Buckeye Leaves and Peeves From a Big Ten Championship Game Win

Ohio State football Jordan Fuller Chase Young Wisconsin

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 find the Buckeyes actually trailing in the second half for some strange reason.

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 34-21 win over Wisconsin.

Caroline Rice

I have to give a Buckeye leaf to quarterback Justin Fields. From being very limited in practice to putting up 299 yards passing against Wisconsin’s defense is impressive. He kept his composure and didn’t lose confidence in himself or his teammates when things were tough in the first half.

I also think wide receiver K.J. Hill deserves a Buckeye leaf. He had one heck of a game with seven receptions for 83 yards. He means so much to this team but sometimes his impact doesn’t show in the statistics. Against Wisconsin he was making every big play left and right and his impact was very clear.

Also a Buckeye leaf for punter Drue Chrisman for his ability to throw the ball… yes, I did mean to say throw the ball.

Michael Citro

I’m giving leaves to Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins. Fields showed a lot of toughness on a night when he clearly wasn’t himself due to his knee injury and fought through it. He wasn’t perfect but he again didn’t throw an interception and he made some huge third-down conversions in the second half. Dobbins was his usual self and nearly ran out the clock all on his own (without the threat of Fields pulling it on a zone read). Another leaf to K.J. Hill for setting the all-time receptions record, surviving a WWE-style suplex, and finding the end zone twice.

My peeve goes to the entire first half, particularly for the Buckeyes allowing the long Jonathan Taylor run that helped Wisconsin score right before halftime. It felt like if Ohio State scored to end the first half and again to start the second half that the avalanche would start. It eventually did but it took longer thanks to not being able to defend a run play with half a minute left in the second quarter.

Adam Borland

There were several peeves from yesterday that I could bring up (like the overall effort, game plan, ball protection, etc. in the first half), but instead I’ll just pick one… Buckeye fans stepping onto the ledge.

Yes, Ohio State was losing by 14. Yes, they made a lot of mistakes. But holy moly, you’d have thought Ryan Day and OSU were down by 45 and throwing the game the way that Buckeye fans reacted. What was comforting was the fact that nearly every single former player’s Twitter reflected no worry whatsoever. From Cardale Jones to Jerome Baker to Johnnie Dixon… they all knew what was coming in the second half, and they were right.

For my leaves, I’ll give them to Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins, and K.J. Hill on offense and the defensive coaching staff on the other side of the ball. There were significant gaps in play and scheme to start the game, but the defensive adjustments made at halftime were excellent.

Chip Minnich

Leaves to the coaching staff for making the necessary adjustments at halftime that allowed the Buckeyes to come storming back from a 21-7 deficit. The first half smelled of the 2013 B1G Championship Game, and unlike that game, Ohio State corrected itself while also negating their opponent. Yes, the Buckeyes cannot allow this in the playoffs against a better opponent, but it was impressive to see the team rally while facing adversity.

Peeves to Justin Fields for holding onto the ball too long and taking unnecessary hits and sacks. It has been a problem all season, and was worse Saturday night. You know how it is said a quarterback has to have an internal clock that tells them that they have to get rid of the ball? Perhaps Justin Fields needs some new batteries for his clock. It has to improve going forward.

Tony Gerdeman

I voted for Justin Fields for Big Ten Championship Game MVP with about 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but as the quarter wound down, I was disappointed that I didn’t vote for JK Dobbins. So, as a grand consolation prize, I am handing over my Buckeye leaf to Dobbins, who continues to be every bit as good as Ezekiel Elliott or Eddie George were in their respective heydays.

No team has actually stopped Dobbins yet this season, which is a comforting thought for Ryan Day as the Buckeyes head toward the playoffs.

Peeve to the pass protection, all aspects of it, including Justin Fields’ own responsibilities.

A final leaf goes to Jeremy Ruckert for his touchdown catch. An honorary leaf to Gus Johnson for the call.

19 Responses

  1. Not near enough credit to Coach Day for having the guts to call that fake punt and totally change the flow of the game. It was far from a dire situation in points or time remaining, but the Bucks were down and getting whipped. They needed that boost to morale and confidence that only Day could provide with such a call. He would NEVER hear the end of it, if it hadn’t have worked. The fans, the media, literally everyone would have turned on him. He has been money all season, and yet he risked it all for that play- and it was brillant. Nobody expected it and he showed amazing confidence in his players.No player would be blamed if it failed, only the coach. Very under appreciated, but certainly one of the most impressive coaching calls I have EVER seen. Kudos Ryan Day- you have my full respect

  2. If we don’t address Werner, Borland, and Fuller this will get ugly against Clemson. The playoffs is where the under use of White may bite us in the tail. We have gotten away with playing Werner in all kinds of positions that he has NO BUSINESS being in… line up wide man-to-man, single high safety, etc. Fuller is the least physical safety OSU has ever had…not sure why Proctor hasn’t seen more time.

    1. Christopher I agree with you on Werner and Borland but White is not the answer. he has no discipline and will killyou in a big game. Because of Werner and Borland I dont think OSU has a chance against Clemson. Sorry

  3. What’s the deal with Sean(?) White? Is it more than the reported personal problems? I hope he’s ready for the Clemson game. He is a real good player that would greatly help in this upcoming game.

  4. Leaves to the entire team.

    I was told once that Woody Hayes said a team can’t get up mentally and emotionally for three big games in a row. This team faced a gauntlet of three straight that I believe would have tripped up anyone else in the country.

    The committee gave them very little credit for it and ESPN couldn’t care less, while both were declaring the newfound greatness of LSU’s defense based on two games against offenses ranked outside the top 50 in scoring, with one banged up.

    OSU winning these last three games by double digits is incredible, if not unprecedented.

  5. Well, maybe a leaf should go to the knee brace for doing its job when Fields got hit on the back of his calf. Yikes.
    Peeves to the coaching staff for throwing two incomplete passes on 2nd and goal and 3d and goal with 4 minutes left. Even if we don’t get in the end zone (and we didn’t) you should hand it to JK to eat up the clock.
    Last peeve – for our PF Unsportsmanlike penalties. C’mon Man!
    Leaves to everyone who had a hand in the victory. Sweet!

  6. Defense is leaking oil. Too many missed tackles starting second half against PSU and no pressure on the QB the last two games. For some reason everyone wants to come in way too high and are getting stiff armed to the ground. This has to get cleaned up and quickly. Hopefully 3 weeks will help Fields knee heal up. Also on what was our last field goal which should’ve been our last TD I didn’t understand the second down pass which was incomplete. It stopped the clock and then of course on third down we get the false start. Why not run JK on second and third down which more importantly would’ve run another minute or minute and a half off the clock. If you don’t score which we would’ve you still kick the field goal and leave Wisconsin with no time.
    As it was we left Wisconsin with way too much time only being up 13. Leaves go to the entire team for that second half wake up call.

  7. My vote goes to Dobbins for MVP and he would get my Heisman vote out of the Buckeyes. I’m great with the playoff committee’s placing and our date with Clemson and I’m glad to be underdogs. To hell with 2016, I want to punch Clemson in the mouth for Woody’s sake.

    My peeve (and it’s major) is trailing Wisconsin until the third quarter. It’s all good to come back but it’s not all right that it was against Wisconsin. I believe Fields’ injury has taken away his running game and may result in more sacks taken. As a passer he is not near to Joe Burrow’s level so we need Justin at 100% to compete against Clemson. The knee brace does not instill confidence.

  8. Leaves: KJ and JK (fun to type), run protection, the host of receivers who made the catches of their LIVES to bail out Justin Fields, Malik Harrison

    Peeves: anyone who gave a leaf to Justin Fields (just get healthy), pass protection, and a LB group who took the day off but for Malik. Clemson thinks that LB group can be had, I would say…

    1. Whoops- run blocking, not run “protection”

      1. What did Malik show you? On long run before half, Malik was first missed tackle at LOS. He makes tackle, Taylor doesn’t get in open field and gain speed. He missed other tackles as well, so not sure what you saw.

        1. Art- I saw the best LB by far perform the best of our LBs, by far. He’s our only shot at excellent LB play each time. I’m not sure what you saw and don’t care.

      2. I would also argue that Werner had a respectable game. Sure, he missed tackle at end of half, but started with Malik’s missed tackle. However, his pass coverage was great- I didn’t see one ball get thrown to him. Coming into this game, we expected them to throw to TE. His versatility is so undervalued.

  9. Peeves to Justin Fields for holding onto the ball too long and taking unnecessary hits and sacks. It has been a problem all season, and was worse Saturday night. You know how it is said a quarterback has to have an internal clock that tells them that they have to get rid of the ball? Perhaps Justin Fields needs some new batteries for his clock. It has to improve going forward.

    Pretty much says it all.

  10. Leaves: JK Dobbins and KJ Hill.

    Peeves: WHY didn’t any else get off the bus for the first half of the game? Offense and defense were MIA, or they had a bet with JK and KJ that they couldn’t handle Wisconsin all on their own. Hard to beat anyone when it’s 2 against 22+.

    1. ^^^ He’s right, you know…

      1. Peeves to OL protection. Was it the first time they played Wisconsin? Did they learn anything from the first time around? Play like that in the next game even for a half and good night.
        Leaves to entire team to put a half together after two tough weeks.

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