Stock Up/Down: Johnnie Dixon Goes Deep, Tate Martell Sets Records And Malcolm Pridgeon Suffers A Setback

By Derrick Webb on September 11, 2018 at 8:35 am
Johnnie Dixon

Two down, 10 to go.

After a second consecutive blowout win, No. 4 Ohio State now turns its attention towards No. 15 TCU, what many believe to be the Buckeyes' first real test of the 2018 season. If you're looking for a measuring stick, Saturday's 8 p.m. kickoff will certainly provide one.

Heading into that primetime showdown at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, here's your weekly look at whose stock is up and whose stock is down.

Stock Up

Johnnie Dixon, Senior Wide Receiver

There's just something about playing Rutgers that Johnnie Dixon enjoys. In 2017's 56-0 win over the Scarlet Knights, Dixon caught three passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. How'd he follow that performance up one year later? Four catches for 89 yards and two more scores in a 52-3 victory.

Acting head coach Ryan Day said after Saturday's game that "Johnnie is really a special young man. He gets up in front of the team, guys listen. He has the respect of his teammates. He's a big-play guy. He's down-the-field and he can track the ball."

Dixon allows Ohio State to stretch the field. They'll need him to continue doing so as the season roll along.

Tate Martell, Redshirt Freshman Quarterback

After Saturday's performance, what else is there to say about Martell? He said all that's needed in his own way. Martell set a school record for completion percentage in games with at least 10 pass attempts. He was 10-of-10 passing for 121 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for a team-high 95 yards and a trip to the house.

For his efforts, Martell was named the Big Ten's co-freshman of the week. No, there's no quarterback controversy in Columbus. But Martell has shown if something were to happen to starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the Buckeyes are in good hands.

Shaun Wade, Redshirt Freshman Cornerback

Wade played nickel cornerback during the first half of Saturday's game and came up with his first career interception during the second half. On Monday, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said that Wade could continue to receiving more playing time in multiple positions. Schiano said "we are just going to try to find ways to get him on the field. So he can play corner, he can play in the nickel as he did this week and I think, eventually, he'll be able to play at the safety position. That's good for him because that's as many opportunities as you can have in the secondary to play." 

Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota Safety

If you're an avid Ohio State fan, you already know how good Winfield Jr.'s father was in Columbus. While it's a shame that Winfield Jr. is in Minnesota instead of Columbus, you absolutely cannot deny his talent.

Winfield made a game-saving interception with 1:18 left in the fourth quarter of Minnesota's 21-14 win over Fresno State. 

That pick comes after Winfield Jr. had a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in a Week 1 win over New Mexico State. On the return, Winfield Jr. broke seven tackles. Seven.

Stock Down

Malcolm Pridgeon, Senior Left Guard

Before I start receiving hate mail, I'll just say it like it this: holding penalties kill long drives, and that's an any level. Pridgeon had two holding calls pinned on him Saturday and if it had been in a big game ... oh, say like against TCU ... it could've really affected the Buckeyes' game plans while making the team pay. The big fella will have to clean some things up before flying to the the Lone Star State.

Jeff Brohm, Purdue Head Coach

Really, Purdue? Really? With a grey cloud surrounding Brohm's team after a season-opning loss to Northwestern, the Boilermakers doubled down on bad outings Saturday. Hosting Eastern Michigan out of the Mid-American Conference, Purdue fell 20-19 when Eagles kicker Chad Ryland nailed a last second field goal. Brohm has not only had to address his team's 0-2 start, he's also had to put a new discipline policy in place for 15-yard penalties. 

"There has to be consequences for their actions, and if guys are getting 15-yard penalties they're out of the game," Brohm said Monday. "If we see something close to that that's not a penalty, they're coming out of the game. We have to do it in practice, address it in practice and make sure that they're training themselves every day to understand you can't be silly and do things that cost your team when it has nothing beneficial for anybody."

At this point, the players know not to purposely commit 15-yard penalties. But as the head coach, you also have to make sure it doesn't happen in the first place.

Michigan State

It seems when Michigan State travels west, the Spartans don't fare so well. In fact, since 1962, Michigan State is 0-13 in regular season games played west of the Rocky Mountains.

If you're wondering, that's not good. At all.

In a 16-13 loss to Arizona State on Saturday, a game where the Spartans led 13-3 at one point, the Sun Devils racked up 424 total yards, gained more first downs, were penalized less and played, as coach Herm Edwards would say, without "leaving it all on the grass."

Tariq Cole, Rutgers Left Tackle

Let's be honest ... he did this to himself. While Cole did give Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa his due credit in an August interview, he also said “All I know is Nick hasn't gotten a sack off me. It's up to me to keep it that way.”

Extra motivation is probably something you should never give Nick Bosa. And, of course, Bosa ended that short-lived streak Saturday when he buried Rutgers quarterback Art Sitkowski on the final play of the second quarter. Bosa now has three sacks on the year.

Photo Credit: Aaron Doster – USA TODAY Sports

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