This is the 79th in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)
We are just Les Horvath days away from the end of the Big Ten Football Media Days and the official start of the college football (anticipation) season.
Also, Les Horvath Days is something my town used to do where everyone would wear an unfindable No. 22 Ohio State jersey and pretend to throw a football in an old-timey way.
Mainly it was just an excuse to keep the food vendors around for an extra week after the county fair. “Yes, I Will Have Another Elephant Ear” was our town song. The 1970 census said the average life expectancy in our town was just 41 years old. We were in the Guinness Book for World’s Longest Vinegar Fry and also World’s Heaviest Village.
You know that picture of the two fat twins on the motorcycles? That was our mayors!
Anyway, look at me reminiscing about Les Horvath Days like an old coot.
Let’s get to today’s countdown, which features perhaps the stiffest stiff arm in Ohio State history, Bush Push Bowl XIV, a thing that sometimes happens but usually doesn’t, and an unfair matchup for any linebacker in the country.
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
#22 Beanie Wells, 2006-2008
Beanie Wells was on the scene even before he was a Buckeye. He was the No. 1 running back recruit in the 2006 class and signed with Ohio State over Michigan.
He would then make his first significant mark as a Buckeye against the Wolverines. In the biggest game in the rivalry’s history, he took a second-quarter hand-off from Troy Smith, spun off of a Shawn Crable tackle attempt in the backfield, and scampered 52 yards for a touchdown. He gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the game. They never relinquished it.
Wells rushed for 576 yards as a true freshman, but showed everyone what he could do as a sophomore. In 2007, he rushed for 1,609 yards, including a 39-carry, 222-yard performance against the team up north. The 1,609 yards was the sixth-most in OSU history.
In 2008 as a junior, Wells missed time with a foot injury, but still rushed for 1,197 yards.
Wells rushed for 3,382 yards in his career, which is fifth-most in Buckeye history. He averaged 93.9 yards rushing per game in his career, which is fourth all-time in school history.
Wells was a First-Team All-B1G selection in 2007 and a two-time Academic All-B1G pick in 2007 and 2008. He was also a two-time OSU MVP in those years as well.
Best Games This Fall
#22 Notre Dame at USC
I remember reading on the internet once from a Notre Dame fan that USC and Notre Dame was the best rivalry in college football. I laughed. But he was serious. I then realized that there are people out there who really believe this. Fourteen years later, I still think about this every day and I cannot shake the sadness I feel for those people.
I’m not saying it isn’t an important rivalry. I’m sure it is. But come on. I mean, come on.
This year, since the game is at USC, the two teams meet on the last weekend of the regular season.
Last year, the Irish destroyed Sam Darnold and the Trojans 49-14. This year, USC will be breaking in a new quarterback who probably won’t be as good as Darnold.
The Irish will play just one home game over the final six weeks of the season, so playing on the road won’t be new, but by the end of the season they may be getting pretty damn tired of it.
Over the final five weeks of the season they’ll be making two trips to California, a trip to Evanston, a trip to the Bronx, and they’ll get one week at home against Florida State.
Oh, to be an Independent.
What We Can’t Wait To See
#22 Huge Upset in a Hotel Bar
A year ago, The-Ozone was sitting in a hotel bar on a Friday night somewhere in Iowa. We were on our way to Nebraska.
(I believe the above could also be the opening line to a pretty sweet song.)
Anyway, there we were after a long drive from Columbus to … maybe Cedar Rapids … I don’t even know. We hopped down to the bar to watch the Friday night game and have a few beers. The game that night happened to be No. 2 Clemson at No. LOL Syracuse.
The Orange were 23.5-point underdogs.
And on the arm, legs, and bloodied soul of quarterback Eric Dungey, Syracuse came away with the 27-24 win, sending the Clemson Tigers spiraling to a playoff berth.
The point being that random Friday night surprises are awesome to watch. They don’t generally happen, but I’m looking forward to one this year. What will it be?
Actually, I just looked at all of the Friday night games going on during our road trips and there are actually better Thursday night games this year for a change.
Oh well, maybe I’ll check out a hotel bar for a home game on a Friday night.
That might be a song lyric too, but to a much, much sadder song.
Matchup To Watch
#22 Dedrick Young, LB NEB vs. J.K. Dobbins
Dedrick Young is Nebraska’s leading returning tackler. He finished with 80 tackles and three tackles for loss last year.
J.K. Dobbins is Ohio State’s leading returning rusher. He finished with 1,403 yards rushing and 22 catches.
You can see why this is a matchup to watch.
Both players will come into this game fresh off of a bye. That means Young’s ligaments and tendons better be ready for the jump cuts and acceleration of Dobbins.
Last year, J.K. Dobbins made Big Ten linebackers look like fools. And not like fun, happy fools, but the sad kind of fools that ruin what was a good day and now you feel bad about that fool and you can’t concentrate and now your double chocolate chip milkshake is getting all melty.
But yeah, this is going to be a big matchup to watch. Nebraska’s defense allowed a terrible 215 yards rushing per game and 5.6 yards per carry last year. Things will be better this year, and Young is going to be a big part of that.
Will it be good enough to get the win in Columbus? That’s the question.