Kane Anderson: Ezekiel Elliot. With the game in doubt early in the second half, the offensive game plan became No. 15. When an already bad Cincinnati defense began to wear down, Elliott cranked things up to a level fans had not yet seen. It was very much like a Carlos Hyde performance down the stretch. Everyone in the stadium knew he was getting the ball on almost every snap and he still always got positive yardage. He has been the No. 1 back all year, but this performance solidified him as the starter. Have to throw some credit to the O-line as well.
Ryan Ginn: My Buckeye Leaf goes to sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott, who took away some ammunition from anyone who questioned his ability to successfully run between the tackles. The fact that he had zero negative rushes is in part a tribute to the offensive line that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said won the game, but 182 yards on 28 carries is a sign that he can be the feature back that extends drives when the Buckeyes need it most. Tonight’s performance was big for the team but also big for him – in the postgame press conference, Elliott said he needed a game like this.
Matthew Hager: I'm going to give six this week. Mine go to the Ohio State offensive line -- starters Taylor Decker, Billy Price, Jacoby Boren, Pat Elflein and Darryl Baldwin and Chase Farris, who rotated into the mix often during the game. They line kept J.T. Barrett upright, allowing only one sack, and despite a handful of penalties, the group played a big role on an offense that finished with 710 yards.
Marcus Hartman: I will go with J.T. Barrett. Sure that's the obvious choice, but I was impressed with the variety of ways he beat the Bearcats. He completed passes to 10 different receivers and threw just about every type of route. His second TD pass to Devin Smith was the type of deep throw he hasn't always put on the money, so that could end up being a big step in his development. He continued to show he can run when teams don't account for him, and he has the toughness Urban Meyer needs in a quarterback. The head coach doesn't mind 409 total yards, either, the second most in school history behind Art Schlichter's 412 against Florida State in 1981.
Jeff Svoboda: I love the way J.T. Barrett both distributed and competed, but I have to go with Ezekiel Elliott. Ohio State's offense is simply better when there's a bread-and-butter back, and Elliott was just that against the Bearcats. Just like Carlos Hyde in the past, when the game got close and was in doubt, the Buckeyes turned to Elliott and he put it away. He was good but not great in the first three games, but the sophomore was at a different level in this one. Honorary Buckeye Leaves also must go to the six offensive linemen who pushed UC around all night.
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