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 over before the first six touchdowns are ever scored.
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 73-14 win over Maryland.
Leaves to Ryan Day for playing the backups the entire second half. Real game experience is so valuable, and we were given glimpses of the 2020 contributors. Yes, there were some rocky moments at times, but some exciting players like Marcus Crowley. My biggest hope is that Crowley is okay and will be able to play next week at Rutgers.
On the peeves side, the penalties were alarming. Maryland can thank the rash of penalties that Ohio State was committing that put them into the position to score points. Hopefully, the coaches will use the penalties as an area to spur improvement and growth.
People often think that they could walk onto the field at OSU and just start making field goals or putting kickoffs at the 1-yard line. Those people are wrong. Kicking ain’t easy. I kicked and punted in high school, so I’m aware of the variables that can impact every kick.
But, I’m willing to let those people continue on with their silly beliefs about kicking as long as they admit right now that what Blake Haubeil did on a kickoff with 5 minutes left in the first quarter yesterday was insane and impossibly difficult.
He approached the ball normally, then slowed a bit at the last second, turned his entire body, and delivered a perfect 20-yard pass with his foot to a running Chris Olave. This is something that an overconfident coach draws up when he doesn’t understand that a kicker can’t just throw a pass to a precise location with his foot. It shouldn’t have worked. And yet, Blake Haubeil defied physics, changed his entire kicking motion, kicked the ball with the wrong part of his foot, and still put the ball EXACTLY where it had to be. He’s improved his accuracy on deep kicks this year to the point where he had already put himself in conversations about kicking at the next level. Throw in that type of play and he will be playing on Sundays.
Chris Olave can have a leaf for being wide open, as he always is. Ryan Day gets one for the play call. Blake Haubeil gets the rest.
My Buckeye Leaf this week goes to Davon Hamilton. He had such an impact in that game and had his first ever two-sack game. I think he has been underrated all season and Saturday he got a chance to shine.
After a game like the Ohio State Buckeyes played yesterday, it’s hard to have leaves or peeves to hand out. Sure, there are great players who should be recognized, but picking just one is difficult. I guess that’s why they pay us all the internet monies <insert Bosa shrug here>.
My leaf this week goes to the entire front 7 of the Silver Bullets. Any time the best player in the entire nation can’t play, and you still ring up 7 sacks and only 139 yards of total offense against a Power 5 school, you’re getting a leaf from me. Total and absolute domination yesterday from this group. I saw a report yesterday, can’t remember from who so I’ll credit the Ozone Staff, that OSU scores more TDs yesterday (10) than the Silver Bullets have given up this year(9). That’s a MIND BLOWING STAT.
My peeve this week, besides with the entire NCAA over this ridiculous Chase Young situation, is with Ryan Day. Ohio State scored on its first 6 possessions yesterday. It would have been 7, but NOOOOO, Coach Day decided to take a knee going into halftime. It’s like we don’t even know him anymore.
Great week. Great job by the coaches to keep the team focused through the distractions. Just please, I beg of you Buckeye Nation…don’t flip your £>}%£! on Tuesday when LSU jumps to #1 and we slide to #2
My Buckeye leaf could go to pretty much everyone but I’ll give it to Malik Harrison. He led the team in tackles (5) and solo tackles (3) and bagged himself a sack and a tackle for loss. But he also flashed glimpses of his inner Dikembe Mutombo by rejecting a pair of Maryland passes, one of which might have gone for a long gain in the first half. In a game where everyone made plays, Harrison made some of the biggest and was a consistent performer.
My peeve is Drue Chrisman looking like a regular, run-of-the-mill punter. We’re used to superhuman punting skills from him and against Maryland he shanked his first and hit his second into the end zone for a touchback. Bring back my superhuman Chrisman, please. After all, the punt is the most important play in football.
My leaf goes to freshman DE Zach Harrison. With Chase Young and Jonathon Cooper both unavailable, Harrison made his first career start and recorded a sack. He was also called for a personal foul for daring to have a little fun during a game. How dare he.
It’s remarkable how quickly Harrison has progressed this season. His physical abilities have never been in doubt, but to earn a starting role ahead of guys who are in their second year really says something about how much the coaching staff trusts him.
My three Buckeyes leaves this week go to nose tackle Davon Hamilton and defensive ends Tyreke Smith and Zach Harrison. Hamilton has been tremendous all season long. There isn’t a better defensive tackle than him in the Big Ten, but I’m guessing he won’t get the postseason recognition he deserves. Without Chase Young, Hamilton and the young ‘uns didn’t miss a beat. I’ll give a fourth leaf to Ryan Day for his aggressive special teams and timeout usage at the end of the first half. My peeve goes to the guys who committed a large number of costly penalties, but they all feel bad enough as it is, so it’s not a finger-pointing peeve, just a mentioning-in-passing peeve.