The best running back in the Big Ten doesn’t play in Madison, Wisconsin. He plays in Columbus, Ohio. J.K. Dobbins rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 58 yards as No. 3 Ohio State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) powered past No. 13 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) to the tune of a 38-7 final score to cement Ohio State’s status as the class of the Big Ten.
Chase Young and the Buckeye defense was dominant as well, limiting Wisconsin’s star running back Jonathan Taylor to just 52 yards on 20 carries, including a long run of 14 yards on the afternoon. On a rainy afternoon in Ohio Stadium, Ohio State took control of the Badgers running game meant Jack Coan had to come up with the big plays to give Wisconsin a chance. Aside from a nice pass early in the second half, those opportunities just never transpired for Coan and the Badgers. Wisconsin was just 4-of-13 on third down and managed just 191 yards of total offense. Ohio State’s offense had a sluggish start against the best defense it has faced this season but ended the day with 432 yards of offense. The Buckeyes rushed for 264 yards as a team, with Master Teague III adding 76 yards to be the game’s second-leading rusher. Wisconsin also had two turnovers to Ohio State’s none.
Justin Fields had two touchdowns thrown and clearly played through some back pain as the game progressed. His 12 completions on 22 attempts for 167 yards weren’t quite what is typically expected of him, although his receivers had plenty of dropped passes as well in the slippery conditions.
Ohio State will get a week off before returning to the field for another game. The Buckeyes will host Maryland on Nov. 9. By then, the College Football Playoff rankings will have been released, giving us a sense of just where Ohio State stands in the eyes of the selection committee. Ohio State should be in a pretty good position, but the fate of the season will likely be determined in the final games of the season for Ohio State. After Maryland and a road game at Rutgers, Ohio State will host Penn State on Nov. 23 before closing out the regular season at Michigan. And then, a potential rematch with Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship? There are still some things to sort out in the Big Ten championship picture, but Ohio State just cleared the toughest hurdle yet for the Buckeyes. Barring a major upset in the next couple of games, all eyes can begin shifting to the last couple of games of the season in Columbus.
As for the Badgers, Wisconsin now falls two games back in the loss column in the Big Ten West Division behind Minnesota (who plays Maryland today, Rutgers next week). But Wisconsin still has a chance to win the Big Ten West. Their next game will be a big one, however. The Badgers also get next week off and will then host No. 20 Iowa on Nov. 9. The Badgers and Hawkeyes are currently tied in the division (Iowa was holding form against Northwestern).
For its newest assistant, Texas A&M football turned to an ACC school. And, a familiar face for that matter.
Thursday, A&M announced that Tyler Santucci has been hired by Fisher as linebackers coach. Santucci will replace Bradley Dale Peveto, who was still under contract but won’t return for the 2020 season.
Santucci’s hiring marks a homecoming of sorts as the assistant spent the 2018 season as a defensive analyst for the Texas A&M football program.
Last season, Santucci was the linebackers coach at Wake Forest. That was his first on-field job at the Power Five level. His first on-field job at the FBS level came as linebackers coach at Texas State in 2016.
In 2017, Santucci was a defensive analyst at Notre Dame. During that brief stint in South bend, Mike Elko was the Fighting Irish’s defensive coordinator, the same position he’s held with the Aggies since he was hired in January of 2018.
The first coaching job for Santucci, who played his college football at Stony Brook, was at his alma mater as safeties coach.
In Jimbo Fisher‘s second season in College Station, the Aggies posted an 8-5 record. A&M has won both bowl games since Fisher took over the program. After finishing tied for second in the SEC West his Fisher’s inaugural season, the Aggies dipped to fourth in 2019.
After one semester at Michigan, freshman running back Jordan Castleberry has transferred to Maryland. Castleberry announced his transfer decision on his Twitter account on Thursday.
Castleberry originally committed to West Virginia during his recruiting process out of high school. Shortly after his commitment to West Virginia, Michigan became a more likely recruiting victor. Castleberry enrolled at Michigan in July 2019.
Castleberry did not play for Michigan in 2019, so he can use the 2019 season as a redshirt year to preserve a year of eligibility. However, NCAA transfer rules will force Castleberry to sit out the 2020 season. This will not make Castleberry eligible for Maryland until the 2021 season, at which point he will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Family will always be more important than football, which is why Ruffin McNeill will be putting football on hold for an undetermined amount of time. Oklahoma announced on Thursday that assistant head coach and outside linebackers coach McNeill will leave football to help take care of his father.
“This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,” McNeill said in a statement released by Oklahoma. “But in the end, being near my dad was a necessary choice. Right now I need to be a son again and I need to help my brother and other family members take care of my dad, who is battling significant health issues. This is not retirement for me. I still want to coach in some form or fashion. But right now that can’t be the case. My focus needs to be on my dad back in North Carolina.”
“Ruffin means so much to me and to my family, and his family means so much to him,” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said in a statement. “I know his decision to leave OU was a very difficult one, but was one he felt he had to make.”
Although McNeill said this is not a retirement decision and expressed a desire to continue coaching when the time is right, Riley confirmed the Sooners will be looking for a replacement on the staff.
“I still want to coach in some form or fashion,” McNeill said. “But right now that can’t be the case.”
McNeill joined the Oklahoma coaching staff under Riley in 2017.
As we are quickly learning with the new day and age of college football, the minute a new quarterback arrives on the scene by way of a transfer, another may soon be on the move. Case in point, the current situation at Miami. Quarterback Jarren Williams will be entering the transfer portal, according to a report from Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter).
This news is hardly shocking given the attention given to the arrival by D’Eriq King from Houston earlier this week. King, a graduate transfer with immediate eligibility for this fall, is widely expected to step in and be Miami’s starting quarterback in 2020. Naturally, that would reduce the playing time Williams or any other Miami quarterback would be likely to see in the fall.
As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Williams was Miami’s leading passer with 2,187 yards and 19 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Williams is the only Miami quarterback who played in as many as 12 games last fall. If not for the addition of King, Williams may have been Miami’s most likely starter this season.
If Williams, a former four-star recruit in the Class of 2018, does indeed enter the transfer portal and ultimately decides to leave the Hurricanes for a new school, he will have to sit out the 2020 season. He would then have two years of eligibility left to use beginning in 2021.