Ohio State Buckeyes: Football

Underclassmen shine at IMG event 

June, 24, 2014
BRADENTON, Fla. -- There were more than 30 prospects ranked in the ESPN 300 in attendance at the IMG National Championship at IMG Academy over the weekend. With so much talent on hand, it would be easy to overlook some of the underclassmen who stood out over the course of the two-day event. Here is a list of several younger players who did enough with their performances to stand out.

South Florida is arguably the most fertile area in the country for recruiting, and college football coaches annually flock to the talent-rich area to try to land a small piece of a very large pie. The large area located south of Lake Okeechobee that includes the football hotbeds of Broward, Palm Beach and Dade counties has produced 45 ESPN 300 members in the last two recruiting cycles and almost half (22) signed with out-of-state schools.

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Lunchtime links

February, 4, 2014
T-19 hours until fax machines have a purpose again.

Lunchtime links

January, 21, 2014
Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, it's bobsled time.

Big Ten Monday chat wrap

January, 13, 2014
We started off this week with a great Big Ten chat. With spring football just around the corner (well, not really, but here's to hoping the next few weeks fly by) there were quite a few questions about what to expect in the upcoming months and the 2014 season.

If you missed it you can check out the full transcript.

Here are a few highlights ...

DP (Minnesota): What have you heard about Jeff Jones' recruitment? Do the Wolverines have a chance to flip him or will he stay here with my beloved Gophers?

Chantel Jennings: He had a huge showing at the Under Armour All America game which boosted his recruiting stock and bigger names have been contacting Jones. I think there's a chance the Gophers could lose him, but if he stays, it would be possibly the biggest commitment during the Kill era. A local talent like that can urge other local talents to stay in state. I'm not saying it would be some huge trend, but even a coup here or there could make the difference for the Gophers over the next few seasons.

Brian (Portland, Oregon): The B1G East is going to be brutal. Give us your early predictions for the top 3 next year?

Chantel Jennings: So true, Brian. I'd say MSU and OSU are definitely there and the third spot is a toss up between Penn State and Michigan. I might give the edge to the Wolverines here because they have a few more offensive weapons returning than the Nittany Lions (assuming that those weapons play up to their potential). But Franklin comes in with a lot of confidence in this group and Hackenberg is such a talented QB. The Oct. 11 match up between those two teams will definitely be one to watch.

Trey (Huntsville): What are some OOC matchups you're most looking forward to in 2014?

Chantel Jennings: Aug 30: PSU/UCF (in Ireland), NU vs. Cal, Michigan vs. App State, Wisconsin vs. LSU. Sept 6: MSU @ Oregon is one I'm definitely looking forward to. Sept 13 has Minnesota at TCU which will be an excellent road test. Sept 27 is Wisco vs. USF, another good one.

Bob (Dayton): Chances of Braxton Miller improving enough to be in the Heisman race?

Chantel Jennings: He made huge jumps from 2012 to 2013. His completion percentage went from 58 to 64. In 2012 he threw 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. In 2013 that improved to 24 TDs and seven interceptions. I don't see why he won't make major strides again in this off season. However, he'll have quite the competitor down in the state of Florida for that Heisman race.

Aaron (WI): Are the Badgers consistently overrated? I am a big WI fan but they always seem to be ranked in the top 15. Seems like they always just put up numbers against weaker B10 Teams but EVERY time they play a decent team way from Camp they lose.

Chantel Jennings: Road wins are hard for sure. And Wisconsin didn't exactly rock in that category this season (bowl against SC, @ Penn State, @ OSU) nor were the Badgers stellar in that category last season (Rose Bowl vs. Stanford, @ PSU, @ Nebraska, @ Oregon State). But for the most part, they're not getting completely run into the field in those games. They're competitive on the road which is a good sign. And I think next season, with a few major pieces returning, they'll have an experience factor that helps. And they'll have the opportunity to prove that. Look no further than the season opener.

Thanks for those who stopped by. Hope your new years are off to great starts.

Big Ten lunchtime links

January, 7, 2014
Seriously though, give the guy back his cat.

Lunchtime links

December, 17, 2013
If you're not rapping while wearing striped pajamas in your holiday card/video, you need to get on this family's level.

2015 ATH Gibson has three standing out 

December, 13, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. -- ESPN Junior 300 athlete Torrance Gibson (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) will be one of the most heavily recruited players in the country next year -- and it was easy to see why in American Heritage's 66-8 win over Clay HS in the FHSAA class 5A state championship game on Friday afternoon.

Gibson rushed for 154 yards on 14 carries, including a 78 yard touchdown run on the first offensive play for American Heritage.

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Big Ten lunchtime links

December, 10, 2013
Paper. Snow. A GHOST!

Big Ten lunchtime links

December, 5, 2013
Perhaps we could have a Big Ten-ACC Challenge in the title game? At least that one couldn't end in a tie.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- What a game.

The saying goes that records and statistics can go out the window when Michigan and Ohio State get together at the end of November. But coming into this matchup with No. 3 Ohio State on a roll and Michigan skidding faster and faster on a downward slope, it seemed the cliche wouldn’t hold true. However, The Game lived up to its history and the Buckeyes won 42-41 in the teams' 110th meeting.

It was over when: Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell picked off Devin Gardner at the goal line on the Wolverines’ two-point conversion with 32 seconds remaining. The completion could have given the Michigan the victory and stopped Ohio State's perfect season, but Powell’s play sealed it for the Buckeyes (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten).

Game ball goes to: The Ohio State ground game. The Buckeyes rushed for 395 yards, breaking a team record for rushing yards against Michigan of 312 yards, set in 1961. The Wolverines just didn’t have an answer for Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde. Miller rushed for three touchdowns and 153 yards on 16 carries (9.6 yards per carry) and Hyde rushed for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown and 226 yards on 27 carries (8.4 yards per carry).

Honorable mention goes to Gardner, who, despite being on the wrong side of the scoreboard, put together one heck of a game. He led the Wolverines from being down two touchdowns to start the fourth quarter and an impressive two-minute drill at the end of the game that could have brought Michigan (7-5, 3-5) a stunning upset.

Stat of the game: 1,129 total yards. Numbers don't always tell the whole story, but between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines, there was plenty of offense in a game that will be worth rewatching for years to come. It was exciting, emotional and full of big plays and momentum shifts.

Unsung heroes of the game: The Ohio State offensive line. With a run game that amasses 395 yards, clearly some big guys are doing the work to make those holes for Hyde and Miller. Even without starting offensive guard Marcus Hall, who was ejected after a first-half brawl, the Buckeyes didn’t miss a beat and handled Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s blitzes well all game, only allowing two sacks.

What it means: The Big Ten will look at the first-half scuffle, and because of it Ohio State could go into next weekend’s Big Ten title game against Michigan State without Hall or backup H-back and return specialist Dontre Wilson. The Buckeyes were still effective in the running game and Pat Elflein stepped in well for Hall. For Michigan, despite the loss, the game gives the Wolverines a bit of a boost of momentum and energy. They finished the regular season losing five of their final seven games, but they definitely peaked (and peaked much higher than anyone anticipated) in their biggest game of the regular season. It’s definitely something to build on as the Wolverines get ready for a bowl game.

Michigan-Ohio State roundtable

November, 29, 2013
Thanksgiving has come and gone which means one thing for many homes in the Midwest: Michigan-Ohio State is here.

Michigan reporter Chantel Jennings and Ohio State reporter Austin Ward got together to discuss a few key topics surrounding The Game this season.

1. Ohio State enters as a heavy favorite. What would need to happen in order for the Wolverines to pull off the upset?

[+] EnlargeMike Kwiatkowski, Ryan Shazier
Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesOhio State linebacker Ryan Shazier figures to wreak havoc on a questionable Michigan offensive line.
Austin Ward: The turnover bug would have to bite the Buckeyes a lot of times, and typically they do a pretty good job swatting it away. Braxton Miller had some issues handling the football at Northwestern and was on the brink at one point of getting pulled in favor of Kenny Guiton with the game potentially slipping away from Ohio State, but since then, mistakes with the football have been few and far between. As long as the Buckeyes aren’t giving away free possessions, they’re probably going to be putting up a lot of points with the third-ranked scoring attack in the nation, and keeping pace will be a real chore for the Wolverines.

Chantel Jennings: The Wolverines have struggled to get 11 guys on the same page on every single play this season and they would not only have to have each guy on the same page but each guy would have to play up to his utmost potential on the same play. But even on top of that, the Buckeyes would have to have some guys underachieve or, like Austin said, have struggles with turnovers. Michigan hasn’t had each guy play up to his potential. And Ohio State hasn’t struggled with turnovers. So the chances of the stars aligning like that seem pretty unlikely.

2. What's the mismatch to keep an eye out for?

Jennings: The Ohio State defensive line matched up against Michigan’s offensive front. The Wolverines have struggled to figure out which five belong on the field and the starting group that’s going up against the depth and talent of OSU’s D-line will be in only its second start as a full line this season. Specifically, the interior linemen, Erik Magnuson, Graham Glasgow and Kyle Kalis, against Ohio State’s tackles, Michael Bennett and Joel Hale, will be one of the biggest mismatches of the weekend.

Ward: Ryan Shazier has surely been licking his chops since he popped in tape of Michigan for the first time. The Ohio State linebacker has been unchained as a blitzer lately, and he has made life a nightmare for opposing offensive lines for the last month, making 11.5 of his Big Ten-leading 19.5 tackles for loss in the last four games. With the Wolverines struggling mightily to block anybody and giving up more tackles in the backfield than any team in the nation, Shazier is the last person they would want to see line up across from them.

3. What matchup will be the tightest?

Ward: Only four teams in the country have been more effective rushing the football this season than the Buckeyes, but if there’s one thing Michigan has been able to count on, it’s been a stout defense against the run. The Wolverines might well stack the box and try to force Miller to throw to beat them, a formula that worked for some defenses a year ago. But with a veteran offensive line with four senior starters and a dynamic combination in the backfield with Carlos Hyde partnering with Miller to run the spread option, nobody has really had an answer for Ohio State on the ground. Ranked No. 14 in the country defending the rush, perhaps the Wolverines will have a shot at making the Buckeyes try something else offensively.

Jennings: I’m with Austin on this one. I think Jake Ryan is due for a big game and if the Wolverines bring a lot of pressure and he plays up to his potential (as well as the other linebackers, who Brady Hoke said would return this weekend), then the Wolverines could produce a relatively solid defense against the running attack. Now, we’re talking about Hyde, who’s the best in the Big Ten, but I think Greg Mattison will have his defense coming in guns blazing, so we’ll see how this plays out.

4. What does a win do for the team you cover?

Jennings: Make no mistake, even if Michigan beats Ohio State on Saturday, Hoke will still call this season a failure because the Wolverines didn’t win the Big Ten title. However, a win over the Buckeyes would be a huge momentum and morale boost for the Wolverines and their fan base. And when it comes to bowl selection, a win over Ohio State and the fact the Wolverines would be riding that emotion definitely would make them a more attractive team (as opposed to a team that could head into the bowl selection process losing five of its last seven).

Ward: The stakes are already high for the Buckeyes every week considering the BCS implications as they currently sit third in the standings, waiting or hoping for Alabama or Florida State to slip up. Ohio State also has a second consecutive perfect regular season on the line, which gives them plenty to play for even before the rivalry is factored into the equation. But winning gold pants and establishing bragging rights remains as important to the Buckeyes as it always has been, with Urban Meyer going so far as to cover up the rest of the schedule in the team room this week to highlight the fact it’s a one-game season for his team. The postseason awaits, and Ohio State will play twice more. But beating “That Team Up North” has superseded even talk about the BCS or Big Ten title for the Buckeyes this week.

Big Ten lunch links

November, 19, 2013
How quickly it changed from cider to cocoa season.

Big Ten helmet stickers: Week 12

November, 17, 2013
Recognizing the best and the brightest around the Big Ten in week 12 …

Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said that Hyde made the difference for the Buckeyes in a 60-35 win. The senior rushed for four touchdowns and 246 yards on 24 carries and tallied another receiving touchdown (he had two catches totaling 26 yards). It was Hyde’s first 200-yard game of the season and more than double his previous season average of 117 yards per game.

Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons and holder Drew Dileo. Down three points with under 10 seconds remaining in regulation, the Michigan offense was sprinting off the field, the kicking team sprinting on the field and Dileo was sliding in to this holding position for Gibbons (yes, literally, sliding). Gibbons nailed a 44-yard field goal to send the game in to overtime, which the Wolverines eventually won after triple OT.

Wisconsin running backs. The Badgers accounted for 554 rushing yards against Indiana. James White (205 yards, 1 touchdown), Melvin Gordon (146 yards, 1 touchdown) and Corey Clement (108 yards, 2 touchdowns) became Wisconsin's third 100-yard rushing trio this season. Wisconsin tallied seven runs of 30 yards or more and White recorded a 93-yard touchdown run which set a program record for the longest run. The Badgers' 554 rush yards are the most by an FBS team this season.

Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah. The Big Ten’s leading rusher had his seventh 100-yard game of the season (bringing his rushing total this season to 1,213) and he became the first running back to rush for more than 100 yards against the Spartans defense. He accounted for 123 yards on 22 carries and his one TD of the day was a 12-yard receiving touchdown (his only catch of the day). MSU came into the match up giving up just 43 rushing yards per game -- which Abdullah tripled.

Illinois DB V'Angelo Bentley. Coming into this weekend the Buckeyes had allowed just 1.5 yards per punt return and haven’t allowed any kind of a return on 92 percent of their punts. But with the Illini down 28-0 on Saturday Bentley managed to get past more than half of Ohio State’s punt coverage team and go 67 yards to the end zone. Not only did he become the first player to have success against this group, he also gave Illinois its first sign of life against the Buckeyes.

Honorable mention: Michigan State kicker Mike Sadler. With a six-point lead in the fourth quarter and the Spartans faced with a fourth-and-1 on the Cornhuskers 27 yard line, Mark Dantonio called for a fake field goal play. Sadler was supposed to go right, but the formation wasn’t quite what MSU expected, so instead of checking out of it and going for a field goal he rushed for three yards up the middle and a first down, setting up an MSU score.

Big Ten lunchtime links

November, 15, 2013
TGIF. I just wish the TV version still existed.


Did Ohio State Cheap Out On Championship Rings?
ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell discusses Ohio State's decision to spend less than the maximum allowed on rings for its players.