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 have a slow start and then a second quarter from the stars, while the opponent never actually has any good of their own.
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 42-0win over Cincinnati on Saturday.
There were so many people this Buckeye leaf could go to. The win against Cincinnati was a dominant game any way you looked at it. For my Buckeye leaf, I am going to give a shout out to Master Teague for how he ran the ball in the second half. That guy just does not have any quit in him. Even when he was wrapped up by multiple defenders, he was always fighting for more yards. He will be a very good back for Ohio State in the future.
If you just scope the stat sheet from the Ohio State beatdown of UC, you’d almost miss the man I’m giving my leaf to this week. He ended the game with only one tackle and one sack, not exactly mind blowing numbers. But while watching the game, it was hard to miss the impact Shaun Wade had on this victory. He flashed across the field many times. I was impressed with the game Wade had.
Shaun Wade came to Ohio State with 5-star recruiting accolades, but an injury kept him off the field for one year and last year’s defense was enough of a mess to limit him again.
This year, Wade is finally getting a chance to show what he can do. Against Cincinnati, he had a strip-sack on a corner blitz, forced an interception on a tipped ball, and nearly set up another pick with a huge hit on a wide receiver.
Last year, the OSU defense spent all season looking for someone to make big plays. Saturday, Wade showed that he’s ready to be that guy for the 2019 team.
I hate to be obvious, but my leaf goes to Justin Fields. Last week’s stats were impressive, but FAU is FAU.
UC’s defense, however, is talented and very well coached. Fields responds to that challenge by throwing for only two first-half incompletions… going 14 for 16. He would proceed to only miss three in the second half.
Fields is talented, but we knew that. What we know now is how smart and precise he is. This year will be special.
Buckeye leaves for J.K. Dobbins with his 17 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns a week after a ho-hum opener that did not seem to impress his head coach or the fan base. This was the type of game that Ohio State fans were eager to see and happy to receive.
This is probably the most obvious pick, but my Buckeye leaf this week goes to sophomore quarterback Justin Fields. He was 20 for 25, totaled 224 passing yards, and scored two touchdowns.
I was blown away with Fields’ performance against UC’s defense that was one of the top in the nation last season. I thought it would be a challenge for him to get things clicking but he came out with the same fire and tempo as last week. I think he looked more confident, made improvements from last week, and kept the offense strong the entire time he was in the game.
I’m assuming that the majority of the group will be throwing out leaves like Oprah, given the Buckeye whooping of Northern Kentucky. Instead, I’m channeling my inner-Citro and going with a peeve.
First off, let’s get this out there, running is awful. Occasionally, someone is being chased. In that case, I get it. Some people jog for their health, and, fine, that’s admirable. Others run for fun, and that’s weird. Borlands? We try to avoid it altogether, recognizing it for what it is… cruel torture.
I’m not sure how far down the family tree I’d have to go to see exactly where Tuf and I are related. But, after watching his interception return yesterday, I know he’s a fellow Borland.
Running is dumb. Running fast is overrated. Get to the right spot, use your athleticism to snag the INT, then let the offense take over. The point of defense is to stop the opponent and get the ball back. Tuf did just that. Running, shmunning.
A whole lotta leaves could be handed out after yesterday’s performance (hello Shaun Wade), and you’d have to look awfully hard to find some peeves.
My leaf is going to go to the scientists at Nike who have been able to invent arguably the most durable material known to mankind.
Chase Young was held throughout the game, and no matter how he tried to get away, and no matter how much Cincinnati’s tackles restrained him, that jersey material that they were holding on to never wavered. It remained strong and resilient.
My peeve would go to the refs who were understandably distracted by the sheer strength of Young’s jersey and allowed him to be held tighter than the nuclear football.