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No. 10 Ohio State survives OT shootout at Maryland, still in Big Ten title hunt

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No. 10 Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) did not hold a lead until overtime, but that’s all that matters for the Buckeyes on this day. A failed two-point conversion attempt by Maryland (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) gave Ohio State a 52-51 victory to keep a shot at playing for the Big Ten East Division championship next week at home.

Ohio State and Maryland exchanged five straight touchdown drives as the offenses hit another gear in the final 15 minutes of regulation. Maryland had a chance to score last with the ball getting to the Ohio State 38-yard line, but Ohio State’s Chase Young chased down Maryland quarterback Tyrell Pigrome on 2nd & 10 for a loss of 14 yards and Dre’Mont Jones followed that with a sack for a loss of six yards on the final play of regulation as Maryland was out of field goal range in the closing seconds. That sent the game to overtime.

Starting on offense in overtime, Ohio State gambled with the way the offenses were going on a 4th and 1 play. After a timeout, Dwayne Haskins completed an easy pass to his left to Rashod Berry to get the ball to the five-yard line. Shortly after Ohio State was moved back 15 yards for a hands to the face penalty and a pass interference penalty on Maryland moved the ball forward 15 yards one play later, Haskins took care of business himself by running and stretching for the end zone and a touchdown. The call on the field had to be upheld following a video review to certify Ohio State’s first lead of the game.

Maryland wasted no time answering with a big 24-yard run by Anthony McFarland on the first play of Maryland’s overtime possession, and Tayon Fleet-Davis scored on the next play to bring Maryland within one. Rather than kick an extra point to force the second overtime, Maryland head coach Matt Canada opted to end the game one way or the other with a two-point conversion. Pilgrome rolled to his right and fired off a pass but it was unable to be hauled in, and Ohio State breathed a massive sigh of relief.

McFarland rushed for a career-high 298 yards with two long touchdown runs of at least 75 yards and Maryland rushed for a team total of 339 yards and five touchdowns against an Ohio State defense that once again showed plenty of problems. Making this less encouraging for Ohio State was the defense played one of their better games a week ago against Michigan State after some woeful performances leading up to that. Ohio State compensated with their offense, led by Haskins throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 59 yards and three touchdowns. J.K. Dobbins rushing for 203 yards and a touchdown.

Ohio State running back Mike Weber did not play in the game, although he was on the sidelines in uniform. No explanation for his absence was provided.

Ohio State has plenty of room for improvement next week when the Buckeyes host rival Michigan in the regular season finale. The winner of next week’s game between the Buckeyes and Wolverines will clinch the Big Ten East Division and head to Indianapolis to play Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game in two weeks. The win also helps keep Ohio State on the College Football Playoff radar, although the Buckeyes have a crowded pack in front of them.

Maryland will conclude its regular season next week on the road at Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won the last three meetings in the series since Maryland won the first Big Ten matchup between the two in 2014. Maryland lost at home 66-3 in last season’s regular-season finale. Maryland will have to win next week in order to qualify for a bowl game.

Wisconsin launches early Heisman campaign for RB Jonathan Taylor

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The Heisman Trophy has generally been synonymous with the best quarterback on one of the best teams in recent years but there have been a few running backs who have broken through to win the most prestigious award in all of college football.

Hoping to become the next tailback to break the signal-callers’ grip on the stiff arm? That would be Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, who appears to have a budding campaign for the trophy that was launched by the school on Thursday:

Herschel Walker. Ron Dayne. Ricky Williams. Adrian Peterson. LaDainian Tomlinson. Dominant running backs. Legendary names. Unrivaled production … until now,” one tagline reads. “There’s a new kid on the block and he’s “Bringing Running Back,” back into the spotlight, just like those that came before him. And his name is Jonathan Taylor.”

The website goes through all of the notable stats that Taylor has piled up in just two seasons in Madison and while it doesn’t explicitly say everything is designed to raise the junior’s awareness ahead of Big Ten Media Days and the upcoming 2019 campaign, it does note that his fellow Wisconsin Doak Walker Award winners have all been finalists in New York at some point in their career.

i.e. hint, hint media this guy is pretty good.

And nobody is debating that after he has set numerous records during his first two years on campus. Key to actually making it to New York though might be how Taylor’s team does around him. If the Badgers can get back to being in contention for the Big Ten title once again in 2019, chances are high that the tailback’s play will play a bigger part in getting him the attention he deserves than a website and a hashtag.

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy headlines 2019 Biletnikoff Award Watch List

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Media Day season is also Watch List season and the latest to surface for the 2019 campaign comes out of Tallahassee in the form of the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. The award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding receiver, includes the defending winner in Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and fellow semifinalist Tylan Wallace out of Oklahoma State, as well as a number of other talented pass-catchers from around the country.

Here’s the full list, which is a good general overview of the best wide receivers and tight ends for the upcoming season even if a few names can gripe about being left off:

Lynn Bowden, Jr. (Kentucky)

Rico Bussey, Jr. (North Texas)

Cedric Byrd (Hawaii)

Grant Calcaterra (Oklahoma)

Damonte Coxie (Memphis)

Gabriel Davis (UCF)

Bryan Edwards (South Carolina)

D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan)

Aaron Fuller (Washington)

Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty)

KJ Hamler (Penn State)

Adrian Hardy (Louisiana Tech)

Damon Hazelton (Virginia Tech)

Tee Higgins (Clemson)

K.J. Hill (Ohio State)

Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon State)

Justin Jefferson (LSU)

Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)

Tyler Johnson (Minnesota)

Collin Johnson (Texas)

CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)

Ty Lee (Middle Tennessee State)

Kalija Lipscomb (Vanderbilt)

McLane Mannix (Texas Tech)

Kirk Merritt (Arkansas State)

Riley Miller (Ball State)

Denzel Mims (Baylor)

Darnell Mooney (Tulane)

Rondale Moore (Purdue)

Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri)

K.J. Osborn (Miami)

Dezmon Patmon (Washington State)

Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt)

Michael Pittman, Jr. (USC)

James Proche (SMU)

Jalen Reagor (TCU)

Jared Rice (Fresno State)

Sean Riley (Syracuse)

Reggie Roberson, Jr. (SMU)

Justyn Ross (Clemson)

Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)

Laviska Shenault, Jr. (Colorado)

JD Spielman (Nebraska)

Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC)

Marquez Stevenson (Houston)

Tamorrion Terry (Florida State)

Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)

Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State)

JoJo Ward (Hawaii)

Quez Watkins (Southern Miss)

Ryan Day isn’t going to name Justin Fields as Ohio State’s starting QB just yet

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Almost as soon as Justin Fields’ waiver to play right away in 2019 was approved, the Georgia transfer was pegged as Ohio State’s starting quarterback.

Ryan Day, however, is picking up this whole being a head coach at media day thing pretty good because the new leader of the Buckeyes offense declined to anoint Fields as the starter despite ample evidence that he’s the guy for the job.

“It’s an interesting situation. Whoever is playing in that first game will be the first time. Justin and Gunnar (Hoak) are going to compete like heck to go win the job,” Day said from the podium at Big Ten Media Days on Thursday. “At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to who can play the game.”

Hoak, who grad transferred over from Kentucky, was a key pickup for the program in the offseason not just to provide some competition for Fields but to provide much-needed depth after a host of quarterbacks left for other schools. While he has experience playing in five games last year with the Wildcats, there’s a gap in terms of natural talent between him and Fields.

Day seems likely to stick to his timetable of naming the starter a few weeks into camp but it still seems pretty clear as to who eventually will take over for Dwayne Haskins under center for the scarlet and gray.

Still though, you have to hand it to the rookie for going full on coach-speak when it came to his signal-caller at his very first media day in charge.

Big Ten’s Jim Delany upset with College Football Playoff Selection Committee

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Thursday marked the final Big Ten Media Days press conference for outgoing commissioner Jim Delany.

While his appearance was fairly low-key all things considered, the longtime college athletics stalwart didn’t hold back when it came to discussing his league and the College Football Playoff, lobbing some critical comments towards the Selection Committee in particular.

“I wish we had a little more continuity. I wish they would demonstrate as well as state the stronger commitment to strength of schedule,” Delany said. “We should be playing comparable schedules and if we’re not, there should be somewhat to differentiate that.”

The Big Ten has missed out on the playoff the past two seasons and saw its champion be skipped over in another year for a divisional runner-up.

Delany also voiced support for something suggested by Big 12 counterpart Bob Bowlsby to require all teams to play at least 10 Power Five opponents in a season, helping even out the difference between eight and nine conference slates.

“I’ve been disappointed, quite honestly, about the strength of schedule,” he added. “We’re not going to change. There may be pressure to change, but I think that’s short-selling our fans, our players, our TV partners. I’m hoping that the committee catches up with the intent of the founders.”