shazier led Pittsburgh with 8 tackles and one pass breakup to help the Steelers win 31-28 on a last second field goal. The Steelers are now 9-2 and hold first place in the AFC.

Outside the NFL up north in the 105th Grey Cup, the Canadian Football League’s version of the Super Bowl, Devier Posey caught a 100-yard touchdown pass and finished with 7 catches and 175 yards for the Toronto Argonauts in a 27-24 win over the Calgary Stampeders. He was named Grey Cup MVP.

Braxton Miller of the Houston Texans play against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football.

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Thank You, J.T.!

J.T. Barrett rushes for a 21-yard touchdown. Photo Credit: Ohiostatebuckeyes.com

The Ohio State Buckeyes beat “The Team Up North” 31-20 for the sixth consecutive time and 15th time in the last 17 seasons. Yes I’m still counting the 2010 win that was vacated. They still played the game right?!

J.K. Dobbins rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown in his induction to “The Game.” Mike Webber carried 12 times for 57 yards and a game-sealing touchdown with 1:44 remaining left in his return to his home state. The Silver Bullets held T.T.U.N to 295 yards (195 passing, 100 rushing), got 5 sacks and forced 1 interception that led to a touchdown.

But I’m not here to give you post-game analysis. I’m here to give credit to the guy who put them in position. Joe Thomas Barrett IV, or as I call him, Just Touchdowns Barrett.

When the Buckeyes were down 14 points, looking lifeless like at Iowa, the fifth-year senior put the team on his back on an eleven play 75-yard drive that ended with his 21-yard touchdown run. He followed that by leading them on a three play 53-yard drive finished off with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Baugh to tie the score and settle them down late in the second quarter.

Unfortunately, Saturday was a microcosm of Barrett’s career. J.T. left the game with a knee injury and Dwayne Haskins entered the game in relief and the Buckeyes went on to dominate the game the rest of the way. Kind of like the end of the 2014 season that ended with a B1G title and College Football National Championship, each played without him.

J.T. will never get the credit he deserves and too much blame in the losses. In most people’s mind it was Cardale Jones who won the 2014 National Championship. Never mind Ezekiel Elliott ran like a grown man playing against elementary school kids versus Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon. Or the defense shutting down Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. When the Iowa Hawkeyes dropped kicked the Buckeyes 55-24 on November 4th, it was J.T.’s four interceptions everyone pointed to, even though at the same time the defense was carved up like it had never played the game before giving up 487 total yards (244 passing, 243 rushing).

While most are eager to start the Haskins era, J.T. I just want to say thank you. Thank you for putting this team on your back down 14 in the “Big House” to give the redshirt freshman a chance to get the win. Thank you for bouncing back from the ugly 2014 loss to Virginia Tech and putting the Scarlet and Gray in position to make a run at the National Championship before getting hurt in “The Game.” Thank you for being so consistent for four seasons, that when you don’t play like yourself (Iowa) we are in total shock. Thank you for completing sixteen consecutive passes and four touchdown passes against Penn State to complete the 18-point comeback. Thank you for 36 wins and counting. Thank you for the most passing touchdowns in B1G history. Most importantly, thank you for being the first QB in the rivalry to win four games over our hated rivals.

Haskins is going to be good. He showed on the biggest stage that he is who all in Buckeye Nation hopes he will be. He completed six of his seven passes for 94 yards, and all those passes were at key moments. But we can’t let his era begin without acknowledging the one he’s following.

If Barrett is healthy and able to play in the B1G championship game against Wisconsin and win, he’ll become the all-time wins leader in Ohio State history. He already has every important passing record. He’s already earned his degree. He’s everything WE Buckeyes fans should want from our signal caller. I know there’s more football to play, but from one OSU Alum to another, J.T. Barrett, I wholeheartedly say thank you for being a Buckeye.

And no I didn’t have this saved in drafts.

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 11)

Week eleven of the NFL season started with two former Buckeyes leading a dominating defensive performance.

Shazier made 10 tackles for the Steelers in a 40-17 win on Thursday Night Football. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

Ryan Shazier made 10 tackles (5 solo) a half tackle for loss and Cam Heyward made 3 tackles, 3 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, 3 hits on Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota for the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 40-17 victory over the Titans. The Steelers are now 8-2 and are tied for/have the best record in the AFC.

Michael Thomas caught 6 passes for 91 yards in the New Orleans Saints 34-31 overtime comeback win over Washington. Ted Ginn junior got into the act as well with 6 catches for 87 yards. Vonn Bell led the team with 13 tackles (10 solo), had a sack and a hit on Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins. Marshon Lattimore made no tackles, but had one pass defensed before he had to leave the game with an ankle injury.

Braxton Miller caught 2 passes for 14 yards for the Houston Texans in a 31-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Alex Boone lined up at offensive tackle for the Cards.

Joey Bosa led the way defensively in the most lopsided game of Sunday. The Los Angeles Chargers were up 37-0 at halftime over the Buffalo Bills thanks to Bosa’s constant pressure on the quarterback that forced 5 interceptions. Bosa registered 4 hits on the quarterback, one sack that forced a fumble that was picked up and returned for a touchdown. The Chargers won 54-24. Adolphus Washington had one tackle in defeat.

Bradley Roby made one tackle for the Denver Broncos in a 20-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the Broncos sixth consecutive loss. Tight end Jeff Heuerman didn’t catch any passes in the game.

Malcolm Jenkins recorded the 15th interception of his career, 2 passes broken up and 4 tackles (3 solo) for the Philadelphia Eagles in a 37-9 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. In place of the suspended Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith carried the ball 8 times for 11 yards. Rookie Noah Brown caught his second one pass for 14 yards; it was the second of his career. Mike Nugent scored the only points for Dallas, making all three of his field goal attempts with his longest being 48 yards.

Nick Vannett played several snaps for the Seattle Seahawks in a 34-31 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Carolina Panthers’ Kurt Coleman and Curtis Samuel, Carlos Hyde with the San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee, John Simon, Jonathan Hankins, Josh Perry and Malik Hooker of the Indianapolis Colts were on a bye this week.

Focused Buckeyes Rout Illinois 

Urban Meyer leads the Buckeyes onto the field at Ohio Stadium before their 52-14 victory over Illinois. Photo Credit: OhioStateBuckeyes.com

The Ohio State Buckeyes did what everyone expected them to do. They beat up on the Illinois Fighting Illini 52-14 in the 2017 home finale. It’s clear they weren’t looking ahead to next week’s big matchup with Xichigan.

The first team offense scored touchdowns on their first four drives, a 33-yard field goal on their fifth drive and another touchdown on their sixth drive for 38 points. Each of the first four touchdown drives ended quicker than the previous. 9 plays in 3:18, 6 plays in 2:07, 3 plays in a 1:13 and 2 plays in 44 seconds.

It wasn’t until 3:48 seconds left in the second quarter after the first-team offense was ceremoniously substituted out of the game that Drue Chrisman came in to punt for the first time.  

J.T. Barrett finished his last game in “The ‘Shoe” completing 11 of 19 pass attempts for 141 yards and connected on his 100th and 101st career touchdown passes to become the first B1G quarterback to pass the century mark.

Meanwhile the Silver Bullets forced the Illini into 6 consecutive three and outs. Illinois didn’t get their first first-down until 3:38 seconds left in the second quarter. The Buckeyes first-team D allowed only 43 total yards in the first half.

The one blemish for the Buckeyes this game was the 6 penalties for 53 yards. They are the most penalized team in the conference. Watch that the next two weeks, it could be the difference between being champions or not if they don’t eliminate those mistakes. 

Besides that, there’s not much to analyze from this game. It’s pretty much what you expect from a matchup of a 2-8 team focused on their long-term future versus an 8-2 team with their season goals still on the line. This was the type of performance you want to see heading into the most crucial time of the season. This game was about the Scarlet & Gray tuning up for the Wolverines and a run at the B1G Championship.

Before the game kicked off, Ohio State knew they would clinch the B1G East division with their win thanks to the Wolverines 24-10 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers. With that sewn up, now it’s time to focus on manhandling TTUN and impressing the College Football Playoff Committee.

“The Game” at “The Big House in Ann Arbor is set for a 12:07 pm kickoff. The Buckeyes have won the last 5-0 against TTUN and 12 of the last 15 (2010’s win was vacated). With a win, J.T. Barrett will tie Art Schlichter at 36 for the most in Buckeye history. 

J.T. Barrett runs onto the Ohio Stadium turf for his final home game. Photo Credit: OhioStateBuckeyes.com

 

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 10)

Several former Buckeyes are playing key roles in their teams’ playoff pushes.

The four New Orleans Saints-Buckeyes of Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, Vonn Bell & Marshon Lattimore played an instrumental role in their 47-10 win over the Buffalo Bills. Thomas caught 9 passes for 117 yards; Ginn only had 1 catch for 3 yards and 5 punt returns for 19 yards. Bell led New Orleans with 6 total tackles and a tackle for loss. Lattimore added 5 solo tackles. The Saints have now won 7 consecutive games after starting the season 0-2. Adolphus Washington had only 1 tackle for the Bills in defeat.

After several appeals and injunctions, Ezekiel Elliott finally began serving his 6-game suspension from the NFL for domestic violence. In his absence his Dallas Cowboys struggled. Rod Smith saw some action in place of Elliott. He carried the ball 3 times for 14 yards and caught 4 passes for 15 yards in the Cowboys 7-27 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Mike Nugent scored one point on an extra point and missed a 38-yard field goal in his third game with Dallas.

Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward of the Steelers helped Pittsburgh to a 20-17 over the Indianapolis Colts. Shazier made 5 total tackles, 2 passes defended and had a key interception at Indianapolis’ 10-yard line that set Pittsburgh up for a game tying touchdown. Heyward made 2 tackles and had 2 hits on the QB to aid in the victory. Jonathan Hankins had 3 tackles and 1 pass batted down in defeat. Linebacker Josh Perry suited up for the Colts, but didn’t register any statistics. John Simon and Malik Hooker missed the game with injuries.

Alex Boone started at left guard for the Arizona Cardinals against the Seattle Seahawks. During player introductions, instead of saying “from THE Ohio State university”, he said “from the LeCharles Bentley O-line academy”, a salute to the 2001 Buckeye consensus All-American center. Nick Vannett caught 2 passes for 22 yards for the Seahawks the 22-16 victory.

Offensive tackle Taylor Decker was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list by the Detroit Lions and made his season debut. He had been sidelined with a shoulder injury he sustained during off-season team workouts.

Center Corey Linsley started for Green Bay in the Packers 23-16 win over the Chicago Bears.

Joey Bosa had 4 tackles and a sack for the Los Angeles Chargers in a 17-20 overtime loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Braxton Miller had 1 rush for 1 yard in the Houston Texans’ 7-33 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Darron Lee collected 4 tackles for the New York Jets in a 15-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Carlos Hyde rushed for 98 yards on 17 carries to help the San Francisco 49ers get their first win of the season 31-21 over the New York Giants. Eli Apple made 2 tackles and Curtis Grant 1 for the Giants in defeat.

Bradley Roby had 2 tackles and Jeff Heuerman gained 4 yards on 1 catch for the Denver Broncos in their 41-16 loss to the New England Patriots. Nate Ebner had one tackles and recovered a muffed punt in the win.

Curtis Samuel, Kurt Coleman and the Carolina Panthers faced the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football in Charlotte. Samuel caught 5 passes for 45 yards before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Coleman had 2 tackles and a pass batted down in the 45-21 win.

Gareon Conley of the Oakland Raiders and Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles were on a Bye this week.

Buckeyes Bounce Back Big Over Sparty

The surprises in the B1G continue. As shocking as the Iowa Hawkeyes win over the Ohio State Buckeyes was, the way OSU manhandled the twelfth ranked Spartans 48-3 was just as shocking.

The Scarlet and Gray played angry, like a team wanting to wipe away the stench of last week’s embarrassing loss. The fashion in which they did it is the reason why last week’s loss was so baffling and frustrating for Buckeye Nation.

Here are my takeaways from the victory.

HELLO, RUNNING GAME!

Woody Hayes would’ve been proud of this performance. Even though they didn’t go to an I-Formation lineup, the Buckeyes played old school football with a heavy dose of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber. The duo that only carried the ball 11 times for 78 yards last week, rushed for 290 yards on 27 carries. Weber gained a career high 162 yards and 2 touchdowns, 161 came in the first half. Dobbins added 128 yards on 6.9 yards per carry. J.T. Barrett also ran for 55 yards with 2 touchdowns.

The 335 total rushing yards on the day is the most ever allowed by a Mark Dantonio coached team. The Ohio State rushing attack gained more yards, 102, in the first quarter than MSU had given up per game this season (87.0).

Coming into this game, the Buckeyes were running the ball 52% of the time versus throwing it 48% of the time. Saturday, 65% of the offensive plays were run calls, 35% passing. With two homerun hitters in the backfield, that’s more like the formula Buckeye Nation would like to see going forward.

SILVER BULLETS FIRE BACK 

Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano’s unit was completely embarrassed and outcoached a week ago. As bad as Barrett’s day was with 4 interceptions, Schiano’s may have been just as bad. This week was a complete 180.

After getting two first downs on the opening drive of the game, the Buckeye D clamped down and forced the Spartans into 4 consecutive 3 & outs with the last ending in a forced fumble and recovery at the MSU 17-yard line. The Silver Bullets only yielded 195 total yards (131 passing; 64 rushing) for an average of 2.8 yards per play. On the day, they collected 6 sacks for -57 yards and 9 tackles for loss for -60 yards, while holding “Sparty” to 4 of 17 on 3rd down.

The secondary picked off two passes, three if you count the one negated by a roughing the passer penalty, and also held MSU’s leading receiver Felton Davis III, who caught 12 passes for 181 yards and a TD last week, to no catches.

Also of note, the 3 points they allowed came after one of Barrett’s two interceptions.

KICK COVERAGE ISSUES SOLVED?

It appears the move to put more playmakers and starters on kickoff coverage is paying off. The Spartans average starting field position on kickoffs was the 22-yard line. Michigan State had -37 net yards per kickoff. Only one of their drives started at the 35-yard line and that came after a penalty when the kickoff went out of bounds.

WELL DISCIPLINED

Speaking of penalties, the Buckeyes are the most flagged team in the conference. For the season they were averaging 77.2 penalty yards per game. Against the Spartans they were penalized only twice for twenty-seven yards. The first didn’t come until three minutes left in the first half when Dre’Mont Jones was flagged for targeting and negated what would’ve been Damon Arnette’s 1st of two interceptions.

OTHER NOTES

Since Urban Meyer took over in 2012, this is the first time one team has won back-to-back games in the series and won at home.

Next up, the home finale and Senior Day against the 2-8 (0-7) Illinois Fighting Illini for the Illibuck trophy. Ohio State hasn’t lost to Illinois since 2007.

Has Buckeye Nation Lost Perspective?

Buckeye Football is fine. Photo Credit: Nike.com

 When the Iowa Hawkeyes drubbed the Buckeyes 55-24, pretty much ending their College Football Playoff hopes, many Ohio State fans threw in their collective towels and called the 2017 season a loss season. But, if the Buckeyes win out, they’ll be B1G Champions for only the second time in Urban Meyer’s tenure. A conference title will land them in either the Fiesta or Orange Bowl. There’s still the very small possibility of a College Football Playoffs birth if chaos occurs. So there is a LOT left to play for.
However, this defeated mindset leaves me ashamed to be an Ohio State fan sometimes. This fan base needs some perspective and I’m here to offer it to you.

As a 37-year old who was born after the Woody Hayes era unceremoniously ended, I missed the golden age he led in Columbus that propelled the Buckeyes to national prominence with 5 National Championships, 13 Big Ten titles and 16 wins over “That Team Up North” in 28 seasons.

My father raised by me on Buckeye football. I listened to him tell stories about the greatness of this program before my birth, yet as I watched as a youngster teams lead by Earle Bruce, I didn’t see it. There were no national titles, but he did win 4 Big Ten titles, 5 bowl games and was 5-4 against the Wolverines. Coach Bruce only had one top 5 finishes (1979) and had eight consecutive seasons of 3 or more losses. This program was no longer on the level of the Notre Dame’s, Nebraska’s, Oklahoma’s, Miami’s and Penn State (pre-B1G affiliation) who dominated NCAA football during that period.

Then there was the Cooper era, the period that hurts and haunts me still. Only 2 wins and a tie in 13 tries against TTUN. 7 bowl losses. 3 Big Ten Titles and No National Championships despite reaching the top 10 in Associated Press Poll 7 times and starting the season in the Top 10 four times.

It wasn’t until I was a 22-year old senior at The Ohio State University that I saw my favorite team play for a national title and win it, led by Jim Tressel, Craig Krenzel and super freshman Maurice Clarett. 22 years it took for me to experience my team win it all. Compare that to a current 22-year old Ohio State fan that has seen the Buckeyes win 2 National titles (2002, 2014), play for another 3, 9 outright/shared B1G titles and 15 wins in “The Game”, which include a current 5-game win streak. I’ll gladly trade my first 22 years of Buckeye football fandom for that of a current 22-year old.

 

These last 15 years especially have spoiled Buckeye Nation and distorted our perspective of how hard it is to truly be great in college football.

The schools that dominated the college football landscape of my youth (Notre Dame, Nebraska, Miami, Georgia, Michigan) and even the turn of this century (Miami again, Texas, USC, Florida and Florida State) have all gone through multiple losing seasons, coaching changes and program derailing scandals. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have been at the top or in the thick of the Championship race. And when there has been a down season, scandal or coaching change (2011), the Scarlet and Gray quickly bounced back (2012; 12-0).

In the last 25 years or so, we’ve never had to hear the phrase “The Buckeyes are back!” like the Miami Hurricanes are hearing this week ahead of their matchup with the Fighting Irish.

So as you watch this 2017 version fight for a B1G Championship in clearly the most challenging Power 5 conference this season, remember the main goals are still obtainable. But more importantly, there are a lot of fans bases that would love to have our “problems.”