Buckeye Leaves: Wisconsin

Ohio State had some dominant performance as it cruised to a Big Ten title game victory in the first game under Cardale Jones. We pick our players of the game in this week's Buckeye Leaves.

Ohio State dominated Wisconsin on its way to the Big Ten championship Saturday night, producing a number of standout performers. Who were our players of the game, though? BSB gives out our Buckeye Leaves.

Ryan Ginn: Choosing everyone on the team seems like a good place to start, but I’m going to have to go with sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones, who was an absolute force of nature in a game where Ohio State needed him most. Here’s the thing: there was no safety net, no backup to turn to if things went sour. He knew this game was all on him and went out there and led Ohio State to a 38-0 lead at halftime. This was a spotless game from a guy many – myself included – expected to be anything but that. It’s a performance this program will remembered for a long time.

Matthew Hager: Cardale Jones is going to earn plenty of nods in this space, and the sophomore quarterback is certainly most deserving. But to make sure they do not go unnoticed, I am going to give Buckeye Leaves to Chris Ash and Luke Fickell. I’m sure Ash’s time at Wisconsin helped him prepare for the Badgers, but the co-coordinators did a fantastic job limiting Melvin Gordon and company nonetheless. I’m sure Ash, Fickell and the Buckeyes got sick and tired of hearing about Ohio State’s struggles in stopping the rush this season. They won’t hear it tonight.

Marcus Hartman: Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott put up big numbers, but I am going with Devin Smith. Tom Herman said they went to him early because they felt like he had a matchup advantage, and that turned out to be true. Smith caught four passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns, and he did more than just show off his speed. He went up to get contested balls and he opened up another DB with a nice pattern for another score. Smith set the tone with his first catch and let us know the rout was on with his second. The third was just a cherry on top.

Jeff Svoboda: To be honest, almost every player on the team could get a Buckeye Leaf based on this performance, but how can you not go with Cardale Jones? In his first start in a pressure situation, Jones turned in a dominant performance. The third-year sophomore didn't look nervous at all and commanded the game, showing great poise in the pocket and accuracy on his passes, including a number of deep balls he put right on the money. With three touchdown passes and excellent command of the offense in such a tough situation, Jones gets my vote for a well-deserved Buckeye Leaf.

Blake Williams: Arguments could be made for nearly every Ohio State player as the team delivered its most complete performance this season, but how can it be anyone but Cardale Jones? Making his first career start, Jones completed 12 of his 17 attempts for 253 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, propelling the Buckeyes to their first Big Ten championship since 2010. Jones was helped by some excellent Tom Herman play-calling and some nice catches, but the quarterback executed the offense nearly perfectly. He was solid from start to finish and at no point did it look like the game was too big for him. He’s been in the offense for three years and it showed. Hat tip to the offensive line for keeping him clean, Ezekiel Elliott for a great day on the ground and Devin Smith for three TD receptions, but this was Jones’ night.

Who do you think should be so honored? Let us know in the Ask The Insiders forum.


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