Thoughts on Last Week
Much like Urban Meyer, I was concerned about how this young team would respond to a hostile road environment at Oklahoma. I was nervous all day – the delayed kickoff didn’t help – but once the ball was in the air, and the Buckeyes put up a couple of quick scoring drives, I knew this team was going to come out of Norman with a big win.
Honestly, I’m surprised Ohio State ran the ball so much, but it obviously worked, so there was no reason to stop. Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel again made the thunder and lightning combo look lethal. Samuel got the ball on 4th down and took it to the house, and Weber averaged nearly seven yards a pop on the ground. Although J.T. Barrett only completed 14 passes all night, four of them went to Noah Brown in the end zone. His infamous touchdown catch on the defensive player’s back was one of the best – if not the best – catches I’ve ever seen. Despite Brown’s heroics, I’m still a little worried about the Buckeyes' wide receiver play going forward. Their other wide receivers only had four catches for 36 yards. Fortunately Ohio State had such great success running the ball, or the game might’ve had a different outcome.
The defense was lights out again. Even though they gave up 400 yards of offense and the first two touchdowns of the season, the Buckeyes made big plays when they needed them. The athletic Jerome Baker grabbing a pick-six, and Marshon Lattimore’s fourth interception of the season were the highlights for me, but in the end, the Buckeyes’ bend-don’t-break strategy held strong and kept the Sooners from finding a rhythm. Baker Mayfield struggled against Ohio State’s “basic” defense and never looked like himself all night. Joe Mixon averaged nearly nine yards a carry, but he and Samaje Perine failed to make much difference. The defensive line exerted a lot of pressure, and the linebackers held their ground while the secondary continued their ball-hawking ways. Chalk up another big win for this young team – they certainly grew up last Saturday.
A Fan’s Playoff Predictions
Alabama – The Crimson Tide looked terrible in the first half against Ole Miss, but a late rally spurred by big special teams and defensive plays sealed up another top 25 win. Their early win against USC doesn’t look so hot right now, but they still possess more talent on the field than probably everyone but Ohio State.
Ohio State – After going on the road to Oklahoma and dominating the game from start to finish, this young Buckeye team is certainly on the rise. The defense is hard to crack, and the offense seems to be a well-oiled machine. The Buckeyes have some tough tests coming up in October, so things could change quickly.
Louisville – I thought Louisville would be good, but this good? Lamar Jackson his team rolling right now, and that train could continue all the way to the playoffs. However a looming trip to Death Valley against Clemson will probably leave one of them on the outside looking in.
Clemson – A 59-0 shellacking of South Carolina State didn’t put the Tigers back in the top four, but their talent level and Deshaun Watson put them back on my list. They still have tough games remaining, especially against charging Louisville. Win out, and they will be here in the end.
A Fan’s Heisman Standings
Lamar Jackson – The way he ran rampant over Florida State’s defense gave me flashbacks to another Jackson – Bo. Eighteen touchdowns in three games is incredible, and he should have another big week against Marshall before traveling to Death Valley to face Clemson.
J.T. Barrett – There may not be a smoother operator in all of college football than Barrett. The command he has over the offense, and the trust he instills in the guys around him makes for a pretty formidable offensive attack. Some of his throws last weekend against Oklahoma were not great, but Noah Brown made them highlight-reel worth.
Christian McCaffrey – Another run of the mill performance from McCaffrey this week against USC. He added 238 yards of total offense, along with two touchdowns. He leads the country in all-purpose yards per game at 235 per game.
Donnel Pumphrey – A new name to my list, but after two consecutive 200-yard games, he deserves to be here. San Diego State is off to a 3-0 start, and Pumphrey averages almost 200 yards per game with seven touchdowns. He averaged 1,750 yards a season over the past two seasons and he shows no signs of letting up this year.