Penn State never goes away quietly.
Despite Ohio State crushing the Nittany Lions in just about every meaningful statistic on Saturday evening, they hung around to try to make a tight game of what otherwise largely felt like an ass-kicking. By the end, the Buckeyes managed to come away with a 38-25 victory.
Here are five players (or groups of players) who flashed during the win.
The DT Duo
Tommy Togiai is known for being the strongest player on the team. Most people know Haskell Garrett’s name due to the gunshot wound he suffered two months ago.
Turns out, everybody should get to learn more about them because they’re not going away anytime soon. Both Togiai and Garrett turned what many viewed as a concern about the defensive line – and, more specifically, the interior – into a strength on Saturday by controlling the line of scrimmage and tossing folks around in the backfield. Togiai tackled Clifford twice for his first three career sacks, and Garrett recorded two tackles – though the stat sheet doesn’t do him justice for the havoc he created.
Nobody will overlook them again.
Pocatello's Tommy Togiai (@Big_Tom72) is having a great game against Penn State!— Adrian Luevano (@a_luevano) November 1, 2020
The former Highland Ram has two sacks and five tackles for Ohio State at the end of the third quarter.
You can watch the fourth quarter on @localnews8! pic.twitter.com/fEMYuIUdBI
Coop’s coming-out party
Speaking of a box score not telling the whole story…
Jonathan Cooper had, unequivocally, his best game as a Buckeye at the perfect time. Per the stat sheet, he had five tackles and half of a sack, but it felt as though he did even more than that. Oh, and he agrees.
“That's all? That's all they gave me? Dang,” Cooper said afterward. “I need more.”
Ohio State had hoped at least one of the five defensive ends it relies on most would step up, and Cooper did exactly that. Larry Johnson, in the leadup to the season, said that the fifth-year defensive end looked different this year. We finally got a glimpse of what he was referring to on Saturday.
We essentially haven’t seen Cooper in about two years. Last season, he played four games but he did so while hobbled on a bum ankle that led to an unexpected redshirt. He has developed in the two years since we last saw him rush passers healthy, and the work shows.
I mean, what can you even say about Justin Fields anymore? The only questions that remain are whether or not he can cement himself as college football’s best quarterback this season and Ohio State’s best quarterback ever.
Fields completed 28-of-34 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns without any turnovers. Absurd.
Country’s Best Wide Receiver Pairing?
Yes, Fields is awesome in his own right. He makes things happen both through the air and on the ground when other quarterbacks would falter.
The presence of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, however, makes everything a little bit easier. Two weeks into the season, they’ve made a strong case as being college football’s No. 1 pair of wideouts. This weekend, they became the first duo of players in Ohio State history to each have at least 100 receiving yards in back-to-back games.
What a toss— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 1, 2020
What an even better catch pic.twitter.com/wEGpsmGaaJ
They just keep one-upping each other, too.
Wilson set career-highs versus Nebraska with seven catches for 129 yards. He broke his own receptions record on Saturday by snagging 11 passes for 111 yards. On third downs, he’s clearly become Fields’ go-to weapon. Five of his catches came on third downs. Olave tied his single-game records of seven catches and two touchdown receptions, taking them for 120 yards. He and Fields have a downfield connection most quarterbacks and wide receivers would dream of creating.
We ran a poll on this website on Sunday with one question: After Saturday’s game, who do you think should get the most carries at running back? Steele Chambers, who had four rushes for 32 yards in the opener, garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, with Sermon edging out Teague for the remainder of it.
If that poll goes up again, Teague would likely run away with it.
He rose to the occasion in his best game as a Buckeye versus a ranked team with 23 carries for 110 yards. These were the types of moments where he needed to prove himself, and he did just that on Saturday. The 5-foot-11, 225-pound bowling ball hit holes hard with low pad level and worked for extra yards. With the passing game and Fields’ ability to make plays with his legs, Ohio State should be able to achieve everything it’s chasing with this type of performance from Teague if he's able to produce consistently.