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Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan’s still great, despite reduced stats

He’s making things happen for others.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

“If the traditional measures aren’t working to properly appreciate Raekwon McMillan's impact, maybe some new categories are needed for Ohio State’s star middle linebacker.”

- Austin Ward, ESPN

Raekwon’s numbers are down across the board this season. Some people have made much more of it than others, but he’s really the same player. Total tackles, sacks, and fumble recoveries are down for McMillan, but it’s because he’s helping create plays for his teammates. “I’m not having the year I had last year statistically or whatever,” he told Ward. “And you know, a lot goes into that. I had 100-plus tackles last year, and we were on the field a lot more last year as well, so there were more opportunities to go make plays.”

Yet, he’s still leading the team in total tackles with 54. And he’s also fine with not making all of the plays. “That’s just life, man. You’re not always making the play at middle linebacker, trying to get everybody else situated and right. You’re not always being the flashy guy that gets the most accolades or whatever.” Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell appreciates his approach, and said that, ““He understands the true meaning of leadership.” That’s exactly what you want from the guy quarterbacking your defense.

“Should the Buckeyes be No. 4, ahead of Washington?”

- Brian Bennett, ESPN

In Tuesday night’s unveiling of the latest College Football Playoff rankings, Ohio State came up just short of Washington for the No. 4 and final playoff spot. The Huskies are in the midst of a 9-0 season, and have look really good in some blowout victories. The Buckeyes have one loss on the year to now ranked No. 10 Penn State, and after a dominant 62-3 victory over Nebraska last week, many felt like it should have been the Buckeyes, not the Huskies, at No. 4.

That may or may not be true, but it doesn’t really matter. If OHio State wins out, they’re in. If they lose anywhere along the way, the odds of them making it with two losses and no division or conference championship is just about impossible. And yes, under what the committee showed in the first week with Texas A&M at No. 4, one might imagine that under that logic Ohio State should then take their spot. That could be the case, but again, it won’t matter if the Bucks just win out.

“Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot will be central to the Pittsburgh Steelers' game plan this week.”

- Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the middle of a heated race in the AFC North. Sunday, they’ll be tasked with trying to slow down former Ohio State running back and current NFL leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott’s been punishing NFL defense all season with his bruising blows, setting the tone early against defenses. But the Steelers have a plan to try and counter that on Sunday. "It's important you have multiple guys hitting him, the hits accumulate on him where if he makes the first guy miss, you have two or three guys coming in to finish him off as well," linebacker Arthur Moats told Fowler.

Head coach Mike Tomlin also gave a glowing review of Elliott. “He can run inside, outside, and he has great vision. He has great contact balance. He almost always falls forward. He has really good and natural hands. He takes pride in blitz pickup. He simply does all the things that encompasses the running back position extremely well. He does it like breathing. It's probably second nature to him.” That’s coming from a guy who has had one of the best running backs in the league on his team for a few years now. Sunday should be fun between the two sides.