Another week, another Ohio State win.
The Buckeyes kept it close with Michigan State before pulling away for a 34-10 victory on Saturday. For the first time all season – sorry, Miami (Ohio), we're not counting your 5-0 lead – Ohio State faced true adversity. A 24-point second quarter from the Buckeyes, though, ended all hopes from the Spartans of an upset.
Let's get into this week's stock report.
Before the season, Dobbins deemed last year – when he ran for 1,053 yards – a "failure." And on Saturday, he gave himself a B-plus for his play in the first six games of this season.
That left one remaining question: what would an A-plus performance look like?
Dobbins has 116 rushes for 826 yards and six touchdowns already this season. On Saturday, he added his third game of at least 170 rushing yards in the past four weeks by carrying the ball 24 times for 172 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 67-yard run, the second-longest play of his Ohio State career.
Only one player in the nation – Oklahoma State's Chuba Hubbard – has more rushing yards this season than Dobbins.
The former five-star linebacker is finally living up to that label.
Browning didn't own the stat sheet on Saturday, recording only two tackles. But he just has a way of making impactful plays that stand out each week, which he did twice against the Spartans.
Near the end of the game, Browning deflected a pass that led to what was an interception for a touchdown from Jordan Fuller before it got called back due to a penalty. He also recorded one of Ohio State's four sacks on Saturday. He now has 2.5 sacks this season.
Baron Browning got in there like a bullet. pic.twitter.com/IOoGQWwjdI— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 6, 2019
Binjimen Victor's yards after catch
Victor's early dropped pass that seemed like it could've gone for six points when the ball was in the air haunted the Buckeyes in the first quarter.
But early in the second quarter, Victor made up for his mistake. He found himself wide open for a 15-yard catch, kept his feet in bounds, raced downfield and faked turning inside to juke the final potential tackler before sprinting down the sideline for the touchdown.
Incredible play design, incredible execution. pic.twitter.com/XZMI5qQwnV— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 6, 2019
Without as many game-breaking playmakers who win with speed, such as Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, Ohio State needs these types of plays once in a while from Victor. He dropped one in the first quarter but responded with a touchdown shortly after.
If Wade continues this level of play, Ohio State will be replacing its entire defensive backfield next year.
Jeff Okudah is a lock to enter the draft after this season, and both Jordan Fuller and Damon Arnette are seniors. Wade is playing himself into the NFL draft conversation, too. A mock draft from Draft Network's Joe Marino released on Sunday has him projected as a late first-round pick.
Wade had five tackles, a sack, a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup on Saturday. Able to play cornerback, nickel back or safety, he's one of the defense's most versatile players, and he has also turned into one of the most physical players on that side of the ball. Enjoy him, Columbus, because he might be gone sooner than you'd prefer.
Timing Of The Bye Week
Ohio State gets a pair of off weeks this season, and they're well placed in its schedule. The first, which keeps the Buckeyes off until they face Northwestern on Oct. 18, comes at a particularly optimal time for a few reasons.
- Some players are dinged up and could use a week without a game. Damon Arnette exited last week's game early with an undisclosed injury. Jordan Fuller limped as he walked to the sideline after his interception return for touchdown. Thayer Munford fell to the ground with an injury in the first quarter of Saturday's game, though he managed to return for the next series. C.J. Saunders, Tyler Friday and Rashod Berry were game-time decisions this weekend, and the week off allows them to return to full health. Chase Young bruised his shoulder during the win against Michigan State.
- Ohio State faced its first bit of adversity and now has two weeks during which to regroup. At Big Ten media day, Day mentioned this first bye week coming at the midway point of the season as chance to reconvene and discuss what happened in the first six games.
- The two-game stretch before the team's second bye could be challenging. With a 1-4 record and an offense that has put up more than 15 points just once in its first five games, Northwestern won't be a trendy upset pick, but its defense still could pose difficulties. The following week, all eyes will be on a matchup with Wisconsin at Ohio Stadium. Provided the Badgers don't get toppled by Michigan State or Illinois in the next two weeks, they'll enter the showdown with the Buckeyes undefeated and ranked in the top 10.
The Buckeyes looked flawless for large stretches of the first five games of the season. Seemingly no opponent could throw anything at them that bothered them.
Then came Mark Dantonio and his magic.
By the end of the first quarter of Saturday's game, Ohio State held a 3-0 lead, and it wasn't exactly playing with the same dominance seen in prior weeks. The Buckeyes had 10 rushes for zero yards, and Justin Fields had completed 3-of-6 passes for 16 yards. Michigan State had turned the ball over twice inside its own 30-yard line, and the prime opportunities for Ohio State resulted in a made field goal and a missed field goal. Just three points.
The tides soon changed, with the Buckeyes racking up 24 points and 296 yards in the second quarter. But by then, the Spartans had already made Ohio State look human – which isn't necessarily a negative. With a bye week, the team has extra time to reflect.
The Interception-less Streak
It took more than 100 passes, but Justin Fields finally got picked off.
On his 136th pass of the season, Fields threw an interception that Michigan State's Josiah Scott returned for 34 yards. With the pick coming in the second half, it didn't have any effect on the outcome.
Fields now has 18 touchdowns and one interception this season.