There is good and bad in every game.
Some games have more good than bad, and some games have more bad than good.
And some games begin with an opponent’s safety and a field goal followed by a whole bunch of revenge.
This feature is about acknowledging both the bad and good, or whichever stood out to us most.
Borrowing from Ohio State’s practice of handing out Buckeye leaves for good plays, we will do the same. But unlike OSU, we are also going to include some peeves.
If a peeve was a sticker, it would have a picture on it of a wolverine with a smirk. And there’s no way you want too many of those on your helmet.
So we — staff, contributors, and hangers-on — are handing out some leaves and peeves following Ohio State’s 76-5 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday.
My Buckeye leaf goes to Garrett Wilson for that catch. Yeah, that catch. This kid has so much skill and for the first time since Michael Thomas or Devin Smith, the Buckeyes may have a legit jump ball target. He’s a guy you’d absolutely trust to make the play even if he’s covered. But more than that, he’s good in the open field, as we saw on his electric punt return. Big showing by the freshman and a sign of more good things to come.
Second Buckeye leaf to me for remembering to get my pick in this week.
My buckeye leaf this week goes to Chase Young. I think his efforts in creating turnovers was what allowed the Buckeyes to keep scoring so quickly in the first half. He had two strip sacks in the second quarter of the game that both led to touchdowns for the Buckeyes. Young now has seven sacks on the year so far and he’s not even playing the full game. He knows how to make an impact out there.
My leaf goes to Ryan Day for getting some work done on the passing game. Even when things were very, very ugly, the Buckeyes were still taking shots downfield. Justin Fields still hasn’t thrown for more than 234 yards in a game, but he looks comfortable enough. Getting Chris Chugunov and Gunnar Hoak more action than simply handing the ball off was necessary. It may not be needed, but at least now they have experienced some success.
I’ll also throw out a leaf to anybody that decided to chase Jameson Williams because you kids were just precious. Also, Davon Hamilton is a bad, bad man. I’d give him a leaf, but I don’t need to because he already tackled it in the backfield. Oh, and Chase Young too. He actually forced me to fumble all of my leaves. I’ll peaf myself for not holding on to my leaves well enough.
My Buckeye leaf goes out to Ryan Day but not for the reasons you would think. I can’t remember a time where a coach emptied out their roster and played so many walk-ons in a regular game. Urban never ever did that. He’d play one or two but that is really it. That whole fourth quarter was just walk-on after walk-on getting an opportunity to play in Ohio Stadium in front of their family. That’s something that many walk-ons before them never got the chance to do. Kudos to Ryan Day! You made lifelong memories today.
My leaf goes to Chris Olave. In fact, I balled it up, leaned back, and threw it 40 yards downfield knowing that he’d be there to catch it. As Ohio State’s offense chugs along at a tremendous pace, it’s easy to overlook an individual wide receiver. Other stars like JK Dobbins, Justin Fields, and KJ Hill get a lot of attention, and rightfully so.
But the young man wearing number 17 is a force to be reckoned with. Going back to The Game, last November, Olave has 20 catches in six games. Not an unbelievable feat, as it puts him just over a three-catch per game average in that span. However, it’s what he’s done with those catches that’s incredible. Even splitting time with other receivers, he’s turned those 20 passes into seven (pronounced “Sev-yn”) touchdowns! Anytime Justin Fields puts the ball into the air, I assume that Olave is open… because he always is.
Oh, and when he’s bored catching touchdown passes, he also blocks punts and gets the team points that way. He’s done that twice, which is two more times than most people. Here you go, Chris, take your leaf directly to the end zone.
If you discount the 1st quarter, there’s not much to complain about for Saturday’s blowout. It’s a tough subject getting the team up for those games. That’s why my peeve this week is with Justin Fields. Had he allowed Miami to recover that fumble in the end zone for a touchdown instead of a safety, I would have accurately predicted Miami’s scoring total in our Staff Picks.
My leaf this week goes to the offensive line. Sure, the big athletes up front were far from perfect, but they looked way better than the OL did in 2018. And there were times Fields was clearly standing in and trying to force a throw because he had so much time. I love seeing the O-line looking solid and improving. Great job, fellas!
My leaf goes to the Ohio State defensive coaching staff.
Last year, every week teams showed OSU things that they hadn’t seen before, which created issues until the coaching staff could get together at halftime and adjust.
Saturday against Miami, the RedHawks were enjoying some early success by going wide on offense. Their first two drives of the game covered 94 yards.
But unlike last year, it didn’t take until halftime to fix the issue. There was no panic, no drama. It just got resolved quickly.
Miami put up just 36 yards the rest of the game.
Is it acceptable to give a Buckeye leaf to a RedHawk? Because mine goes to Kyle Kramer. His well placed 1st quarter punt led to a sequence of events that earned Miami’s only points. Tressel ball lives!
Leaves for all of the second and third string players who came in during the second half of the win over Miami University. It is not Ohio State’s fault if Miami was unable to stop those players when they were able to score (Jameson Williams, for example). It showed all of the fans who stuck around that the future of Ohio State football is truly bright.