Today’s piece of the 100 Days to Football countdown is even more Ohio State-centric than normal, so I’m going to apologize in advance.
Actually, I should probably apologize instead for yet another day of this countdown being Purdue-centric. This was never our intention. This is the third day in a row that Tom and I have spent time talking about the Boilermakers. We might need an intervention.
Don’t worry. We’ll eventually get away from Purdue and start talking more about Illinois.
We are now just 90 days away from football*, and as spring settles in a little bit more every day, it’ll start feeling like waiting-for-football weather.
Until then, however, feel free to wait it out with us, and don’t forget to check out yesterday’s installment if you haven’t yet.
So please join us as we continue our countdown of the 100 greatest Buckeyes of The Ozone era (1996-present).
We will also preview one of the 100 most exciting games on this fall’s college football schedule, and one of the 100 things we’re most looking forward to this fall.
Plus, we’ll preview one of this season’s 100 biggest personnel matchups.
Greatest Buckeyes Of The Ozone Era
#90 Jamar Martin, FB 1998-2001
They don’t make fullbacks like Jamar Martin at Ohio State anymore. To be fair, they don’t make fullbacks at Ohio State anymore.
Jamar Martin came to OSU in 1998 from Canton McKinley. When he arrived, he didn’t need a neck roll as part of his uniform because he already had one that was naturally occurring.
Martin only carried the ball 61 times for 226 yards in his Buckeye career, but that doesn’t even speak to a fraction of the rushing yards that he caused in his four seasons.
Martin should have worn an orange barrel instead of an Ohio State uniform because he was responsible for more paved roadways than ODOT.
Best Games This Fall
#90 Ohio State at Purdue
Ohio State’s trip to Purdue is sandwiched between their other two Big Ten West games this year. The Buckeyes host Minnesota the week prior to the Purdue game. The week after Purdue, OSU has a bye week. Then after the bye week, Nebraska comes to town to shake down the thunder on Urban Meyer.
As Tom pointed out a couple of days ago, it’s time to start taking Purdue seriously. At least a little. Maybe more like a tornado watch than a tornado warning. Eventually they are going to beat somebody they shouldn’t, so the Buckeyes will need to be on the lookout.
Ohio State is 3-4 at Purdue since 2000, though under Urban Meyer they are 1-0 with a 56-0 win in 2013. This is not that Purdue program, however. This is a new Purdue, as evidenced by their total and abundant lack of Darrell Hazell.
If there are trap games on the Buckeyes’ schedule this season, this might be one of them. It’s not a great trap. Kind of like a box trap, maybe, and Jeff Brohm isn’t exactly doing a great job of hiding around the corner holding the string.
What We Can’t Wait To See
#90 UCF’s Year of Championship Reigning
If you ever want to have a good time, find an Alabama fan near you and ask them if they saw UCF unveiling their 2017 National Championship sign at their stadium, or if they’ve seen their championship rings.
Then just sit back and be prepared to have your face hurt from the widest smile you’ve ever had.
Alabama — and SEC — fans can’t handle UCF’s lack of subservience. It’s a personal affront to everything they stand for, and that’s why I am looking forward to an entire 2018 season where the Knights gleefully and unapologetically twist the sword down to the bone.
Matchup To Watch
#90 Josh Metellus, MICH SAF vs. Terry McLaurin
Terry McLaurin could very well be Ohio State’s top downfield threat this season. Yes, they need him to be more consistent than he was a year ago, but there is no doubting his deep speed.
Regardless of whether it is Joe Burrow or Dwayne Haskins at quarterback for the Buckeyes, they are going to look down the field more than J.T. Barrett did. McLaurin will be one of the targets they zero in on most.
Josh Metellus is a safety who has a ton of range for the Wolverines, but it doesn’t always allow him to make up for his mistakes. Last year, he showed a penchant for letting receivers get behind him. If he does the same against Ohio State, Terry McLaurin could make him pay.
Or maybe in his second year as a starter, Metellus will have put everything together and he will become the safety that so many used to pretend Jabrill Peppers was.