"It's always good to have those bragging rights. When you go home and people ask about the Penn State game, you want to say you played well."
Before moving his family moved to South Jersey, Eli Apple grew up in Philadelphia, so there is a little extra meaning whenever the Buckeyes take on the Nittany Lions. Not only does Apple want to win when the teams square off, but he also wants to play well. So far during his Ohio State career, the redshirt sophomore has done just that. Last year Apple started 14 of 15 games for the Buckeyes, recording 53 tackles and three interceptions, including one in the victory over Oregon.
Last year's game in Happy Valley might have been a little too close for comfort for Apple, though. The Buckeyes raced out to a 17-0 lead before Penn State rebounded to tie the game at 17. The game went into double overtime before Ohio State was able to secure a 31-24 win to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive. Not only does the result standout to Apple, but the atmosphere with Penn State holding a "Whiteout" made things even crazier. This year it will be Penn State who will have to deal with a wild atmosphere, with Ohio State planning to hold a "blackout" for Saturday night's game. Now with the home field advantage this year, Apple and the Ohio State defense aren't making any drastic changes, so the cornerback can concentrate on earning bragging rights for another year.
"It's crazy what he does, especially with how much effort he puts into everything. He doesn't take any shortcuts."
Every year since 2009 there has been a Boren playing football for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and currently Jacoby is the last of the trio of Boren brothers to don the Scarlet and Gray. After he started his career at Michigan, guard Justin Boren transferred to Ohio State to finish out his career. After Justin, Zach Boren played both fullback and linebacker for the Buckeyes, with his senior season coming back in 2012, when Ohio State went undefeated. Now Jacoby is in his senior year at Ohio State, and last year was the starting center on a team that won the first-ever College Football Playoff.
Being the youngest of three brothers helped to toughen up Jacoby over the years, as he was the target of brotherly abuse from his two older brothers. Some of that toughness showed up in the national semifinal against Alabama last year when Boren played through a torn labrum and two high ankle sprains. What also might have helped shaped Boren's toughness is the work he does for the family business. During the winter Jacoby Boren drives a snowplow, and actually pulled a couple all-nighters before heading to practice in the week leading up to the game against Alabama since it snowed around Columbus. After years of being picked on by his older brothers, now the youngest Boren is getting their respect for the work he does, not only on the football field, but off it as well.
"Yeah, we actually added a 'rushmen' package where we have three ends on the field and it's just another opportunity to get after the quarterback. We used that a little bit last week and I think we're going to be using that in the future and I'm excited to make a play when I get on the field."
After being shuffled around to a number of positions during a redshirt season last season, Sam Hubbard looks to have found a home at defensive end for Ohio State. After starting the season off filling in for the suspended Joey Bosa against Virginia Tech, Hubbard has continued his strong play while still trying to learn the ropes at defensive end. Hubbard's finest performance so far for the Buckeyes came last week against Maryland, where he had two sacks and an interception, and was named Ohio State defensive player of the game by head coach Urban Meyer.
A lot of Hubbard's progress can be attributed to strength coach Mickey Marotti, who was tasked with bulking up the high school safety. Now Ohio State has started to work in an interesting new package which could create havoc on Saturday night against Penn State, who has struggled at times during the year with their protection of quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Last week saw Ohio State started to use the "rushmen" package, where defensive tackle Tommy Schutt comes off the field and allows the Buckeyes to use three defensive ends. Tyquan Lewis and Hubbard are on the ends of the defensive line, while Joey Bosa moves next to Adolphus Washington, who was a defensive end earlier in his career. With the success Ohio State had with the new package last week, it sounds like it could be utilized even more going forward.
"We always try to work on our culture and just always try to come together and stick together, whether we're playing great or not great. When we play together, we're a pretty tough team to beat."
- Ohio State women's volleyball sophomore defensive specialist Kalisha Goree via Matt Wilkes, The Lantern
Ohio State's football team isn't the only Buckeye squad that has a huge game in Columbus this week. The No. 7 Buckeye women's volleyball team hosts No. 18 Purdue on Friday night and Indiana on Sunday afternoon, with hopes of keeping a five-game winning streak alive. The match on Friday night against Purdue will be a battle for the top spot in the Big Ten, as the Buckeyes currently sit at 5-1 in conference play and the Boilermakers are 6-0. If the Buckeyes have designs on getting to the top of the conference they'll have to go against recent history, which has seen Purdue win 12 of the last 15 meetings.
After their Friday night match against Purdue, Ohio State will have to switch their focus to Indiana on Sunday afternoon. There are a number of differences between the two schools, so the Buckeyes will have to switch their strategy. Purdue is one of the best attacking teams in the country, while Indiana is a more defensive-minded squad. Ohio State has had a little better luck against Indiana than Purdue lately, winning the last eight meetings with the Hoosiers. Next week will see the Buckeyes hit the road to take on Michigan State on Wednesday and Michigan next Saturday.
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