74 Days To Football*

74 Days to Ohio State Football Buckeyes

This is the 27th in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)

Happy Saturday to you. My neighbor was doing yard work at 7:30 this morning, which should be an arrestable offense.

I’m pretty sure the laws of human decency begrudgingly agreed that 8:00 a.m. was the earliest loud work should begin in domesticated neighborhoods.

If that was you, I know where you live.

Y’know, threatening people on the internet might be arrestable too, so I should move on.

In case you missed yesterday’s piece, you can catch up right here.

Now 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

#74 Michael Bennett, 2011-2014

Michael Bennett was one of those rare Buckeyes who was named a First-Team All-American without being named First-Team All-Big Ten. How? Well, when the Big Ten accepts votes for the all-conference teams, they don’t specify between defensive ends and defensive tackles. In 2014, when CBS named Bennett an All-American, the All-Big Ten defensive line consisted of defensive ends Randy Gregory, Joseph Bosa, Shilique Calhoun, and Anthony Zettel. It was a pretty good group of defensive ends.

Bennett arrived in 2011, bringing with him High School All-American accolades. He played defensive end as a freshman, and actually tied for second on the team with 3.0 sacks and fourth with 5.0 tackles for loss. Injuries sidetracked Bennett as a sophomore. He missed the first four games with a groin injury, and was nearly lost in the wash of the Urban Meyer regime change. He was called upon to start in the Michigan game when John Simon went down with an injury and came away with a sack in Ohio State’s 26-21 win.

Determined to be a leader like Simon, Bennett refocused in the offseason prior to the 2013 season. He was a starter at defensive tackle for the Buckeyes. He finished with 42 tackles, 7.0 sacks, and 11.5 tackles for loss in leading a defensive line that consisted of youngsters like Joey Bosa, Noah Spence, Jamal Marcus, and Adolphus Washington.

As a senior, Bennett started all 15 games and was a captain for the national champion Buckeyes. Bennett again notched 7.0 sacks, but upped his TFL total to 14.0. He was named First-Team All-American for his effort and was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Best Games This Fall

#74 USC at Arizona

USC heads to Tucson on September 29 to take on Arizona and quarterback Khalil Tate. The Trojans came away with a 49-35 win at home last year against the Wildcats, though Tate did rush for 161 yards on 26 carries, which was 15 more yards than he threw for, in five fewer attempts.

Who knows what we will see from Arizona’s offense now with Kevin Sumlin in charge. I wouldn’t expect it to take a step back, however.

Can the Wildcats upend a USC team with Pac 12 title hopes? The Trojans have lost quarterback Sam Darnold, but this is USC and they get their quarterbacks from a fully-stocked vending machine.

I don’t know if anybody in the Pac 12 South will be good enough to win the league, but a loss in this one is going to be hard to overcome.

What We Can’t Wait To See

#74 The Week Two Games

As with most Week Twos, there are some pretty decent matchups. There is also Mississippi State at Kansas State.

Georgia travels to South Carolina, where Will Muschamp will be looking to derail the Bulldogs’ season even before it begins. Stanford hosts USC in another interesting conference tilt. Kentucky heads to Gainesville, which may or may not be interesting to anybody outside of Lexington, Gainesville, and Bristol (Connecticut, not Tennessee.) Colorado and Nebraska also get together in Lincoln for an early-season Big 8 matchup.

Clemson travels to Texas A&M for Jimbo Fisher’s second-ever game as the head coach of the Aggies. No matter where he goes, he can’t shake Clemson. Michigan State heads to Arizona State to see if Herm Edwards’ professional approach can out-approach Mark Dantonio’s collegial approach. Oklahoma hosts Chip Kelly and UCLA, as well.

Then there are the non-conference rivalry games. Iowa State meets Iowa on the Hawkeyes’ home turf, Pitt hosts Penn State, and Western Michigan heads to Michigan as those two teams battle to see who the second-best program in the state is.

It’s a pretty cool week.

Matchup To Watch

#74 Steven Gonzalez, PSU OG vs. Dre’Mont Jones

A starter last season as a redshirt sophomore, Steven Gonzalez didn’t earn any All-Big Ten accolades, but he is expected to do so this season now that he has more experience.

In order to get there, however, he will need to prove himself against Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones. And it won’t just be on first and second down this year.

Penn State is going to have to establish the run against the Buckeyes, and Gonzalez is going to be a large part of that. After years of being a weakness for the Nittany Lions, every member of the offensive line wants to show that they are a strength this year.

Dre’Mont Jones will be part of the faction looking to prove them wrong.


2 Responses

  1. Gerd: You seriously need to move to a better neighborhood ❗️

  2. Michael Bennett will always be one of my favorite players. Sure he was a great player, but he’s an even greater human being. He ranks up there IMO with guys like Craig Krenzel, John Hicks, Jim Lachey, Josh Perry and Mike Guess as guys with great leadership foundations on and off the field.

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