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Ohio State’s Senior Night win is exactly what they needed

Also, meet the woman behind the second stage of Eddie George’s career.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

“Holtmann went with a starting lineup of Andrew Dakich, Jae’Sean Tate, Williams, Bates-Diop and Wesson. Don’t expect to see it when the Buckeyes close the regular season Friday night at Indiana.”

-Adam Jardy, The Columbus Dispatch

Everything about last night’s victory over Rutgers was exactly what the Buckeye basketball team needed. First and foremost, they needed a win in the worst-possible way. After reaching the AP top-10 for the first time in four years, and holding a one-game lead in the Big Ten race, the squad was embarrassed in back-to-back games. So getting a solid 79-52 victory is nice to guide them into their regular season finale on Friday against Indiana.

Despite the lopsided final margin, it was not all smooth sailing for the Buckeyes. After opening up a 19-point advantage in the first half, the Scarlet Knights raced back to close the deficit to just five at halftime. However, thanks in no small part to the hot hand of C.J. Jackson, the Buckeyes reestablished their lead early in the second period and never looked back. Throughout the season, this team has overcome adversity on and off the court, and the second half show of dominance should be a reminder for them of what they are capable.

“For us to get that start in the second half was crucial, and C.J. Jackson got us going,” graduate-transfer Andrew Dakich said, according to Jardy.

However, what might be the most important part of Tuesday’s game is the camaraderie that the Senior Night festivities reinforced. At the beginning of the season, no outside of the OSU locker room (except for Dan Dakich) thought much of this team. However, since then, they have proven an entire country of prognosticators wrong, and are on the verge of a No. 2 seed in the B1G Tournament, and returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.

What we saw before, during, and after the seniors’ final game at the Value City Arena was a reminder of how tightly knit this team is, despite the fact that some of the primary members of the squad are new to Columbus.

It also made very clear that Buckeye fans are solidly behind this team, not just for their unexpected success this year as a group, but for the heart and character that they’ve shown individually during their entire times with the program, whether it’s been one year or five.

What the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments hold is yet to be determined, but other than a much-needed rest for the thin and weary team following their run at Madison Square Garden next week, everything they need for their postseason chances might have happened at the Schott last night.

“Ideally, he’d land in a power-run system where his strengths can be maximized. His running ability really isn’t questioned. Hyde just isn’t the all-around back I thought he’d be coming out of Ohio State.”

-Eric Edholm, Pro Football Weekly

While we are technically in the early stages of the off-season for the National Football League, we all know that there isn’t really an off season in the NFL. With franchise tagging beginning this week, and the combine kicking off next week, it is a good time to start to figure out where some of your favorite Buckeyes might end up when games begin again next fall.

It’s been an up-and-down run for former Buckeye Carlos Hyde with the San Francisco 49ers. Though he’s accounted for more than 1,100 yards each of his last two seasons, he has yet to eclipse the thousand-yard mark exclusively as a rusher.

As Edholm notes in his piece, Hyde has not yet been much of a threat catching balls out of the backfield, and with Kyle Shanahan’s version of the West Coast offense now firmly in place, Hyde might be better suited on a more run-first team.

Edholm suggests some landing spots that could end up being better fits might be the Panthers, Giants, Buccaneers, or the Dolphins. With Cam Newton running the ball in Carolina, having El Guapo as a more traditional power-back could be just what the Panthers need to get back in the Super Bowl hunt.

Few players have had the career, during and post football, that former Ohio State Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George has had. In addition to his work as an analyst for FOX, George has also found a career as an actor since retiring from the NFL.

While other football players have transitioned to acting— Howie Long, Jim Brown, Bubba Smith, Alex Karras, Merlin Olsen, Terry Crews, Brian Bosworth, and Terry Bradshaw, just to name a few— George has found his new home not on screen like most of the others mentioned have, but on stages across the country.

When I spoke to George in 2016, he was coming off of his Broadway debut in the role of Billy Flynn in the musical “Chicago.” The OSU legend said then, “Every night was a Super Bowl. Every single night under the Broadway lights, on that stage in the Ambassador Theatre, an historic venue, was a Super Bowl. I mean, you are exhausted eight shows a week, but putting out that same energy and being enveloped in that is something unto itself.”

George recently returned to the role for a special run with the show’s tour at the Palace Theatre in Columbus, which earned killer reviews. However, in watching this NFL Films piece about his acting coach, it is clear that the discipline that took George to the heights of his playing career is still very much a part of who he is now that he’s transitioned away from the field.