Stroll down Tuttle Park Place on Ohio State’s pristine campus and eventually you’ll come across the building that houses the Department of Linguistics. If you pop in, you might find a few students and instructors deep in conversation about phonology, or maybe syntax. But whether their expertise is in code-breaking or in morphological construction, they’d all be able to explain the same basic linguistic tenet to you: language is fluid. It evolves over time; this is what makes Shakespeare so hard to parse and makes Beowulf the bane of every high school freshman’s existence and lets us say literally when we really mean figuratively in 2016. It’s all English, but it’s not all the same.
The language may have leapt forward a little bit further yesterday, because the following expression is pretty much the only way you can articulate what it was like to watch Noah Brown play football on Saturday night:
Seriously. Brown, who missed all of last season with a broken leg, defied all currently possible description in his single-handed decimation of the Oklahoma Sooners. His first four(!) catches all went for touchdowns, the crown jewel of which was a grab that is unlikely to be topped in 2016. Seriously, just look at this.
Brown wasn’t the only Buckeye player to have a big day—more on those in just a bit—but his gameplay certainly made the biggest splash.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Ohio State, as you may recall. But with No. 2 Florida State getting absolutely shellacked by early Heisman favorite Lamar Jackson’s Louisville squad and No. 1 Alabama looking mighty vincible during a squeaky win over Ole Miss, the No. 3 Buckeyes were given a real chance to move even further up in the rankings. Safe to say they took it. The question now becomes not whether Urban Meyer’s team is good enough to claim the No. 2 spot, but whether or not they have a legitimate claim at stealing the No. 1 ranking from the Crimson Tide.
Let’s take a look at the #basic players responsible for vaulting the Buckeyes into such mighty company.
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Noah Brown, WR: Astonishing, really, that Brown claims the top spot here. We’ve reviewed his accomplishments above; the focus should now shift to one particular bit of praise that Brown got following his absurd highlight-reel grab.
Noah Brown #80 youza savage slime!!!! Lawwwwd!!!!— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) September 18, 2016
Brown is a savage slime indeed, and looking ahead it feels as though his potential for greatness has...No Ceilings.
Curtis Samuel, H-Back: Everyone else’s accomplishments paled in comparison to Brown’s against the Sooners, but Samuel still had himself a day. Ohio State’s most versatile offensive player racked up 98 rush yards on 11 carries, including a long touchdown scamper on 4th-and-short, and he snagged two passes for another 20 yards. Brooklyn’s Finest has really come into his own this season, and that’s bad news for every team tasked with containing him.
Cameron Johnston, P: Ohio State’s Aussie specialist was called upon five times against the Sooners, probably because Noah Brown was getting tired of scoring touchdowns. One of Johnston’s punts was a season-high 68 yards; the Buckeye gunners pounced on it and pinned Oklahoma deep in their own end. Johnston averaged more than 50 yards per punt on Saturday. Dude can kick a ball.
Marshon Lattimore, CB: Look, we could probably put all 11 defensive starters in this category, and a few rotation guys to boot. The Buckeye defense, which has been absolutely stifling this season, completely shut down a) the NCAA single-game rushing yards leader and b) a quarterback who led his team to the College Football Playoff last season. Lattimore, who has been an integral part of the unit’s success, added yet another interception to his total in this game. (He’s got three in as many contests.) Lattimore was at fault for one of Oklahoma’s rare scores, falling down on a deep ball that allowed Baker Mayfield to connect with his receiver from 35 yards out, but his record has otherwise been unimpeachable in this young season. Lattimore himself seems ready to move past the mistake:
Man I tripped over dudes foot on that deep ball, never again y'all. I promise!— Marshon Lattimore (@shonrp2) September 18, 2016
Buckeye discipline: It’s hard to be overly critical of a team that just soundly beat a ranked foe in a hostile road environment, but hey, there’s always room for improvement. Ohio State racked up 11 penalties in this contest, and while those infractions only cost them a total of 75 yards, that’s still an area that Urban Meyer is going to have to address with his young and hungry team. 11 penalties didn’t matter much against Oklahoma, but the end result could be far less kind if they give that many free yards to, say, Alabama.
Replay, or lack thereof: Ask any person older than 40 what their biggest gripe about the younger generation is and you’ll quite likely hear some variation on what I like to call “the selfie stick problem”: there are cameras everywhere and young people—from their nieces to the Kardashian clan to D’Angelo Russell—use them too often. Given this sort of nightmarish 1984-style scenario...how in the hell does a refereeing crew screw up a chance like the one they got tonight? Cameras showed Sooner punt returner Joe Mixon (himself a human junk bond) dropping the ball a full yard before he crossed the goal line on a 97-yard punt return that was called a touchdown. To be fair, the Buckeye coaching staff seemed somehow to miss it as well, and didn’t call a timeout to ask for the play to be reviewed. Puzzling all around from a fan’s standpoint, one of those strange instances that occur as a result of human fallibility.
BUY: Wet Urban Meyer. For the second straight week, the Buckeyes have had their game delayed by nigh-apocalyptic weather patterns; for the second straight week, the Buckeyes have scored 45 points or more on their opponents. We can’t rule out Coach Meyer being some sort of ancient weather god, sent to wreak havoc on mere mortals. Actually, screw that. Urban Meyer is college football’s Gremlin—give him some water and he’s going to cause you a world full of hurt.
Urban Meyer watches the rain fall at Memorial Stadium before their game against Oklahoma pic.twitter.com/kIh2CcLGxv— Kyle Robertson (@KRobPhoto) September 17, 2016
SELL: Trash-talking the Buckeyes. Oklahoma backup quarterback Austin Kendall had some choice words for the Buckeye defense in the days leading up to the game. That, uhhh, didn’t work out so hot for him.
BUY: Ohio State’s playoff chances. At this point it feels like the only person that can score on the Buckeye defense is Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, and let’s be real, that dude could put up points against a naval blockade. If Ohio State can make it out of the coming bye week without losing too much momentum, the rest of this season is gonna be fun.