Since Ohio State turned Wisconsin’s defense into swiss cheese last night, it felt like an appropriate way to look back on the 52-21 win was to use some of the cheeses from around the world to describe some of the key figures of the game.
Ohio State’s favorite farmhand is Cade Stover. The tight end might have grown up working on the family farm, but he is proving he is pretty good at this football thing, as well. The senior from Mansfield has become one of the most trusted targets this year for quarterback C.J. Stroud, which is saying a lot considering how reluctant the Buckeyes have been to use their tight ends in the passing game over the years.
There is nobody on this Ohio State team that has worked harder to become what he is today than Stover. After coming to Columbus as Ohio’s Mr. Football coming out of high school, Stover struggled to find his place, moving around to tight end, linebacker, and defensive end. Last year Stover finished the season at linebacker, recording six tackles in the Rose Bowl against Utah.
While it seemed that Stover was going to continue at linebacker in 2022, during the offseason it was revealed that he was shifting back to tight end. The move looks like a slam dunk after Stover’s performances in the first four games of the season. Stover has caught at least two passes in each of Ohio State’s four games this season, and last night he scored the first two touchdowns of his college career.
The way Stover has been playing of late, it’s almost like Ohio State has a baby Rob Gronkowski at tight end. One thing we know that we are going to get each week from Stover is maximum effort. Stover has been molded into what he has today not only by the coaches pressing him and squeezing all the talent he possesses out of him, much like farmer cheese is made by pressing all the moisture out of cottage cheese, he has also been taught a tremendous work ethic from years of working on his family’s farm. Even though he’s a senior, Stover still has three years of eligibility left, so it will be great to watch him grow even more in the time he has left at Ohio State.
If you have seen the movie “Pig” you know that Nicolas Cage has a truffle-hunting pig. In a way, Nicolas Cage is Ryan Day, and Brian Hartline is the truffle-hunting pig. The former Ohio State wide receiver is constantly sniffing out the best wide receivers in the country, allowing Day to collect their signatures to come and play football at Ohio State.
Truffles are delicacies in the culinary world in the same way that Ohio State’s wide receivers are the team’s finest ingredients on the team. C.J. Stroud deservedly gets a lot of the headlines for Ohio State and is looking like the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy this year. Just imagine where Stroud would be if you dump him somewhere like LSU or Texas. Sure, he’d probably still be successful, but would he really be in the conversation for the golden stiff-arm for the second year in a row?
Just look at what Ohio State’s wide receivers have done. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has been dealing with a hamstring injury all season and missed last night’s game after for most of the week it sounded as if he was trending towards playing. No problem for the Buckeyes, who got a third straight 100-yard game out of Emeka Egbuka. Julian Fleming continues to make people remember just how good he can be, scoring his third touchdown in two games. It felt like we barely saw Marvin Harrison Jr. and he still had three catches for 46 yards.
The truffle shuffle isn’t ending anytime soon for Ohio State either, as there are top wide receivers lined up to come to Columbus to be coached by Hartline. Now all Ryan Day has to do is keep his prized truffle-finding pig from being abducted by another program. It feels like only a matter of time before Hartline has at least co-offensive coordinator added to his title, but you know soon enough a team is going to come calling and offer Hartline a head coaching position.
Tommy Eichenberg is continuing to prove he is the best player on the Ohio State defense. There may be Buckeye defenders with more stars next to their names that were ranked higher in recruiting rankings, but nobody is making more of an impact than Eichenberg. After setting a Rose Bowl record with 17 tackles against Utah, Eichenberg finished last night’s win over Wisconsin with 14 tackles.
What has been most impressive about what Eichenberg has been doing on the field is he is saving his best performances for Ohio State’s biggest games. Not only did he ball out in the Rose Bowl and last night’s Big Ten opener for the Buckeyes, but in the season opener against Notre Dame, Eichenberg recorded a team-high nine tackles and two sacks. A defense that has lost its identity over the last few years has needed somebody to step up, and Eichenberg has been that guy.
Tomme is the perfect cheese to describe Tommy Eichenberg, not only because their names are similar, but also because it pairs well with fresh potato dishes. If there ever was a meat and potatoes guy, it’s Eichenberg. Although he was named a captain on this year’s team, it’s obvious that Eichenberg doesn’t care much about doing interviews or social media. For a linebacker, that’s perfect since you want to keep it simple. Find the football and take down whoever has it. Eichenberg has been doing a tremendous job at doing just that.
Lord(s) of the Hundreds
After last week Dallan Hayden became the first Buckeye this year to rush for 100 yards in a game, Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson didn’t wait long to gain access to the hundo club. The running backs each rolled up over 100 yards last night in the victory over Wisconsin. Henderson saw the bulk of the carries, getting 21 totes and finishing with 121 yards. The performance broke an eight-game streak of failing to reach the century mark, with the last time Henderson hit triple digits coming in the win over Penn State last year when he rushed for 152 yards.
Henderson may lead Ohio State in carries and yardage so far this year, but Miyan Williams is making the most of his carries, leading the Buckeyes with 7.2 yards per carry. The 101-yard effort from Williams is the third time in his Ohio State career that he has topped 100 yards, with the other two coming in the season-opener against Minnesota last year, and later in the season against Purdue.
After how great he was during his freshman season, it’s a bit of a surprise not to see Henderson as more of a feature back in this offense, but some of it could be because the sophomore has been dealing with some nagging injury. The way the duo are being used right now, feels perfect, not putting too many miles on either before the weather gets cold and the running games of teams are deployed more. Unlike last year when Henderson and Williams were a little banged up down the stretch, opposing defenses are going to have to take on the two when they have a lot more left in the tank.
There’s not a more perfect cheese for Jesse Mirco than swag, since — like the Australian punter — swag originated in Australia. Mirco’s number is called a couple of times a game, and all he does is give opposing offenses terrible field position. Of Mirco’s 13 punts this year, eight of those punts went inside the 20-yard-line, which follows up a 2021 season that saw 17 of Mirco’s 31 punts go inside the 20.
Obviously, Buckeye fans don’t want to see Mirco on the field at all, since it means if he is out on the field, Ohio State’s offense didn’t do their job. Even though punters can be disliked by fans because they have to kick the football to the other team, it’s hard to hate on punters when they do their jobs as well as Mirco does his. Mirco is undoubtedly establishing himself as the latest in a line of great Ohio State punters.
Limberger is Paul Chryst since that guy stinks. Chryst is probably a really nice guy, it’s just becoming obvious that he isn’t the future at head coach for Wisconsin. After going 13-1 in 2017, the Badgers have lost at least three games in each of the last four seasons and already have two losses this year. Chryst can hang his hat on the Badgers only losing one bowl game during his time as head coach in Madison, but that loss came in the 2020 Rose Bowl.
What is concerning about Chryst is it just doesn’t seem like he has a ton of imagination. The Badgers have always been a team that uses a big offensive line and a running game to try and wear opponents out. That strategy just doesn’t fly in today’s game of football. The Badgers didn’t even have a chance to implement their game plan last night, as Ohio State scored touchdowns on each of their first four possessions. Wisconsin just doesn’t have the weapons to be able to match a high-octane passing offense like Ohio State.
Sometimes on last night’s broadcast when they panned over to Chryst, he just looked so lost, like he wanted to be anywhere but on the sidelines coaching. Some of it can be attributed to the opponent, but he just looked like a defeated man. Chryst has to hear the rumblings about Jim Leonhard being next in line to coach the Badgers, and you have to wonder when the school decides to cut ties with Chryst because they can’t afford to lose a coaching talent like Leonhard.