Happy Michigan State week, Eleven Warriors readers.
Ohio State is 5-0 and on the move after beating Rutgers, and I’m sure you all know the best part of being 5-0…
Let’s have a good Monday, okay?
Expect. One more quick thing. Check out this monster block from Cade Stover.
Cade Stover is crazy. pic.twitter.com/7ffW7f8OuM
— Cory (@realcorykinnan) October 3, 2022
OK, have a great Monday. Head over to the comments section.
CONSTANT DOMINANCE. When Rutgers became a Big Ten member institution in 2014, then-commissioner Jim Delany cited the Scarlet Knights’ “athletic excellence” as one of his driving factors for adding the school.
Eight years later, the one thing I consider great about Rutgers is their ability to be a doormat for Ohio State every season. According to ESPN, the Buckeyes’ nine straight performances of at least 49 points against the Scarlet Knights represents the longest streak by any team against a single opponent since 1936.
Ohio State has scored 49+ points in nine straight games against Rutgers. It’s the longest streak by any team against a single opponent in the AP polling era (since 1936). pic.twitter.com/GcPt6CYZ5D
— ESPN Stats and Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 1, 2022
Frankly, I don’t see a time in the near or distant future where Rutgers won’t be exactly what it is in the Big Ten right now. The school feels like they don’t belong in the conference, and that becomes clear when Ohio State bullies them as a best-of-five team the Buckeyes would face in the non-conference schedule.
Even Saturday, when many would say Ohio State’s offense — which was without TreVeyon Henderson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba — looked sluggish outside of Miyan Williams, the Buckeyes still won by 39 points. So yeah, maybe Rutgers doesn’t belong, but the Scarlet Knights are there anyway. Have fun with a free win against them for the rest of the time, Buckeye Nation.
FALSE PUNT FIASCO. I can’t talk about Ohio State’s 49-10 win over Rutgers without mentioning the fake Buckeyes punt that went viral on Saturday. Too much happened during and after this play not to mention it.
With just over 10 minutes remaining and Ohio State up 39 points, Jesse Mirco was about to give the ball to Rutgers. Instead, the rugby-style punter saw a lane open up in front of him and took off for a 22-yard gain. Late in the run, Rutgers wide receiver Aaron Cruickshank delivered a late base hit. That’s when all hell broke loose.
To be clear, this was not a designed fake. The Scarlet Knights had eight players on the line of scrimmage and sent home to block the punt. After Ohio State successfully defended the run, Mirco recognized that no one stood between him and the first scorer, so he slipped the ball under his shoulder and ran. That’s how his teammate, Noah Ruggles, sees him, at least.
Rutgers sent the punt block team to overload a side in the 4th quarter down 39! We don’t call fake! The boy saw the open field and put it on turbo. Sorry but my boy will expose you if you let him @Jesse_Mirco29 https://t.co/niyavj4y3B
— Noah Ruggles (@noahruggles) October 2, 2022
After Cruickshank’s hit and the ensuing scrums, Greg Schiano sprinted across the field to take on Ryan Day and break up the fight. The coaches shared a few choice words as things heated up in Columbus.
In his post-match press conference, Day said he had “no hard feelings” for Schiano and added that he had “incredible respect” for the former Buckeye assistant. Whether or not you believe that is up to you, just like what you should think of Mirco’s fake punt.
I won’t go so far as to say Ohio State coaches approved of Mirco’s decision to fake the punt, but he had to do something right to win the teams’ player of the week award. program specials.
For the brand pic.twitter.com/98n3uR016L
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) October 2, 2022
TO FEED. MIYAN. How about Miyan Williams’ performance against Rutgers? The third-year running back had 21 carries for 189 yards and five touchdowns on Saturday. His five scores tied him with Pete Johnson (vs. North Carolina, 1975) and Keith Byars (vs. Illinois, 1984) for Ohio State’s single-game rushing touchdown record.
Miyan Williams. Program recording.pic.twitter.com/tEh5TfXyPq
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 1, 2022
“It’s a blessing to be up there with their names,” Williams said after the game. “They’re legends here, so it’s definitely a blessing.”
Williams is correct that Johnson and Byars are Buckeye legends. Their names are scattered throughout the program’s record books on the football website. Although they aren’t Archie Griffin — who played with Johnson — or Eddie George, both running backs deserve a spot at the table of the greatest running backs in Ohio State history.
Let’s take a look at how these legends performed in their five touchdown games, starting with Johnson’s performance against the Tar Heels:
September 27, 1975: Ohio State 32 – North Carolina 7
Pete Johnson: 26 carries, 148 yards, 5 touchdowns
- 2Q, 3:20 – Johnson’s 2-yard TD run
- 2Q, 0:31 – Johnson’s 5-yard TD run
- 3Q, 8:32 – Johnson’s 1-yard TD run
- 4Q, 13:01 – Johnson’s 2-yard TD run
- 4Q, 8:48 – Johnson’s 3-yard TD run
Fun fact: Griffin rushed 22 for 157 yards in that game and won his second Heisman Trophy at the end of the year.
October 13, 1984: Ohio State 45 – Illinois 38
Keith Byars: 39 carries, 274 yards, 5 touchdowns
- 2Q, 4:13 – Byars 16-yard TD run
- 2Q, 0:23 – Byars 4-yard TD run
- 3Q, 13:40 – Byars 1 Meter TD Run
- 3Q, 8:57 – Byars’ 67-yard TD run
- 4Q, 0:36 – Byars 3-yard TD run
Fun fact: Byars lost his shoe about halfway through his 67-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Despite this, he still got past the Illinois defense and ran to the end zone. As you can imagine, Ohio Stadium has gone crazy.
Williams was right. Johnson and Byars are Ohio State legends, and those two games are just a small part of their stories as Buckeyes. Let Williams’ five-touchdown performance against Rutgers be just a small part of his (perhaps legendary) story here, too.
A WISH GRANTED (KIND OF). If Ohio State’s season ended after the game against Rutgers, Ryan Day would have his preseason expectations of a top-10 defense faced by Jim Knowles and the Silver Bullets.
If the season ended today, Ryan Day would have his wish for a top-10 defense granted.
The Buckeyes rank 10th in total defense for five weeks (263.8 YPG).
OSU also has the 14th-highest scoring defense and 7th-highest passing defense in the nation right now.
— Griffin Strom (@GriffinStrom3) October 2, 2022
The Buckeyes have the No. 10 total defense (263.8 YPG) and No. 14 scoring defense (14.80 PPG) in the nation in five games. Additionally, Ohio State has the No. 7 passing defense (153.4 YPG) in the NCAA this season.
When using conference stats only, Knowles’ unit ranks No. 2 in scoring defense, No. 1 in pass defense and No. 8 in rushing defense in the Big Ten after wins of Ohio State over Wisconsin and Rutgers in the last two games.
The Buckeyes will face a spiraling Michigan State team this weekend, which should only improve their defensive standing nationally and in the Big Ten as the Spartans offense struggled to produce consistently in three straight losses.
Michigan State’s stats on both sides of the ball in five games aren’t good. pic.twitter.com/XYqqJ5FIXO
— Griffin Strom (@GriffinStrom3) October 2, 2022
That said, the Ohio State defense is well on its way to meeting Day’s expectations for a top-10 defense. However, he still has some work to do if he is to meet Knowles’ expectations of a top-five unit. As for Andy Vance, we expected the Buckeye defense to suck 30% less than they did last season, so they’re doing well in his book.
It’s time for Knowles, Tommy Eichenberg, Steele Chambers and the rest of the Buckeyes to get this thing going.
SONG OF THE DAY. “Cigarette Daydreams” by Cage the Elephant.
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