A big hit and a normal tackle may show up the same in the box score, but let’s be honest: who doesn’t love seeing some devastating hits? While safety is certainly the No. 1 priority, football has and will always be a violent sport that produces some spectacular collisions.
Seahawks’ safety Kam Chancellor is no stranger to laying the lumber. He provided one of the best explanations I’ve ever heard regarding what makes a big hit so special:
“Just the ferociousness ... the velocity, the power, the contact. I just like … it’s hard to explain. I just like that feeling of being aggressive, in control, instilling your will.”
The Buckeyes have dished out plenty of big hits this season, but there’s always been something special about the way they hit when TTUN comes to town. Let’s take a look at five of the biggest examples of Buckeye on Wolverine crime from the past 10 years.
It’s never a good idea to throw into three-time consensus All-American James Laurinaitis’ territory.
As far as individual accolades are concerned, Laurinaitis has a real case as the best linebacker to ever suit up for the Scarlet and Gray. His ability to roam sideline-to-sideline and also cover downfield made him a vital cog in the middle of several great Ohio State defenses. Laurinaitis’ range and athleticism allowed him to be used in coverage downfield, which made for some fantastic collisions when slot receivers decided to come his way:
Adrian Arrington had a productive career with the Wolverines, but the greatest thing he ever did was hold on to this pass. Not only did he manage to keep his head on his shoulders, but he held on to the ball as well. With Ohio state up by 11 late in the 2006 version of The Game, Laurinaitis was happy to patrol the deep middle of the field during the Wolverines’ comeback attempt, and he was rewarded with arguably the biggest hit of his fantastic career.
Vernon Gholston may have not had a great NFL career, but man could he hit Chad Henne hard.
Gholston was unblockable during the Buckeyes’ 2007 win over the Wolverines. He picked up three sacks and consistently won his battle against future No. 1 overall pick Jake Long. None of his sacks were more impressive than when he sent Henne flying back towards his own end zone:
Typically quarterbacks recognize an incoming rusher and have the ability to protect themselves, but most defensive linemen don’t run sub 4.7-second 40-yard dashes. After mistakenly being left with a free path to Henne, Gholston makes the most of his free shot and easily knocks Henne to the turf. What a way to hand Henne his fourth and final loss to the Buckeyes.
Remember that dude who could jump over other dudes, Sam Mcguffie?
Mcguffie was an internet legend before his forgettable college career, as he is responsible for possibly the greatest hurdle in high school football history. Despite his incredible high school success, Mcguffie didn’t have the strength or durability to function as a three-down running back in the Big Ten. His hopes of becoming a versatile scat back with return capabilities were quickly dashed during the 2008 version of The Game:
After bobbling the kickoff, Mcguffie was eaten alive by Austin Spitler and Jamario O'Neal in what would end up being his final play for the Maize and Blue. Ohio State’s current set of piranhas on kickoff are more than capable of changing the momentum of a game at any moment, but this has been a characteristic of the unit for years. Unfortunately for Mcguffie, he became the lasting memory for what ended up being a 42-7 thrashing at the Horseshoe.
Always beware of Corey “crack-block” Smith.
Smith has just four receptions this season, though he’s still been a valuable blocker and gunner on special teams. The best stretch of his career came at a great time in 2014, as he consistently made big plays during each of the final four wins of the Buckeyes’ latest championship season. One such highlight came during The Game, and boy did it get the crowd going:
After collecting a short pass from J.T. Barrett, Nick Vannett turned up field and immediately saw Smith making his way over. After getting in front of the defender to avoid a clipping penalty, Smith decleats the Wolverine defender who had no idea the hit was coming. This play perfectly demonstrates why the phrase “keep your head on a swivel” exists, because look what happens if you don’t.
The Joey Bosa experience.
During a season filled with weekly sky-high expectations, Ohio State met them all on November 28, 2015. A devastating rushing attack allowed the Buckeyes’ offense to move the ball at will, while Bosa and company limited the Wolverines to just 13 points. Down multiple scores in the fourth quarter, Bosa ended the game on his own terms, taking Jake Ruddock on a ride straight to hell:
Not only did Bosa send his ex-high school quarterback to the sideline for the rest of the game, but he also proved in one play why he was the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Despite the Wolverines bringing in an extra offensive lineman to deal with Bosa, he easily rips past the overwhelmed blocker and effectively ends the game.
Every football season is different, but a physical game has ensued every time Ohio State has lined up against TTUN. This year pits a battle between two top-five defenses that are not lacking for star power. Will Jabrill Peppers recover from his Ezekiel Elliott experience? Or will Raekwon McMillan make potentially his final game against TTUN a memorable one? We’ll find out this Saturday afternoon.