“If it’s blocking, running, catching, anything I can do to help this team win. Coach Meyer did a good job of letting me know how Zeke played, and I watched him play a whole year and he set a good example for me this year. I do think about the things he did and try to [implement] that into my game.”
There were some inklings before the Maryland game that Ohio State running back Mike Weber may not play due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the game against Nebraska. Still, at the start of the game, Weber trotted out as the starting running back as he has in all of the other games and finished with 93 yards against the Terrapins. Now the freshman back is almost assuredly going to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the season by the time the regular season is over. Weber is currently sitting at 935 yards to date, needing only 65 more yards to hit that goal.
Remember when it was a big deal that Urban Meyer hadn’t had a 1,000-yard season from a running back before coming to Ohio State? That quickly changed, with the likes of Carlos Hyde, Ezekiel Elliott, and now seemingly Mike Weber. Dealing with pain from a lingering injury is a familiar feeling for the aforementioned backs, and now its been said that Weber has dealt with this shoulder pain for a handful of weeks at this point. With all that being said, Weber has had a great season up to this point and he’ll get his reward for it in these next two games against Michigan State and Michigan.
“If we win out all of our games, Big Ten championship game (participation) or not, you’re not going to put us in? You’re going to leave Ohio State out?”
The above quote has certainly made the rounds around the Ohio State message boards and the like, and for good reason. J.T. Barrett brings up a point that many have thought to themselves as soon as second-ranked Michigan fell to Iowa on the road last Saturday. Even if the Buckeyes don’t make the Big Ten championship game, if they win out against the Spartans and Wolverines, it would surely be difficult to leave them out of the College Football Playoff, conference championship trophy or not.
It’s a sort of odd situation to be in, though I’m sure the players and coaching staff don’t necessarily mind it. It’s worth being said too, that these things generally have a way of working themselves out. After all, Penn State still does have to play Rutgers and Michigan State before becoming the East division representative in the Big Ten championship game. Obviously Rutgers shouldn’t give the Nittany Lions much trouble but a Spartans team desperate for wins is just as dangerous to Penn State as it is Ohio State. With two weeks left in the regular season, it all comes down to the most exciting times of the year in college football.
“Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year: Malik Hooker, Ohio State”
It’s not close to decided whether or not Ohio State safety Malik Hooker will end up winning the Thorpe Award (there’s tight competition), but it does seem as though he has a big lead for the Big Ten’s Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year. All five possible votes on the ESPN staff went to Hooker over players such as Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, and Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis. Hooker has had a monstrous season, with five interceptions to his name (a couple of those being pick sixes at that). He’s without question the most impactful player in the secondary for Ohio State and has been a godsend for a unit that at the start of the season was looking a little green sans Gareon Conley.
Hooker’s rise this season has been huge for Ohio State on the defensive side of the ball and has helped lock up an already tough secondary unit. Along with Marshon Lattimore and the aforementioned Conley (and Damon Webb), the Buckeyes have been a terror to throw the ball against all season long.