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Ohio State named National Team of the Week by FWAA

The Buckeyes continue to get national recognition for their early season dominance.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 Ohio State at Nebraska Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“This contest marked just the second Big Ten and road game for fourth-ranked Ohio State and was expected to be the first major test for the Buckeyes after a relatively easy 4-0 start to the year. As it turned out, the game was hardly any more difficult for the Buckeyes than wins against Florida Atlantic, Cincinnati, Indiana and Miami.”

- Patrick Murphy, 247sports

Ohio State came into the week on supposed upset alert. Scott Frost was attempting to get Nebraska back on the map as a premier program in the Big Ten, while the Buckeyes had their history of struggles with the West side of the conference in recent years. Ultimately, that did not come to fruition for the Cornhuskers, as Ryan Day lead his boys into Lincoln and put a beatdown on Nebraska in front of a sellout crowd.

The Bucks win was incredibly impressive, and a ton of the national media have began to recognize this Ohio State team as one of the best in the country. OSU got even more praise on Monday when it was named the Football Writers Association of America’s Team of the Week. It is the fifth time the Buckeyes have won the honor since its creation in 2002.

The Scarlet and Gray certainly looked like the best team in the country in week five, as Clemson struggled with UNC and Alabama let up 31 points to Ole Miss despite an impressive offensive output. Ohio State also beat out Arizona State, who upset No. 15 Cal on the road, and Duke, who dropped 31 on the road in their big win over Virginia Tech.

The win was profound enough to jump the idle LSU in the AP Poll, putting Ohio State at the No. 4 spot. It is a small sample size, but the Buckeyes have certainly been impressive to start the year, and will look to keep the good times rolling in their first ranked matchup against Michigan State this weekend at The Shoe.

Ohio State has been playing at least one game per season in alternate uniforms for the past few years, and it appears as though that tradition is not going to change under Ryan Day. The Buckeyes will again be sporting their all-black unis against Michigan State on Saturday, and the team is urging fans to do the same in order to blackout the stadium for it’s nighttime showdown with the No. 25 Spartans.

It is the second straight season and third time since 2015 that OSU has donned these specific jerseys. They were first debuted in 2015, when the Ezekiel Elliot-led Buckeyes beat up on Saquon Barkley and the Nittany Lions in a 38-10 drudging. They were worn most recently last season, in an ugly 36-31 win against Nebraska. The uniforms looked very good in the night game against Penn State, but were a bit of an odd choice for a noon game last year.

Ohio State has historically performed well when straying from their traditional uniforms, posting a 21-5 record in alternates. The most recent loss was to Clemson in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, when the Buckeyes donned the same jerseys worn in the 2015 Sugar Bowl against Alabama (which went just slightly better for OSU).

We have some new faces across the board in this week’s edition of Ohio State’s players of the game. This was likely the hardest game of the season to pick out specific highlight performances, as seemingly every single player on the field played at an extremely high level against Nebraska. The offense, defense, and special teams were clicking on all cylinders, and these guys were a big reason why.

The Offensive Player of the Game is a bit of a surprise, but certainly not undeserving as offensive lineman Josh Alabi took home the honor. The senior tackle filled in for the injured Brandon Bowen, who was listed as a game-time decision but ultimately did not take the field. Instead, it was Alabi, who filled in seamlessly on an offensive line that dominated the line of scrimmage and helped fuel a 580-yard performance from the Buckeyes, including 368 yards rushing.

Two players got the nod for Defensive Player of the Game, as the duo of Jeff Okudah and Jordan Fuller combined for three interceptions. Okudah continued his breakout season, making a few nasty open-field tackles while coming away with a pair of interceptions as he provided blanket coverage all night long. Fuller had his first real big game of the year against the Cornhuskers, totaling seven tackles and a diving interception.

Special Teams Player of the Game was an easy choice, as kicker Blake Haubeil took home the honor. Haubeil made both of his two field goal attempts in the game, including an early 23-yarder to make it 17-0 and a 36-yarder early in the third quarter to extend it to 41-0. He remained perfect on the season kicking extra points, knocking in all eight tries against Nebraska.

Here’s a little fun fact if you were wondering just how good this Ohio State team is playing right now. First time since World War I? Seems pretty decent, imo.

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