Freshman Tracker: Lincoln Kienholz Can't Produce Points and Carnell Tate Gets a Catch As Buckeyes Collapse in Cotton Bowl

By Matt Gutridge on December 30, 2023 at 3:30 pm
Lincoln Kienholz and Devin Brown

Welcome back to the 1990s.

For the second straight year, Ohio State's season ended with a loss to Michigan and the Buckeyes' bowl opponent. The last time the program lost to Michigan and the bowl opponent in consecutive years? 1990 and 1991.

Ryan Day played ten true freshmen in the 14-3 Cotton Bowl loss to Missouri — three more than the seven that saw action in the loss to Michigan. Lincoln Kienholz and Carnell Tate were the only members of the 2023 class with stats against Missouri.

Kienholz's number was called for duty in the second quarter when Devin Brown could not continue due to an ankle injury. The moment appeared too big for the athletic quarterback from South Dakota as he misfired on eight of his first nine passes. 

Facing heavy pressure against a Missouri defensive front that frequently blew by Ohio State's offensive line untouched, Kienholz was able to finish the day 6/17 passing for 86 yards. Not great, but not bad considering the ridiculous pressure he faced all night.

Tate had five passes thrown his way, but he was only able to grab one of them for a meager 4-yard gain. He finished the season with the fifth-most catches (18) by a true freshman in program history and had receptions in 11 of Ohio State's 13 games. If Ohio State's offensive line can provide next year's starting quarterback an ounce of protection, Tate could have a very productive sophomore season. 

Rest of the class

Malik Hartford was a gunner on both of Ohio State's kickoffs.

Brandon Inniss participated on Ohio State's three kickoff return teams and four of the team's eight punt returns.

Jermaine Mathews Jr. covered on both of the Buckeyes' kickoffs and three of the punt returns.

Kayden McDonald played on both sides of the line. He was on the field for four defensive and three offensive snaps.

Luke Montgomery protected for Fielding on his two field goal attempts.

Arvell Reese was on the field for the team's three kickoff returns.

Calvin Simpson-Hunt was a gunner on every kickoff and five of Ohio State's eight punts. He was also on the field for four of the team's eight punt returns.

Carnell Tate took the field for Ohio State's three kickoff returns and half of the eight punt returns.

Jelani Thurman was a wing on both of Ohio State's field goal attempts.

14 of Ohio State's 21 scholarship true freshmen in the 2023 class were given a chance to play in at least one game. Seven total freshmen did not take redshirts: Hartford, Inniss, Mathews, McDonald, Montgomery, Reese and Tate.

Thurman and Simpson-Hunt played in five games this season but did not burn their redshirts because the bowl game did not count against their redshirt status.

The 2023 class closes its freshman season with an 11–2 record.

Class of 2023 Tracker
CARNELL TATE WR Indiana 1 catch, 4 yards 13 18 catches, 255 yards, 1 TD
MALIK HARTFORD S Indiana 2 defensive snaps 12 10 tackles, 2 PBU
BRANDON INNISS WR Indiana 9 offensive snaps 12 1 catch, 58 yards, 1 TD
JERMAINE MATHEWS JR. CB Indiana 1 defensive snap 12 13 tackles, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 TD
LUKE MONTGOMERY OL Indiana Special teams 11 44 offensive snaps
ARVELL REESE LB Indiana Special teams 8 Special teams
KAYDEN McDONALD DT WKU 4 defensive snaps; 3 offensive snaps 7 1 tackle, 0.5 TFL, 1 PBU
CALVIN SIMPSON-HUNT CB Rutgers Special teams 5 2 tackles
JELANI THURMAN TE WKU 2 offensive snaps 5 2 catches, 18 yards
LINCOLN KIENHOLZ QB MSU 6/17 passing, 86 yards; 6 carries, 2 yards 3 10/22 passing, 111 yards; 6 carries, 2 yards
NOAH ROGERS WR Indiana   4 14 offensive snaps
BRYSON RODGERS WR Purdue   2 6 offensive snaps
JOSHUA MICKENS DE MSU   1 1 defensive snap
JASON MOORE DT WKU   1 3 defensive snaps

(Note: The table does not include freshman walk-ons who have not yet played.)

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