The powers that be at Land-Grant Holy Land are enabling yours truly to experiment with a new weekly power rankings column this football season. I’m endeavoring to make these rankings an enjoyable and interesting take on what happened on the field between the Buckeyes and their opponents, as well as anything noteworthy that occurred on the internet and social media.
As for the real, live football that was played within the confines of the Horseshoe on Saturday, Ohio State trucked Bowling Green 77-10 in its season opener, placating concerns (at least for a week) about a team returning just six starters and boasting 42 (!!!) players with freshmen eligibility. The Buckeyes, now 33-1-0 all-time against Mid-American Conference competition, racked up a school-record 776 yards, picked off three passes, and punted just once. The Golden Hurricane are surely trembling.
On to Week 1 of the rankings!
1. J.T. ‘Point God’ Barrett
Barrett got his Chris Paul on in the first half, completing 14 passes to seven different receivers, with each of his four touchdown passes finding their way into four different sets of arms. Barrett, who leaned on his legs in 2015, passed for 244 yards and rushed for just 30 yards in the first half.
The redshirt junior signal-caller finished 379 total yards and seven total touchdowns, the latter a single-game Ohio State record. Perhaps most noteworthy was that Barrett only toted the rock on six occasions against the Falcons. On the flip side, Barrett completed 21 passes on the day; he didn’t complete at least 20 passes in any game last season and only surpassed 20 completions three times in 2014.
Through at least one game, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes’ offense backed up their offseason chatter about chucking the pisgkin more after they ran the ball nearly 64 percent of the time in 2015.
2. Curtis Samuel, (Percy Harvin) Hype Fulfiller
Samuel, dubbed Ohio State’s ‘No. 1 playmaker’ by Meyer in the days leading up to the season, fulfilled his coach’s lofty praise by totaling 261 total yards on 22 total touches. The junior, who recorded 39 carries/catches in 2015, averaged nearly seven yards per rush and 20 yards per catch on Saturday while lining up all over the field, putting in time as a wideout/H-Back, a running back, and at wildcat quarterback.
Ever since Meyer was hired, fans and writers alike have wondered who would fill the vaunted ‘Percy Harvin’ role on Meyer’s spread offense. (In three seasons at Florida, Harvin logged over 1,800 yards rushing and 1,900 yards receiving while scoring 32 rushing/receiving TDs. A freak, he was.) It’s only one game, but appears the coaching staff is committed to utilizing Samuel’s versatile talents.
3. ‘I’ve got two tickets to Iron Maiden, baby’
What are the chances Braxton Miller and Michael Thomas actually listen to Iron Maiden, Metallica, or better still, Wheatus?
4. Stuntin’ all over the field
Welcome to the Show, Malik Hooker. One of Ohio State’s two new starting safeties had two interceptions on the day, including a sky-walking tip drill of a pick.
Welcome to the Show, Rodjay Burns. The true freshman defensive back scored Ohio State’s final points of the day on a pick-six.
Welcome (back) to the Show, Noah Brown: Brown, who missed the 2015 season after breaking his leg in fall camp, surely wowed the home fans with his circus touchdown reception in the second quarter.
5. Breaking: the future is bright at Ohio State
Ohio State lost the farm to the NFL draft, so there were newbies all over field on Saturday. K.J. Hill and Demario McCall scored touchdowns on their first and second touches, respectively. Mike Weber tallied his first carry. Joe Burrow took his first snaps as backup QB. A.J. Alexander, Johnnie Dixon, and Terry McLaurin notched their first catches. Kicker Tyler Durbin scored his first points. Damon Arnette, Jerome Baker, Rashod Berry, Nick Bosa, Jashon Cornell, Jordan Fuller, Eric Glover-Williams, Davon Hamilton, Malik Harrison, Justin Hilliard, Keandre Jones, and Robert Landers registered their first tackles, with many more seeing the field for the first time.
6. Mike Jinks, keeping it real
Post-game, the head coach of the Falcons also said: “It’s hard to take positives out of a butt-whooping like that.” No worries Mike, you get to play North Dakota next week.
7. Charging Wildcats
Hill, whose first career catch was a 47-yard TD pass from Barrett, played high school ball for the North Little Rock High School Charging Wildcats in North Little Rock, AR. We need more school nicknames that feature aggressive adjectives.
8. College football is back, baby!
Bachelorette winner Jordan Rodgers’ brother Aaron had a Guinness with Lee Corso: https://t.co/mpChyoDrSZ— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 3, 2016
One of the NFL’s best quarterbacks enjoying a Guinness with an octogenarian wearing a Tiger head that has cheese on its dome? The terrorists shall never prevail.