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4 Ohio state rookies face off, Nick Vannett makes first NFL catch in Week 8

Lots of former Ohio State players on bye this week, but those that weren’t didn’t stay quiet.

Seattle Seahawks v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The regular season is now halfway over, and former Ohio State players are still making a huge impact. Four former teammates, and current rookies, faced off against each other in Week 8, and formerly-dependable kicker Mike Nugent met a nightmare ending to his trip overseas. Several Buckeyes are starting to eye post season honors, including several for rookie awards and a few for overall.

Rookie battle

Four Ohio State rookies — and one veteran — faced off in Week 8 when the New Orleans Saints (Vonn Bell, Michael Thomas, James Laurinaitis) hosted the Seattle Seahawks (Nick Vannett, Tyvis Powell). The Saints ended the day with a 25-20 win, but the Buckeyes on both sides of the ball saw decent playing time.

Starting wideout for the Saints, Michael Thomas finished the matchup with six receptions for 63 yards. Teammate Vonn Bell recorded three more tackles Sunday, totaling 29 so far this season. Veteran James Laurinaitis might not see as much playing time, but he’s still one of the best hype-men in the League -- leading fans in the ‘Who Dat’ chant in the pregame.

Earlier in the week, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Buckeye Tyvis Powell would see more snaps — especially on special teams -- with teammate Deandre Elliott nursing an injury. Tight end Nick Vannett also saw an increase in snaps for the Seahawks. The Buckeye missed several of the early games this season, but now that he’s back to full health is slowly earning more playing time. He made his first career reception against the Saints for seven yards.

London kicking

The Cincinnati Bengals (Mike Nugent) played their first game in London against NFC East contender Washington and came away with ... a tie. Not only was it the first international game to go to overtime, but also the first one to end in a tie. The odd ending was largely due to the curse that seemingly fell on the kickers for both teams.

Former Buckeye “Mr. Reliable”, Nugent missed a field goal and point after attempt on Sunday. He wasn’t alone though, Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins missed two of his four field goal tries. It was not a great day for kickers around the League.

‘Sunday Night Football’

Several Buckeyes faced off in primetime in Week 8 for an NFC East rivalry beat down when the Dallas Cowboys (Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith) hosted the Philadelphia Eagles (Malcolm Jenkins).

The Eagles have one of the best — and most expensive -- defensive lines in the League, and it slowed Zeke’s usual production. The running back was limited to only eight carries in the first half, but did register one of his quickly-becoming-trademark leaps over the defender.

Zeke finished the evening with 22 carries for 96 yards as well as four catches for 52 yards. While he didn't have a score on the night, he was huge down the stretch, including on the game-winning drive in overtime.

Looks familiar

Rookie Jalin Marshall was taken off kick returns for the Jets Sunday, in their late-game win against the Browns. His first few attempts would cause terrible flashbacks for Buckeyes fans. After making a few questionable calls with his returns, the team sidelined him — he also didn’t see any snaps on offense in Week 8.

Plays of the Week

Bradley Roby

In his third year in the League, the Buckeye is still putting on performances on defense. Against the Chargers, Roby had one of his best games of the year, recording six total tackles, two passes defended and this beautiful 49-yard Pick-6:

Terrelle Pryor

The Browns are now 0-7, but their one offensive bright spot is their newly converted receiver. Pryor had his second 100-plus yard day of the season on six receptions — he still has room to improve though, snagging less than half of his 13 targets. There was this beautiful 35-yard dive though:

Other notes

  • Two Buckeyes should see playing time on ‘Monday Night Football’ when the Chicago Bears (Mike Adams) take on the Minnesota Vikings (Alex Boone).
  • Jets teammates Darron Lee and Nick Mangold both missed Sunday’s game due to ankle injuries that had the pair in walking boots during the week. Jack Mewhort (Colts) also was out in Week 8 with an injury. Cardale Jones (Bills) was inactive (non-injury) Sunday.
  • Lots of teams on bye this week, including: Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams (Jake McQuaide), Miami Dolphins, NY Giants (Eli Apple, Johnathan Hankins), Pittsburgh Steelers (Cam Heyward, Ryan Shazier), and San Francisco 49ers (Carlos Hyde).