Picking single-game MVPs is always a difficult process in football, because the nature of the sport is so collaborative. A running back can’t go for 141 yards without the blocking of the offensive line. A defensive end can’t have multiple sacks if the rest of the line isn’t eating up blockers. A quarterback can’t go 20-for-25 if the receivers aren’t getting open and catching balls.
And, since we have a pretty firm “No Co-MVPs” rule in this column (which I reserve the right to ignore when I see fit), when the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes go and play a practically perfect game on both sides of the ball, it makes things especially difficult. Nonetheless, we have come up with the two pretty solid MVPs and one honorable mention for the Buckeyes’ 42-0 shutout victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Week 2 Offensive MVP: Justin Fields
Passing: 20-25, 224 yards, 2 TDs
Rushing: 9 carries, 42 yards, 2 TDs
This is the second week in a row that OSU’s new starting quarterback has been LGHL’s offensive MVP, but unlike in Week 1, Fields did not necessarily have any flashy plays that helped earn him the honor. Instead, he was the most valuable offensive player because he was pretty darn close to perfect.
In the win, Fields completed 80 percent of his passes, and as evidenced in the article linked above, three or four of his incompletions were purposeful throwaways when no one was open and he didn’t have room to run. After the first two weeks of the season, Fields is second in the Big Ten completing 76 percent of his passes (Wisconsin’s Jack Coan is completing 76.3).
Fields is also second in the conference in QB rating at 192.54, behind only Penn State’s Sean Clifford. But, we aren’t singling out Fields because of his performance in two weeks, only against UC. On Saturday, the OSU QB was methodical, poised, and decisive. Though rarely pushing the ball downfield, he made pinpoint throws moving the ball and allowing his receivers to make catches like this one from true-freshman Garrett Wilson.
Those are five-star hands from Wilson! pic.twitter.com/xyBcluKgC5— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) September 7, 2019
In addition, Fields rushed for 4.7 yards per carry, including two scores on the ground. Fields hasn’t had to make any big throws yet, and Ryan Day and company haven’t called on him to run much either, but his ability to control the game without many big plays (at least not yet) has been impressive.
We knew that Fields had the talent, but the poise and maturity that he’s shown in the first two weeks — albeit against lesser competition — bodes well for the Buckeyes’ prospects this season.
Week 2 Defensive MVP: Chase Young
6 tackles (4 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 PBU, 1 forced fumble
Blocked FG attempt
With every week of games, it becomes more and more clear that Chase Young is not only likely headed to the NFL Draft following this season (that was already assumed), but that he is further cementing his position as the top defensive end, if not top player, in the cycle. While it is almost always a foregone conclusion that a quarterback will be the top pick in the draft, Young is continuing to make a very strong case for being the first non-QB selected.
Against the Bearcats, Young only had three total tackles, but he was a force throughout the game. Of those three tackles, 1.5 were sacks. He also made his presence known on special teams blocking a field goal early in the second quarter that would have gotten UC on the board.
Now, in an effort for full disclosure, I do feel that it is my journalistic responsibility to remind readers that Young did have the opportunity for an interception, and perhaps a pick-six, but ended up dropping the easy INT.
However, I did not hold that against him in determining this week’s MVPs, because the play also showed off the freakish athletic abilities of Shaun Wade, so ultimately it was a win all around.
The hit is great, and Chase not catching it is funny, but watch #24 Shaun Wade on this. Trust me , it's worth it. pic.twitter.com/38h7EzdIeP— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) September 7, 2019
17 carries, 141 yards, 2 TDs