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Brendon White: From bench player to Rose Bowl standout

The sophomore safety had yet another big game in the Buckeyes secondary.

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl Game-Ohio State vs Washington Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

“My eyes were on the quarterback... Luckily the ball was right there. I was going to take a knee, but I saw open field so I started running. I wish I would have scored. Maybe next time.”

- Brendon White via Tim May, Columbus Dispatch

True sophomore safety Brendon White rode the pine inexplicably for Ohio State’s first eight games of the season while the team looked for their starting safety opposite Jordan Fuller. It was not until a targeting suspension against Fuller opened up a spot that White got his first start of the season against Nebraska, wherein he posted a team-high 13 tackles including two for a loss. From then on out, White earned himself the starting safety job, and came up big time and time again.

Against Michigan, White came up with an interception he returned nearly 50 yards, setting up the Buckeyes’ final score in their 62-39 route of the Wolverines. Just last night, White posted eight total tackles — good for second on the team — and intercepted a two-point conversion attempt that would have cut the OSU lead to just three late in the fourth quarter had it been converted. The interception was just part of another monster game for White, who also had two tackles for loss and and pass breakup. He was named Rose Bowl Player of the Game alongside Dwayne Haskins.

White has played in 11 games over two seasons at Ohio State, recording 47 total tackles in that time. Having solidified himself as one the team’s starting safeties moving forward, especially should Jordan Fuller declare for the NFL Draft, White will have a chance to showcase his skills over the course of a full season for the first time in 2019.


“It’s a dream I had as a 5-year old child. Just growing up watching NFL games and making guys my idols, I have a shot to be someone’s idol some day.”

- Mike Weber via Colin Hass-Hill, Eleven Warriors

Mike Weber played his last game for Ohio State Tuesday afternoon in the Rose Bowl, as the junior running back has declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. He put on a good show in his last time out, posting 96 yards on 15 carries against Washington, splitting carries with J.K. Dobbins as he did all year long. After mulling the option of going pro a season ago, Weber decided to return for one more year to potentially better his draft stock.

He is currently projected a mid-to-late round pick by most analysts, but could improve his position with a good showing at the NFL Combine, if he is invited, and at Ohio State Pro Day.

As the full-time starter in the 2016 season, Weber ran for over 1,000 yards on 182 carries with nine touchdowns. However after a nagging hamstring injury forced him to miss the opener in 2017, a game in which Dobbins ran for 181 yards against Indiana, he saw less opportunities out of the Ohio State backfield. Despite finding himself in a two-RB system, he would still finish 2017 with 626 yards on 101 carries with a career-high 10 touchdowns. Weber totaled 956 yards this season with six total touchdowns. His best game of the season was against Oregon State, where he posted 186 yards and four total TDs.


“I think Ohio State’s as good as anybody out there. I think they could have been in the tournament, the four-team tournament. I think a lot of people think that.”

- Washington head coach Chris Petersen via Adam Jude, The Seattle Times

Ohio State was no doubt one of the best teams Washington played this season. After losing their first game of the year against an Auburn team that wound up finishing 8-5, the Huskies toughest opponents the remainder of the season were Oregon (who they lost to in OT), Washington State (whose toughest game themselves was Oregon) and 9-5 Utah. Washington did not play a team like the Buckeyes all season, and showed it going down 28-3 after three quarters before OSU took their foot off the gas in the fourth.

Chris Petersen said that he thought Ohio State could have made the College Football Playoff, and while bowl games are usually not fully indicative of a team’s skillset, the College Football Playoff Committee were certainly not rewarded with some of their decisions. Notre Dame, making the playoffs after going undefeated against a light schedule, got their doors blown off 30-3 to Clemson. Georgia, another team ranked ahead of Ohio State that some believed should have made the playoff, lost their bowl game 28-21 to Texas.

While these games, the Buckeyes’ win included, certainly are not predictive of what would have happened should the playoff picture been any different, it certainly doesn’t hurt Ohio State fans’ quarrels of not making the CFP being the only team ranked in the top eight to win their bowl game outside obviously Alabama and Clemson.


Around Campus

Men’s Volleyball

The Ohio State men’s volleyball team will begin their season at home this Friday when they take on Charleston at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be the first of back-to-back games to open the year for the Buckeyes, as they will take on rival Penn State the following night. Ohio State ranks No. 8 in the preseason AVCA Coaches Poll.

Women’s Basketball

The Buckeyes women’s hoops team lost a close one on New Years Eve, falling 78-69 to Nebraska in a game that featured 11 lead changes. OSU was paced by Makayla Waterman and Dorka Juhász, who each dropped 14 points with seven rebounds apiece. Ohio State will look to start the new year off with a big win when they take on No. 4 Maryland on Saturday.

Wrestling

Ohio State had five competitors at the 56th Midlands Championship, with two freshmen placing in the event. Sammy Sasso and Gavin Hoffman placed third and fifth respectively to get two Buckeyes on the podium. Sasso also shut out Michigan’s Alec Pantaleo in the semifinals, who is a two-time All-American and is ranked sixth nationally in his weight class.


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