Skull Session: J.T. Tuimoloau Had “Coming-Out Party” Against Penn State, the Ohio State Hoops Twitter Has Some Fun and the Buckeyes Should Break an FBS Record at Northwestern

By Chase Brown on October 31, 2022 at 5:00 am
J.T. Tuimoloau

Happy Halloween, Eleven Warriors readers.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that you're too old to Trick-or-Treat. If you don't want to do the whole walking around thing, go to the grocery store tomorrow and buy all the Halloween candy when it goes on sale. Think smarter, not harder, right?

Let's have a good Monday, shall we?

 A COMING-OUT PARTY. J.T. Tuimoloau may have had the best individual defensive performance in Ohio State history over the weekend, racking up every statistic imaginable against Penn State.

You know what? I'll make a hot take. He had the best individual defensive performance in Ohio State history, and one of the best the college football world has ever seen in its decorated past. It was that special.

Tuimoloau collected six tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a deflected pass – which resulted in a Zach Harrison interception – and two inceptions, including a pick-six to seal the game for the Buckeyes in the fourth quarter.

According to Eleven Warriors data analyst Matt Gutridge, Tuimoloau is the only Ohio State player with two interceptions, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the same game. How rare is that feat?

That combination of statistics – which Tuimoloau accomplished alone, by himself, just him – has been achieved by the entire Ohio State defense in only eight games since 1976, and likely ever: Northwestern (1981), Iowa (1984), BYU (1985), West Virginia (1987), San Diego State (2003), Northwestern (2006), Tulsa (2016) and Michigan State (2020).

As for how that stacks up with other players in the FBS since 2000?

In short, Jaylahn Tuimoloau is in a league of his own. Perhaps his unfathomable performance against Penn State – the best competition Ohio State has faced to this point in the season – will truly be the “coming-out party,” as Ryan Day referred to it after the game.

Buckeye Nation is crossing its fingers and saying its prayers that it will be the case, especially as Ohio State approaches what will probably be a top-five matchup against Michigan on Nov. 26.

We'll see if that happens in the future. But for now, we can appreciate Tuimoloau’s performance for what it was, and that's special. He already has a national defensive player of the week award from Walter Camp Football, and I fully expect to write up a Big Ten defensive player of the week award in a few hours. See you over there when it happens.

 J.T. → OSU BASKETBALL LEGEND? On July 4, 2021, Tuimoloau committed to play football for Ohio State, but that wasn't the only sport he planned on playing for the university. Tuimoloau also wanted to be a part of the men's basketball team.

Chris Holtmann left the door open for the Sammamish, Washington, native – who was a bucket and a problem for Eastside Catholic in high school – and claimed he would talk with Day about the possibility of Tuimoloau playing his team. Still, Holtmann admitted that Tuimoloau was “a ways away from stepping onto a court” for the Buckeyes.

Nobody knows if those conversations occurred between Holtmann and Day, and after a year and some change on campus, it's likely that Tuimoloau will never be a two-sport athlete for the school. However, that didn't stop the Ohio State basketball Twitter account from having some fun after Tuimoloau's big day against Penn State.

 THAT'S A LOT OF POINTS. Ohio State tied a 121-year-old Big Ten record for the most consecutive games with 44 or more points. Who held that record, you ask? Michigan in the 1901 and 1902 seasons.

It's astonishing the Wolverines held the record for so long, but the Buckeyes finally caught up to their rivals many years later. And with Northwestern, Indiana and Maryland on tap for the next three games, there's a good chance Ohio State breaks that record and sets an incredibly high mark for future teams in the Big Ten to meet.

This weekend, another scoring record at stake for Ohio State is the FBS record for the most consecutive 20-point games. The Buckeyes tied Oklahoma at 69 straight contests with 20 or more points by scoring 44 against Penn State, and Ohio State looks poised to stand alone with 70 after it plays Northwestern on Saturday.

“Looks poised” might leave too much room for doubt. I feel comfortable saying the Buckeyes will set the record against Northwestern. If they don't, I wouldn't know what to say. I mean, Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras – the dude who threw the ball directly at Ohio State players multiple times two games ago – was cooking for the Hawkeyes in their matchup with the Wildcats.

Yeah, um... Bucks by a Billion.

 MARV IS WR1. Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best wide receiver in America. Everyone in Buckeye Nation has learned much this season, and it looks like the rest of the college football world is preparing to make the same claim.

On Saturday, Harrison caught 10 passes for 185 yards as Ohio State's primary source of offense for most of the Penn State game. The Nittany Lions had no answer for the one they call Route Man Marv, Super Marv and Marvelous Marv, and – to be fair – neither does any other team across the FBS.

According to Dane Brugler of The Athletic, Harrison would be the No. 1 receiver off the board for NFL franchises in the 2023 draft if he were eligible for entry. Yes, he'd be in front of Jaylin Hyatt of Tennessee, Jordan Addison of USC and even his teammate Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

It's a bold claim, but is it really that bold? Harrison has 48 receptions this season for 783 yards (16.3 ypc) and 10 touchdowns. He is an athletic freak, his route running is polished and his work ethic is off the charts. Being the son of an NFL legend doesn't hurt the draft stock, either.

So, I'll run up that hill with Brugler. He's the best receiver in America and continues to prove why that's the case every week. He'd be the first receiver taken in this year's draft and will easily be a top prospect for 2024. Regardless, Harrison's football career is just starting, which should be an exciting thing for Ohio State fans.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.

 CUT TO THE CHASE. Swiss claim record for world’s longest passenger train... Roaches spoil Halloween on a suburban street... Escaped king cobra crawls back to Swedish terrarium... Michigan State president: Post-game melee “unacceptable”

DON'T FORGET: Vote for Ohio State women's ice hockey defenseman Sophie Jaques to win the AAU James E. Sullivan Award: Voting Link

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