Ohio State fans likely felt a little nervous when they heard that could-be first-round draft choice Shaun Wade could be out against Michigan.
They probably got even more nervous when Wade didn't trot out on to the field in the first half and Shea Patterson roasted the Buckeye's nickel options and linebackers.
But then they probably let out a sigh of relief as they watched Patterson go just 4-24 in the second half.
The Buckeyes used a rotation of Sevyn Banks, Cameron Brown, and Amir Riep to replace Wade, while the rest of the Buckeyes secondary remained intact. While Riep made the big plays, all three gained valuable experience in a rivalry game on a stage that could not possibly be much bigger.
8 straight... Blessed to be apart of 5 straight.. TTUN— Damon Arnette (@damon_arnette) November 30, 2019
Riep, a former four-star out of Colerain High School in Cincinnati, has largely had to wait his turn to get on the field, seeing himself get stuck behind players such as Denzel Ward, Kendall Sheffield, Jeff Okudah, and Wade. But he was the first man off the bench to replace Wade, and after a rough start, he turned it on in the second half, eventually making a big interception to basically close out the game.
With Okudah and Wade likely gone after this season to the NFL, the cornerbacks room will look a lot different next year. Riep, Banks, Brown, and others will have to step up in order for the Buckeyes to be successful.
But today's performance in the second half proves that they can, and it's really a two-way street: the DB's show the coaching staff what they can do and help their team while simultaneously gaining experience for the rest of this year and for next season.
With a showdown next week against either Minnesota or Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, it will be interesting to see if Wade can go. If he cannot, it will have to be another step-up job from the cornerbacks room.