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Ohio State has allowed more passing yards than any FBS team through two weeks


There’s a crisis in Columbus right now, and it’s centered around the Ohio State passing game. It’s metastasized to the point where Urban Meyer had to answer questions following last night’s 31-16 loss to No. 2 Oklahoma on if J.T. Barrett was still the No. 8 Buckeyes’ quarterback.

“I feel the same pressure as everyone here to get very good at the pass game,” Meyer said Saturday night. “We’ve worked extremely hard at it. It wasn’t good tonight. We got to get the damn thing fixed, and we will.”

Meyer assured the public that, yes, Barrett is Ohio State’s quarterback, but the numbers have been downright brutal. Through two games the Wichita Falls, Texas, native is 39-of-70 for 487 yards with three touchdowns and one interception; Barrett’s 55.7 percent completion rate ranks 93rd nationally, his 7.0 yards per attempt average is tied for 71st, and his 125.43 efficiency rating places 78th.

While none of that is good, it obscures the other, equally glaring crisis on the other side of the ball: Ohio State’s pass defense has been a complete catastrophe through two games.

The Buckeyes have defended 103 passes thrown against them thus far — fourth-most in college football, which should be telling in and of itself. Sixty-nine of those throws have been completed for 806 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. No team has yielded more than Ohio State’s 806 yards, and only six squads have surrendered more than Ohio State’s six touchdowns. (Hawaii has allowed eight passing touchdowns through three games.) Opponents are hitting 67.0 percent of their passes, 11th most nationally, for 7.8 yards per attempt.

As a whole, Ohio State rates 110th nationally in defensive pass efficiency, a far, far cry from the Buckeyes’ No. 3 rating last season.

There is one bit of good news coming, though. As Eleven Warriors points out, Ohio State’s numbers will certainly improve next week as Army comes to town, pitting FBS’s most porous pass defense against its least interested pass offense. The Black Knights have attempted all of 10 passes through two games, hitting two of them for 17 yards.

Lamar Jackson leapfrogged by Baker Mayfield as Bovada’s Heisman favorite

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So much for that wagering momentum, I guess.

Entering the 2017 season as not only the reigning winner but also as seemingly an afterthought, a pair of scintillating performances to open the year pushed Lamar Jackson to the head of‘s Heisman Trophy pack.  Coming off a 26-point Week 3 loss to now-No. 2 Clemson in which he totaled nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns, the Louisville quarterback has seen his odds lengthen a bit from 7/4 a week ago to 11/2 in Bovada‘s latest Heisman release.

Bovada’s new betting front-runner?  Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went from 4/1 to 7/4.  Sam Darnold, 6/1, also saw his odds shorten slightly to a Jackson-match 11/2.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, 10/1 in the previous odds release, is now at 9/1, same as the holding-steady-from-a-week-ago Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

There’s also, interestingly, one true freshman on the board: J.K. Dobbins.  The Ohio State running back went from off the board to 40/1 odds.  His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, saw his odds go from 25/1 to 33/1.

Below is the latest set of 2017 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of

Illinois adds UCF grad transfer QB Pete DiNovo

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Illinois has an immediate addition to its quarterback room.  Or its wide receivers room, depending on how things play out.

Pete DiNovo confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times Monday that he has decided to transfer to the Illini.  The acknowledgment comes a month after DiNovo decided to transfer from Central Florida.

As a graduate transfer, DiNovo would be eligible to play immediately this season.  Per the player, a former high school teammate and former high school coach currently at Illinois played a role in his decision.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out,” DiNovo told the Times. “I can come up here and learn from Lovie (Smith) and everyone else on the coaching staff.”

DiNovo began his Knights career as a quarterback — he replaced Blake Bortles as UCF’s starter before being quickly replaced himself — before being moved to wide receiver before being moved back under center this offseason.  How the Illini will use DiNovo, who has an eye on a career in coaching after his playing days are over, remains to be seen.

UTEP stays in-house to replace fired OC Brent Pease

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Not surprisingly, UTEP will stay in-house following its in-season dismissal of one of its coordinators.

The Miners confirmed Sunday that offensive coordinator Brent Pease had been fired.  A day later, the football program announced that Brian Natkin has been given the keys to the offense by Sean Kugler and will call the plays moving forward.

Natkin began the season as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  He was an All-American tight end at UTEP a decade-and-a-half ago and became a full-time assistant at his alma mater in 2011.

Through three games, UTEP ranks second-to-last nationally in total offense at 204.7 yards per game and in yards per play (3.89). The Miners are also 125th (out of 130 teams) in scoring at 13 points per game.

The promotion of Natkin also means there will be some additional adjustments to Kugler’s staff.  Wide receivers coach Chuck Veliz will take over Pease’s other role as quarterbacks coach, while safeties coach Don Yanowsky assume Natkin’s duties as special teams coordinator.

Natkin will continue in his role as tight ends coach.

Oregon State QB Jake Luton discharged from hospital after leaving Wazzu game on a stretcher

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Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton was taken away on a stretcher after a tackle left him motionless on the Reser Stadium turf on Saturday.

Family members were called to the field, where medical professionals stabilized an apparently unconscious Luton and removed his face mask. The game continued, of course, as Oregon State lost to Washington State 52-23 despite Luton’s 179 passing yards and 22 rushing yards.

Luton tweeted on Saturday night that he’ll “be back.”

Luton has since been discharged from the hospital, according to The Oregonian, though his father posted a message stating Luton was probably dealing with a “thoracic spine fracture.”

Oregon State is off Saturday before hosting Washington on Sept. 30.