“He’s just a monster. And when the ball is in the air, he’s going to come down with it.”
After last week’s performance against Oklahoma, it might not seem too far-fetched to think that Noah Brown is able to catch anything. Following a broken leg he suffered last August just before the 2015 season started, Brown put himself back on the map with a four touchdown performance in Ohio State’s win against Oklahoma on Saturday night. The most memorable of those touchdowns came late in the second quarter, when Brown wrapped his arms around Oklahoma cornerback Michiah Quick to make the catch. What Brown did was reminiscent of what Stanford’s Francis Owusu and Alabama’s Tyrone Prothro have done in the past.
The scary thing is that Brown is doing this while he isn’t yet 100% in his recovering from the injury he suffered last year. Not only did Brown have surgery to try and repair his broken leg, but he also needed a second surgery in November. As Brown continues to work his way back to full strength, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is planning on resting Brown during the bye week. The news that Brown has room to improve the rest of the year is something that has to have the rest of the Big Ten worried, since he has already established himself as the top receiver for the Buckeyes with his performance against the Sooners.
“We make sure we keep the ball high and tight, and after you score, go give the ball to an official and hug a big guy. That’s what we do.”
Ohio State got an up-close view of what not to do when heading into the end zone. On a kickoff return, Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon appeared to drop the football before crossing the goal line. Somehow the referees and replay officials didn’t notice the miscue before the extra point so it wasn’t reviewed. Mixon wasn’t the only one to drop the football before coasting into the end zone on Saturday, as similar plays happened in the Texas-California game, as well as the Clemson game.
If an Ohio State player was to drop the football before heading into the end zone, Buckeye fans would likely see Meyer’s head explode on the sideline. To make sure that doesn’t happen, the Buckeyes have a rule for scoring, where they give the ball to an official and go to hug a big guy. The dropped touchdowns, including Mixon’s that wasn’t called, mostly didn’t end up having a real impact on the outcomes of the games they were committed in, but soon enough it is going to end up deciding a game. Luckily the Buckeyes have a plan in place so it doesn’t end up being the difference in a game late in the year.
“You don’t want to outkick your coverage, but with the way the gunners got out there — Parris (Campbell) and Terry (McLaurin) — they’re ridiculously fast. You give yourself a chance so that when you do go after it, they’re going to get there.”
It isn’t like Ohio State has needed the services of punter Cameron Johnston all that much so far this year, but he has been excellent when called upon. Early in Saturday night’s game, Johnston uncorked a 68-yard punt to flip the field position and pin Oklahoma at their own 11. The Sooners would go three-and-out and Ohio State responded with their first touchdown of the game.
All of Johnston’s five punts ended up inside Oklahoma’s 20, and they all were downed or fair caught. Johnston finished the game with his five punts averaging 50.6 yards and he was named the Ray Guy Punter of the Week for his performance. Johnston is just another in a long line of rugby-style punters from Australia and he is now in his third season with the Buckeyes. What has really impressed Johnston’s teammates and coaches is his ability to put the football exactly where it needs to be. Luckily with their offense it doesn’t seem like Ohio State will need Johnston all that much, but it has to be reassuring to Urban Meyer and the rest of the Buckeyes that they have a weapon in the punting game when needed.
“They’re not babying me, not at all, and I’m glad to be here and help.”
Usually when moving to the NFL there is a bit of a learning curve, but former Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee has quickly found his way into plenty of playing time early in his rookie season. Through two games, Lee is tied for the team lead with 12 total tackles, with 10 of those being solo tackles. Last Thursday in just his second career game, Lee earned his first NFL start against the Buffalo Bills. Lee made the biggest play of his young career in the fourth quarter, when he stood up Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy on fourth down.
Lee has already earned the trust of the coaching staff, as he has been on the field for three-quarters of the Jets’ defensive plays so far this year. That’s saying a lot with the amount of talent the Jets have on the defensive side of the football. Last year the Jets only allowed opponents to convert 10 of 23 third-and-1 plays, and have picked up right where they left off this year, not allowing their opponents to convert any of their three opportunities so far. The Ohio State product knows there is plenty of room for improvement, but with the strides he has made so far, the sky is the limit for the former high school quarterback.