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Football

All things pigskin.

1. J.T. Barrett might not have a rocket arm; he might be a bit slow in his decision making; he might not be a legitimate NFL prospect; and yes, in the end he might not be good enough to lead this Buckeye team to a national championship. But Joe Thomas Barrett IV is definitely the best quarterback in the 127-year history of Ohio State football. Barrett already holds all of the important career QB records at Ohio State including passing yards (8,547); passing touchdowns (94); completion percentage (.645); and total yards (11,466). Barrett has 2,919 career rushing yards, and he will soon surpass Braxton Miller (3,054 yards) to become the Buckeyes career leader in rushing yards for a quarterback. With 33 wins as a starting quarterback, Barrett still has a very good chance to tie or exceed Art Schilchter's career record of 36 wins.

2. Barrett played the best game of his career - and arguably the greatest game by any Buckeye QB ever - in the biggest game of his career. #2 Penn State was the highest-ranked opponent that Barrett has ever faced, and the Nittany Lions' defense ranked #1 in the nation in scoring defense and #9 in total defense. In addition, the game was essentially a playoff contest for the Buckeyes - with one loss already in the ledger, a second loss, even to a quality opponent, would have meant elimination from the playoffs. And on that big stage and with all that pressure, Barrett simply produced a school-record 423 yards of total offense (328 passing, 95 rushing) and 4 touchdowns (all passing), all while leading his team to an historic 18-point comeback. Barrett was his best when the pressure was greatest, going 13/13 for 170 yards and 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter, completing his final pass of the game, the go-ahead 16-yard touchdown to TE Marcus Baugh, with just 1:48 left on the clock.

3. Throughout the first three quarters of the game, the Buckeyes attempted numerous wide receiver screens and running back...
This is the BPRT's recap of the recruiting class of 2017. RB07OSU's comments are in in BROWN; wadc45's in RED; LordJeffBuck's in PURPLE; and MD Buckeye's in GRAY:

General Thoughts
Another year, another phenomenal class. We lost a little momentum at the end and failed to get that "elite DT" down the stretch again, but it is easy to forget the amazing haul we brought in throughout the last 1-2 years to form this class. What stands out to me generally is the high end talent that we brought from all over the country. Locking down a multitude of 5 stars from Florida, California, Nevada, Texas...it was really unprecedented. While stars don't mean everything, the amount of top-shelf talent is as good as I have seen.

We always knew this class would not reach a full 25. But what it did was fill some significant gaps with premium talent and it did so early on in the process so the staff could target some big fish down the stretch. So while this class lacked the big BOOM on signing day that we have grown accustomed to, this class had almost half it's enrollees arrive early. We sound like broken records but what this staff is doing on a national level is remarkable, especially considering '17 was somewhat of a down year in-state. The letters each commit penned and were tweeted out yesterday were another new innovation by Pantoni and Co.


A great class, to be sure, despite the underwhelming stretch run. Urban Meyer's legendary closing skills were certainly not on display this year. In the three weeks leading up to Signing Day, the Buckeyes lost blue chipper Tyjon Lindsey and closed the class with three projects (Jaylen Harris, Elijah Gardiner, and Thayer Munford). Even with the...
1. First things first: You don't lose Joey Bosa, Zeke Elliott, Taylor Decker, Darron Lee, Michael Thomas, etc. etc. and get better as a team. That narrative, which was prevalent early in the season, was soundly disproven last night. While certain positions were upgraded in 2016 (Malik Hooker over Tyvis Powell, for example), the team as a whole suffered a tremendous depletion of talent, a depletion that could not be overcome in just one season.

2. Next, let's get past the "youngest team in CFB" bull[Mark May] already. That excuse might have been valid at the beginning of the season, but by last night everyone on the team was a full year older, in football terms, than they were on September 3rd. And a lot of those "young pups" are good enough to head to the NFL early. Youth and inexperience are often used as an excuse for lack of talent. I think that we need to question the level of talent on this team, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

3. Penn State fans like to blame every loss on officiating, cheating, and conspiracies. We like to blame every loss on play calling. While the play calling in last night's game was certainly not good, it was not play calling that caused dropped passes, overthrows, underthrows, fumbles, false starts, missed blocks, shanked field goals, and general lack of effort and execution from the offense.

4. Here's a perfect example of poor play calling and poor execution coming together to kill a drive: After the opening kick-off, Ohio State started with the ball in decent field position at their own 33-yard line. After two ill-designed plays (more on that later) that netted just two yards, Ohio State dialed up an old standby: the swing pass to a running back. The play lacked creativity and moved the ball laterally when the Buckeyes should have been attacking downfield. However, despite the poor play call, the Buckeyes still get a first down near midfield if Mike Weber simply catches the damned ball. The drop prevented the Buckeyes...
Well, I certainly hope that all of you Buckeye fans who want Michigan to be good again "for the sake of the rivalry" are happy with yesterday's game. Personally, I'd like to see the last Saturday in November be a guaranteed win, just like it was during the RichRod Era. But if suffering through four hours of gut-wrenching emotions is worth extra-salty Wolverine tears, then bon appetit!

1. Michigan still leads the overall series, 58-49-6, but that is largely due to their dominance during the leather helmet days. In the first sixteen games of the series (1897 to 1919), Michigan compiled a record of 13-1-2, for an .875 winning percentage. In the last sixteen games (2001 to 2016), Ohio State has compiled a record of 14-2, for an .875 winning percentage. I'll take current success over ancient history any day.

2. Curtis Samuel continued his outstanding season yesterday, with 7 rushes for 54 yards (7.7 average) and a touchdown; and 4 receptions for 32 yards (8.0 average). In other words, Samuel had 11 touches for 86 yards, for an average of 7.8 yards per touch, which was slightly below his season average (see below).

3. For the season, Samuel now has 91 rushes for 704 yards (7.7 average) and 8 touchdowns; and 65 receptions for 822 yards (12.6 average) and 7 touchdowns. In other words, he has 156 touches for 1526 yards (9.8 average) and 15 touchdowns.

4. Samuel did not have much of an impact on The Game until the fourth quarter. In his first seven touches, Samuel had only 29 yards, for an average of just 4.1 yards per touch. In his final four touches, Samuel had a 16-yard reception, an 18-yard run to set up the first overtime touchdown, an 8-yard reception that led to the infamous 4th-and-1 play, and the 15-yard game winning touchdown.

5. Going into the 2016 season, we all knew that the Buckeyes' national title hopes rested on the shoulders of J.T. Barrett. Like Curtis Samuel, the...
For the second week in a row, Ohio State beat an opponent by the score of 62-3. While last week's blow-out victory over Nebraska might have been somewhat of a surprise, most Ohio State fans expected the Buckeyes to shellack the lowly Terrapins.

1. For the season, Ohio State now has four wins of 50+ points: Bowling Green (77-10); Nebraska (62-3); Maryland (62-3); and Rutgers (58-0).

2. Yesterday was the fifth time on the season that the Buckeye defense held an opponent out of the end zone. In addition to the four games listed above, Ohio State also beat Tulsa 48-3. Note: Bowling Green scored 10 points against Ohio State, but their lone touchdown came by way of a pick six.

3. When Curtis Samuel gets the football, good things happen. Yesterday, Samuel had 4 rushes for 38 yards and a pair of touchdowns, 5 receptions for 74 yards and a 36-yard touchdown, and one punt return for 11 yards.

4. On the season, Samuel leads Ohio State in receptions (57); receiving yards (750); and touchdowns (13); and he has the three longest plays from scrimmage (74-yard run; 75-yard reception; 79-yard reception). Samuel is also second on the team in rushing with 637 yards, trailing only starting tailback Mike Weber who has 935 yards.

5. With a 36-yard touchdown reception against Maryland, Samuel now has 16 plays from scrimmage of 20+ yards this season (7 rushes, 9 receptions).

6. Curtis Samuel has often been compared to former Florida H-back Percy Harvin. Below are Harvin's stats from his three seasons at Florida (2006-2008) compared to Samuel's stats for the 2016 season:

PlayerSeasonGameRushYardsAvgTDsRecsYardsAvgTDsPlaysYardsAvgTDs
Percy...
Well, that was certainly fun to watch. Ohio State played a nearly perfect game and beat a top-10 opponent by 59 points, a near-record margin. The only worse beat down of a top-10 team came way back in 1945 when Army defeated Penn by 61 points.

The 59-point shellacking was the second worst ever suffered by Nebraska, the worst coming against Texas Tech in 2004 when the Huskers were on the wrong end of a 70-10 blowout.

1. Quarterback J.T. Barrett was the focal point of the offense this week, which is not unusual. However, instead of running the zone read 25 times, Barrett was asked to throw the ball with more frequency and against tendencies. Barrett responded with his best performance of the season, completing 26 of 38 passes (68.4%) for 290 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and 0 sacks. Despite staying in the pocket most of the night Barrett also added 39 yards rushing on 8 carries, including a 20-yard run on a quarterback draw to convert a 3rd-and-9.

2. Why isn't Curtis Samuel getting any Heisman love? Do the Buckeyes need to play him on defense for a few snaps so the national media can praise his versatility? Maybe Samuel would even come up with an interception, something that Superman JabriLL Peppers has failed to do despite playing almost exclusively on the defensive side of the ball for two whole years. Samuel had another great game yesterday with 5 rushes for 41 yards (8.2 average) and 8 receptions for 137 yards (17.1 average) and 2 touchdowns.

3. For the season, Samuel is leading the Buckeyes in receptions (52); receiving yards (676); and touchdowns (10); and he has the three longest plays from scrimmage (74-yard run; 75-yard reception; 79-yard reception). He is also second on the team in rushing yards (599), trailing only Mike Weber who has 842 yards.

4. Samuel has twice as many receptions and more than twice as many receiving yards as...
There's no such thing as a bad win .... there's no such thing as a bad win .... there's no such thing as a bad win....

1. With the 24-20 win today, Ohio State improves to 61-14-1 (.809 winning percentage) all-time against Northwestern. The Buckeyes have won six in a row and 30 of the last 31 in the series, with the only loss during that span coming in 2004 (a 33-27 loss in overtime).

2. With 223 yards passing today, J.T. Barrett now has 1,675 yards on the season and 5,501 yards for his career. He surpassed Braxton Miller (5,292 yards) for 8th place on Ohio State's list of career passing leaders. Barrett needs 69 yards to surpass Mike Tomczak (5,569 yards) for 7th place and 220 yards to surpass Troy Smith (5,720 yards) for 6th place.

3. Barrett had no touchdowns passing or rushing today, the first time in 25 career starts that he did not have a touchdown.

4. Curtis Samuel had 7 rushes for 31 yards and a touchdown, and 7 receptions for 68 yards. Samuel had a 23-yard run today, his 14th play from scrimmage of 20+ yards (7 runs, 7 receptions) this season. Samuel continues to be the Buckeyes leader in receptions (44), receiving yards (539), longest run (74 yards), longest reception (79 yards), and touchdowns (8), and he is second in rushing yards (558).

5. Mike Weber rebounded somewhat after three tough weeks in a row, with 14 rushes for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 23-yarder that seemingly gave the Buckeyes a commanding 10-point lead midway through the second quarter. For some reason, Weber got only six carries after that play, and the Buckeye offense sputtered without him involved in the running game.

6. Defensive back Damon Arnette had his first career interception on a tipped ball in the first quarter.

7. Safety Malik Hooker had a career-best 14 tackles,...
1. Last night's game can be summarized in one word: Awful. The offense, the defense, the special teams, the play-calling, the execution, the intensity, the composure, the officiating, the scheduling, the weather, Kirk Herbstreit. All simply awful.

2. Conventional wisdom (or irrational hope) states that the Buckeyes needed a "learning experience" or a "wake-up call" or some sort of "teachable moment", and now that they've got one they'll be able to right the ship and cruise into the play-offs. Certainly something similar happened after bad losses in 2014 (Virginia Tech) and 2015 (Michigan State). Sometimes a loss is a good thing long term. Usually it's a warning sign.

3. Ohio State led the time of possession battle, 37:19 to 22:41. That's mainly because Penn State's three touchdown drives didn't consume very much time. Their first was 7 plays for 74 yards in 1:00; their second was 5 plays for 90 yards in 1:20; and their third was 0 plays for 60 yards in 0:00 (blocked FG).

4. Ohio State's defense was schizophrenic. They gave up two very long, quick strike touchdown drives in which Penn State averaged 13.7 yards per play (12 plays, 164 yards). However, on Penn State's eleven non-touchdown drives (not counting the kneel downs at the end), the defense held the Nittany Lions to 125 yards on 51 plays (2.45 average) and just three points on a short field goal after a blocked punt.

The defense held Penn State quarter back Trace McSorley to 8 of 23 passing, for 34.8 completion percentage. However, McSorley had 154 yards passing, for an average of 19.2 yards per completion. Four of McSorley's eight completions went for 20+ yards (20, 26, 34, 35).

The Buckeyes held Penn State to 2 of 13 (15.4%) on 3rd down conversions.

5. The game was lost midway through the third quarter. After a safety and free kick, Ohio State held a 21-7 lead with 8:19 left in the third quarter. The Buckeyes had the ball at their own 40-yard line, they had all the momentum, and the crowd was out...
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1. Pennsylvania State University is a football factory located in State College, Pennsylvania.

2. The Penn State mascot is the Nittany Lion. According to Penn State's official website:

The Nittany Lion Mascot is an essential part of Penn State's tradition and pride, which originated in 1904 during a baseball game against Princeton. Upon hearing their rivals' mascot [the Tiger], Harrison D. Mason announced that the Nittany Lion was "the fiercest beast of them all." Not only did Penn State win the game that day, but an image was created that would become both a symbol and legacy at the University for years to follow.​

The Nittany Lion refers to the mountain lions that used to live on Mount Nittany, which is located near the Penn State campus. Nittany is allegedly an Indian word (or phrase) that means "mountain lion". So the Nittany Lions are in reality the Mountain Lion Lions. Pretty creative, that.

3. Penn State's team colors are blue and white, although they were originally pink and black (not a joke). The original colors were chosen in 1887 by a three-man student committee. One of the committee members, George R. Meek, explained the unusual choice as follows:

We wanted something bright and attractive but we could not use red or orange as those colors were already used by other colleges so we chose a very deep pink – really cerise – which with black made a very pretty combination.​

Not surprisingly, Penn State's teams were mocked for the use of pink (it was apparently considered an un-manly color back then) and three years later the school adopted the boring dark blue and white color combination that still exists today.

4. Penn State played its...
1. After a tough game against Wisconsin in week six, the Buckeyes' team stats took a major hit:

CategoryOSU Statistic-NCAA Rank-
Scoring Offense49.3 ppg4th
Scoring Defense12.8 ppg3rd
Total Offense516.5 ypg12th
Total Defense280.3 ypg6th
Turnover Margin1.33 / game4th
Time of Possession34:40 / game9th

Ohio State's scoring offense dropped by 3.9 ppg; and total offense dropped by 21.1 ypg. Scoring defense increased by 2.0 ppg; and total defense increased by 33.9 ypg. Turnover margin dropped slightly (.17 / game) while time of possession dropped considerably (1:20 per game).

2. Here's how Ohio State and Penn State stack up in the major offensive and defensive categories. The Buckeyes are top 12 in all categories, while the Nittany Lions are mediocre to bad across the board:

TeamTotal OffenseNCAA RankScore OffenseNCAA RankTotal DefenseNCAA RankScore DefenseNCAA RankTurnoversNCAA Rank
Ohio State516.5 ypg12th49.3 ppg4th280.3 ypg6th12.8 ppg3rd+84th
Penn State391.5 ypg82nd30.5 ppg61st381.5 ypg52nd28.5 ppg73rd-289th
For the season, Penn State is gaining 10.0 more yards per game than they are surrendering; and scoring 2.0 more points per game than they are allowing.

On the other hand, Ohio State is gaining 236.2 more yards per game than they are surrendering; and...