Favorite Stat of the Game: 19 completions on 26 attempts for 201 yards and five touchdowns for Justin Fields and Chris Chugunov. Nothing that pops out at you exactly but just enough for this team to have a dominant win. This isn’t the same bombarding attack that Haskins led last year, but it is as efficient and capable as Haskins passing game, and the same as Barrett before him. Not to flashy, but this passing game will pick you apart all the same.
The Brooklyn Dagger Award: The J.K. Dobbins drive. It was 14-3 with 10:16 to go in the 2nd Quarter and Northwestern’s defense was gassed because they offense couldn’t keep them off the field. I had noticed some holes earlier in the game that I knew it was only a matter of time before Dobbins hit one of them and got loose. Then he did. For 68 yards. Then Justin Fields hands it to him to get the last five. Then it was all over. The Wildcats had had their spirits crushed and there was nothing more they could do about it.
Dwayne Haskins (Player of the Game) Award: J.K. Dobbins. This guy does it all. 18 carries, 121 yards, and a touchdown on the ground. Through the air, Dobbins caught three passes for 30 yards and a touchdown. Dobbins has 134 carries for 947 yards, averaging 7.1 yards per carry, and has ran for seven touchdowns. He also has ten catches for 74 yards and another pair of touchdowns and is on his way toward some impressive career records as well.
Defensive Player of the Game: Chase Young. Again. This guy got a sack early in the first quarter, and it wasn’t until his post-game interview that I got how significant him getting going early is. He talked about how to stay away from him Northwestern had to change their offense and run virtually everything away from him the rest of the game. So despite his good stats of two tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss, and a quarterback hurry, his sheer presence altered the way Northwestern approached this game, and that is something I think every single team in America would have to do to stop him. And when the rest of the Rushmen are beating one-on-one, the linebackers are flying to the ball, and the BIA are on lockdown, this defense is as good or better than any in the country.
Ryan Shazier-Devin Smith Award: Whether he takes over as the number one guy next year or the year after Master Teague III is going to be another great running back. He’s already a very important cog in this scarlet and gray juggernaut. He reminds me of Boom Herron and Antonio Pittman and has a higher ceiling. Breaking his 73-yarder for a touchdown is a perfect example of this man’s capabilities. That was an amazing play with key blocks from Dawand Jones (who tweeted out his nicknames are ‘Big Diesel’ or ‘Big Thanos.’) and Mitch Rossi. MT hit the hole they opened and was gone. He totaled 7 carries for 96 yards on the night before letting Marcus Crowley get in on the feast with a 53-yard run. The future at tailback is as bright as day at Ohio State.
Dane Sanzenbacher Award: Justin Fields. Usually a quarterback responsible for 30 touchdowns through seven games couldn’t be considered as ‘quietly doing their job,’ like I like to acknowledge here. However, with the way this season is going it is very true of Justin Fields. The team is complete and excelling everywhere so much that Fields can easily be thought of as a key cog in this impressive steamroller. Fields personality and perpetual smile in interviews also adds to this impression. What may be the biggest factor in seeing Fields as a guy who is quietly doing his job is the national perception of him and Ohio State. Everyone else gets caught up with Jalen Hurts playing big in a conference where defense is optional. Or Justin Herbert being a top five draft pick. Or Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa shredding defenses in the SEC that aren’t as good as usual. Whatever the reason, people are overlooking Justin Fields and I think that should excite Buckeye fans, because I think it’ll excite #1, and he’ll just keep on winning.
Taylor Decker Award: Jeff Okudah ushered in a nickname for the Ohio State secondary this week that I’m going to try to keep going. When asked about Texas, LSU, and Florida talking about who’s the real DBU (defensive back university) is, Okudah said he didn’t know who was DBU, but said his brothers in the secondary are BIA (best in America). And he ain’t wrong. The way he and Arnette have been on lockdown this year after so many struggles last year is beyond impressive and beyond just bouncing back. It’s a fantastic turnaround. Arnette has been battling through injuries, Wade, Wint, Fuller, and White have given much depth and then you have guys like Riep and Banks getting picks and you realize this unit is as stacked as any on this team and as any in the country. Jeff Hafley and these guys went from scapegoat to asset really quickly and will be relied upon more as what is hopefully a championship run continues.
Fedora Award: Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, and K.J. Hill. These three have perfectly and in their own way filled the huge shoes of Johnnie Dixon, Paris Campbell, and Terry McLaurin. Mack is as reliable as Dixon, Victor has big plays going like Campbell, and Hill catches just about everything that goes near him like McLaurin. The amazing thing about these guys, and I say it all the time, is how selfless they are as far as playing time goes. In the past two seasons there hasn’t been a more crowded receivers’ room in all of football. As far as we can tell though there is no negativity about who is getting playing time and catches, just love and competition between brothers eager to see each other succeed as much as themselves. That credit first goes to the character of the young men themselves and then to the coaching of Ryan Day, Urban Meyer, and Brian Hartline. The unity of this team is an immeasurable asset that I’ll continue with later.
Sweater Vest Award: Drue Chrisman and Blake Haubeil are luxuries to this Buckeye team. Chrisman has only had to punt 22 times this season. 10 of those punts have gone for over 50 yards and 11 of them have landed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Haubeil has been nearly just as good on kickoffs, field goals, and points after touchdown. His highlight was a monster 55-yard field goal before halftime that we’ll mention more soon. The tradition of excellence on special teams instilled by a coach who wore glasses and a sweater vest is alive, well, and strong.
Archie Award: As he prepares to join the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner as the only two Buckeyes to have three seasons of over 1,000 yards rushing, J.K. Dobbins continues to show more parallels to Archie Griffin. Dobbins has been just as much of a workhorse and integral part of Buckeye success in his time in Ohio as Archie Griffin was. J.K. Dobbins is on pace to be the second all-time leading rusher in Buckeye history behind #45 by the end of this season. If he returns for his senior year like Archie did, Dobbins will overtake quite a few of the records of the best football player Woody Hayes ever saw.
Horned Rimmed Glasses Award: Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel, John Cooper, Earle Bruce, and Woody Hayes all won their first game against Northwestern, all won their first game at Ryan Field and went a combined 44-5 against Northwestern. Ryan Day joins them in a victory in his first game against the Wildcats and a victory in his first game at Ryan Field. Ohio State’s all-time record against Northwestern is 63-14-1.
Urban Meyer Coaching Moments of the Game: Ryan Day has had few areas of his coaching that one can criticize. One that has come up in the past two games is on third and long inside their own 20, Ohio State has twice just run draw plays, and punted. I can’t stand this. I’m a firm believer that on third down you run a play designed to get you at least one yard beyond the sticks. The great part is, that is the only gripe I can find with a first-year head coach! I mean it is ridiculous how well they are doing in every facet of the game. There is so much good you can’t mention it all. From top to bottom this program is marching on like the armies of William Tecumseh Sherman through Georgia!
Glass Half Empty: The best team we beat is 6-1 UC or 4-3 MSU and a running back who got to 5,000 yards in 736 carries, which is a record, is up next and his squad’s season will be on the line. Wisconsin got caught looking ahead to October 26th and ate a bad loss at Illinois. With Iowa and Minnesota in the mix for the Big Ten West and still on the Badger’s schedule their hopes to get to Indy will be all but gone if they lose next weekend. A wounded badger is maybe the most dangerous.
Glass Half Full: Ohio State has answered every test on the schedule. They’ve man handled everyone who may have given them trouble. FAU and Lane Kiffin, beaten by 24. UC and Luke Fickell, beaten by over 40. Nebraska and Northwestern with that Big Ten West night voodoo that has bitten us the last two years, both beaten by over 40. Those Spartans that always gave Urban fits, beaten by 24. This team has been playing complete football in all facets. Usually the only team that can stop the Buckeyes are the Buckeyes. That is as true now as it ever has been, and in 2019 they are staying out of their own way.
2014 Moment: The big plays from this offense are stretching defenses, and most of them have been in the running game, like during this one at Ryan Field. The Buckeyes had runs of 68, 73, and 53 yards, and as I said above, the first broke the game open, and the last two salted it away. The explosive play is huge for a team making a title run. Now I’m the guy that looks for the shots in the passing game and Ohio State does take them, though they haven’t made as many yet (which they will need to do to beat Wisconsin, PSU, TTUN, etc.) they seem like they’re on the verge of connecting with these and in the mean time the running game is working so well there isn’t a need to worry about it just yet. That important dynamic to loosen defenses and keep them honest is there and it’s great to see.
2002 Moment: The interceptions by Amir Riep and Sevyn Banks. Ohio State is plus 12 in turnover margin this year. Taking away opportunities from your opponents and giving extra scoring opportunities to your offense is a big indicator of a championship defense. Illinois forcing turnovers led to them beating Wisconsin. If the Silver Bullets force some Badger turnovers, they too should beat Wisconsin.
1968 Moment: Haubeil’s 55-yard field goal that would have been good from 60! This was the championship moment of the game, not because it made the lead 28 instead of 25, or because of how insanely good the kick was. It was the championship moment of the game because of how this team reacted. The whole team on the sideline was ecstatic! They acted like he just made that kick at the gun for the win. Just because they were happy for their teammate. Chase Young led the wave of energy that was going on, on the sideline. The unanimous all-American, future first overall draft pick in the NFL draft, was chomping at the bit, and jacked up because the of the success the kicker, his teammate had. The love these guys have for each other is a championship x-factor and I’m not the only one who thinks so. After the game Damon Arnette made comments about that factor as did former Buckeyes and national champions Darron Lee and Tyvis Powell. Ohio State has championship heart.