Buckeyes make B1G statement, hope it resonates with committee


College Football Playoff committee, the ball is now officially in your court.

Saving its best for the biggest and most important stage of the 2014 season, No. 5 Ohio State turned in arguably the most impressive Week 15 performance among the playoff contenders, taking No. 13 Wisconsin to the woodshed in a 59-0 evisceration in a Big Ten championship game win that gave OSU its first conference title since 2009.  It also served as UW’s worst loss since a 59-0 drubbing at the hands of, you guessed it, OSU in 1979.

In every phase of the game, the Buckeyes were dominant — and even that word doesn’t do it justice.

Offensively, the Buckeyes rolled up 558 yards.  That’s the most given up by the Badgers’ defense this season, surpassing the 412 yards by Iowa two weeks ago.  Triggering that offensive explosion was Cardale Jones.

In his first start at the collegiate level, Jones was superb, completing 12-of-17 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns.  Coming in, the redshirt sophomore had thrown for 121 yards in his career.  Aside from no turnovers against the No. 2 defense in the country, the most impressive part of the performance was that, at no point in time, did the game look too big or too fast for the athletic 250-pound quarterback.

Devin Smith caught four of those passes for 137 yards and all three touchdowns, while Ezekiel Elliott ran for a career-high 220 yards on 20 carries.  The yards, incidentally, breaks Melvin Gordon‘s title-game record of 216 yards set against Nebraska in 2012.  Speaking of that particular running back…

Defensively, the Buckeyes absolutely shut down Gordon, with the Heisman contender averaging just 2.9 yards on his 26 carries; the junior came in averaging exactly eights yards an attempt .  With 76 yards, Gordon failed to rush for at least 100 yards for the first time since Week 2 That was part of an impressive defensive effort overall, with OSU holding UW to 258 yards and, most importantly, zero points.

And, for good measure, punter Cameron Johnston was a significant weapon on special teams.  Johnston had a net average of 53 yards on four punts, with two of those pinning UW inside the 10-yard line.  One of those was a 73-yarder that left the Badgers starting at the two-yard line.

With the Badgers summarily dispatched, the Buckeyes’ attention now turns to the playoff and the 12-person committee that will decide their postseason fate.  Two of the four spots in the four-team playoff belong to Alabama and Oregon.  Four teams will now be fighting for the remaining two spots: unbeaten and fourth-ranked Florida State and one-loss Baylor (No. 6), Ohio State (No. 5) and TCU (No. 3).

Which direction will the committee go?  I’ll go into that deeper in the Fifth Quarter, but I’ll say this: if I were the Big 12, I’d be fairly nervous at this point in time.  And cautiously optimistic if I’m the other two, especially FSU.

Speaking of the committee…

Hawaii removes WR Melquise Stovall from program

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Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich has announced the removal of wide receiver Melquise Stovall from the program, effective immediately. While no details about the removal from the program were given, Rolovich noted all players are held to certain standards that, apparently, Stovall was unable to meet.

“There are certain expectations required of a football student-athlete here at the University of Hawai’i,” Rolovich said in a released statement. “We hold all of our student-athletes to these standards and expect them to represent our football program to the highest degree. We wish Melquise the best as he moves forward.”

Stovall appeared in five games for Hawaii this season. In those five games, Stovall caught 18 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns. During his freshman year at Cal, Stovall caught 42 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns in 2016.

Miami’s N’Kosi Perry suffers shoulder injury after returning to starting lineup to replace injured Williams

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Well, this has to sting for the Miami Hurricanes. N’Kosi Perry, who recently was temporarily named the starting quarterback, suffered a shoulder injury in Miami’s loss over the weekend to Georgia Tech. The injury to Perry, a separated shoulder, was revealed to the media Monday by Miami offensive coordinator Dan Enos during a press conference according to The Miami Herald.

The shoulder injured is Perry’s left shoulder, his non-throwing shoulder. It is currently unknown how this injury may impact Perry’s availability for Miami’s road game this weekend at Pittsburgh.

“That’s up to our doctors and medical team to establish that,” Enos said.

Perry has started the last two games for Miami while starter Jarren Williams works his way back from his own shoulder injury. Williams did enter last weekend’s game in place of the injured Perry, but it is still unknown just when Williams will be ready to return to the starting role. With Perry’s status also now floating up in the air a bit, Miami could have a tough quarterback situation coming up this weekend against the Panthers. Third-string quarterback Tate Martell, who transferred from Ohio State after Justin Fields joined the Buckeyes from Georgia, would be the next in line for the Hurricanes if needed. But head coach Manny Diaz doesn’t seem to be thinking that will be necessary.

“We still have a package for Tate,” Diaz said. “But when I look at what we’re doing offensively now, and I look at our numbers … when Jarren has played and what N’Kosi has done over the last couple weeks have absolutely given us a chance to win all those games. And that’s nothing against Tate, but those guys are playing well.”

Whoever plays quarterback for Miami against the Panthers this week, it looks as though it will be either Perry or Williams.

Michigan safety J’Marick Woods enters transfer portal, looking to grad transfer

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While the Michigan Wolverines try to regroup and find a way to topple Notre Dame this week after a tough loss at Penn State, safety J’Marick Woods is the early stages of weighing his potential transfer options. Woods has reportedly entered the transfer portal.

As noted by Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic, Woods will be a graduate transfer, which will allow him to be eligible to play for any other FBS program next season. He has one final year of eligibility to use, so wherever he ends up will be for a one-year term.

Woods, a junior, has appeared in four games this season, in which he has recorded four tackles. Woods played in 11 games for Michigan last season and 12 games in 2017. The Alabama native may be better suited to finding a new opportunity as the Wolverines are in solid shape with depth in the secondary, and he was already playing a minimal role in the defense.

By entering the transfer portal, Woods is free to have contact with any other college football program interested in recruiting him to their program. Woods also has the option of pulling his name from the portal to remain at Michigan if he decides to stay put.

Injured Minnesota linebacker a game-time decision vs. Maryland

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers are looking to improve to 8-0 for the first time since winning the national championship in 1941 with an 8-0 record. When Minnesota returns home to face Maryland, a decision on whether or not linebacker Kamal Martin will be made.

Martin injured his right knee in last weekend’s road game at Rutgers, but head coach P.J. Fleck told reporters on Monday there is a chance the injury was not too serious. Fleck said Martin will be a game-time decision after monitoring his progress throughout the week and checking with trainers and medical staff to evaluate his availability.

“I don’t have a specific answer yet,” Fleck said on Monday, according to The Star Tribune. “He’s still got a few more tests. But we got some really good news, and that’s where we’re at.”

It’s possible Minnesota may not need their leading tackler to take care of Maryland at home this week, but having Martin healthy and ready to go for their following game may be essential. Minnesota hosts No. 6 Penn State on Nov. 9. The Gophers will have a bye week after playing Maryland to provide more possible rest for Martin if needed. even if Martin is ruled out for Maryland, it sounds as though Fleck is optimistic Martin will get to play against the Nittany Lions. If things work out, it could be a clash of undefeated Big Ten teams few expected could happen before the start of the season.