Fab Five: Ryan Shazier breaks out again
November, 8, 2012
By Austin Ward | ESPN.com
Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesRyan Shazier's 13 tackles in Ohio State's Sept. 15 victory over California were a big reason that the Buckeyes were able to evade the upset.COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Counting down the five most impressive statistical performances so far this season for Ohio State as it heads into a bye week before trying to close out a perfect season against Wisconsin and Michigan.
No. 2: Ryan Shazier
- When: Sept. 15 against California
- What: There certainly wasn't anything missing from the first two games of his sophomore season, but it was the third that offered the most clear example of what Shazier was capable of -- or, at least provide a reminder of his playmaking barrage at the end of his freshman season. The Buckeyes were far from perfect defensively in the win over Cal, but Shazier's 13 tackles, 2 takedowns for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble helped the Buckeyes do enough to survive and foreshadowed what was still to come.
- Impact: The big plays Ohio State gave up perhaps added more drama than was necessary and made the final score closer than it needed to be, but the defense also chipped in a couple significant plays along the way. Shazier, in particular, stuffed a Cal drive just before halftime that could have tightened up a two-score game by shooting into the backfield for a third-down sack that forced a punt, preserving Ohio State's advantage.
- How: There might still be room for improvement on the mental side, but physically Shazier has been more than capable of making up for it with an incredible blend of strength and speed to complement a relentless motor that allows him to make plays anywhere between the sidelines. At times he's also had to shoulder more of the load than expected with senior Etienne Sabino out with a broken bone in his leg, middle linebacker Storm Klein dealing with a back injury and a lack of depth that prompted Ohio State to convert fullback Zach Boren over to linebacker. But Shazier has done everything that's been asked of him, and has a stuffed stats sheet to show for it.
- For the season: 98 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 11 passes defended, 4 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries, 2 forced fumbles and a touchdown
- He said it: “He's an athlete and he's very blessed, he runs around and makes tackles, but he's also out of position at times. ... There's still so much more there. He can even be better." -- Urban Meyer
Players Provide Playoff Picks
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
11:00 AM ET Nevada Louisiana-Lafayette 2:20 PM ET Utah State UTEP 3:30 PM ET 22 Utah Colorado State 5:45 PM ET Western Michigan Air Force 9:15 PM ET South Alabama Bowling Green
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State