Takeaways could be a factor in the Fiesta Bowl, Terrelle Pryor and the celebration of Festivus and more

Colin Gay

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Today is Friday, Dec. 23, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call. 


Head to Head: Secondary

If we have learned one thing from these head-to-head comparisons of No. 3 Ohio State and No. 2 Clemson, it’s that they are both darn good programs both offensively and defensively. That does not change in the secondary.

The Tigers are No. 19 in the FBS, giving up an average of 188.2 passing yards per game and allowing 12 total passing touchdowns. Clemson is also tied with SMU and Troy for seventh in the nation with 18 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns.

The Tigers are led by first-team All-ACC cornerback Jadar Johnson, who had 50 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. More importantly, though, the Orangeburg, S.C., native led the team with five interceptions.

However, with all of the success, Johnson may not be the Clemson corner with the most momentum. Cordrea Tankersley recorded two of his three interceptions in the Tigers’ 42-35 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. He has been a solid corner all season, though, leading the team with 10 broken-up passes and recording six tackles for loss.

However, this is an area of the Ohio State defense that will be very hard for Clemson to top. The Buckeyes are No. 6 in the FBS, giving up an average of 164.5 passing yards per game and allowing only 10 passing touchdowns.

Takeaways are the specialty of the Ohio State secondary. The Buckeyes are tied with Washington at No. 5 in the nation with 19 interceptions. Yes, that is only one more than the Tigers this season. However, Ohio State is first in the nation with seven pick-6s, compared to Clemson’s two.

It really helps to have a safety like Malik Hooker. The sophomore, who, to remind Buckeye fans, is returning for his junior season, had six of the team’s 19 interceptions, and had three pick-6s.

The two corners for Ohio State are not too bad either. Marshon Lattimore, who is rated as one of the top cornerbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft, if he chooses to go, and Gareon Conley combined for seven interceptions and had 24 passes deflected.

As Land of 10 writer Ryan Ginn said, the Ohio State secondary could prove to be an issue for QB Deshaun Watson and the rest of the Clemson offense. It will be interesting to see if Watson, with 15 interceptions, is rattled by the takeaway ability of the Buckeyes.

 


That was a close one

A win’s a win for coach Thad Matta and his Ohio State team. The Buckeyes beat UNC Asheville 79-77 in the final non-conference game of the season. However, going into Big Ten play with a two-point win over the Bulldogs can’t feel too good.

On paper, the offense was very good. The Buckeyes shot 54.7 percent from the floor and made a respectable 69.2 percent from the free-throw line. Forward Jae’Sean Tate was stellar, shooting 70 percent with 17 points and six rebounds. Also, guard JaQuan Lyle made six field goals on eight attempts, tying Tate for the point lead and making six assists.

However, after allowing a 10-1 run to start the second half, the Bulldogs found Ohio State’s kryptonite. UNC Asheville ran a 1-3-1 zone defense to come back and tie the score at 64 and eventually lose the game by only two after having scored 44 in the second half.

Also, although the Buckeyes had only 13 turnovers, three of the main contributors in Lyle, forward Marc Loving and forward Keita Bates-Diop combined for 11 of the 13 turnovers, a troublesome rate for its three starters. Anyway, the Buckeyes have a lot to prove in conference play. Ohio State will play Illinois on New Year’s Day in the first conference game of the year.

 


Man, players don’t like Terrelle Pryor

Former Ohio State quarterback and current Cleveland Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor is still causing trouble. First, it was Cincinnati Bengals CB Adam “Pacman” Jones continually calling him garbage in a postgame interview.

Then it was New York Giants CB Janoris Jenkins who did not hide his views about the former Buckeye on Twitter.

Now, the backlash is coming from his former Ohio State teammates. According to a Pro Football Talk article, Vikings guard Alex Boone was not a fan of Pryor even when he was blocking for him.

“I could not stand any minute with him,” Boone said. “The kid was so arrogant at the time. I hated everything about him.”

Former Ohio State WR Brian Hartline, in a radio interview, had issues more with Pryor’s talent as a receiver, or in this case, a lack thereof.

Is he my No. 1?” Hartline said. “God, I hope not because let’s put it this way: For me, I want a guy day in and day out I know what I’m getting. You don’t know what you’re going to get. You don’t know who’s going to show up. You don’t know if he’s going to get in trouble. You don’t know if he’s going to smart off. I need stability. That’s so more important to me. I need a guy that runs routes. I need stability. I need constant production.”

With Festivus on Dec. 23, it seems as though many NFL players have a common person to air their grievances about. Like many things in life, maybe they can learn a little something from the TV show “Seinfeld.” 


In the middle

Ohio State is done with non-conference play and is heading into matchups against Big Ten foes. What is it like to be a Buckeye basketball player? Who knows, but here is an inside look at Ohio State in a pregame huddle. This may be the closest we ever get.


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