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Justin Fields throws as many TDs as incompletions as Ohio State routs Rutgers

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In the end, both No. 2 Ohio State and Rutgers are exactly who we thought they were.

Heading into their Week 12 matchup in Piscataway, the Buckeyes were a 52-point road favorite over another Power Five program. After 60 minutes of play, OSU didn’t cover but they did make easy work of its hosts, jumping out to a 35-7 halftime lead en route to a 56-21 win over the woebegone Scarlet Knights.

In two quarters plus one series of third-quarter work, Justin Fields passed for 305 yards and threw the same amount of touchdowns (four) as he had incompletions (15-19 passing on the day).  This marked Fields’ first career 300-yard passing game — yeah, I couldn’t believe it either, but then again he hasn’t played the second half of very many games during his first season as a starter — and the fourth time he’s thrown for four scores in a single game.

The Heisman hopeful has now accounted for 41 touchdowns on the season — 31 passing, 10 rushing.

The Buckeyes’ defense, which came into the game first nationally in both total defense (214.8 yards per game) and scoring defense (8.6 points per game), limited the limp Scarlet Knights offense to 231 yards of offense in the game, including just 185 through three quarters of play.  OSU, which also boasts the country’s top scoring offense at 51 ppg, has now won all 10 games by at least 24 points this season, the longest such streak in school history.  OSU’s “closest” games this season?  A pair of 24-point wins — 45-21 over Florida Atlantic in the opener,  34-10 over then-No. 25 Michigan State in early October.

With this in-season conference scrimmage safely behind them, Ohio State can now turn its full attention to a pair of key games to close out the regular season — home against No. 9 Penn State in Week 13, on the road at No. 15 Michigan the following Saturday.  For that huge stretch, that dominating Buckeye defense will get back Chase Young, who was suspended for a pair of games over an NCAA violation.

For Rutgers, they drop to 2-8 on the season overall and 0-7 in Big Ten play.  The Scarlet Knights, who fired their head coach earlier this season, have lost every one of their conference games this season by at least 35 points.

Ohio State confirms Chase Young suspended one more game, will return for Penn State

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In the end, this is about the best possible scenario for both the player and the football program.

In a press release early Wednesday afternoon, Ohio State confirmed that standout defensive end Chase Young will be suspended for one more game, this Saturday’s matchup with woebegone Rutgers. Young had already been suspended for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.

The university had requested Young’s immediate reinstatement, which was denied by the NCAA.

From the release:

The NCAA has concluded its review of The Ohio State University Department of Athletics’ reinstatement request for student-athlete Chase Young, and it has determined that Young should be withheld from playing in one additional game before being eligible to resume competition. Young was withheld from Ohio State’s Nov. 9 game against Maryland while the department looked into and reported a possible NCAA issue from 2018. Young will also miss Ohio State’s Nov. 16 game against Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J.

The ruling means that Young will be available for both the No. 9 Penn State and No. 15 Michigan games to close out the 2019 regular season.

No. 2 Ohio State confirmed last Friday morning that star defensive end Chase Young would not be playing in this past Saturday’s game against Maryland.  Per the school, Young would be sidelined for the foreseeable future “due to a possible NCAA issue from 2018 that the Department of Athletics is looking into.”  On his personal Twitter account, Young acknowledged he had “made a mistake last year by accepting a loan from a family friend” that he “repaid… in full last summer.” It was subsequently reported that the loan was used to pay for airfare for Young’s family — or, more specifically, his girlfriend — so they could see him play in January’s Rose Bowl against Washington.

On ESPN‘s College GameDay a day after the initial suspension was announced, Kirk Herbstreit, a former Buckeyes quarterback, stated that, because of the amount of money involved, Young will be slotted for a four-game suspension.  The university will appeal that initial number and it’s expected that the suspension will be knocked down to “two games, maybe three games,” Herbstreit stated, adding, “it won’t stay at four.”

Young had been practicing with the rest of his teammates as if he would be playing this weekend; obviously, that won’t be happening, but the talented lineman will be available for a stout stretch run that will determine OSU’s postseason fate.

“I want to thank and express my sincere gratitude to university staff members who worked so diligently and expertly to learn and understand the facts, and then to report these facts to the NCAA as part of our request to have Chase reinstated,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “This is the example of the culture of compliance we have at Ohio State.

“I also want to commend Chase Young and let him know how proud we are of him. He took responsibility for his actions, cooperated throughout the process and understood and accepted that there would be consequences. He’s a team captain and a leader and most importantly, a Buckeye. He wanted nothing more than an opportunity to play again and we’re pleased that he’ll get that chance.”

Despite missing this past weekend’s game, a blowout win over the Terps, Young still leads the nation in sacks (13½) and sacks per game (1.69).  The junior, widely expected be one of the first players selected in the 2020 NFL Draft if he does the expected and foregoes his remaining eligibility, is also third nationally in tackles per loss per game (1.9).

“I appreciate the expediency to which the NCAA reviewed and responded to our request for reinstatement,” Smith said in a continuation of his statement. “We felt that based on the circumstances, the NCAA would use its leadership capacity to take an understanding approach on behalf of all student-athletes who find themselves in a similar position, and it certainly did just that.”

Report: Greg Schiano meets with New Jersey governor as return to Rutgers gains steam

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With each passing day, a Greg Schiano return to Piscataway appears more and more likely.

With buzz continuing to grow about a Schiano-Rutgers reunion, the former RU head coach met with university officials in Columbus, Ohio, for several hours last Tuesday regarding the opening for a head football coach at the Big Ten school.  No agreement was reached, however, in large part because of what was described as unspecified “significant demands” on the part of Schiano and his camp.  Late last week, as Butch Jones, considered the No. 2 option to replace Chris Ash, reportedly pulled his name from consideration as the Schiano writing seemed to be on the wall for the former Tennessee head coach.

Overnight, there was yet another significant development as nj.com reported that Schiano met over the past few days with New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy.

Murphy recently spoke to the former Scarlet Knights coach, NJ Advance Media has learned, amidst Rutgers’ effort to clear what is believed to be the last remaining hurdle between a reunion with Schiano and agree on a plan to update the football program’s facilities.

Dialogue between Murphy and Schiano is noteworthy considering Rutgers, a state university that derives about 22% of its operating budget from state appropriations, will presumably need support from Trenton in order to begin its next phase of facility upgrades — the final issue that needs to be ironed out in order to finalize Schiano’s return, according to several people with knowledge of the process.

In 11 seasons from 2001-11, Schiano went 68-67 as the head coach at Rutgers.  In the seven-plus seasons since Schiano left for the NFL, the Scarlet Knights have gone 36-60 and are 13-44 since the start of the 2015 season; in the 17 years prior to his arrival in Piscataway, they went 67-114-2.

After leaving Rutgers, the 53-year-old Schiano spent two decidedly unsuccessful seasons (7-9 in 2012, 4-12 in 2013) as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Schiano served as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State from 2016-18 before being replaced as part of the post-Urban Meyer staff shakeup by new OSU head coach Ryan Day.  In the two years in between the NFL and OSU stints, Schiano coached at a Tampa preparatory school.

In 2017, Schiano was the leading candidate to replace Jones at Tennessee until he wasn’t.

Kirk Herbstreit: Chase Young suspended four games; Ohio State feels it’ll be reduced to 2-3 games on appeal

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There are yet another couple of updates to the biggest storyline in college football heading into Week 11.

Top-ranked Ohio State confirmed Friday morning that star defensive end and rising Heisman Trophy contender Chase Young will not play in this Saturday’s game against Maryland.  Per the school, Young will be sidelined for the foreseeable future “due to a possible NCAA issue from 2018 that the Department of Athletics is looking into.”

On his personal Twitter account, Young acknowledged he had “made a mistake last year by accepting a loan from a family friend” that he “repaid… in full last summer.” It was subsequently reported that the loan was used to pay for airfare for Young’s family so they could see him play in January’s Rose Bowl against Washington.

On ESPN‘s College GameDay show a short time ago, Kirk Herbstreit, a former Buckeyes quarterback, stated that, because of the amount of money involved, Young will be slotted for a four-game suspension.  The university will appeal that initial number and it’s expected that the suspension will be knocked down to “two games, maybe three games,” Herbstreit stated, adding, “it won’t stay at four.”

OSU expects to hear an answer from the NCAA on the appeal next week.

After this weekend’s game, OSU travels to Piscataway to face woebegone Rutgers before hosting No. 5 Penn State and making the trek to Ann Arbor for a road game against hated rival and 14th-ranked Michigan in back-to-back weeks.  The length of the suspension will, obviously, have an effect on OSU’s postseason plans as a two-game suspension would have him back for that huge two-game stretch while a three- or four-game suspension would have him missing both.

Overnight, yet another development surfaced as The Athletic‘s Bruce Feldman reported that it was Young’s girlfriend, not family, for whom money was borrowed to fly out to the Rose Bowl.  As have others, Feldman also reported that the loan came from an individual who was neither an agent nor a booster.

“That would be significant in the NCAA’s eyes as it begins to sort all of this out,” Feldman wrote.

Chase Young says loan from family friend behind NCAA issue

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UPDATED 10:57 a.m. ET: In a tweet posted to his Twitter account, Chase Young‘s lawyer, Tim Nevius, confirmed that the issue arose from a “small loan from a close family friend” his client accepted that got the Ohio State defensive end into some NCAA tepid water, adding that “we’re working to restore eligibility.”

The lawyer also got a shot in at The Association, writing that “[u]nfair and outdated @NCAA rules punish athletes for making ends meet while enriching everyone else.”

On that front, he’s 100-percent correct.

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Now we know a little bit more about what’s quickly morphed into the biggest story in college football.

Ohio State confirmed earlier Friday that star defensive end and rising Heisman Trophy contender Chase Young will not play in this Saturday’s game against Maryland.  Per the school, Young will be sidelined for the foreseeable future “due to a possible NCAA issue from 2018 that the Department of Athletics is looking into.”

A short time ago, the player himself took to Twitter to shed some light on what most around the program will be a very brief suspension.

If that is indeed all there is to the issue, kudos to the already-under-fire NCAA for stepping all over their junk.  Again.

Young’s 13½ sacks currently lead the nation, while he’s tied for second in tackles for loss with 15½.  The preseason All-American is one sack away from setting the school’s single-season record.

The lineman won’t be missed for this weekend’s game against Maryland, or even the following game against woebegone Rutgers.  His availability for the Nov. 23 game against Penn State, however, will be of the utmost importance for OSU’s College Football Playoff hopes.

A junior, Young is widely expected to forego his remaining season of eligibility and make himself available for the 2020 NFL Draft, where he’s projected to be one of the first players selected.