Thoughts on Last Week
Well, I didn’t see that coming! Last Saturday night, the Buckeyes completely and utterly dominated from start to finish in what was, possibly, their most complete game of the season. The offense looked like a completely different animal, putting up 62 points on a Cornhusker defense that hadn’t allowed more than 32 all season. Of course, Nebraska isn’t the same team without their senior leader Tommy Armstrong, and it was scary to watch him taken off the field in an ambulance. I was at the game when Penn State’s Adam Taliaferro suffered a spinal cord injury, and he never played football again. Despite horrific parallels to Taliaferro’s injury, thankfully Armstrong appears to be doing well and should be ready to play football again soon.
The Buckeyes travel to College Park on Saturday for an afternoon tilt against the reeling Maryland Terrapins. In their last five games, the Terps have only managed to defeat a floundering Michigan State. Normally senior Perry Hills leads the Terrapins, but he left last week’s game against Michigan with a shoulder injury. If he can’t go on Saturday, then they toss the reigns to either senior Caleb Rowe or freshman Tyrrell Pigrome. Although both have played sparingly this season. Pigrome gives the Terps the dual-threat option while Rowe is a more traditional drop back passer. Look for the Buckeyes to bring constant pressure all day to rattle these inexperienced quarterbacks. Maryland has two very capable running backs in Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison, both of whom average over 7 yards per carry this year. They both struggled last week against a strong front vs. Michigan and I expect the Buckeyes to show them the same treatment this week.
As far as Ohio State goes, I want to see if last week was a fluke. The Buckeyes are still working the kinks out on offense, but last week was a good start. Hopefully, guys like K.J. Hill and Austin Mack can continue to supplement the normal rotation of wide receivers. I suggest letting Demario McCall get some work in so Mike Weber can rest his injured shoulder. McCall has proven he can carry the load late in blowouts, so let’s see how he does in the spotlight. I think the defense will play with the same intensity as last week, which should give Maryland a rough afternoon.
Prediction: Ohio State 56, Maryland 10
A Fan’s Playoff Predictions
- Alabama – I watched snippets of the Alabama-LSU game during commercials and when the Buckeyes were up big, and I witnessed some pretty terrible football on offense. As usual, both defenses were stifling all game long – only 10 fourth quarter points allowed the Crimson Tide to escape Death Valley unscathed.
- Clemson – Deshaun Watson and the starters weren’t needed very long last week against Syracuse. While Pitt might play them close for a bit, I don’t see the Tigers having any real challenges until the ACC Championship game. Barring a huge shocker, I fully expect Clemson to be one of the final four.
- Washington – A lot of people still aren’t high on Washington because of its “soft” schedule to this point. I, however, see a dominant team who has put up more than 31 points in every game so far this season. Jake Browning continues to earn some Heisman buzz, but the Huskies face a stiff challenge this week in streaking USC.
- Michigan – The Wolverines crushed the Terrapins last week and travel to Iowa. The Hawkeyes aren’t the team they were a year ago, but they can pose some issues for the Wolverines. Although the game might be closer than what the experts predict, I expect Michigan to win and enter “The Game” undefeated.
A Fan’s Heisman Standings
- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville – If Jackson doesn’t win the Heisman this season, then someone take away the voters’ privileges. He’s been sensational all year, and he banked seven more touchdowns against Boston College last week. Jackson is on pace to break the all-time single season touchdowns-accounted-for record held by Colt Brennan, who played in the air-raid Hawaii system.
- Jake Browning, QB, Washington – Browning refuses to go away in this Heisman race, putting up six touchdowns of his own last week in the win over Cal. He has 34 touchdowns to just three interceptions on the season and has accounted for 38 total touchdowns so far. His challenges ramp up with USC this week and the Apple Cup in a couple of weeks.
- Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson – We didn’t get to see much of Watson last week as Clemson handled Syracuse, but he still recorded three more touchdowns during the Tigers’ chase to get back to the College Football Playoff.
- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma – I’m keeping Mayfield here by default because I don’t have another player deserving of the final spot. He continues to lead the Sooners’ resurgence after their early season struggles and has them battling for a Big 12 title.
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