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After a season of inconsistency, Ohio State’s wide receivers are regaining their confidence

A couple new coaches and an increased emphasis on the deep pass are helping.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Ohio State vs Clemson Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

“Swagger is coming back to our offense I feel like. When we make a big play it’s not just, ‘Oh, it’s another play.’ The offense, we stop practice and it gets hype in here because we make big plays, because those are game-changing plays.”

-Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin via Patrick Murphy, Bucknuts

Last year there was very little swagger from the Ohio State passing game, which was led in receptions by former running back Curtis Samuel. With the introduction of offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day, the Ohio State wide receivers are starting to get some of that swagger back. Last year’s wide receivers struggled to find any consistency, which allowed for Ohio State’s opponents to focus more of their resources on slowing down the strong running game of the Buckeyes.

What is allowing Ohio State’s wide receivers to gain a little more confidence, is Urban Meyer identifying the deep pass as an area in which the Buckeyes need to find more success. When Ohio State is able to hit the deep pass, it gets everybody on the offense a little more excited, which could allow for the offense to open up more and perform more at the level that Meyer knows they can. With most of last year’s production in the passing game moving on to the NFL, it is ramping up the competition among the wide receivers to try and impress the coaches and earn more playing time. Even though there is plenty of youth and inexperience among the wide receivers, it is hard to see this group struggling as much as they did last season.

As mediocre as Ohio State’s wide receivers were last season, they would have been even worse had it not been for the work Noah Brown did. Brown hauled in 32 passes for 402 yards and seven touchdowns, with four of those touchdowns coming in the early season win over Oklahoma. The season from Brown was promising after he suffered a leg injury during fall camp the previous year, which caused him to miss the whole 2015 season.

When Brown declared for the NFL Draft, many were surprised that he wasn’t returning to Columbus, but considering the size and skills he possesses, it’s easy to see why Brown wanted to head to the pros sooner rather than later. With being a seventh-round pick in the NFL Draft, Brown won’t be expected to make a huge impact right away. Instead it will give the big wide receiver time to learn from Dez Bryant, and become comfortable with quarterback Dak Prescott. Also, it helps that there is some familiarity on offense with former teammate Ezekiel Elliott already having established himself with the Cowboys. If Dallas gives Brown time to grow and develop, the late pick of Brown in the draft will look like a steal.

Ohio State’s women’s basketball team found out who their opponent for this year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge will be, as they’ll travel to Durham to take on Duke on November 30th. This will be just the second meeting ever between the programs, with Duke winning the other matchup 83-67 in Durham in the 2009 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The previous loss to Duke has been one of many for the Buckeyes over the past decade in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, as Ohio State has posted just a 2-8 record in the yearly challenge, and has lost five straight games after winning in 2010 and 2011.

After seeing both conferences win seven games in 2014 and 2015, the ACC took home last year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge, winning nine of the 14 games. After missing the NCAA Tournament in the 2015-16 season, Duke rebounded last year with a 28-6 record, and made it to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State was able to post a 26-8 record last year, making to the Sweet 16 before losing to Notre Dame. Before the addition of the game against Duke, Ohio State already had a tough non-conference scheduled planned, with the Buckeyes playing both Stanford and UConn in Columbus, both of whom made the Final Four last season.

“Ohio State standout guard Kelsey Mitchell has been invited to try out for the USA Basketball Women’s Under-23 National Team this summer.”

-Mike Dyer, WCPO Cincinnati

Kelsey Mitchell will have a busy summer as she heads into her senior season at Ohio State; she has been invited to try out for the USA Basketball Women’s Under-23 National Team at the end of July in Colorado Springs. The training camp will determine the 12-member U.S. roster for the Four Nations Tournament in mid-August. Teams from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan will compete at the tournament in Tokyo.

Mitchell has already solidified her spot as one of the best players in program history, and now has her sights set on a number of records, as well as trying to put Ohio State in the mix for a national title in her final season in Columbus. Ohio State has made Sweet 16 appearances in each of the last two seasons, marking the first time since the 1988 and 1989 NCAA Tournaments in which Ohio State has made back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances. Mitchell is not only just under 1,000 points away for the NCAA scoring record, but has also made at least one three-pointer in 57 straight games, with the all-time recording currently sitting at 80 consecutive games. Also, Mitchell has already been named an All-American three times in her Ohio State career, and is trying to become the first Buckeye to be named an All-American in four seasons.