Tag Archives: noah brown

Win Over Sooners a Small Piece of the Bigger Picture for Ohio State

As great as the dismantling of Oklahoma in Norman was for the Buckeyes’ psyche, the win was just a small step towards a bigger goal for Ohio State.

Urban Meyer has had  an amazing run so far in his four-plus years as head coach in Columbus. Yet, the three-time national champion has just one Big Ten Championship.

The Buckeyes were banned from postseason play in Meyer’s first year, but still, Ohio State has allowed gritty Michigan State teams to win the Big Ten two out of the last three seasons, while having arguably a much better roster.

Yes, it was great to see Ohio State flex its muscles against a top-15 opponent on the road, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. The college football season is a marathon, not a sprint.

At the end of the day, it was a good win against a non-conference opponent. Win or loss, it may not have had much effect on the Buckeyes’ playoff chances. That is, if they handle their business during conference play.

Against the Sooners, Ohio State wreaked of a team that had all the pieces to win the College Football Playoff this season.

The offense was clicking. J.T. Barrett did what J.T. Barrett does, getting the ball in the hands of his playmakers with a chance to make a play. On Saturday, plenty of plays were made.

Barrett finished the game 14-20 with 152 yards and four touchdowns through the air, adding 74 yards on the ground.

The real story of the game for the Ohio State offense was Noah Brown, who hauled in each of the four Barrett touchdown passes, one being the catch of the season so far, which I couldn’t go on without showing.

Brown has established himself in the Ohio State offense as a true possession receiver and red zone threat, a much needed aspect of a potent Buckeye attack. Brown currently leads the FBS with five receiving touchdowns through three contests.

Letting the world know he’s no one trick pony, Brown displayed his route-running ability against the Sooners top cover corner, Jordan Thomas, for another Ohio State touchdown.

With the emergence of Brown, to go along with the game-breaking playmaking ability of Curtis Samuel, the Buckeye offense seems to be in good hands at the skill positions.

Samuel continued to show he is one of the most explosive players in the country, flashing his speed on a crucial fourth and one early on in Saturday’s matchup.

Samuel finished with 98 rushing yards and the touchdown shown above, on just 11 carries against the Sooners.

Redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber has also played well, rushing for 123 yards on 18 carries. Weber has tallied 351 yards in his first three games, good for first in the Big Ten.

Weber has yet to receive 20 carries in a game so far this season, and with a heavier workload will come even better production. Weber, (who is averaging 6.5 yards per carry) will surely become a more focal part of the offense as the season wears on and the weather gets cold.

Defense

As for the Ohio State defense, the “Silver Bullets” looked like one of the better defenses the country has to offer. The biggest thing that jumped out on Saturday was the speed of the Ohio State defense.

Safety Malik Hooker and cornerback Marshon Lattimore, (who are tied for the nation-lead in interceptions, with three) both played great games, and the coverage against the Sooners was spectacular.

Along the defensive line, the Buckeyes have four defensive ends that could start for most other schools in the country. When Baker Mayfield made mistakes, he did it under pressure from the Ohio State defensive line.

The combination of  Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, Jayln Holmes, and Nick Bosa provides a rotation at defensive end that keeps players fresh to rush the passer, while the secondary does their part in the back end.

Raekwon McMillan is one the nation’s best middle linebackers, and it showed as he helped stop the Oklahoma rushing attack led by two great backs in Samaje Perine and Joe Mixson.

The insertion of Jerome Baker at the outside linebacker position, in place of the injured Dante Booker, in my opinion, takes the Buckeye defense to the next level.

Baker is extremely fast and athletic, as seen from 68-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the first half. Baker got his opportunity due to the Booker injury, and flashed as one of the best players on the field finishing with seven tackles, 1.5 sacks and the one interception.

Look for Baker to earn the starting spot for good and to be out there making plays for the Ohio State defense for weeks to come.

The Ohio State defense seems to have all the pieces in place to be dominant. That will help them reach the College Football Playoff.

As good as the Buckeyes looked, I’m still not sold they are going to run roughshod through a Big Ten conference that boasts four teams in the top 12 of the AP poll. The Buckeyes face three of those teams in Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Michigan, with two of those contests on the road.

Yes, the win against Oklahoma should make you feel good about this young Buckeye team, but the Buckeyes very well could have lost at Oklahoma and still made the playoff.

The win gave us confidence about what we can expect down the line from this team as they continue to grow and gain experience. So far, the Buckeyes look like one of the four best teams in the country. The Ohio State season will come down to crucial games during conference play.

 

E-mail Derek at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter @D_Woods21.

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College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 3

Welcome back to Campus Pressbox’s weekly College Football Playoff rankings.

Note: any numbers in parenthesis are the team’s ranking from the previous week.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
  2. The Ohio State Buckeyes (3)

The Buckeyes and Crimson Tide had similar, yet both immensely impressive weeks. Both beat a ranked opponent in its own house, and I would say both teams did so in style.

While the Buckeyes’ win, capped off by a so-so catch by Noah Brown, was much larger and flashier than ‘Bama’s, the Tide still showed their excellence and ability to perform in tough match-ups, as it trailed the Ole Miss Rebels by 21 points.  Alabama scored two touchdowns on the defensive side of the ball.  Those, combined with the 21-point comeback, keep it at No. 1 over the equally impressive Buckeyes. Jalen Hurts also continues to improve

Three weeks into the season, I can officially say that for the 2016 CFP race, Alabama and Ohio State are the front runners.

  1. Louisville Cardinals (9)

Unsurprisingly, the biggest mover in this week’s poll is the Louisville Cardinals. The team whom I openly doubted proved me and all the haters wrong by almost literally walking over the Florida State Seminoles. The Cardinals trounced FSU so bad that the Seminoles have completely dropped out of the top 10.

Lamar Jackson, who has been better than possibly anyone ever, is clearly the real deal, and the front-runner for this year’s Heisman Trophy. Louisville still has some ways to go, with games against the two teams ranked immediately below it.

If this weekend taught me anything, though, it’s that the Cardinals are legit, and cold spoil more playoff dreams in thier drive towards the 2016 playoff.

  1. Houston Cougars (4)

Houston stays sitting at No. 4 this week. The Cougars’ win over Cincinnati was impressive, but Houston’s chances of making the playoff have dropped dramatically with the emergence of Louisville.

Houston plays Louisville on November 17, and cannot lose that match-up if the Cougars want any chance at a Group of 5 playoff berth. While UL could, with a potential win over Clemson, lose to Houston and still make its way into the playoff, Houston does not have the privilege of the Cardinals’ schedule.

Houston should spend the next seven weeks of the season preparing solely for this match-up (the Cougars fans clearly have), as it will decide the fate of the Cougars.

  1. Clemson Tigers (6)
  2. Michigan Wolverines (5)

Clemson and Michigan both remain in the middle of the pack as of right now, both following good wins. Clemson forced South Carolina State to take part in a phenomena that’s more common than most think, while the Wolverines invited an obscure alumni to be its honorary captain.

However, both Clemson and Michigan are clear second fiddles, in regards to their conferences, to Louisville and Ohio State, respectively. In order for either team to make it to the playoff, they require a win over said conference opponent.

Whilst Clemson gets to take on Louisville in just a few weeks’ time (at home), the Wolverines must wait until the last day of the regular season and travel to the Horseshoe to try and upset the Buckeyes’ hopes. Without a win in those games, both Clemson’s and Michigan’s playoff chances are little to none.

  1. Stanford Cardinal (8)
  2. Washington Huskies (10)

Stanford, and to a lesser extent Washington, is the most under-the-radar team thus far in terms of playoff rankings. Both have clearly impressed in the season so far. However, both play in the Pac-12 North, meaning that there is no way both can manage to make it to the College Football Playoff.

That being said, the match-up between these two teams, which occurs at the end of the month, will directly determine which, if any, Pac-12 team has the chance to qualify for the College Football Playoff. Washington’s lackluster out of conference games thus far sure doesn’t help them make a case.

If I had to bet, I would put money on Christian McCaffrey and the Cardinal to beat out Washington in the North and have a chance to be playoff qualifiers.

  1. Texas A&M Aggies

Another surprise this year has been the play of the Aggies. A&M, following the win over Auburn, already has two quality wins this year. That, as well as the Aggies’ domination against its FCS opponent, allowed the boys from College Station to make it on to the tail end of this list.

Big games await the Aggies, as three of their next four match-ups are against currently ranked teams, culminating with a game down in Tuscaloosa on October 22. Texas A&M still has a long way to go to warrant a consideration for the playoff, but the first three weeks of the season have helped the Aggies to prove they belong in the top-tier of college football.

  1. Michigan State Spartans AND Wisconsin Badgers (7)

Before anyone asks, yes, this is 100 percent cheating on my part. However, I have very good reason to include two teams at the final spot on this week’s list. Both the Spartans and the Badgers have convincing wins over ranked opponents, but they both also struggled vs. FCS opponents. There is honestly no way to separate the two so far this season, so that is why they are sharing this spot.

Both are long-shots at the playoff, as the Buckeyes and the Wolverines lead the Big Ten charge. However, if either MSU or UW get its act together, there is a chance that team could spoil someone’s dreams and sneak into the playoff. These teams both have very interesting match-up this week.

Drop Outs & Honorable Mentions

Florida State, following what has to be one of the worst losses for a top five team in college football history, drops out of the top ten, and most likely out of the CFP race.

Georgia is the only other team that was considered for this week’s rankings, but was ultimately left off.

 

E-mail Cooper at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.
Image Courtesy of University of Louisville Cardinal Marching Band – Flickr
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Get Out of Urban Meyer, Ohio State’s Way

The Ohio State Buckeyes showed the entire country that talent outweighs experience. Prior to the Oklahoma game, it was difficult to envision how Ohio State would perform in their first challenge of the season, with so many young players. For the majority of the starters, it was their first true road game. The Palace on the Prairie in Norman, Oklahoma is not the ideal setting to get your feet wet in a road environment. It is regarded as one of the top-five toughest places to play in college football.

The Buckeyes turned it into their own backyard for one reason. They simply have more talent than Oklahoma, specifically on a defense that isn’t so “basic” after all. Of course, I should also mention that Ohio State has wide receiver Noah Brown, who hauled in four touchdown passes from quarterback J.T. Barrett, and Oklahoma does not.

Talk about making a national statement in primetime. The Buckeyes are arguably the best team in the country, following a win of this magnitude, in such impressive fashion. Ohio State moved up one spot to No. 2 in the latest AP Top 25 rankings and shouldn’t take a backseat to teams like Alabama or Louisville.

With the victory over the Sooners, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer improved to 19-0 in true road games with the Buckeyes. There are two things that are just not supposed to happen in college football. You don’t win every away game you play and you don’t travel to Oklahoma and punk them in their own yard. Well, Ohio State and coach Meyer have managed to complete both tasks.

Getting back to Brown, was his third touchdown reception in the back corner of the endzone just before halftime not one of the best catches you’ve ever seen at any level of football? The man blindly pinned the football with one hand on the defenders back while managing to get not one, but two feet in-bounds. Brown earned a well-deserved Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award with his four touchdown receptions and should receive ESPY consideration for possibly making the catch of the year.

Through three games, the Silver Bullets tied a school record with their fourth interception returned for a touchdown in a season, courtesy of linebacker Jerome Baker’s first quarter pick-six. Not bad for a basic defense.

What does the Oklahoma victory mean going forward? It means Meyer and the Buckeyes are steamrolling like a downhill train into the Big Ten schedule and will be huge favorites for the remainder of the regular season, and potentially beyond. Ohio State enters the bye week feeling great about its playoff chances, but we all know they have accomplished nothing should they slip up when conference play begins.

Prior to their annual showdown with Michigan, the Buckeyes aren’t in the clear just yet. There are still some potential roadblocks with road games at Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State. However, with Meyer 19-0 on the road and the Buckeyes’ pummeling of the Sooners in Norman, should we be scared? While these games will still require a pinpoint focus to come out victorious, the Buckeyes now possess the confidence and dare I say, the experience, to play with a “been there and done that” mentality.

Not only was the Oklahoma game a coming-out party for Brown and all of the young Buckeye players, it was a reminder that a rebuild or an adjustment period is just not the Ohio State way, especially under Meyer.

Without question, the fact that Ohio State is playing with 16 new starters has provided significant motivation for the Buckeyes through the first three games of the season. Just like in 2014, when Ohio State captured a national championship a year ahead of schedule, this group proved on Saturday night that it has a legitimate chance to accomplish the same feat.

The current state of Ohio State football is a machine that you don’t want to cross paths with. It’s a pretty basic observation for anyone who watched the Buckeyes’ domination of the Sooners. Just ask Oklahoma’s backup quarterback.

 

E-mail Mark at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @msilverman25.

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Who Will Step Up for New-Look Buckeyes?

With Ohio State football camp already underway, it’s only a matter of weeks before the Buckeyes begin to show whether or not talent trumps inexperience.

Ohio State is ranked No. 5 in the 2016 USA Today Amway Coaches Poll and as we all know, it’s not due to experience. Some might say Ohio State is the most overrated team in the field. With the Buckeyes only returning six starters from 2015, they are arguably the least experienced team in the land.

We can thank the return of junior quarterback J.T. Barrett for the early-season respect. It’s going to take more than Barrett and five additional returning starters to land a Big Ten conference championship and a spot in the playoff conversation. Who will step up and become possibly the next great thing in this group of “baby” Buckeyes?

Let’s face it, the loss of running back Ezekiel Elliott is a devastating blow to the backfield. Can redshirt freshman Mike Weber and true freshman Antonio Williams emerge as viable replacements? They certainly possess enough talent and hype. Ultimately, both should receive a plethora of opportunities. Expect Weber to earn the bulk of the workload, especially in the early going.

It would be foolish to expect Weber or Williams to replicate the production of Elliott. The fact remains that Elliott was one of the most accomplished running backs in the history of the program and was arguably the best combination of running, blocking and pass-catching Ohio State has ever seen.

History says that it will take some time for a running back like Weber or Williams to make their mark. Other than Maurice Clarett in 2002, who compiled 1237 yards and 18 touchdowns, the highest rushing total in the modern era by an Ohio State freshman running back was 576 yards by Beanie Wells in 2006.

As far as the receiving core is concerned, I think Noah Brown should emerge as a go-to receiver and return to the form he reached prior to breaking his leg, which forced him to miss the entire 2015 season. Sophomore Parris Campbell had issues with drops during his freshman campaign, yet has a great chance to play a prominent role in the passing game opposite Brown. H-back Curtis Samuel has been impressive since he stepped foot in Columbus and should find himself in an even bigger role, both on the ground and through the air.

However, with that said, this is going to finally be the year for senior Dontre Wilson. It was four years ago that we heard about this sensational freshman talent, a speedster who decommitted from Oregon to join coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State. We’ve seen flashes from Wilson but never the total package and I believe his talent will come to the forefront in 2016.

From a defensive standpoint, there will also be plenty of new faces. We know Raekwon McMillan will be a stud manning the middle linebacker spot for the Buckeyes in what most likely will be his final season before the junior turns pro. That is just my hunch.

Junior Tyquan Lewis is back on the defensive line after leading Ohio State in sacks last season.  Gareon Conley returns at cornerback but other than that, we don’t know what to expect from the revamped silver bullets. Sam Hubbard should help Lewis wreak havoc on the defensive front. The sophomore was named a freshman All-American in 2015.

The much anticipated arrival of freshman defensive end Nick Bosa has finally come. You can bet that the little brother of former Buckeye Joey Bosa will see action sooner rather than later.

Meyer has labeled the 2016 season as “The Edge.” After “The Chase” and “The Grind” in 2014 and 2015, the new-look Buckeyes have their own chapter to write.

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2016 Buckeyes Comparable to 2004 Team?

It has been well-documented that Ohio State will have plenty of shoes to fill when the 2016 season gets underway against Bowling Green in September. After all, the Buckeyes did just have 12 players drafted and set an NFL Draft record with 10 players being selected in the first three rounds. With so much talent removed heading into 2016, are the Buckeyes destined for a season that would be comparable to the one we witnessed in 2004?

The 2004 NFL Draft resulted in 14 former Ohio State players being drafted, the bulk of the 2002 national championship team. The 2004 team produced a mediocre season for Ohio State standards. However, it was the coming-out party for former players like quarterback Troy Smith and receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Santonio Holmes.

That team finished 8-4, including an upset victory over a top-10 Michigan team and a thrashing of Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl. It’s a good bet that we will see other future superstars begin to develop with players like freshman running back Mike Weber or sophomore receiver Noah Brown, but there is one huge difference when comparing the two teams.

Ohio State has plenty of talent and experience returning at the quarterback position with J.T. Barrett. Even with the consistent top-five recruiting classes coach Urban Meyer seems to rake in on a yearly basis, this year’s group could easily be a four-loss team without the services of Barrett. In 2004, it was highly-touted quarterback Justin Zwick, who took over under center following the departure of Buckeye legend Craig Krenzel. I can still remember the “Help is on the Way” headline in the Columbus Dispatch when Zwick was recruited during the infamous Steve Bellisari era. Obviously, Zwick failed to live up to the hype, which paved the way for Smith late in the 2004 season.

I still don’t believe the Big Ten Conference, as a whole, is at the level it was 12 to 15 years ago. That, basically, doesn’t allow the Buckeyes to have a four-loss season with the talent they possess. If we break down the 2016 schedule, Ohio State has five potential games that aren’t what I would call “blood bank guarantees.”

These include road contests at Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State. And, of course, there is Michigan at the end of the season. Sure, if Meyer suddenly forgets how to coach in big games, none of the young talent develops, injuries stockpile and the Buckeyes aren’t fortunate enough to catch one break in any of these games, this team could technically go 7-5. That sure as hell isn’t going to happen. Realistically, the Buckeyes probably lose two of the five. Depending on if one of those losses comes at Oklahoma, Ohio State would still have a decent shot at competing for the Big Ten title and furthermore, a second college football playoff appearance.

Out of their four losses in 2004, Ohio State actually lost three consecutive games  to open conference play, including a 33-7 blowout defeat at Iowa.

We shouldn’t see anything close to that with these Buckeyes. However, one thing we should see from Ohio State in 2016 that was evident in 2004 is playing a dominant brand of football at season’s end. The 2004 team outscored Michigan and Oklahoma State 70-28 in its final two games and that was even with Smith suspended for the Alamo Bowl. We already know what we are going to get from a Meyer-coached team late in the season. Don’t think that this season is going to resemble a rebuilding project like the 2004 campaign did. A “rebuild” is not in Meyer’s vocabulary. The last time Meyer lost a plethora of talent to the NFL, prior to the 2010 season, the three-time national championship coach experienced health problems and an early resignation from Florida. I don’t anticipate anything like that happening, either.

The scarlet and gray may look a lot different this fall but the on-field performance in 2016 should be just another Saturday at the office.

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