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 are just a battle of wills between the Buckeyes and Mother Nature, and Mother Nature has taken the L.
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 38-7 win over Wisconsin.
My Buckeye leaf this week goes to running back J.K. Dobbins. He averaged 8.2 yards per carry. I think he wanted to prove that he was the best running back out there and he did. He got the offense going for Ohio State and consistently kept the team moving down the field. Dobbins has grown so much this season and against a top defense that could have completely shut him down, it was the J.K. Dobbins show on Saturday. I also have to throw a leaf to Chase Young because… well… he had another “Chase Young” performance and completely destroyed Wisconsin’s offense.
Leaves for Chris Olave, J.K. Dobbins, and Chase Young for their collective excellence versus Wisconsin. Olave continually delivered with clutch receptions throughout the game. And the superlatives for Dobbins and Young are extensive and all well-deserved.
Peeves for the shoddy punt protection that eventually resulted in a partially blocked punt that allowed Wisconsin to get into the game in the 3rd quarter. Momentum was ever so briefly with Wisconsin, and it came at such an in opportune moment. Figuring out what went wrong should be critically reviewed for the upcoming opponents who may look to replicate Wisconsin’s brief success.
I feel like this is just gonna turn into a bunch of us talking about how great Chase Young is, but that’s perfectly okay. Because even though he is the best player in America, he may also be the most underrated. So my first leaf goes to Mr. Young, who dominated a single game like few individuals have ever done.
My second leaf goes to JK Dobbins, who came into this game wanting to show that he was the best running back in this game. He accomplished that goal and left no doubt about where he stands in the Big Ten hierarchy. The only question that remains is just where he’ll end up in Ohio State running back history’s hierarchy.
Let’s just assume that Chase Young and J.K. Dobbins get an automatic Buckeye leaf and look beyond the two guys who wear No. 2. I’m going to give a Buckeye leaf to Damon Arnette, who was outstanding in the run game as well as against the pass. He finished with the most tackles on the team and made multiple plays out on the edge when he was the only one out there to make it. If you’re going to play on an island, you’d better play well, and Arnette did that.
My peeve is going to Drue Chrisman and the punt team this week. Chrisman showed he is human, taking too long to get a few punts away, getting one blocked to set up Wisconsin’s only score of the game, and even though it will go down as a punt inside the 20, his punt to the 19 was a weaker effort than we’re used to seeing out of him. Sure, the weather sucked, so maybe I’m being harsh, but I am the Grumpy Old Buckeye, after all.
I spent about six seconds contemplating a different, creative option for my leaf/peeve. But, as I thought about giving it to someone else, I realized that would be a disservice to Chase Young. He had one of the best single-game defensive performances from a Buckeye that I’ve ever seen.
It’s beyond impressive to see a person play against people of the same age and dominate to the point where it looks like a man among boys. Young had a school-record-tying four sacks in the game, had another TFL on top of that, and forced two fumbles. Those are video game numbers against a school typically known for its line play and run game. When not getting sacks, he was in the backfield disrupting plays, attracting multiple blockers, or just being held. Honestly, if I didn’t award him this week’s leaf, I was afraid of him finding out and destroying me.
My Buckeye leaf goes out to #2 for Ohio State. A completely dominant performance for the Buckeyes by this number on Saturday. Producing 5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 221 total yards from scrimmage, and 2 touchdowns is pretty darn impressive. Seriously though, I assume each and every Buckeye leaf will go to either JK Dobbins or Chase Young. Those two dudes just took over the game. It was fun to watch.
My only peeve for the game is Josh Myers almost killing Justin Fields early in the game by snapping the ball when he shouldn’t have. I would have loved to know what was going through Fields head when he saw the entire Wisconsin front seven closing in on him and his guys just standing there. Those little plays are fun now to talk about but could seriously alter the Buckeyes’ season if Fields would have gotten injured.
Chase Young and J.K. Dobbins will undoubtedly be popular recipients this week, so Chris Olave is my pick.
With senior Austin Mack out, Olave had the Z receiver position more or less to himself and made the most of it.
He had more receptions (7), receiving yards (93), and touchdown catches (2) than the rest of the OSU team combined.
It’s the second time in his career he has gone off for a multiple-touchdown day against a team that came in ranked as the No. 1 defense in the nation. Not bad for a guy who’s only really gotten to play for 12 months now.
My leaf today goes to the entire defensive front. Every year, we watch Wisconsin hold onto defensive linemen like a Michigan Man holds onto the past. This year, the Bullets were able to fight off that strategy and control one of the best rushing attacks in college football. Of course there were still holds, but it was nothing like the past. Great job fighting through.
My peeve this week is that I really don’t have one. Sure, there are things that still need work, and I know The Grumpy Old Buckeye will lay those out for us, but overall, such a solid game all around.