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Today is Monday, Sept. 19, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
Surging Buckeyes up to No. 2 in AP poll
In and around Columbus the past few weeks, people were starting to think this Ohio State football team was pretty good. On Saturday night, the rest of the world got to see what Ohio State football was all about.
In front of a national audience, the Buckeyes beat the No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners 45-24 on the road and put to rest a number of questions about exactly what kind of team Ohio State was. After dismantling the Sooners, the Buckeyes jumped to the two-spot in the latest AP poll released Sunday afternoon.
Latest AP Poll Top 10:
2. Ohio St
10. Texas A&M
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 18, 2016
The tides seem to be turning in the right direction for the Buckeyes, even though they remain behind Alabama in the polls. Ohio State convinced some voters that they are the best team in the nation and earned four first-place votes. It might be too early for all that, but it’s good to know the national media has put the “this team is too young” stuff to bed.
Alabama is No. 1 in the latest AP poll.
Crimson Tide received 50 first-place votes.
Ohio State got 4, Louisville got 6 and Michigan got 1
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) September 18, 2016
In the offseason, this OSU team was an unknown commodity because of so much departed talent. But Ohio State and coach Urban Meyer have proven quiote a bit during their three-game nonconference schedule. According to Meyer, the success has come because of the leadership of the older players on this team
“The maturity of the older guys is outstanding,” Meyer said. “J.T. Barrett, Pat Elflein and Billy Price up front and Raekwon McMillan and Gareon Conley, who will be fine by the way. Just really good leadership on this team right now.”
Now that the nonconference schedule is done, the Buckeyes now have to continue their winning ways in Big Ten play.
Hide-and-seek with the long snapper?
Early last week, a number of media types who cover Ohio State football received a strange message from a random user on Twitter that said, in essence, Ohio State long snapper Liam McCullough would miss the Buckeyes’ game against Oklahoma.
The message suggested McCullough had been dealing with an illness and that in his stead, Sandusky’s Aaron Mawhirter, a preferred walk-on at Ohio State, would be taking his place.
As the week went on, nothing was discussed about any illness for McCullough. Meyer said nothing about the long snapper. Yet, on Saturday night in Norman, it was Aaron Mawhirter handling the job for the Buckeyes. He was told the Sunday after the Tulsa game that he’d be the guy against Oklahoma — and had a tough time believing it.
“My first reaction was disbelief,” he added. “I’ve been at Ohio State for four years now, and the game that’s regarded as the biggest regular season game in my time here would be my first actual play, and even my first start.”
The first snaps for Mawhirter, who was a 2013 graduate of Sandusky’s Perkins High School, went off without a hitch. There were no hiccups in the snapping game and everything went as well as it could in McCullough’s place.
A walk-on long snapper and a walk-on kicker went to Oklahoma and beat the Sooners. That’s pretty wild, right? It is, certainly. But what is really weird about this situation though, is the length Ohio State went to try to confuse the situation. Mawhirter has worn No. 44 for his entire Ohio State career, but on Saturday night, he didn’t.
He wore No. 49 instead — McCullough’s number.
What’s that all about?
J.T. Barrett’s favorite target
Like the rest of the team, the offense was a question mark before the season started. With the loss of big names such as Mike Thomas, Ezekiel Elliott and Braxton Miller, it was time for the younger guys to step up. Especially for the receiving corps, that was the expectation coming into the season.
“I feel we have a lot of people who are going to surprise some people,” OSU wide receiver Noah Brown said. “We’re going to be all right. We’re going to pick up where guys like Mike, Jalin, left off. We’re inexperienced, but at the same time, we got to experience what it takes to be a great player.”
Brown did exactly that under the lights in Norman, Okla., with five catches for 72 yards including all four of J.T. Barrett’s touchdown passes.
Noah Brown career
Noah Brown tonight
— Doug Nichols (@TheTXI) September 18, 2016
To say that Barrett and Brown were in sync Saturday night would be an understatement. The two linked up for what is going to be a contender for “Catch of the Year” whenever ESPN or whomever else decides those things, decides that thing.
NOAH BROWN JUST MADE THE CATCH OF THE CENTURY https://t.co/67ddzPX3sK
— RT Ohio (@RT_Ohio) September 18, 2016
The Buckeyes are going to need a healthy and productive Brown if they want to make it through a challenging Big Ten schedule unscathed, and it looks like they’re closer than ever to having him ready to play at that high level every week.
Cam is the man
Even though Brown may have been an obvious MVP Saturday night, Cameron Johnston was the undisputed MVP on special teams.
On five punts, Johnston averaged 50.6 yards with a long of 68 yards. However, the most important part of Johnston’s game was that all five of his punts landed inside the 20-yard line. This field position really gave Ohio State the advantage on defense.
— Jon Spencer (@jspencermnj) September 10, 2016
There better be a Ray Guy Award in this man’s future…or else.
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