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Football

All things pigskin.

It's November - one of Poobert's favorite times of year. It's all about quality time. We'll spend entire days together around the Thanksgiving holiday when I get some time off work. The weather cools down, which means the heater kicks on. We'll even hang out by the fireplace some. And of course, college football starts heating up too. The matchups are bigger and matter more than the ones in previous weeks, and the experience of watching and hanging on every moment becomes even more intense.

I've made it sound like he just sleeps through everything, but he's really caught up in the drama of the season. This past Saturday he came up to get me out of bed so I could turn on College Gameday for him. This took place right after the JT Barrett news had broken, and I caught is reaction on camera.


Poobert was like, "WHAAAAAAAA?!"
Poobert was sad to hear about JT Barrett. He's ready to move on though and ready to see the Buckeyes kick some butt. He doesn't care who starts, and always thinks the Buckeyes will win no matter what. That's why we get along so well.

The games don't look like they'll suck this week. Here are our picks...
This week was the Buckeyes' bye week. Including them about half of the current top ten was idle. Most of the games scheduled for yesterday sucked. That doesn't mean we didn't see significant things taking place. How has the playoff picture changed? What is the Buckeyes place? Here are all the things you know to not sound like an idiot talking about college football this week:

What We Learned About the Buckeyes:

JT Barrett was arrested for OVI. He has been suspended for next week's game against Minnesota. You won't find any sanctimony on this situation in this column - either as it refers to the magnitude of the mistake or the magnitude of the punishment. I'd rather focus on what this means for the team. They are still trying to win a championship after all.

As a fan, it's disappointing that right after we all thought that this season's interminable quarterback controversy was finally settled, it's suddenly up in the air again. Cardale Jones has an opportunity that he probably thought he wouldn't get - a chance to start without having to look over his shoulder. The last games he played under those circumstances were in December and January of last season. Perhaps against Minnesota he can rediscover a bit of that confidence and form. In light of the way he played earlier in the season though, it is a little scary to have him out there with no safety net. On one hand Jones might be able to play more loose and free. On the other hand, if he struggles as badly as he did against Northern Illinois he and the coaches will have to find a way to fix what's wrong instead of just switching to the other guy.

I've never particularly been a Team Cardale or Team JT guy. I've tried to hold off on making projections about what will happen and stick to reacting to what I see. That said, I hope Jones makes that most of his start against Minnesota and renews his claim to the starting job. It would mean that the Buckeyes would not miss a beat, and keeping the team's goals on track is the most important thing at the moment.

What We Learned About the Rest of College Football:
  • Nebraska is in a world of trouble. They are in the midst of a historically bad season for their program. They are only in the first year of coach Mike Riley's regime, and while many would say that the Cornhuskers can't fire him yet, there are plenty of reasons why it would be a good idea to do so...
1. There's usually a reason why a guy spends 20+ years in coaching and never gets the head gig. Staggering levels of ineptitude is quite often that reason. Exhibit A is Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-4; 1-3) interim head coach Tracy Claeys. After Jerry Kill abruptly retired for health reasons last Wednesday, Gopher defensive coordinator Claeys was thrust into the interim position, admittedly a tough task on such short notice. But what isn't such a tough task is clock management, something that even a Pop Warner coach should have a handle on. Trailing the #15 Michigan Wolverines (6-2; 3-1) by the score of 29 to 26 with 19 seconds left on the game clock, Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner completed what appeared to be a 23-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Drew Wolitarsky. Replays clearly showed that Wolitarsky made a clean catch but that his knee was down before the ball crossed the goal line, and the Big Ten replay official correctly (imagine that!) placed the ball at the 1/2-yard line. The game clock stopped for the first down and during the review, but it would begin again as soon as the ball was set for play. You knew that. I knew that. Everybody in the stands knew that. Even the freaking television announcers knew that. But apparently Tracy Claeys had no clue, because he called a play with multiple shifts that took 13 seconds before the ball could even be snapped and another 4 seconds to execute (and I use that term loosely). The play itself, an ill-conceived pass to a tight end who couldn't even manage to run his route into the end zone from 18 inches away, fell incomplete stopping the clock with just 2 seconds left. Then instead of kicking the game-tying field goal and playing to win in overtime, thus giving fans and pundits a chance to forget his massive blunder for the time being, Claeys called his final timeout to come up with that one unstoppable play that would guarantee...
Here are some interesting facts and trivia concerning Ohio State scoring records, mostly dealing with very long (and very short) touchdowns. Enjoy your bye week!

1. The big play is one of the reasons that football is so exciting. The Buckeyes have been a big play team throughout the new millennium, and especially during the Urban Meyer era. Since 2001, Ohio State has had 109 scoring plays of 50+ yards, broken down as follows: 63 receptions, 46 runs, 15 punt returns, 11 interceptions, 4 kick-off returns, 4 fumble recoveries, and 1 blocked field goal.

2. Last week against Rutgers, Michael Thomas caught a 50-yard touchdown pass. It was the fourth 50+ yard TD reception of his Buckeye career, the other three all coming during the 2014 season: 53 yards against Virginia Tech, 63 yards against Kent State, and 79 yards against Michigan State. Thomas is now tied with David Boston and Terry Glenn with four TD catches of 50+ yards, which is good for third place in Buckeye history. Devin Smith and Ted Ginn, Jr. are tied for first place with seven each.

3. Devin Smith also has eight touchdown receptions of between 40 and 49 yards, giving him a team record 15 touchdown receptions of 40+ yards.

4. Only 18 Buckeyes have four or more TD plays of 50+ yards. Nine have played in the new millennium. Three are currently on the team: Braxton Miller (8 TDs); Ezekiel Elliott (8 TDs); and Michael Thomas (4 TDs).

5. Ezekiel Elliott leads all Buckeye rushers with eight touchdown runs of 50+ yards. Braxton Miller is second with seven.

6. Ted Ginn, Jr. tops all Ohio State players with...
1. In the battle of scarlets, the number-one ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0; 4-0) defeated the never-ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-4; 1-3) by the score of 49 to 7, and the game wasn't really even that close. Ohio State was held scoreless for the first 14:50 and then the Buckeyes coasted for the final 13:42 of the game, scoring no points and giving up a garbage time touchdown to lose the shutout; in between they put up seven touchdowns on nine drives (one drive consisting of kneel downs at the end of the first half). Ohio State dominated in total yards (528 to 293), first downs (27 to 12), time of possession (32:40 to 27:20), and of course on the scoreboard; however, Rutgers did lead in punts (7 to 1) and penalties (7 to 0). Ezekiel Elliott rushed 19 times for 142 yards and 2 TDs, his 13th straight game with 100+ yards on the ground. Michael Thomas had his second career 100-yard game, with 3 receptions for 103 yards and a score. In his first start of the season, quarterback JT Barrett had 324 total yards and 5 total touchdowns. Ohio State finally looked like a legit national title contender, but then again Rutgers has a tendency to make their opponents look better than they really are.

2. At the end of three quarters, the #7 Michigan State Spartans (8-0; 4-0) led the unranked Indiana Hoosiers (4-4; 0-4) by a score of only 28 to 26. Then Sparty woke up, arguably for the first time all season, with 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to make the final tally 52 to 26. Michigan State's offense held up its end of the bargain with 540 yards, 33 first downs, and 13/20 on third down conversions, but the Spartans' once-mighty defense surrendered 389 yards to an Indiana squad that will be lucky to become bowl eligible. Michigan State's Connor Cook had a big day with 398 yards passing and 4 touchdowns, but the running game never really got off...
1. Ezekiel Elliott had 19 carries for 142 yards and 2 TDs. Elliott entered yesterday's game averaging 141.1 yards per game, which means that he was right on his average.

2. On the season, Zeke now has 1,130 yards rushing. He becomes just the 8th Buckeye running back to break the 1,000-yard mark two or more times in his career. The complete list is: Archie Griffin (1973, 1974, 1975); Tim Spencer (1981, 1982); Keith Byars (1983, 1984); Eddie George (1994, 1995); Antonio Pittman (2005, 2006); Chris Wells (2007, 2008); Braxton Miller (2012, 2013); and Ezekiel Elliott (2014, 2015).

3. For his career, Zeke now has 3,270 yards rushing, which is good for 5th place in Buckeye history. Yesterday, Zeke surpassed Carlos Hyde (3,198 yards), Keith Byars (3,200 yards), and his own teammate Braxton Miller (3,261 yards).

4. Elliott had a 55-yard touchdown run, his 8th touchdown run of 50+ yards in his career, which set a new Buckeye record. Braxton Miller has 7 touchdown runs of 50+ yards.

5. Michael Thomas had 5 receptions for 103 yards and a TD. It was Thomas's second career 100-yard game. He also broke the 100-yard barrier against Maryland earlier this season with a career-high 107 yards.

6. For his career, Thomas now has 1,367 yards receiving, which is good for 21st place in Buckeye history. Yesterday, Thomas surpassed Reggie Germany (1,268 yards), Buster Tillman (1,277 yards), Anthony Gonzalez (1,286 yards), and Brian Stablein (1,289 yards).

7. Thomas's 5 receptions also moved into 19th place in career receptions with 92. Yesterday, Thomas surpassed Anthony Gonzalez (87 receptions), Buster Tillman (88 receptions), Brian Hartline (90 receptions), and Bobby Olive (91 receptions).

8. The offense had three big play touchdowns - Ezekiel Elliott's 55-yard run, Michael Thomas's 50-yard reception, and Curtis Samuel's 30-yard reception - and four touchdowns from within the red zone. On the season, 20 of Ohio State's 41 touchdowns have bee of the big play variety (20+ yards,...
After seven weeks, the college football playoff picture is starting to become clearer. A few weeks ago, pretenders like Georgia (5-2), Ole Miss (5-2), Northwestern (5-2), UCLA (4-2), and USC (3-3) all looked like contenders, while teams like Iowa (7-0) and Florida (6-1) were not even in consideration for contender status. Only ten Power5 teams remain undefeated, and all but two of those teams (Utah, LSU) face another currently undefeated team before the playoffs.

Big Ten

#1 Ohio State
and #7 Michigan State remain undefeated in the East Division. The Buckeyes and Spartans meet on November 21st, and both could realistically enter the game a perfect 11-0. If the Buckeyes win, they must still face a dangerous Michigan squad in the regular season finale, while Sparty closes with a Penn State team that looks like a paper lion despite a 5-2 record. In the West Division, #12 Iowa is the lone undefeated team and the Hawkeyes have already faced their toughest regular season challenges.

With a high-powered offense (albeit currently running on six cylinders) and a defense full of stars (but sometimes full of holes), Ohio State looks like it's in the best position to finish the regular season without a loss. However, after the Agony in Ann Arbor Michigan State is beginning to look a team of destiny, and quarterback Connor Cook provides the leadership of a fifth-year senior with a 29-3 record as a starter. Iowa closes its season against five teams with a combined record of 2-13 in Big Ten action, but does anyone really think that this Cinderella will survive even that soft a schedule?

Bottom Line: A Big Ten team with a perfect 13-0 record and an outright conference championship gets into the playoffs regardless of what anybody else does. A 12-1 Ohio State or Michigan State team still has an outside shot for a playoff berth, based largely on recent...
1. With Ohio State's 38-10 rout of Penn State, the Buckeyes now hold an 18-13 advantage in the series, and a 16-7 edge in Big Ten play.

2. Ohio State has now outscored Penn State 681 to 548 overall (22.0 ppg to 17.7 ppg), and 620 to 401 in Big Ten play (27.0 to 17.4).

3. Ohio State has now beaten Penn State four times in a row (2012-2015). It is the first time that the Buckeyes have won four in a row in the series.

4. Ezekiel Elliott had 27 rushes for 153 yards and a touchdown. It was Elliot's 12th straight game with 100+ yards rushing. Zeke has 988 yards (3rd in FBS) and 11 TDs (6th in FBS) for the season.

5. Elliott is averaging 141.1 yards per game rushing, which is 5th in FBS. LSU's Leonard Fournette leads the way with 200.2 yards per game.

6. Zeke now has 3,128 yards for his career, good for 8th best in Ohio State history. Yesterday, Zeke passed Carlos Snow (2,999 yards) and Pepe Pearson (3,076 yards).

7. Braxton Miller added to his Ohio State total touchdown record with a touchdown reception. Brax now has 88 total touchdowns for his Buckeye career.

8. Joey Bosa led the defense with 7 tackles, 3 TFLs, and a sack. For his Buckeye career, Bosa now has 42.5 TFLs (10th best) and 23.5 sacks (4th best).

9. Penn State entered the contest allowing just 117.0 yards per game rushing. The Buckeyes churned out 315 yards on the ground on 50 carries (6.3 ypc). As mentioned above, Zeke Elliott had 153 yards rushing, and quarterback J.T. Barrett had 102 yards rushing.

10. Penn State had only 14 first downs, 4 of them courtesy of Ohio State penalties. For the game, Penn State had 3 penalties for 22 yards, while Ohio State had 5 penalties for 70 yards. So much for The Cult's conspiracy theories concerning the Big Ten referees.

11. For the season, Ohio State has committed 51 penalties (88th in FBS) for 467 yards (97th in FBS).

12. Ohio State was 5 for 11 on third down conversions (45.5%), which isn't great but still better than the Buckeyes' season average of 37.5%...
1. Ohio State holds a 17-13 overall record against Penn State. The Nittany Lions won the first four contests (1912, 1956, 1963, and 1964), and six of the first eight (lost 1975 and 1976; won 1978 and 1980).

In the thirty contests between the two teams, Ohio State has outscored Penn State 643 to 538, for an average score of 21.4 ppg to 17.9 ppg.

2. Since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, Ohio State holds a 15-7 lead in the series. The teams have played every season since 1993, and being in the same division, they will play every year going forward unless the Big Ten has further expansion or realignment.

In the twenty-two Big Ten contests between the two teams, Ohio State has outscored Penn State 582 to 391, for an average score of 26.5 ppg to 17.8 ppg.

3. Ohio State has won the last three contests against Penn State. Ohio State has never beaten Penn State more than three times in a row. Ohio State also won three in a row from 2002 to 2004.

4. Penn State has shut out Ohio State three times: 1912 (37-0); 1964 (27-0); and 1978 (19-0). Ohio State has never shut out Penn State.

5. The first game between Ohio State and Penn State took place in 1912, which the Nittany Lions won 37-0. The Buckeyes left the field with approximately five minutes left in the game, claiming that the Lions were playing dirty football. The teams would not play again for 44 years.

6. Ohio State's first win in the series came in 1975 by the score of 17-9. Tailback Archie Griffin had 24 rushes for 128 yards, and fullback Pete Johnson had 23 rushes for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

7. Ohio State also won the 1976 game, 12-7. The Buckeyes rushed the ball 69 times for 280 yards (4.06 ypc) and two touchdowns, but threw just three passes, completing one of them for ten yards. That game was the epitome of the Woody Hayes offense.

8. In 1978, Ohio State and Penn State opened the season against each other. Buckeye true freshman quarterback Art Schlichter, in his college football...
1. Ezekiel Elliott has 2,975 career rushing yards, good for 10th best at Ohio State. Zeke needs 25 yards to pass Carlos Snow (2,999 yards) for 9th place; 102 yards to pass Pepe Pearson (3,076 yards) for 8th place; 224 yards to pass Carlos Hyde (3,198 yards) for 7th place; 226 yards to pass Keith Byars (3,200 yards) for 6th place; and 241 yards to pass Braxton Miller (3,215 yards) for 5th place (assuming that Miller gains no yards rushing against Penn State).

Buckeye PlayerRanking-Yards Rushing-Yards to Surpass
Braxton Miller5th3,215241
Keith Byars6th3,200226
Carlos Hyde7th3,198224
Pepe Pearson8th3,076102
Carlos Snow9th2,99925
Ezekiel Elliott10th2,9750

2. Michael Thomas has 1,230 yards receiving, good for 25th best at Ohio State. Thomas needs 39 yards to pass Reggie Germany (1,268 yards) for 24th place; 48 yards to pass Buster Tillman (1,277 yards) for 23rd place; 57 yards to pass Anthony Gonzalez (1,286 yards) for 22nd place; 60 yards to pass Brian Stablein (1,289 yards) for 21st place; 190 yards to pass Bobby Olive (1,419 yards) for 20th place; and 200 yards to pass Brian Hartline (1,429 yards) for 19th place.

Buckeye PlayerRankingYards ReceivingYards to Surpass
Brian Hartline19th1,429200
Bobby Olive20th1,419190
Brian Stablein21st1,28960
Anthony...