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Today is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
Defense is back to having fun
Giving up only three points and 204 total yards to the No. 10 team in the nation, the Ohio State defense is back to doing what it does after ripping Nebraska. Part of that was the change in mentality for the defense as a whole.
“The reality is that these guys have a lot of pressure on them from a lot of things, and that’s overwhelming,” Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “We remind them at times that this is a game you love to play. You have to find a way to continue to love it.”
At least in the 62-3 win against Nebraska, one play set the tone for the rest of the game. In the Ohio State defense’s case, it was the Damon Webb pick-six to start the game. Fickell stressed how important momentum is especially for a younger team.
Ohio State offense: 48 points, 590 yards
Ohio State defense: 14 points, 84 yards
Nebraska: three points, 204 yards
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 6, 2016
“This is a game of energy,” Fickell said. “It is a game of momentum, and when you have the momentum, you have to find a way to keep it. When you don’t have the momentum, you have to do something.”
Even though a play like that can change the entire game for the defense, that mentality change started after the Buckeyes lost at Penn State. However, as linebacker Raekwon McMillan said, looking back, it was a positive in the long term.
“Once you take a loss like that and really start not focusing on being perfect, not losing any games and stuff like that, you start focusing more on having fun with each other,” McMillan said, “being around each other and really building that camaraderie again and really focusing on the time that you have here, because it is limited. Now that we are focused back on us and not really around the country being ranked No. 2 anymore, you are just happy to be here and happy to be in the situation that we are in”
One of the main points coming out of their convincing win against the Cornhuskers is making their defense fun again. Fickell can see that, and that’s nice. “Just to see those guys walking around with a little bounce in their step, a little bit lighter, believing in what they do,” Fickell said.
Ohio State's Defense has allowed 10 Touchdowns in 9 games….
Perspective through 9 games in 2014 when they won title they allowed 26 TDs.
— Jeremiah (@SYRmotsag) November 7, 2016
Confidence leads to dominance
Six touchdowns and two field goals is a good day for any offense, especially for Ohio State taking on the country’s 20th-ranked defense. Most of the damage was done through the air against the Cornhuskers’ secondary.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett threw for 290 yards — his highest total since Week 1 against Bowling Green — and four passing touchdowns. His main target? H-back Curtis Samuel led the team with eight catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
— TheOhioStateFan (@osubucguy) November 6, 2016
WIth this drubbing against a top-10 team, people were shocked to see this offensive performance, especially from a team that has had its share of struggles on that side of the ball recently. Offensive lineman and captain Pat Elflein knew something different.
“We have that capability to do that,” Elflein said. “We want to do that every game. We want to score a bunch of points. Everything was just clicking on every cylinder Saturday night.”
With that big-play capability, opposing defenses may see something different from this offense, especially from Barrett. Going into a game against a susceptible Maryland defense that gave up 59 points to No. 2 Michigan last week, confidence in Ohio State’s offensive ability may lead to another dominant performance.
“I think the main thing, if anything, it’s a confidence builder,” Barrett said. “We are understanding that our young guys have a lot more experience now, but keep on gaining confidence and building momentum as the season goes forward and understanding that the games we have going forward are very crucial.”
You can’t make this stuff up
The ‘Shoe fell silent Saturday night after Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. suffered what seemed to be a horrific head injury.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 6, 2016
As he was carted off the field and escorted out in an ambulance, the Ohio State crowd was relived to see him with a thumbs up as he left the stadium.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 6, 2016
And then, the unexpected happened. Armstrong returned to Ohio Stadium to a roaring ovation. You can’t make this stuff up.
— World-Herald Big Red (@OWHbigred) November 6, 2016
After such a warm reception when he came back to the Nebraska sideline, Armstrong tweeted out his thanks to the Ohio State football program and the 108,000 fans in the stands.
Thank you all for the prayers… everything is good and I'm glad to be back with my team. Also thank you @OhioStateFB and the fans.
— Tommy Armstrong Jr. (@Tommy_Gun4) November 6, 2016
Happy Election Day!
With Election Day here, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer didn’t have much of a response to the obligatory question that comes once every four years to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Reporter brings up the election tomorrow. Urban Meyer: “Election for …?”
Meyer: “Beat Maryland."
— Eric Seger (@EricSeger33) November 7, 2016
When asked about Election Day, Meyer playfully responded, “Election for?” and later said in response, “Beat Maryland.”
However, when all was said and done, Meyer recognized the magnitude of this election.
“I hope our guys vote and we will move forward.”