In the days following Ohio State's loss to Virginia Tech, Urban Meyer vowed to get more freshmen from Ohio State's vaunted 2014 class involved in the game plan, singling out Johnnie Dixon and Noah Brown among others. Saturday, he did all of that and more with seven different freshmen seeing their first action of the season in the Buckeyes' 66-0 stomping of Kent State.
It wasn't so much that the true freshmen saw action, it's that they had an impact. Wide receiver Johnnie Dixon had four carries for 20 yards. Defensive end Jalyn Holmes notched five tackles, including a TFL, against the Golden Flashes. Safety Erick Smith snagged an interception in his first game, Marcelys Jones and Jamarco Jones saw snaps on the offensive line.
And then there were guys like Raekwon McMillan and Curtis Samuel, freshmen who cracked the two-deep earlier in the year, but really showed up against Kent State. McMillan, a five-star linebacker prospect from Georgia, led Ohio State in tackles (7), TFLs (3) and sacks (2). Samuel, the burner from Brooklyn, rushed for 100 yards on 15 carries, scoring the first two touchdowns of his Ohio State career.
“I practice hard for the games during the week so the game will be easy.”– Freshman LB Raekwon McMillan
If you're going to burn the redshirt, they might as well contribute, right?
Redshirt freshmen also got in on the action. Quarterback J.T. Barrett set career highs in completions (23), attempts (30) and yards (312). The 312 stand as the most passing yards out of an Ohio State quarterback since Troy Smith went off against Michigan in 2006. Oh, and his six touchdown passes tied the single-game record in Columbus.
Linebacker Darron Lee, another redshirt freshman making noise, finished with two more TFLs and another sack against Kent State.
Tight end Marcus Baugh, seeing increased playing time with starter Jeff Heuerman held out with a foot injury, hauled in the first touchdown pass of his career with a two-yarder in the second quarter. Ditto for Jalin Marshall, who saw the end zone for the first time as a Buckeye Saturday afternoon.
Youth all around:
Ten different true freshman have gotten playing time today against Kent State so far; 22 total freshman have game action this afternoon.— Jerry Emig (@BuckeyeNotes) September 13, 2014
There will certainly be growing pains with this group – there always are – but they're young, they're talented and they will be scary good by the time November rolls around.
|DANTE BOOKER||LB||KENT STATE (9/13)||1 TACKLE||1 TACKLE|
|NOAH BROWN||H-B||VIRGINIA TECH (9/6)||SPECIAL TEAMS, H-B ACTION||N/A|
|JOHNNIE DIXON||WR||KENT STATE (9/13)||4 RUSHES for 20 YARDS||4 RUSHES for 20 YARDS|
|JALYN HOLMES||DL||KENT STATE (9/13)||5 TACKLES, 1 TFL||5 TACKLES, 1 TFL|
|MARCELYS JONES||OL||KENT STATE (9/13)||OL SNAPS||N/A|
|JAMARCO JONES||OL||KENT STATE (9/13)||OL SNAPS||N/A|
|RAEKWON McMILLAN||LB||VIRGINIA TECH (9/6)||1 TACKLE||8 TACKLES, 3 TFLs, 2 SACKS|
|SEAN NUERNBERGER||K||NAVY (8/30)||2/2 FGs, LONG of 46||3/5 FGs|
|CURTIS SAMUEL||RB||NAVY (8/30)||7 RUSHES for 45 YARDS||27 RUSHES for 174 YARDS, 2 TDs|
|ERICK SMITH||S||KENT STATE (9/13)||1 INTERCEPTION||1 INTERCEPTION|
|DAMON WEBB||CB||KENT STATE (9/13)||1 TACLKE||1 TACKLE|