There is good and bad in every game.
Some games have more good than bad, and some games have more bad than good.
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 52-3 win at Northwestern.
To continue with my — completely unfounded — pessimistic views this week, I am giving out a peeve this week. I’m going with the Buckeye front seven for their play in the run game last night. The Northwestern run stats weren’t anything mind blowing (3.3 ypc) but it was alarming how the NW running backs were constantly able to get extra yards. Numerous times, the Buckeye defense would get pressure and seemingly be in position to get a tackle-for-loss when the NW ball carrier would be able to find a seam and turn a 3-yard loss into a 3-yard gain. In the grand scheme, it didn’t matter because of the level of competition but next week it could really matter. If those little seams are there for Jonathan Taylor, instead of 3-yard gains they will be chunk plays of 15 yards or more.
Branden Bowen has been consistently solid all season long. Nick Petit-Frere made his first career start and held his own for the most part in a fill-in start. Thayer Munford came in, playing hurt, and immediately helped pave the way for a huge J.K. Dobbins run. And big Dawand Jones got his first extended look on offense and cleared the way for a 73-yard touchdown run by Master Teague.
Depth along the offensive line has been an issue at times in the last decade or so for the Buckeyes, but no more. Even with Josh Alabi out and Munford playing at less than 100 percent, there was a lot to like out of the tackle position on Saturday.
My Buckeye leaf this week goes to wideout Chris Olave. He had five catches and two touchdowns Friday night. Olave is proving himself to be the go-to guy on this offense, he is a fun player to watch, and he makes every catch look easy.
I also have to add another Buckeye leaf for Blake Haubeil who made a career-long 55-yard field goal at the end of the first half. That field goal just added to the complete dominance in the first half by Ohio State and I think seeing the team that excited for Haubeil gave them a lot of fire heading into the second half of the game.
I’m giving my Buckeye leaf to Drue Chrisman. He hasn’t been called on often so far this season but Friday night he reminded everyone how good he is at his job.
My peeve goes to Jim Delany. Your Friday night football is not wanted in power five football. Get out and take that SkyCam-loving BTN director from Friday’s game with you
My Buckeye leaf this week goes to Blake Haubeil. Not that it’s easy to do, but Blake made that 55-yard career-long field goal look easy. And he had more leg behind it. Ohio State was dominant in every aspect of the game Sat–…Friday night, but it was also reassuring to know that Haubeil has a leg like that if and when we need it.
My peeve this week, besides with the B1G allowing Friday night games like this one, is…not a lot. I’m not even trying to be funny when I say I thought about my peeve being the Friday Night game, Northwestern falling off the map after a great 2018 because I like underdogs and they’re the B1G underdog each year, and just saying I had none. The only peeve I have, which is minor at best: watching Fields as he still holds the ball too long, and takes some unneeded shots when throwing. He needs to work on being elusive while throwing. Not much, nothing really…but I wanted something to be upset about. Go Bucks!
Leaves to JK Dobbins for an evening of patience and persistence that eventually resulted in big plays that paid off handsomely for Ohio State. Dobbins has grown tremendously since last season, and how productive his 2019 season will turn out is going to be fascinating to watch.
Peeves to The B1G Conference for scheduling this game, or any game, on a Friday night. The stories of Ohio high school programs suffering through lackluster attendance this past Friday night due to the Ohio State game, as well as the realities of recruits being unable to attend due to their own games, should render Jim Delany to wear a big sign saying ‘SHAME’ around his neck at the upcoming Ohio state high school football championships in front of incoming teams and their fans.
My Buckeye leaf goes to left tackle Thayer Munford who didn’t start the game and probably wasn’t going to play because of injury, but when he was called upon he stepped up and played through the pain. He was a game-time decision who became a mid-game decision and on his first play, JK Dobbins went 67 yards. The offense needed him and he was there. I’d also like to throw another leaf Malik Harrison’s way because he led the team with nine tackles we don’t talk about him enough. Oh, and Tommy Togiai too. He was active throughout.
Justin Fields? No rushing TD, no leaf for you.
No way, Olave.
Chase Young? More like chase down another sack if you want to be considered for a leaf.
Ok, so I’m clearly joking and every single one of the people mentioned above played a heckuva game, yet again. However, I’m a special teams guy (read: I can’t catch, throw, or tackle, but I kick stuff well) and the Buckeye specialists were fantastic against Northwestern.
Drue Chrisman punted the ball 5 times for 237 yards. That’s a 47.4 yard AVERAGE. The Wildcats, on the other hand, punted it 38 yards per attempt. Chrisman was essentially good for an extra 10 yards of field position on every punting transition. It’s also worth noting that my phone autocorrected Chrisman to “a Heisman,” so, yeah. Oh, and a quick shout out to Liam McCullough for his usual pinpoint snaps, but also for his downing of a punt at the 1-yard line.
Blake Haubeil gets the other special teams leaf from me. As usual, he was perfect on extra points. Sure, you can sit there and say how easy that is, but go make as many in a row as he has… it’s impressive. Haubeil also smoked a 55-yard field goal straight through the uprights like a boss. Let’s be honest, it was good from 60, and the best part was seeing the entire team celebrate it.
Specialists, take your leaves. Well done!