Skull Session: Curtis Samuel's Quest for 1K/1K, Ohio State Homecoming History, and Terrelle Pryor Thinks Browns Can Win Out

By D.J. Byrnes on September 29, 2016 at 4:59 am
Mickey Marotti leads the lads out for the September 29th 2016 Skull Session

Thursday, baby! It's exactly like Friday, except we have to work our hangover off on our boss' time the next day. It's the American way.

 SAMUEL 4 HEISMAN. Yesterday, I mentioned J.T. Barrett's quest for the Heisman. It makes sense, as prolific quarterbacks always put up insane numbers in Urban Meyer's offense.

But there's another Buckeye who could creep up Heisman charts should Louisville QB Lamar Jackson falter, which may be more likely than oddsmakers think:

Enter Curtis Samuel, who is on pace to do something only two NFL players have ever done.


Samuel is at 260 rushing yards and 259 receiving yards right now, numbers that would put him on pace for more than 1,000 in both over 13 games (and Ohio State could play 14 or 15 if it makes the College Football Playoff). How impressive would that be? Only two players in NFL history -- over 16 games, mind you -- have ever even done it: Marshall Faulk and Craig James. Urban Meyer has said Samuel is the best fit he's had at Ohio State for the H-back role, sometimes referred to as the Percy Harvin position. In Harvin's best year for Meyer at Florida, in 2007, he had 764 rushing yards and 858 receiving yards.

The odds are against Samuel doing it because he'd not only have to stay healthy and highly productive, but defenses will start to key on him more in Big Ten play. But the fact we're even talking about it tells you what a talent he is. And if he does manage to get to those numbers, don't we have to start talking about him as a serious Heisman Trophy candidate?

Obviously, the schedule stiffens now, but Ohio State still plays Rutgers, Penn State, Indiana, Northwestern and Maryland. Samuel could feast in all those games unless Meyer pulls his warhorse early to keep him healthy for bigger games (not unlikely).

If Samuel tops 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards, they might as well hand him the trophy in the huddle after the play in which he reaches the milestone.

If he tops 764 rushing and 858 receiving yards, "the Percy Harvin" position is officially dead. It will be "the Curtis Samuel position" until the end of time.

So it is written, so it is done.

 HAPPY HOMECOMING. It humors me to envision Ohio State scheduling sachems deciding which game should be homecoming.

Because it needs to be an opponent in which the local team can whip easily in front of alums that made the hajj back to their old stomping grounds. Nothing dampens the party like the local team losing, after all.


Saturday’s game will be the Buckeyes’ 95th homecoming in Ohio Stadium, which opened in 1922. OSU’s record is 70-19-5 over the first 94. Ohio State is 13-1 in its past 14 homecomings, with the lone setback delivered in 2008 by third-ranked Penn State, 13-6. That was the only time the Nittany Lions have been the Buckeyes’ homecoming opponent.

From 1935 through '52, Ohio State’s homecoming opponent was either Illinois or Michigan. With one exception, 1942, homecoming was the final home game of the regular season.

Illinois has been Ohio State’s most frequent homecoming opponent at 19 (11-6-2). Wisconsin is next with 14 (11-1-2), followed by Michigan at 13 (5-8). The Buckeyes have not faced the Wolverines at homecoming since a 27-7 victory on Nov. 22, 1952. That was Woody Hayes’ first of 16 victories over Michigan during his 28 seasons as head coach (16-11-1).

(That 2008 Penn State game was the last game I attend at the Horseshoe, and I still have nightmares about the dipshit at the 12th Avenue apartment complex who blared Penn State's fight song—complete with that wretched Nittany Lion roar—through a bullhorn until the early hours of the next morning. The Ohio State fans who housed him should be charged for harboring terrorists.)

It's clear the Buckeye scheduling sachems got the memo. They looked at the schedule and said, "Rutgers won't be ranked. Go ahead and schedule the Knights."

Chris Ash will probably mention this insult to his team, too. It won't matter.

 PRYOR THE ORACLE. Don't look now, enemies of the Almighty Cleveland Browns, but Terrelle Pryor is blossoming into a legitimate NFL wide receiver:


Hard to believe the Browns cut their best player last year and almost washed him out of the league. 

Still, it's good to see Pryor back on the boss plane.


Pryor, who accounted for 200 of the Browns' 430 yards against the Dolphins, believes the Browns could have been 2-1 this season. A controversial taunting call against Pryor vs. Baltimore and Cody Parkey's missed field goals loom large in the 0-3 start.

"We're so close to getting over that hump,'' said Pryor, who played 14 wildcat snaps. "Once we get over that hump, I think we're going to have a lot of success, even this year. ... I think we can win all the rest of the games. It depends on our mindset. It depends on how we look at it. It's just one week at a time.''

My prediction for the 2016 Browns was the same as every year: 19-0 and a Super Bowl victory. Though I fell short once again this year, I would totally accept 16-3 and a Super Bowl victory.

Of course, the hatin' ass Steelers couldn't even let Pryor have his couched statement.


I hope you’ve got your breath from all that laughing, because Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams, who has two meetings left with the Browns on his calendar this season, dropped a solid one-liner that might explain Pryor’s rationale for his team winning out. “Maybe he was talking about Ohio State,” Williams posted on his Instagram, referencing Pryor’s unbeaten alma mater.

Browns may not finish 16-3 (I'd accept 15-4 as well), but Williams done poked a dragon. Mark Pryor down for 200+ yards and two touchdowns when the Steelers and Browns play in eight weeks.

 STOP! IT'S HUBBARD TIME. The secondary has been the toast of the Silver Bullets in 2016. Though the interior defensive line has played well despite not stuffing the stat sheet, there can be some improvement.

Rutgers could offer a chance for Sam Hubbard to have his breakout game.


Here’s where Hubbard comes in. If there’s any category in which the Buckeye defense lacks, it’s stopping the run on passing downs, defined as second-and-8 or greater, third-and-5 or greater, and fourth-and-5 or greater. Offenses typically throw about 2⁄3 of the time on these downs; it’s the other third where the Buckeyes struggle, ranking a paltry 126th nationally against the run in these situations.

With their best wide receiver gone, it seems likely that the Scarlet Knights will look to make hay early on the ground in down-and-distance situations in which they might otherwise have elected to pass. More rushing attempts give Hubbard more opportunities to use his superior athleticism and skill set to make tackles. The former Notre Dame Lacrosse commit* and his line mates are uniquely positioned to be the ones doing the damage in this game, after taking a backseat to the incredible secondary in the early going this year.

*You are legally obligated to mention this bit of trivia in any conversation about Hubbard.

I predicted Sam Hubbard would be in the 2017 NFL Draft, and I still stand by that. Let's hope Rutgers offers him the chance to ascend draft boards. We have yet to see his best.

 MY NEW FAVORITE CAFÉ. For years, my favorite café in America was the OK Café in Marion. But all good relationships must come to an end.

My new café of choice can be found on Indianola Avenue in Clintonville.


The 12 felines living in a storefront on Indianola Avenue are sitting in the catbird seat.

They are the fortunate first residents of the Eat, Purr, Love Cat Cafe, a haven for adoptable cats to rub shoulders, tails and ears against potential owners.

Housed as 3041 Indianola Ave. in the Clintonville neighborhood — site of the former Catbird Seat, a vintage-clothing store — Eat, Purr, Love officially opened Monday morning.

Since emerging as the blood-soaked victor of the War of the Five Skulls, I have filed Sessions from Tampa to Lake Erie to Montreal. From now on just assume I am writing from the Eat, Purr, Love Cat Café.

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