Since losing to Virginia Tech Sept. 6, the Ohio State Buckeyes are 5-0 and average 51 points per game.
Urban Meyer‘s squad is well ahead of that pace with a 31-0 lead over the Illinois Fighting Illini at halftime as the Buckeyes put together another dominant effort.
The most impressive part of the Buckeyes’ early season turnaround has been its offensive efficiency and overall explosiveness. This developed due to the improved play of redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett and a plethora of offensive weapons.
Saturday night’s effort hasn’t been any different.
Barrett is 15-of-24 passing for 167 yards and two touchdown tosses. The quarterback is also the team’s second-leading rusher with 38 yards on the ground.
What’s most impressive is how the Buckeyes roll through their offensive options.
Three different running backs have carried the ball for 79 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Freshman Curtis Samuel led the way with 45 yards and both scores. Meanwhile, seven different receivers caught passes.
Senior Devin Smith continues to be the Buckeyes’ most dangerous weapon on the outside. The wide receiver caught three passes for 72 yards and both of Barrett’s touchdown tosses. The first-half performance placed Smith in elite territory among Buckeyes history:
Ohio State’s defense played well, too.
Illinois only managed 117 yards. The Illini’s quarterbacks finished the first half 6-of-14 passing with two interceptions.
Despite a nearly insurmountable lead, the Buckeyes can’t let up during the season half. If Ohio State plans to make a legitimate run to become one of the four teams in the inaugural College Football Playoff, the program has to dominate since the Buckeyes suffer from a weak overall schedule. Expect Ohio State to put up even more points during the second half.
As has become customary, Bill Snyder has added familiar faces to his Kansas State staff.
K-State announced late Tuesday morning that Snyder has hired former Wildcats football players Zach Hanson and Eric Hickson. The former will serve as tight ends coach as well as help with the offensive line, while the latter will coach running backs.
In its release, the football program noted that K-State now has seven full-time coaches who played for the Wildcats, the most former players coaching at their alma mater among all FBS staffs.
“I am pleased to have Zach and Eric back with us,” Snyder said in a statement. “Both have proven their capabilities not only as very successful position coaches and teachers, but also in the development of quality and valued young men. They both have a genuine interest in the life skills enhancement of those they work with. Having also been highly successful student-athletes in our program, they believe in and understand our program.”
Hickson spent the past three seasons as the running backs coach at Akron. That was Hickson’s first coaching job at the FBS level.
A running back at K-State, he left the program in 1998 as the school’s all-time leading rusher; he now stands fifth on that list.
After Hanson finished up his playing career at K-State in 2011, he spent four years at his alma mater (2012-15) as a graduate assistant and quality control coach. The past two seasons, he was a graduate assistant working with special teams and tight ends at North Carolina.
This will also be Hanson’s first full-time job at the FBS level.
With Ohio State breaking in a new starting quarterback in 2018, this is latest in what’s been a long line of welcome news for the Buckeyes.
Terry McLaurin confirmed on Instagram Monday night that he will be returning to the Buckeyes for another season. The wide receiver was third on the Buckeyes last season with 29 receptions, 436 yards and six receiving touchdowns.
Previously, wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, fourth on the team in receiving yards, announced his decision to return, as did OSU’s leading receiver in yards, H-back Parris Campbell. The Buckeyes’ leader in catches, K.J. Hill, could also have left early for the NFL.
With all of these decisions to stay, it means the Buckeyes will return its top six receivers in yards: Campbell (584), Hill (549), McLaurin (436), Dixon (422), Binjimen Victor (349) and Austin Mack (343). Those six also accounted for 29 of OSU’s 39 receiving touchdowns.
Tight end Marcus Baugh, who was fourth in receptions with 28 and seventh in yards with 304, is the most productive member of the passing game to depart as the senior has used up his eligibility.
Quinten Dormady began the 2017 season as Tennessee’s starting quarterback. He’ll begin the 2018 season wearing a different uniform.
The erstwhile starter announced on his personal Twitter account Monday that, “[a]fter weeks of reflection, I’ve decided to transfer from Tennessee and transfer for my final year of eligibility.” As a graduate transfer, Dormady would be eligible to play this season at another FBS program.
In starting the first five games of this past season, Dormady had accounted for eight turnovers, six of which were the result of interceptions. Five of those picks came in losses to Florida (three) and Georgia (two).
Coming off a bye, redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano started the Week 7 loss to South Carolina after Dormady was benched following the loss to UGA. Prior to the Week 9 road trip to Kentucky, it was reported that Dormady would be sidelined the remainder of the year because of a shoulder injury.
Dormady completed 76-of-137 passes (55.5%) for 925 yards, six touchdowns and the six interceptions this past season. The 6-4, 222-pound junior finishes the Vols portion of his playing career with 1,282 yards, seven touchdown and six picks. He also ran the ball 22 times for a total of 21 yards.
K.J. Carta-Samuels may have left Washington, but he’s not leaving the Pac-12.
Carta-Samuels brother, Austyn, revealed on his own personal Twitter account that K.J. will be transferring to UCLA. “Chip Kelly, you just got yourself a QB,” the recruiting coordinator at Missouri wrote.
The younger Carta-Samuels brother subsequently told CBSSports.com that Kelly is “a huge reason why” he chose to move on to the Bruins.
In early December, Carta-Samuels announced that he would be leaving Chris Petersen‘s Washington football program.
Carta-Samuels will be joining Kelly’s squad as a graduate transfer, which means he’ll be one of the players fighting for the right to replace three-year-starting quarterback Josh Rosen. Earlier this month, Rosen did the somewhat expected and left early for the NFL draft.
A four-star member of UW’s 2014 recruiting class, Carta-Samuels was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 24 player at any position in the state of California. Budda Baker, a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, was the only signee in the Huskies’ class that year rated higher than Carta-Samuels.
Carta-Samuels played in 25 games over the past three seasons. He ended the Huskies portion of his collegiate playing career with 310 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in completing 27-of-47 passes.