It was not easy. Well, it was not easy for one-quarter. No. 1 Ohio State (1-0) seemed to lose grip of its game control in the second quarter in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech (0-1), but the Buckeyes made adjustments at halftime, showed off some sizzle on offense and pulled away for a big road win Monday night. Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett each threw a touchdown pass, but former quarterback Braxton Miller was the true star of the night in his new position with a pair of touchdowns. When the damage was done, Ohio State seized a 42-24 victory.
Ohio State stormed out of the gate looking to avenge last seaosn’s only loss of the championship season. The Buckeyes started Jones at quarterback after months of speculation, and it seemed to be the right choice. Jones made some incredible plays with his strong arm and Ezekiel Elliot rushed for an 80-yard touchdown on the first two drives of the game for the Buckeyes. Then Ohio State hit a snag on offense as the Hokies string together a 17-0 run to take a 17-14 lead to halftime. It was all Ohio State after that though.
Jones hooked up with Miller for a 54-yard touchdown on the third play of the second half, giving Ohio State a 24-17 lead. Later in the third quarter Miller once again showed off some video game talent by unleashing a devastating spin move that will likely be replayed countless times this week. The spin move was part of a 53-yard touchdown run to increase the Buckeye lead to double digits, 28-17. Playing in his first game at his new position, Miller was Ohio State’s leading receiver with 78 yards and a touchdown. He also ended the night as Ohio State’s third-leading rusher with 62 yards and a touchdown. Elliott rushed for a game-high 122 yards and a touchdown. Jones nearly hit the century mark with 99 rushing yards and a touchdown. Ohio State’s offense combined for 572 yards to Virginia Tech’s 320 yards. There was even room for improvement for the Ohio State offense, with a pair of turnovers (and a third when Elliot fumbled a punt return on special teams duty). Ohio State converted three of nine third-down attempts and committed six penalties.
Virgina Tech’s chances to win seemed to evaporate in the Lane Stadium air when quarterback Michael Brewer left the game early in the second half. Brewer was knocked out of the game after being hit by Ohio State’s Adolphus Washington on the first offensive possession of the half for the Hokies. Brewer suffered a broken left collarbone and will reportedly undergo surgery on Tuesday. He is expected to miss the next four to five weeks, which serves a serious blow to Virginia Tech’s offense. If Brewer misses the next five games, the earliest he would return would be October 17 on the road at Miami, always a key game in the up-for-grabs ACC Coastal Division. Brenden Motley came off the bench to replace the injured Brewer, and he will likely keep that job until further notice. Motley completed four of nine pass attempts for 36 yards and a late touchdown. He was picked off once on a deep pass down the middle of the field. At that point Virginia Tech was looking for a big play to swing the momentum back in their favor, but it clearly did not work out that way.
Moving forward it will be interesting to see what Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer does with the offense. He certainly has options, and none of them seem to be all that bad. Jones did take the majority of the snaps on offense before Barrett entered the game in what was essentially mop-up duty. Even Braxton Miller took a snap before Barrett got a chance. Against Virginia Tech it may have not been wise to mix up players at the position with any regularity, but next week may be different. Ohio State hosts Hawaii next week and that should present more freedom to experiment on offense a bit more if that is what Meyer desires.
The scary thing about Ohio State’s victory Monday night is this Buckeyes team is only going to get better. Ohio State played without a handful of suspended players, including defensive end Joey Bosa. Throw those suspended players back on the depth chart, and all of a sudden this Ohio State is even deeper and more of a threat. There is a reason Ohio State entered the 2015 season as the unanimous top team in the land. Monday night they backed it up. There may not be any team out there that can beat them.
The transfer portal has not been kind to the Texas State football program. Again.
According to 247Sports.com, Jaylin Nelson has entered the NCAA transfer database. No reason for the running back’s impending departure was given.
Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.
As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.
NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.
Nelson was a three-star member of the Texas State football Class of 2017. It’s likely that the back will be leaving the Sun Belt Conference school as a graduate transfer.
During his time with the Bobcats, Nelson appeared in 24 games. In that stretch, Nelson totaled 143 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries. The Texas native also returned a pair of kicks for 34 yards.
Oh, and Nelson also attempted one pass. Which he completed. For 69 yards. And a touchdown.
Nelson is at least the fifth Texas State football player to enter the portal this year.
Back in January, Gresch Jensen added his name to the quarterbacking end of the transfer pool. Earlier this month, starting safety Josh Newman took the first step in leaving Texas State by entering the NCAA transfer database. A short time later, defensive tackle John Lilly hit the portal. Last week, defensive lineman Devin Henderson did the same.
Conversely, offensive lineman JP Urquidez transferred in from Texas in late April. Or, more specifically, he committed to the Bobcats.
One of the baker’s dozen scholarship players who have left Nebraska has found a new college football home. Unofficially.
Citing struggles with mental health and depression, Darien Chase entered the NCAA transfer database in mid-February. That was the first step in leaving the Nebraska football program.
On Twitter this week, the wide receiver took the next step. By committing to FCS Portland State.
“First I would like to thank God for getting me through these difficult times,” Chase wrote, ” and my family’s amazing support while being home. I’ve chosen to stay off social media when it came to my recruiting process so I could make a clear decision on my next steps and commit to the school that makes the most sense for me.
“Thank you to all the universities who gave me the opportunity to play at their program. I’ll forever be grateful.
“With that being said I’m proud to announce that I will be staying home and attending… Portland State University.”
Chase was a three-star 2019 signee. He was the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Washington.
Prior to committing to, then signing with Nebraska football, Chase had received scholarship offers from, among others, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah and Boise State. He took official visits to the latter two schools.
As a true freshman, Chase played in four games for the Cornhuskers. That will allow him to take a redshirt for the 2019 season.
In that limited action, Chase caught one pass for 13 yards.
Nick Saban has one of the most powerful voices in college football. Some would argue the most powerful voice. Sunday, he’s using that voice as the nation careens deeper into crisis.
In the aftermath of the despicable, abhorrent, unconscionable murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, at the knee of a white police officer, myriad FBS head coaches have spoken out and spoken up. In fact, nearly six dozen of them have done so as of this posting.
Sunday evening, Nick Saban added his voice to the burgeoning call for change. Below is the Alabama head football coach’s statement, in its entirety:
I am shocked and angered by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We’re at an important moment in out country, and now is the time for us to choose kindness, tolerance, understanding, empathy, and most importantly … it’s time to love each other. Every life is precious, and we must understand we have so many more things that unite us than divide us.
I’ve always been inspired and encouraged by examples set by those who came before us like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and so many others who devoted their lives to find peaceful ways to rid our society of social inequities. As Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” We are all part of this and we must banish these types of injustices in not just our country, but our world. The ultimate future of our nation is in our hands, and like the teams I’ve been privileged to coach, we must depend on and respect each other no matter our differences. We must come together as a society and treat one another with respect and dignity.
Cal football is the latest to benefit from a Power Five-to-Power Five transfer.
Bradrick Shaw announced in January that he had been granted a sixth season of eligibility. Instead of using that added year at Wisconsin, however, the running back opted to enter the NCAA transfer database.
Four months later, Shaw revealed on Twitter that he will be transferring into the Cal football program.
Suffice to say, Shaw will be eligible to play for the Bears in 2020. Just as obviously, this will be his final season of eligibility.
One final academic postscript: Shaw earned two degrees from the University of Wisconsin. As for athletically?
Shaw came to the Wisconsin Badgers football team as a three-star 2015 signee. He was rated as the No. 16 player regardless of position in the state of Alabama. The back took a redshirt as a true freshman, then missed the entire 2018 season because of a knee injury. All of that helped lead to the sixth season.
In 2016, Shaw was third on the Badgers in rushing with 457 yards and tied for second in rushing touchdowns with five. The following season, his 365 yards and four scores were both second behind Jonathan Taylor‘s 1,977 and 13 as a true freshman.
Coming off the knee injury, Shaw ran for 116 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in 2019. All told, Shaw carried the ball 202 times for 938 yards and 10 touchdowns during his time with the Badgers.
Shaw’s initial social-media announcement came exactly three weeks after Taylor confirmed he will be leaving UW early for the 2020 NFL Draft. With the departures of Taylor and Shaw, the Badgers’ leading returning rushers in 2020 will be freshman Nakia Watson (331 yards) and junior Garrett Groshek (194). UW also has a commitment from four-star 2020 running back Jalen Berger.