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Ohio State safety Brendon White made the most out of an opportunity against Nebraska

The sophomore from Olentangy Liberty registered a team-high 13 tackles after being forced into action following the ejection of Jordan Fuller.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Purdue Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

“Who would have ever thought that would happen? Isaiah [Pryor] being hurt, the stupidest call in the world with Jordan being ejected. I was still fussing about that, and then in my mind I was going, ‘Brendon is going to get a chance to play’.”

William White, father of Ohio State safety Brendon White via Kyle Rowland, The Toledo Blade

In the second quarter of Saturday’s game against Nebraska, Ohio State safety Jordan Fuller was ejected after a controversial targeting call. With the Buckeyes already short at safety due to an injury to Isaiah Pryor, Olentangy Liberty product Brendon White was thrust into action. The true sophomore made the most of his opportunity, registering a team-high 13 tackles against the Cornhuskers.

The performance couldn’t have been any more perfect for White and his family. Brendon’s father William White, a former Ohio State captain, was scheduled to have a video played on the Ohio Stadium scoreboard to ask for donations to find a cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease, which he was diagnosed with in 2016. The video was originally scheduled to be shown last month during the Minnesota game, but time constraints delayed it until Saturday.

While the choice for White to attend Ohio State was an easy one, everything before Saturday’s performance has been the opposite. White struggled at linebacker and wide receiver with the Buckeyes before finally finding a home at safety. Aside from Fuller, who has been one of the leaders on the Ohio State defense, the Buckeyes have struggled to find consistency at the other safety position.

White knew he was going to play some at safety on Saturday after practicing all week in third-down situations, but he couldn’t have imagined the game against the Cornhuskers playing out like it did. Even though head coach Urban Meyer hasn’t committed to naming White a starter heading into this week’s game against Michigan State, the sophomore safety has given the coaching staff something to think about.

“I do like running. I’d rather sit back and throw the football because that’s what I do. But if I need to, I can do it.”

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins via Jim Naveau, The Lima News

With quarterbacks like Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett, Ohio State has been blessed with mobile quarterbacks lately, which makes it so jarring to see Dwayne Haskins rarely run the football. Through nine games this season, Haskins only has 45 yards rushing and just one touchdown, which is a far cry from Miller and Barrett, who each rushed for over 3,000 yards in their Ohio State careers.

Even though Haskins says he likes to run the football, he doesn’t look all that comfortable when doing so. A prime example was in Saturday’s game against Nebraska, when Haskins had space to pick up at least five more yards, but awkwardly slid to the ground. Haskins says he has been working on running the football more in practice this week, but it might be tough for him to find any room to run on the ground this week against a Michigan State team that has one of the best rushing defenses in the country.

Even though Haskins is able to throw the football at a level that Barrett and Miller couldn’t come close to, what makes the issues with Haskins running the football so pronounced is how Barrett and Miller were able to pick up a few yards on the ground in critical situations. Head coach Urban Meyer often referred to Barrett’s ability to convert on the ground in short yardage situations as a “get out of jail free card”.

With Haskins being not as adept at running, it has hurt the Buckeyes at times, especially in the red zone. If Haskins can show a little improvement in that area the rest of the year, it will help Ohio State’s already powerful offense as they drive towards the College Football Playoff.

“I blocked in high school, but it was nothing like the level we are now. It took that time to develop.”

Ohio State tight end Luke Farrell via Doug Lesmerises,

Ohio State was a lot more effective in the red zone on the ground last week against Nebraska, and a major reason for the improvement is because of the blocking by tight end Luke Farrell. Of Ohio State’s three touchdown runs against the Cornhuskers, Farrell made critical blocks on each of them. Had it not been for the blocks by Farrell, the Buckeyes likely fail to get into the end zone.

Farrell is in his third season in Columbus, and he is just now learning how to block. It isn’t because he didn’t do it in high school, but at the college level blocking for tight ends is so much more advanced that what they are used to do in high school. The biggest area Farrell has been working on to get the advantage over defenders is with speed off the line of scrimmage.

The improved blocking by Farrell has started to lead to more opportunities in the passing game for the redshirt sophomore. Farrell caught just two passes in the first five games of the year, but has seen his targets increase over the last month, catching 10 passes for 107 yards. As he continues to improve on the field, expect Farrell to take on an even bigger role for the Buckeyes the rest of the year, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a couple touchdowns from the tight end this year before all is said and done.

“We’ve faced a lot of adversity this year. At this point, anything that gets thrown against us we look at it more as an opportunity, an opportunity to get better, an opportunity to show the rest of the country what the Buckeyes are made of.”

Ohio State women’s soccer midfielder Sarah Roberts via Bailey Scheufler, The Lantern

On Monday it was announced the Ohio State women’s soccer team had earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, which is the 13th NCAA Tournament appearance for the Buckeyes. Ohio State will be looking to avoid a repeat of last season, when they lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio State will kickoff their 2018 NCAA Tournament campaign on the road Friday night, when they travel to Wake Forest. The two schools last met in the 2014 season opener, with Ohio State earning a 1-0 win over the Demon Deacons. The winner will advance to take on the winner of Saturday’s contest between West Virginia and Radford, next Friday.

The Buckeyes started off the year slow, but picked up steam as the year went on, all while dealing with multiple injuries. The toughness Ohio State has shown throughout the year, along with a defense that has allowed just 14 goals in 18 games, should make the Buckeyes a tough out in the tournament.