Monday, November 19, 2012
Ohio State 10: Week 11 power rankings
By Austin Ward
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maybe Ryan Shazier is running out of time to take over the top spot in the power rankings.
But the Ohio State sophomore is building a pretty strong case as the best defensive player in the Big Ten -- and he's also starting to give Braxton Miller a run for his money.
Shazier delivered another highlight-reel play that won't be forgotten by the Buckeyes for a long time, even if it ultimately didn't end up going down as a game-winner after he punched the ball loose from Wisconsin tailback Montee Ball at the goal line in the fourth quarter of the 21-14 overtime win on Saturday. And while that resume still leaves him a spot behind Miller in the latest edition of the Ohio State 10, he might be No. 1 in a different poll soon if he keeps up his torrid pace for one more week.
No. 1: QB Braxton Miller
Last week: No. 1
Against Wisconsin: The sophomore clearly didn’t have his best stuff and was effectively bottled up by the Badgers' sound game plan, but that doesn’t diminish his value for the Buckeyes through the season. And what Miller might have lacked on the stats sheet over the weekend, he more than made up for by keeping his record as the starting quarterback perfect this season.
Season totals: 207 carries for 1,214 yards and 13 touchdowns; 134-for-236 for 1,850 passing yards with 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions
No. 2: LB Ryan Shazier
Last week: No. 2
Against Wisconsin: The top spot in the rankings has been secure for weeks, but the playmaking sophomore has been steadily chipping away and earned serious consideration as a potential team MVP with his diverse contributions. Perhaps it might come down to Nos. 1 and 1A, because as Shazier proved with his clutch forced fumble at the goal line to help preserve the perfect record, he’s just as important to the defense as Miller is to the offense.
Season totals: 110 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 12 passes defended, 4 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries, 3 forced fumbles and a touchdown
Against Wisconsin: Another team had no real answer for the questions Hyde’s blend of size and speed pose for a defense, as he bullied his way to 5.8 yards per carry and tacked on two more touchdowns. The only thing that slowed the running back down was the play calling by Ohio State, and he will surely get more than 15 carries next week against Michigan in the bid for perfection.
Season totals: 159 carries for 824 yards and 15 touchdowns; 7 receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown
Against Wisconsin: After spending most of the season seemingly needing to settle for pressures or forcing bad decisions with sacks just out of reach, Simon delivered the type of unforgettable outing that was expected to be more common in his senior season. The Badgers were constantly harassed by the defensive end, and his four sacks shot Simon up to the top of the Big Ten leader board.
Season totals: 44 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks, 4 passes defended, 2 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble
Against Wisconsin: The confident sophomore didn’t quite get the double-digit tackle performance he was expecting, and he didn’t add to his interception total for the season. But Roby did come up with one more impressive pass breakup, flying across the field and apparently using his helmet to rob the Badgers of a sure touchdown -- complementing his 7 tackles.
Season totals: 55 tackles, 19 passes defended, 2 tackles for a loss, a sack, a fumble recovery, a blocked kick and 3 touchdowns
Against Wisconsin: There might be other players with enough speed to take advantage of the blocking Brown had in front of him on his electrifying punt return for a touchdown, but that shouldn’t take away from the execution the junior provided as he waited for the opening and made the necessary moves to break loose for 68 game-changing yards. He’s looking more and more comfortable with the football every week.
Season totals: 52 catches for 574 yards and 2 touchdowns; 10 carries for 75 for a touchdown; 14 punt returns for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns
Against Wisconsin: The stats sheet again made it difficult to gauge the impact the defensive tackle had in the middle, and Ohio State didn’t have its finest overall performance against the rush. But the numbers might have looked much worse against Wisconsin’s Montee Ball if not for Hankins occupying blockers at tackle and allowing the linebackers chances to run him down.
Season totals: 52 tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, a blocked kick and a sack
Against Wisconsin: With senior Etienne Sabino returning from injury and some health problems in the backfield, the Buckeyes might have been tempted to think about getting Boren some work on offense again. But the senior left little doubt that he’s a defender now as he racked up 12 tackles and forced a fumble in the hard-fought road victory.
Season totals: 41 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss; 11 carries for 33 yards and 2 touchdowns; 5 receptions for 42 yards
No. 9: FS Christian Bryant
Last week: Not ranked
Against Wisconsin: The junior has gone about his business as a steady contributor in the secondary somewhat quietly, but he’s second on the team in tackles and showed up at just the right times against the Badgers. Bryant made a heads-up play to grab the loose fumble at the goal line, and he also made a nice pass breakup to go with his five tackles.
Season totals: 66 tackles, 11 passes defended, an interception, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and 0.5 tackles for a loss
Against Wisconsin: There are still times where Williams looks to be playing through plenty of pain, and he briefly had to leave the game against the Badgers. But it's going to take something pretty serious to keep the veteran off the field at this point, and he again left everything he had on the field and made an impact on the edge for a defensive line that needs him on the field.
Season totals: 39 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 4 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a pass defended