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Is Michigan’s Shea Patterson the key to TTUN finally getting a win over Ohio State?

Also, how big will Jae’Sean Tate’s departure be for the basketball Buckeyes?

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

“This rivalry has become one of the most one-sided affairs in college football this millennium, with the Buckeyes posting a 15-3 record since 2000. What will it take for the Wolverines to add to get a few more wins on the board?”

-Bill Bender, The Sporting News

We all know the facts at this point; Urban Meyer is 5-0 against Michigan during his tenure in Columbus. TTUN is 2-15 in the rivalry since 2001. The Wolverines haven’t won in The Horseshoe since John Cooper was the Buckeyes’ coach. While any true OSU fan knows these stats inside and out, it’s still fun to see them all laid out like they are in Bender’s article.

He doesn’t dive deeply into what it will take for Jim Harbaugh to finally right the Maize and Blue ship, but he does briefly touch on what I think will be the best shot that they have: Ole Miss transfer quarterback Shea Patterson. Both teams will be breaking in new QBs during the 2018 season, so when Patterson and Dwayne Haskins presumably take to the field in the final game of the regular season, their development throughout their first seasons as starters will likely be the biggest factor in determining the outcome.

Last season, Patterson completed 166 of 260 passes for the Rebels, accounting for 2,259 yards, along with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. After a back-and-forth NCAA review, Patterson was deemed eligible to play right away due to the fact that Ole Miss was caught being Ole Miss and effectively lied to the former five-star recruit about the status of their NCAA investigation.

Once the QB was deemed eligible, the expectations went through the roof from Michigan Men across the country. In fact, confidence in the team following the ruling moved the Wolverines up to the fifth best odds in the country to win the national championship, especially since 2018 was always looked at as “their year.” (OSU is currently third).

Now, considering the recruiting issues that UM has had recently, I would still much rather make a bet on Haskins, but Harbaugh’s team can’t finish third or fourth in the Big Ten East for a fourth straight year... can they?

With all due respect to reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop, in my opinion, Jae’Sean Tate is going to be the hardest departure for Chris Holtmann and the OSU men’s basketball team to replace. While KBD might have put up numbers that made him the center of attention for most of the 2017-18 season, it was Tate that always felt like the heart and soul of the team.

Tate was the type of player that as a Buckeye fan you loved, but totally could understand why opposing fans hated. At 6-foot-4, he certainly wasn’t undersized for the college game, but the fact that he often played on the block, he was constantly battling bigger and stronger players down low--and often out-working them. That of course doesn’t factor in the times that Holtmann turned to him as a primary ball-handler either.

For most of Tate’s time in Columbus, the Buckeyes were at a talent disadvantage against the top of the Big Ten. However, Tate’s willingness to bang with the biggest bodies in the conference often masked some of those deficiencies, giving OSU the opportunity to be the plucky, upset-minded team that they were in recent years. Tate knew how to fill up a stat sheet, but his biggest contribution was as a leader and as an example of what tough-nosed, B1G basketball should be.

With Tate, Bates-Diop, Kam Williams, and Andrew Dakich no longer on the floor for OSU, other returning players like, Kaleb Wesson, C.J. Jackson, Andre Wesson, Musa Jallow, Micah Potter, Kyle Young (more on him in a minute), and graduate transfer Keyshawn Woods will need to step up if the Buckeyes want to repeat their Big Dance berth.

However, I am a bit hard-pressed to pick someone out from this group that can step into the Aaron Craft/Tate/Dakich role of a guy that gives maximum effort and leads by the example of his intense, selfless play.

“That can still be a tough situation to deal with, especially for a player like Young who went from being the highest-rated recruit in Butler history to a rotation player after following Chris Holtmann to Ohio State.”

-Adam Jardy, The Columbus Dispatch

It’s hard out there for a former heavily-recruited collegiate athlete who has been forced to wait his turn on a surprisingly competitive team during his freshman year.

When Kyle Young announced that he would follow Holtmann and flip his commitment from Butler to Ohio State, it was a major feather in the new Buckeye coach’s cap. And while it will still likely have important implications in the future, Young didn’t make much of an impact during his first year in Columbus, outside of his 21.5 minutes per game in two contests against Michigan.

The Massillon, Ohio, native averaged just 1.8 points in 8.6 minutes per game last year, often coming in when the Buckeye front court got into foul trouble. Young was a healthy scratch in OSU’s final four games of last season, but likely will factor heavily into Ohio State’s plans for 2018-19.

The team’s only recruited scholarship senior C.J. Jackson understands Young’s importance to the team, and is taking the rising sophomore under his wing.

“I just don’t think he understands what he can bring to the table,” Jackson said. “I don’t think he understands how good he is sometimes, so guys like that, you want to be a bug in their ear and keep telling them, ‘Just keep coming, just keep coming,’ and those days where it’s hard or he doesn’t feel like it, those are the days that you really push him. If you do it consistently, he’ll trust you.”

Standing 6-foot-8, Young is a likely candidate to replace KBD as the team’s power forward. Those are no small shoes to fill, especially when you consider that Tate won’t be around to help down low.

It’s going to be an uphill climb for the basketball Buckeyes this year, but if Young can find a way to live up to those early expectations, they might have a better shot of getting back to the top of the proverbial mountain.