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Ohio State’s growing pains can be traced back to the construction of this season’s roster

Also, Terry McLaurin has turned into a great Buckeye wide receiver.

Ohio State v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

“The Buckeyes, as a program, aren’t trending down. But in some ways this season, they might be treading water.”

-Doug Lesmerises,

As it turned out, Ohio State finished Saturday with a decisive victory over a ranked in-conference opponent on the road, and is sitting in a prime position as it looks to the final two games of the regular season. Though the Buckeyes are sitting at one loss and are a game back from Michigan, Ohio State controls its own destiny: Win out, and they will go to the Big Ten Championship against Northwestern. Overcome Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats (which, this season, is easier said than done) and Ohio State has a more than probable shot at a berth in the College Football Playoff.

The perception, however, is much grimmer. The first two quarters against Michigan State were, at times, painful to watch, and the Buckeyes lacked any sort of exciting spark until well into the second half. Part of that problem is due to a roster which, though great on paper and adequately performing, doesn’t have the same sort of firepower in practice.

Take the offensive line, for example. Michael Jordan simply hasn’t had the same impact at center that he did at guard (and that’s not a knock against Jordan--he was just that good at the guard spot). Isaiah Prince and Malcolm Pridgeon, meanwhile, have been similarly good players on the light, but not the lights-out unit we saw blocking for Ezekiel Elliott in 2014. Three senior receivers, similarly, just seem to be coming into their own this year.

On defense, Dre’Mont Jones is the anchor on a defensive line which unexpectedly found itself without the best player in the country with the injury to Nick Bosa. Jordan Fuller is doing his best to hold down a secondary which, for the first time in years, is without undisputed first-round NFL talent.

“This has worked out well as first-year starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins, a more pass-first quarterback, has changed the Buckeye offense and the receivers have been the main benefactors.”

-Patrick Murphy, 247Sports

There’s been a lot of talk this season about the emergence of Dwayne Haskins and the rebirth of a true passing game at Ohio State. His play was at such a level that, prior to the Buckeyes’ loss to Purdue in October, Haskins was widely considered a Heisman contender. But Haskins’ skills would be for naught without his stable of receivers, who have been able to stretch their legs this season as downfield passing has become a real option. Now, like Haskins, those receivers are getting the stats behind them to garner recognition on a national level.

Most recently, Terry McLaurin, who opted to return to Columbus for his fifth season with the program, just passed 1,000 yards receiving for his career at Ohio State Saturday. With five receptions for 63 yards against Michigan State, McLaurin is now sitting at 461 total receiving yards this season. He is also second on the team in touchdown catches with eight so far this year. And with his performance Saturday, McLaurin has already surpassed his yardage total from 2017 (436).

McLaurin joins Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill, both of whom are in the 1000-yard club for their careers at Ohio State, making this season the first time that Ohio State has had three active 1,000-yard receivers. Campbell has 673 yards so far this year on 62 receptions, and leads the Buckeyes in touchdown receptions with nine. Hill, the leading receiver at Ohio State this season, has 733 yards on just 57 receptions. In all, eight receivers have at least 100 receiving yards on the year, and 10 have caught a touchdown pass. It’s a testament to the revamped offense that so many receivers have been able to emerge this season, especially given that the core as a whole opted to return together.



Nineteen Buckeye wrestlers entered the Ohio Intercollegiate Open’s Gold (top) Division. Nine walked away as champions after 13 reached the finals, setting up an Ohio State vs. Ohio State championship bout in four of 10 weight classes. Those coming back to Columbus with first-place accolades include: Luke Pletcher (133 lbs), Quinn Kinner (141 lbs), Micah Jordan (149 lbs), Ke-Shawn Hayes (157 lbs), Kaleb Romero (165 lbs), Ethan Smith (174 lbs), Gavin Hoffman (184 lbs), Kevin Snyder (197 lbs) and Chase Singletary (HWT). In addition, Brady Koontz (125 lbs) and Alex Felix (141 lbs) were crowned champions in their White Division weight classes.

Rifle Coach Ryan Tanou

“There was certainly a level of comfort in competing at home for the first time this season and that showed in our performance. Overall it was mission accomplished in firing our highest score of the season and also seeing several career and season best performances throughout the team. We are making strides in the right direction and we’ll have another chance to test ourselves at home against TCU next Sunday.”

Men’s Hockey

The No. 7-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team opens a four-game homestand with a series vs. Wisconsin this weekend. The Buckeyes, 6-3-1 (1-1-0-0 B1G) and Badgers (5-5-0, 1-1-0-0 B1G) will meet at 7 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena in Columbus.