Nearly half of Ohio State's scholarship freshmen saw action in the Buckeyes' season opening 52-17 victory over Nebraska. Five of the fearsome freshmen were able to etch their names on the stat sheet.
Jack Miller III and Jaxon Smith-Njigba took advantage of their early playing time and both scored in their Buckeye debuts. The duo was responsible for the Scarlet and Gray's last two touchdowns of the game.
Miller's score came when he crossed the goal line with 18 seconds remaining in the contest. The Arizona native called his own number and rushed in from two yards out to give Ohio State its sixth straight win over Nebraska.
Of Ohio State's seven touchdowns, arguably none was as impressive as Smith-Njigba's five-yard, body contortionist grab in the back of the end zone. Although the refs and announcers originally thought Smith-Njiba wasn't able to stay in bounds, the talented wide-out immediately made a case with the back judge that he made the incredible catch. After review, the pleas from the 5-star receiver were warranted.
At Rockwall High School in Texas, Smith-Njigba had 82 career touchdowns. His first score with the Buckeyes was a memorable one...and hopefully the first of many more to come.
Receiver Julian Fleming was on the field for 19 offensive snaps and finished the day with one reception for 13 yards. His 13-yard catch was on 2nd and 17 and was a key play that extended the drive that ultimately ended with Smith-Njigba's touchdown grab.
Other players to get offensive snaps were linemen Paris Johnson Jr., Luke Wypler and receiver Gee Scott Jr.
On the defensive side, Ty Hamilton dropped Luke McCaffrey at Nebraska's 8-yard line for a sack around the four minute mark of the fourth quarter. Secondary player Lathan Ransom was also credited with a tackle in his first game. Linebackers Mitchell Melton and Cody Simon were on Ohio State's coverage team for the last kickoff of the game.
Going forward, it appears Smith-Njigba is making a case to be the next phenomenal freshman wide-out for the Freshman Tracker to follow. Two years ago, Chris Olave was the man and last year it was Garrett Wilson. With that said, don't sleep on Fleming or Scott Jr. to grab some headlines in future games.
The NCAA gave all players a free year of eligibility this season, so Ohio State does not have to worry about preserving redshirts for its freshmen this year.
|NAME||POS||DEBUT||NEBRASKA STATS||GP||SEASON STATS|
|JULIAN FLEMING||WR||NEB||19 offensive snaps||1||1 catch, 13 yards|
|TY HAMILTON||DL||NEB||5 defensive snaps||1||1 tackle, 1 sack|
|DARRION HENRY-YOUNG||DL||NEB||2 defensive snaps||1|
|PARIS JOHNSON JR.||OT||NEB||6 offensive snaps||1|
|MITCHELL MELTON||LB||NEB||Special teams only||1|
|JACK MILLER III||QB||NEB||6 offensive snaps||1||2 rushes, 23 yards, TD|
|LATHAN RANSOM||SAF||NEB||2 defensive snaps||1||1 tackle|
|GEE SCOTT JR.||WR||NEB||4 offensive snaps||1|
|CODY SIMON||LB||NEB||Special teams only||1|
|JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA||WR||NEB||17 offensive snaps||1||2 catches, 5 yards, TD|
|LUKE WYPLER||OL||NEB||6 offensive snaps||1|