Favorite Stat of the Game: Eight straight. For the first time ever, we have won eight in a row over them. For the first time ever, we have had two wins in a row against them with scoring over 50 and winning by over 20. This was the seventh straight game with at least 30 points against that team, the most that team has ever allowed by any seven straight foes let alone us. 56 points is the most we’ve ever scored in their house. Also, eight straight pairs of Gold Pants (it’s worth repeating).
The Brooklyn Dagger Award: I was able to breathe for the first time all day when Austin Mack fought his way into the endzone to make the score 56-27. Mack finished the game with three catches for 39 yards. I’m appreciative that Mack broke their backs in their house twice in as many tries. Mack’s touchdown catch let me breathe again but Amir Riep sealed the fate of khaki crew. It’s reassuring that with the departure of Damon Arnette, Jordan Fuller, and Jeff Okudah that Ohio State has a ton of young guns to turn to, one of which is Riep and gave us a taste of what he can do in this contest. Riep had three tackles and a pass breakup and a highlight reel one handed interception that killed what ever hope that team up north had left.
Dwayne Haskins (Player of the Game) Award: J.K. Dobbins. Dobbins was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the fourth time this season, but none were as big as this one was. His totals from The Game (31 carries for 211 yards, two catches for 49 yards, and four touchdowns) make his career rushing yards at 4,113 (1,657 on the season) second only to Archie’s 5,589. His 21 total touchdowns (19 rushing, 2 receiving) give him a total of 41 for his career which ties him at sixth all-time with Carlos Hyde. He is sixth for most touchdowns scored in a season and he’s likely to move up hoping to pass the likes of J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott in career total touchdowns scored and maybe Keith Byars and Zeke in single season touchdowns scored. It’s been an honor to have this guy as a Buckeye for three seasons and he impresses in so many facets not just the ability to scoop up his own fumble and advance it for a 34-yard game. He’s almost earned his degree in business management! He’s a Heisman finalist. Here’s to three more games for J.K. Dobbins!
Defensive Players of The Game: Robert Landers and Davon Hamilton, courtesy of Chase Young. Chase Young was getting held like crazy and blocked by more than two guys plenty of times in this one. I saw Chase get quadruple teamed once. That team’s right guard, right tackle, tight end, and running back all were assigned to the predator during a pass play in the second half. It made me laugh so hard I couldn’t even tell which of the other four Rushmen it was who beat their man one-on-one and force Patterson to get rid of it early for an incompletion. Other times I saw Young get out right bear hugged. Give the rest of the Rushmen credit though, Jonathan Cooper got a sack, and so did Davon Hamilton. Hamilton also had two tackles for a loss, and so did Robert Landers and Landers jumped on a big fumble and helped with a big fourth down stop as well. This proves that the Rushmen will still be a force if Chase is shut down hook or by crook.
Ryan Shazier-Devin Smith Award: Like Chris Olave last year, Wilson torched the wolverine secondary and like Olave last year it started with a simple crossing route that Wilson turned into a big play that went for 41-yards to the wolverine 12-yard line (on a very underrated throw by Fields by the way). Wilson then had a big play catching a bomb from Fields for 47-yards to that team’s five-yard line. J.K. Dobbins took it in for a touchdown on the very next play. Not to be denied from the endzone himself, Wilson caught a beautiful pass by Fields that some are calling Fields’ Heisman moment where after limping off the field, he came back and rolling to his left hit Wilson for a 30-yard touchdown. Garrett Wilson ended The Game with three catches for 118 yards and a touchdown.
Dane Sanzenbacher Award: K.J. Hill. The fifth-year senior from Little Rock Arkansas is only three catches from tying (four from breaking) David Boston’s record for career receptions by a Buckeye. Hill stands at 188. He only had a pair of catches in this year’s match up against that team up north, but one was for a huge touchdown, making it back-to-back years in which he caught a touchdown in The Game.
Taylor Decker Award: The BIA (Okudah’s name for the secondary; Best In America). Patterson was 14 for 19 for 250 yards and a touchdown in the first half. In the second half, he was 4 for 24 for 55 yards and was sacked twice. I can’t remember seeing half time adjustments made by a defense be so effective.
Fedora Award: It’s a really tough call to say who is filling bigger shoes. Ryan Day for Urban Meyer or Justin Fields for Dwayne Haskins. Just typing that out though makes me realize it’s even. Ryan Day is 12-0 in his first 12 games, just like Urban was. Justin Fields is responsible for 47 touchdowns through twelve games right behind Haskins who had 54 touchdowns through fourteen games. Fields might break that mark and with 37 passing touchdowns and with possibly three games to go it wouldn’t be impossible for Fields to make a run at Haskins’ 50 passing touchdowns in a season as well!
Sweater Vest Award: Jim Tressel had to be proud of the game the kickers had. Drue Chrisman had four punts for 182 yards for a 45.5-yard average. Blake Haubeil had 534 yards on kickoffs and only 80 of them returned. Haubeil was also a perfect 8 for 8 on extra points. The YSU president cringed at a dropped punt, but he had to smile at another win in their current stadium. We’re 20-21-3 against them in their current home. Since the Horseshoe opened its gates and about the same time the forward pass became a thing, we’re 49-45-4 against them.
Archie Award: Jonathan Cooper. Cooper added another dose of legend to The Game. Deciding to redshirt this year, meaning he could only appear in one more game, Cooper had a decision to make. A Big Ten Championship Game? A college football playoff game? A national championship game? Cooper declared that playing in The Game was most important. That is doing like Urban Meyer, Ryan Day, Woody Hayes, Jim Tressel, and every Buckeye would do and respecting the rivalry that you live every day and is in the DNA of Ohio State. Cooper made it one to remember with a sack, a tackle for a loss, and three tackles in his final game of 2019. Here’s to that just being a preview for 2020 on his part!
Horned Rimmed Glasses Award: One of the biggest things Woody Hayes prided himself and his teams on was toughness. And no one has shown more toughness the past two weeks for the Buckeyes than Justin Fields. Fields took a nasty hit at the end of the PSU game and had to limp off the field in this one. Then he came back and threw a ridiculous touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson. That team got pressure on him on 43% of his drop backs and he answered the bell big time. Against pressure in Ann Arbor he was 6 of 11 for 162 yards and three touchdowns and was sacked only once. He showed physical toughness, but this guy is mentally tough as well. His pocket presence and intelligence are astounding for anyone, let alone a first-year player! Fields was 14 of 25 for 302 yards and four touchdowns (plus 6 carries for 25 yards on the ground). His numbers for the regular season were 189 of 277 for 37 touchdowns and one interception and 111 carries for 470 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. He’s a Heisman finalist. And he’s at Ohio State for this post season and next season.
Urban Meyer Coaching Moments of the Game: My favorite call by Ryan Day had to be the deep shots from Fields to Olave and Wilson. Knocking a good defense off their down hill attack and onto their heels sets the tone for a game in favor of an offense. Keeps the whole field open to every offensive weapon. It’s why those crossing routes are so deadly and it’s why when Dobbins was getting through the holes in the line the rest of the defense were yards away and that puts a smile on his face and yards in his stat line.
Glass Half Empty: The glass is NEVER even slightly empty when you win The Game, period.
Glass Half Full: It’s a full glass today. The regular season is a wrap. 12-0. We’ve scored 599 points and have given up 142. That is a 457-point differential. As I’ve said a million times, only we can stop ourselves. I hope to see 2019 next to 2014 at next season’s opener and there is a better than decent chance that I will.
2014 Moment: The bomb to Olave in the first quarter from Fields was like Cardale to Smith and it opened up the playbook for the rest of The Game and another historic offensive outing.
2002 Moment: The fourth down stop led by Landers on fourth and one at the wolverines own 29 was like Kenny Peterson and the ’02 gang stuffing running plays. Four plays later, Austin Mack scored for the final touchdown in the 56-27 win.
1968 Moment: The ’68 team is known for their 50 points against that team as much as their national title. This is about The Game. Now the Buckeyes are 20-13-1 in my lifetime. That team’s antics astound me, especially when we ride into their house. 2013 they ambush Dontre Wilson. In 2016 Harbaugh (who is allowing 44.8 points per game to us and 15.4 to everyone else in his tenure there) blames the refs for Ohio State being tougher than the best team of his tenure. In 2017 someone takes out J.T.’s knee and the Dwayne Train plows through them. In 2018 J.I.M Loses His Revenge Tour and a guarantee goes south. Now they’re giving up unsportsmanlike penalties for taking off J.K. Dobbins shoe and Don Brown is talking trash and still can’t stop a crossing route. It’s Looney Tunes level of antics on their side and on our side the rivalry and winning it is in our DNA. That’s a difference between championship football and 9-3. It’ll be 3,291 days minimum as of right now between their wins against us. Justin Fields said the Buckeyes “take it more serious” and “it just means more at Ohio State.” May it always be so. Damon Arnette said in the tunnel on the way to the locker room “They ain’t ever gonna win.” May this be a prophecy that is fulfilled.