26 Days To Ohio State Football*

This is the 75th in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)

It’s not every day that you can get on the internet and find you a meaningful countdown. Oh wait, yes it is.

At least for 25 more days.

After that, you’re on your own.

In today’s edition of your daily dive, we look at the best passer in Ohio State history, a Big Ten Championship Game preview, an Ohio State walk-on, and a two-headed monster against a one-headed monster.

If you missed yesterday’s edition, you can find it 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

#26 Joe Germaine

Joe Germaine was only a 1-year starter at Ohio State, but it was one hell of a year.

Germaine came to the Buckeyes from Scottsdale Community College in 1995. He redshirted that year and was essentially an afterthought heading into the 1996 season.

That was the year the Buckeyes were replacing Bobby Hoying, leaving many to think OSU would be led by junior college signee Mark Garcia. Garcia never really panned out for the Buckeyes despite his prototype measurables. Instead, redshirt junior Stanley Jackson won the job. Germaine had played so well in the preseason, however, that head coach John Cooper decided to use both quarterbacks.

Germaine’s Ohio State debut came in the Buckeyes’ 70-7 win over Rice to open the 1996 season. He completed 5-of-10 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns. He threw a 15-yarder to Demitrius Stanley in the second quarter, and a 51-yarder and 60-yarder to true freshman Mike Wiley in the third quarter.

Germaine finished the 1996 season in even better fashion, leading Ohio State to a Rose Bowl-winning drive in the game’s final minute.

He split duty again in 1997, though he did lead OSU in passing yards. It was the 1998 season, however, where Germaine truly blossomed.

It was in 1998 when Germaine — in just 12 games — threw for a still-school-record 3,330 yards. He won the Silver Football Award, was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, won OSU’s MVP award, and was also a captain. Germaine threw for 200 yards in 10 straight games that season. No other Buckeye quarterback has done it more than seven times.

Germaine threw for 300 yards seven times in 1998, which is also a school record still. He and J.T. Barrett both have eight such games in their respective careers. He finished 14-2 in his career as a starter and was named to OSU’s All Century Team in 2000.

Best Games This Fall

#26 Wisconsin at Penn State

The week after Penn State goes to Michigan, the Nittany Lions get to host Wisconsin (Nov. 10). Don’t worry though — Rutgers is really going to soften up the Badgers the week before.

This game could very well be a preview of the Big Ten Championship Game, which takes place just three weeks later.

With road games at Iowa, Michigan, and Northwestern before they head to Happy Valley, the Badgers may have one of the most talented teams in the Big Ten, but the schedule is not going to make it easy for them to win the division.

Of course, 7-2 would likely win the West.

With just Rutgers and Maryland remaining after Wisconsin, the Badgers could be all that stands between Penn State and a College Football Playoff berth. (Assuming they only lose one game prior.)

What We Can’t Wait To See

#26 Xavier Johnson

Who is Xavier Johnson? You might get to find out this year.

Xavier Johnson (6-1 209) is a true freshman walk-on wide receiver for Ohio State from Summit Country Day in Cincinnati. He was a 3-star prospect and decided to walk-on to OSU rather than accept a scholarship from Cincinnati, Ohio, Iowa State, Bowling Green, or North Dakota State. He was the No. 44 player in Ohio and the No. 171 receiver in the nation.

Johnson is ranked ahead of receivers who accepted scholarships from such schools as Arizona, Oregon State, Wake Forest, Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Iowa, Missouri, Texas Tech, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, and Michigan.

If you look at Phil Steele’s recruiting rankings (which are a composite of rankings), the Big Ten signed 44 scholarship wide receivers in the 2018 recruiting cycle. Of those 44, Johnson is ranked higher than 15 of them.

As a senior, Johnson was a Division V Honorable Mention All-State selection following a senior season where he rushed for 623 yards, tallied 766 receiving yards, and returned three punts and four kickoffs for touchdowns. He averaged 227.4 all-purpose yards per game and scored 25 touchdowns.

Johnson was also named the MVP of the small school North-South All-Star Classic in Ohio this spring. He caught six passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns.

Matchup To Watch

#26 Purdue QBs vs. Dre’Mont Jones

Who knows what Purdue’s quarterback situation is going to look like when the Buckeyes and Boilers meet in West Lafayette on October 20. What we do know, however, is that both Purdue quarterbacks are capable of making a defense look mortal.

Last year under first-year head coach Jeff Brohm, quarterbacks Elijah Sindelar (2,099 yards, 18-7) and David Blough (1,103, 9-4) combined for 3,202 yards passing with 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. They both return, so just imagine the improvement they should make with a second year under QB guru Brohm.

There won’t be many interior pass rushers in the Big Ten like Dre’Mont Jones, but the good news for Purdue is that they return plenty of interior offensive line experience. Can those guys slow down Jones? If not, expect him to create havoc throughout.

Dre’Mont Jones will be chasing whoever the quarterback is. Blough is more capable of escaping pressure, but don’t be surprised if he gets chased right into the waiting arms of an Ohio State defensive end.