Welcome to the Skull Session.
The Game is in five days.
It's almost time for the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
Let's have a good Monday, shall we?
A COLD-BLOODED GENTLEMAN. After what seemed like a wasted 2022 season for Jack Sawyer, who appeared in 13 games at Jim Knowles' "Jack" position instead of defensive end, Sawyer needed some time to knock the rust off when he made a return to his traditional, hand-in-the-dirt edge rusher spot at the start of 2023.
Eleven games later, Sawyer has no more iron oxide – no, not even close.
On Saturday, the Pickerington, Ohio, native collected six tackles, a career-high 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble in Ohio State's 37-3 win over Minnesota.
Is that good?
Jack Sawyer, a cold-blooded gentleman. pic.twitter.com/e8nydlRYQk— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 19, 2023
Sawyer, who had 2.5 tackles for loss before the Buckeyes' battle with the Golden Gophers, collected a TFL for -2 yards on Minnesota's second possession, blew up a screen for another TFL on the third possession and both pressured quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis to force an incompletion and secured a takedown on the fourth possession.
In the second half, Sawyer stripped Kaliakmanis on Minnesota's first possession of the second half. Defensive end JT Tuimoloau scooped up the football and returned it to the MIN 6-yard line. Three plays later, Kyle McCord connected with Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 4-yard touchdown.
The Jack Sawyer Game pic.twitter.com/2Lxa4VENP0— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 18, 2023
To answer the rhetorical question from earlier, yeah, that's good.
When Ohio State heads to Ann Arbor on Saturday, Ryan Day, Knowles and Larry Johnson would loveeeeee to see a duplicate performance from the 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end. I would, too. So would you.
Time to shine, Jack.
HE'S DANGEROUS. TreVeyon Henderson proved to be way too much for the Golden Gophers to handle on Saturday. With 17 touches for 172 yards and two touchdowns, Henderson also proved once more that he is one of the best weapons in college football when at 100 percent.
The 5-foot-10, 212-pound running back was at his best in the first possession of each half for Ohio State. In the opening drive of the first half, he rushed four times for 35 yards and a touchdown and caught a 13-yard pass. In the third quarter, he took a handoff, became speed and outpaced the Minnesota defense for a career-long 75-yard touchdown. During those two possessions, Henderson averaged 20.5 yards per touch.
TreVeyon Henderson is a home-run hitter. pic.twitter.com/CSLpSmMmNy— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 18, 2023
Henderson's performance marked the third time in four weeks he reached 100 yards of total offense (and then some) in a game.
In Ohio State's win over Wisconsin – Henderson's return to action after a four-week absence – the Hopewell, Virginia, native had 28 touches for 207 yards and one touchdown. His encore was 27 touches for 208 yards and one touchdown vs. Rutgers, and he had 15 touches for 77 yards and one touchdown vs. Michigan State. Those numbers combine for an impressive 74 touches for 664 yards and five scores.
In Ann Arbor, Henderson needs 20-plus touches. Period. Point blank. Henderson has run with a purpose since his return. He's also become a factor as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Both aspects should be favorable for Ryan Day, Kyle McCord and the Buckeyes, who will be 3.5-point underdogs at the Big House.
In Ohio State's 42-27 loss to Michigan in 2021, Henderson totaled 128 yards and two touchdowns, including five catches for 53 yards. Day and McCord should lean on him in a similar fashion – however, this time around, one can hope it leads to a more positive outcome when the scoreboard reaches 0:00. (It will.)
THANK YOU, MARV. After Ohio State's 37-3 win over Minnesota, Marvin Harrison Jr. walked toward the team's locker room. With Ohio Stadium's turf in view and some fans still in their seats, the star wide receiver looked back at the place he's called home for three seasons, commemorating what was (probably) his last appearance at the Shoe.
Leaving the Shoe as one of the all-time greats. pic.twitter.com/my2XLD2PAo— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 19, 2023
This moment was beautifully captured.
In 25 starts at Ohio State, Harrison has established himself as one of the best wide receivers, if not the best wide receiver, in school history. With his three catches, 30 yards and one touchdown vs. Minnesota on Saturday, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound pass-catcher has collected 150 receptions for 2,495 yards and 30 touchdowns as a Buckeye.
This season, Harrison has 62 receptions for 1,093 yards and 14 total touchdowns –numbers that have placed him in the #HE18MAN conversation with quarterbacks Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), Bo Nix (Oregon) and Jayden Daniels (LSU).
And Harrison's season is far from over.
This week, the man called Marvelous Marv, Super Marv, Route Man Marv, Maserati Marv or Harrison's preferred nickname, Marv, will look to add another note to the powerful legacy he will leave behind in Columbus.
That, of course, would be a dominant performance vs. Michigan that results in a pair of Gold Pants for the Buckeyes. Ten-plus catches, 100-plus yards and a couple of touchdowns should do the trick. Yeah, that'll do it!
PLAYERS OF THE GAME. The Sunday after an Ohio State win, Eleven Warriors presents an offensive and defensive Buckeye with player of the game awards. This week, running back TreVeyon Henderson and defensive end Jack Sawyer received our top honors for their performances.
Congratulations to the Eleven Warriors players of the game for Ohio State's 37-3 win over Minnesota.— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 19, 2023
TreVeyon Henderson: 15 carries, 146 yards, 2 TDs, 2 catches, 26 yards
Jack Sawyer: 6 tackles, 3 solo, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble pic.twitter.com/rn4gSHra45
Three hours after we shared our selections, Ohio State announced Henderson and Sawyer as its offensive and defensive players of the game (a consensus!). Interestingly, the Buckeyes did not name a special teams player of the game for the second time in three weeks (Rutgers). No love for Jayden Fielding, I guess.
As mentioned earlier in the Skull Session, Henderson and Sawyer were stellar on Saturday. Ohio State will need both of them to be at their best this weekend in Ann Arbor. Knowing how both of them have performed the second half of the season, the third-year Buckeyes seem poised to carry momentum into the Big House for the 119th edition of The Game.
SONG OF THE DAY. “Carmen Ohio” - The Best Damn Band In The Land.
CUT TO THE CHASE. North Carolina field hockey, under 23-year-old coach Erin Matson, wins historic NCAA title... Amazon has announced another massive investment in the state of Ohio... Century-overdue library book is finally returned in Minnesota... Paul Azinger out as NBC golf analyst as five-year contract not renewed... Fans are suing Formula 1 after being forced to leave grandstands in Las Vegas.