Coming into the game against Iowa Saturday, Ohio State had two missions in order to keep pace for a potential spot in the BCS title game: win and win impressively enough to sway voters.
Well, one out of two ain’t bad.
The good news for the Buckeyes is that they were able to pull away from the Hawkeyes courtesy of a 24-7 advantage in the second half, posting its 19th straight win by the score of 34-24. The not-so-good news was that half came after OSU looked positively underwhelming in falling behind the visiting Hawkeyes 17-10 after two quarters of play.
Head coach Urban Meyer has preached that his team can only control what they do and is focused solely on the next opponent, not BCS implications. Meyer and his charges, though, are not only battling its next opponent on the field but fighting perception off of it: the perception that the Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule was pastry-soft and the conference slate is not far behind. And that, simply put, the Buckeyes just aren’t that good of a football team despite the fact that they are on a historic run of wins.
The way OSU played in the first half did nothing to help the perception. Neither did Northwestern, one of the so-called quality wins for the Buckeyes this season, going down in defeat a third straight game.
The stark reality for Ohio State is that, even if they run the streak to 24 straight, they would fall behind the SEC championship game winner… and an unbeaten Oregon… and an unbeaten ACC champion in the BCS title-game pecking order. That’s the situation facing OSU, regardless of if anyone connected to the program wants to publicly acknowledge it.
Well, that settles that.
While J.T. Barrett is the unquestioned starter at quarterback for Ohio State, Joe Burrow (pictured, right) and Dwayne Haskins (pictured, left) have been engaged in a competition for the backup job that began in the spring and continued on into summer camp. At least for now, the competition is closed as OSU announced Wednesday morning that Burrows underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a broken bone in his right (throwing) hand. The sophomore suffered the injury during a Monday practice.
While officially out indefinitely, it’s expected Burrows will miss at least a month of the season.
As Barrett’s primary backup last season, Burrows completed 22 of his 28 pass attempts for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns. A redshirt freshman, Haskins, a four-star 2016 recruit, has yet to attempt a pass at the collegiate level.
With Burrows out for the foreseeable future, true freshman Tate Martell has been elevated in the signal-calling pecking order as well. A four-star 2017 recruit, Martell was rated as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country for this past year’s class.
After being indefinitely suspended by LSU for unspecified violations team rules and granted a release, Maea Teuhema had been linked to, among others, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, UCLA and USC. In the end, the offensive lineman decided a lower rung on the college football ladder was, at least for now, the better option.
Southeastern Louisiana has officially confirmed that Teuhema has transferred into the football program. As the Lions play at the FCS level, the offensive lineman will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
“We’re excited to have a player of Maea’s caliber join our program,” SLU head coach Rob Roberts said in a statement. “He brings a lot of experience and it will be good to add another talented veteran to what is already a group we have a lot of confidence in.”
Teuhema’s brother, linebacker Sione Teuhema, transferred from LSU to SLU last year and is a starter for the Lions.
Teuhema, a four-star 2015 recruit, started 21 games the past two seasons, 11 at left guard as a true freshman and 10 at right tackle last season. He earned Freshman All-American honors following the 2015 season.
This year, Teuhema had been slated to start at right guard for the Tigers.
Less than a week after his unexpected and abrupt departure from Georgia Tech, Dedrick Mills has found himself a new college football home.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mills has enrolled Garden City Community College in Kansas. As his next stop, which won the 2016 junior college national championship, plays below the FBS level, the running back will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
Very late last week, Tech announced that Mills had been dismissed from the program for an unspecified violation of athletic department rules.
Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers., with 169 of those yards coming in the bowl win over Kentucky. Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.
More than likely, Mills will spend one season at the JUCO level before moving back to the FBS. Whatever team grabs him at that time would be getting a talented player who would still have two years of eligibility remaining.
At the moment, the injury news for Jamari Bozeman is bad. Depending on how things play out over the next several weeks, it could be bad.
According to the Toledo Blade, Bozeman will definitely miss the 2017 opener against Michigan State because of what’s described as an upper-leg injury. Additionally, the Blade reports that the defensive back will probably miss the entire non-conference schedule, which, in addition to MSU, includes the home opener against FCS South Dakota Sept. 9 followed by road trips to Northwestern and Middle Tennessee the next two weeks.
Somewhat ominously, the newspaper writes that, beyond that, “his status for the rest of the season is uncertain.”
A 12-game starter for the Falcons at safety last season, Bozeman led the team in interceptions with three. He was named third-team All-MAC after last season.
The good news is that Bozeman, a true sophomore this year, has yet to use his redshirt and would get this season of eligibility back if the injury is severe enough to sideline him for the entire 2017 campaign.