The Locker Room

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Getting Ready to Enter Big Ten Play

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 29, 2014 0 Comments

Whip It!

Ohio State football players are doing their part to raise awareness, and more importantly funds, to fight childhood cancer.

Jumping off the popularity of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, there is now an effort underway to make whipped cream pies to the face the next viral charitable movement, and proceeds are going toward research into pediatic cancer, as well as support for the young patients and their families.

"A lot of people know people who have dealt with cancer, but it's different when you have a child dealing with cancer," linebacker Joshua Perry said. "So I hope this keeps going. I hope people pick it up and they keep doing it."

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 29, 2014 0 Comments

Ohio State Still Ruling the Buckeye State

 

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Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 28, 2014 0 Comments

Troy Smith Inducted Into Ohio State's Hall of Fame

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 28, 2014 0 Comments

Get to Know: Cincinnati

How good are the Cincinnati Bearcats? It’s a little tough to tell. Due to an oddity in their scheduling, they started their season with two bye weeks and have only played Mid American Conference opponents Toledo and Miami since.

That means their opponents have a combined record of 2-6. The Bearcats have barely even faced a top-100 defense.* (Cincinnati is 99th in points against.)

Still, it’s fair to say Cincinnati has at least managed a passing grade…as in they pass well and pass a lot.

Notre Dame transfer Gunner Kiel is 10th nationally in pass efficiency, completing 50 of his 76 attempts so far this season, and he has already thrown 10 touchdown passes. Against Toledo, he became the first ever player to throw 6 touchdown passes in an FBS debut. Six TDs also tied the school record held by Tony Pike (2009).

And Kiel will spread it around. He’s used 12 different receivers, while 7 different players have caught touchdown passes. (Ohio State’s numbers through 3 games, by comparison, are 11 and 5.)

Leading the way is 6’6″ junior Mekale McKay, who averages 17.9 yards/catch and 31.4 yards each on his ten career touchdown grabs. As if that wasn’t enough, the Bearcats also have 5’9″ Maple Heights, Ohio native Shaq Washington, who was the team’s most prolific receiver in 2013. In fact, his 78 receptions last year was good for the fifth best season in Cincinnati history.

When they do rush it, Cincinnati’s top option is Hosey Williams, who was the team’s leading runner a season ago and continues to pace the team this year.

Even though they returned eight starters, the Bearcats defense has struggled, giving up nearly 464 yards every time out, but when they need a defensive stand most, they tend to get it.

Consider that they kept Miami from scoring despite the Redhawks having a first-and-goal from the one-yard line with minutes to go Saturday. That helps contribute to the fact that the Bearcats are ranked 5th nationally in red zone defense, giving up just 3 touchdowns the 9 times their opponents made it within the 20.

Plus, Cincinnati leads the nation in averaging 5.5 sacks per game. Getting into the opponent’s backfield most frequently with 2.5 sacks to his credit is 6’5″ defensive end Brad Harrah, and not far behind him with 2.0 sacks is fellow defensive end Terrell Hartsfield.

The club’s leading tackler overall is also one of Cincinnati’s 20 transfer students. Jeff Luc was a Florida State Seminole before joining UC, and now the linebacker has 30 tackles and 2.5 tackles-for-loss just two games into his senior season.

As you’d expect from a team that gives up a lot of yards, though, the Bearcats have struggled to get teams off the field on third down. They’re ranked 113th nationally in that category.

Tackling issues have spilled over to their kick return defense (80th nationally) and punt return defense (109th nationally).

Cincinnati’s kicker is 2/2 this season. However, Andrew Gantz hasn’t been called on much, and his long is from 34 yards out.

Finally, the Bearcats are coached by Tommy Tuberville, who is 2-0 all time against Ohio State’s Urban Meyer.

*Yes, Cincinnati does have something to do with that.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 26, 2014 0 Comments

Ohio State Says They're Ready for Cincinnati

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 24, 2014 0 Comments

Ohio State Looks Ahead to Cincinnati

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 22, 2014 0 Comments

Smith Accident Report Released

Jackson Township has finally released the accident report from Devin Smith’s crash on June 29.

(See the report here.)

According to the report, the Buckeye wide receiver was driving his father’s Pontiac Grand AM, when he drove off the right side of a curving road. He then struck a utility pole. His car overturned. He hit a mailbox. The car was totaled.

This happened around 8:30 in the morning.

Smith was being treated in the back of an ambulance when police began to question him. He said he was adhering to the 45 mile-an-hour speed limit when he drove off the road. He also told police he had not been drinking, but had been “standing by someone who was.” When pressed, he then admitted he had drunk a couple of beers. However, he maintained he stopped drinking around 1:00 a.m.

Throughout this, police describe Smith’s demeanor as emotional and respectful.

Smith was given a field sobriety test. Based on the results of this, police advised Smith that he would be placed under arrest for OVI. Smith requested he be taken to the hospital for cuts on his right arm, and there he changed his mind and allowed officers to draw his blood.

The blood test found no evidence of drugs in Smith’s system. In addition, his blood-alcohol level was under the legal limit, so Smith was issued a citation for failure to control. No other charges were filed.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 22, 2014 0 Comments

Postgame Reaction: Ohio State Beats Kent State 66-0

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 13, 2014 0 Comments

Get to Know: Kent State

Not only has Kent State lost twice this season, they’ve lost twice at home. They lost to a conference rival (Ohio) on a last-second field goal, and to a Sun Belt opponent (South Alabama) which had racked up a record of just 8-19 over the last two seasons.

However, neither of those games represents Kent State’s most heartbreaking loss this year.

Right before their 2014 campaign was slated to start, 21-year-old center Jason Bitsko was found dead in his off-campus apartment, apparently of natural causes.

The Flashes will be wearing the number 54 on their helmets Saturday when they play Ohio State in Bitsko’s honor. At least one Buckeye, you’d imagine, will also find some way of honoring Bistko. Braxton Miller was his high school teammate.

It is possible that Bitsko’s passing helps explain Kent State’s early struggles. At the same time, it is definitely proof that the sport of football is unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Still, since there is a game being played this weekend, let’s scout the Flashes, coached by former Ohio State assistant Paul Haynes.

Their biggest problems thus far this season have come on the offensive side of the ball. They are only averaging 1.9 yards per carry. There are only four teams with worse numbers in that category (Wake Forest, UCF, Washington State and SMU).

Quarterback Colin Reardon has been hot and cold. He’s completing 58 percent of his passes and has 4 touchdowns to just one interception. However, he missed on 9 of his first ten passes against South Alabama.

Sophomore slot receiver Ernest Calhoun has been Reardon’s leading target thus far with 14 catches. The Akron Buchtel product is listed at 5’6″, 151 pounds. Senior Chris Humphrey is the other receiver who has double-digit catches. In fact, he’s had a reception in 22 straight games.

Senior Casey Pierce has proved to be an effective pass-catching tight end.

The defense has been slightly better. Dating back to last season, Kent State has given up a mere 15 points per game over the course of their last five games.

Safety Nate Holley, another gritty undersized player at 5’11”, already has 27 tackles this season, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, a pass breakup and quarterback rush. Fellow safety Jordan Italiano and linebacker Matt Dellinger represent two of the Flashes top three tacklers from a year ago. Meanwhile, NFL.com called nose tackle Nate Terhune one of the toughest players in college ball. (Refusing to take painkillers after you break your leg so you can continue to lift weights will get you recognized as a tough guy.)

That’s not to say the Kent State defense hasn’t had their share of letdowns. They’ve allowed opponents to convert on nearly 42 percent of their third downs, which ranks them 90th in the country. In two games, the Flashes have only allowed teams into the red zone three times, but all three times their opponent came away with a touchdown.

Finally, on special teams, punter Anthony Melchiori has already bombed one 71 yards this year. However, the team’s place kicker, also Melchiori, has missed on his two field goal attempts, both within 32 yards.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 12, 2014 0 Comments

Buckeyes Ready To Turn Page To Kent State

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 11, 2014 0 Comments

What Went Wrong? How Will They Fix It?

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 8, 2014 0 Comments

Buckeye Players and Coaches Explain Their Loss

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 7, 2014 0 Comments

A Developing Situation

Asked to describe his football team in one word, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer answered, “Developing.”

Considering that the Hokies have just five seniors on defense (not in the starting lineup, but in the entire two-deep); considering that, on offense, freshman scored all but six points in the squad’s 34-9 season-opening win against William & Mary (and those aforementioned six points came on a fourth-quarter touchdown); considering they played a total of 10 true freshman in that victory; and considering they have a new starter at quarterback (and he’s not the signal caller who came out of the spring as the projected number one)?

Well, given all that, Beamer’s word choice might not only be considered appropriate, but an actual understatement.

The overhaul was considered necessary after the program’s worst two-year win total (15) since 1991-92.

Not included in the makeover is Beamer himself, who is in his 28th season and just signed an extension that has him under contract through 2019. Also, there’s Bud Foster, architect of the Hokies defense, who is likewise in his 28th season.

Given that, it shouldn’t be a surprise that defense is one of the foundations of the Hokies identity. Even as they struggled last year, Virginia Tech was fourth in the nation, only allowing 283.6 yards per game. They didn’t give up even that many in their season opener, just 193 yards and three field goals, no touchdowns.

Ohio State will enter the field from a new tunnel. Here's a photo of it while it was under construction.

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Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 5, 2014 0 Comments

Ohio State Almost Ready for Virginia Tech

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Sep 5, 2014 0 Comments