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Today is Monday, Oct. 24, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
Time to move on after tough loss
By this time, every Ohio State fan knows what happened in Happy Valley on Saturday night. After a 24-21 loss to Penn State, the problems are clear. The lack of protection for quarterback J.T. Barrett and the running game, the instability in the passing game, the two blocked kicks on special teams and on and on.
As Buckeye fans remember from the Virginia Tech game in 2014, one loss does not define the season for a football team. However, with a No. 2-ranked Michigan team that has been steamrolling opponents this season still hovering on the schedule, the upcoming matchup at the end of November is looking tougher and tougher.
“There is not a question of a doubt of ability within any of our guys,” Price said. “We just didn’t execute at the highest level and that’s what happens.”
Last week after the overtime win over Wisconsin, defensive end Sam Hubbard had this to say.
“We really needed to kind of get smacked in the mouth a little bit,” he said.
Just like the Wisconsin game was a punch to the mouth to the rush defense, this Ohio State team as a whole now feels this way. According to Hubbard, they are ready to put this game behind them.
“I feel terrible,” Hubbard said. “Everyone feels that way and they are ready to get back to work.”
A look at the Northwestern passing game
The Ohio State secondary has always been a strength, and that didn’t change Saturday. The secondary allowed only 154 yards passing with one touchdown through the air. This Saturday, the Buckeyes will have to face a Northwestern offense that lives and dies by the pass.
The Wildcats hold the third-ranked pass offense in the Big Ten, scoring 14 of their 23 touchdowns through the air and averaging 241.1 yards passing per game. They are led by sophomore quarterback Clayton Thorson, who has improved greatly after a rough freshman season. This season, he has a 57.9 percent completion rate while throwing 14 touchdowns compared to five interceptions.
— BTNStatsGuys (@BTNStatsGuys) October 22, 2016
When you look deeper into the stat sheet, it’s pretty obvious where most of these throws are headed. Senior receiver Austin Carr has not had a game this season in which he has generated less than 70 yards receiving and has more than 105 receiving yards in four of Northwestern’s seven games this season.
— BTNStatsGuys (@BTNStatsGuys) October 22, 2016
Ohio State’s secondary has defended the deep ball particularly well this season.
Opponents have an NFL passer rating of 29.2 when targeting Ohio State's defense with the deep ball (20+ yards in air)
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) October 23, 2016
With a lot going wrong on the other side of the ball, safety Malik Hooker, cornerback Gareon Conley and the rest of the secondary have to continue to be a stable part of this Ohio State team.
With Zeke on a bye, Thomas shines
Although Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is getting the most national attention out of the latest Ohio State draft picks, there is another former Buckeye who is quietly having a great season. Rookie New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas has become one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets, just like Saints coach Sean Payton predicted.
WR Michael Thomas is starting today. Sean Payton still maintains if he played fantasy football, that's the guy to draft. #Saints
— Britt McHenry (@BrittMcHenry) September 11, 2016
After being drafted by the Saints in the second round, Thomas has been targeted five times or more in each of his first six games of his NFL career and averages 11.8 yards per catch. Even though he didn’t score in his fourth straight game in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, Thomas recorded his first 100-yard game of his career, accumulating 130 yards on 10 receptions.
Mike Thomas became the Saints' 3rd rookie WR to post a 10-catch, 130-yard game, joining Marques Colston (’06)) & Danny Abramowicz (’67).
— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) October 24, 2016
Thomas’ Twitter handle still proves to be true even in the NFL. They @Cantguardmike.
Jim Harbaugh’s Halloween costume
Even though the Buckeyes may have one more loss than The Team Up North, it still does not stop Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh from trying to be more like Ohio State.
It’s not quite Halloween yet, but it’s pretty clear who he is going as this year.
Interesting resemblance ? pic.twitter.com/6SohJhwCmm
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) October 22, 2016
Harbaugh made an explanation for the new fashion trend after Michigan’s 41-8 beatdown of Illinois.
“As of Tuesday, I am now a full-time glasses person. (The glasses) are a tip of the hat to Woody Hayes, Malcolm X and Michael Douglas in the movie ‘Falling Down.’”
Maybe “glasses Harbaugh” is calmer, more mature and more subdued on the sideline.
Harbaugh's pregame warmup with Speight https://t.co/OMeZFFgEhv
— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) September 4, 2016
This guy? Probably not.