Andy Anders, BSB: My Buckeye Leaf this week goes to second-year wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.
Third-year quarterback C.J. Stroud and the Ohio State passing offense didn’t muster a touchdown through the air until midway through the fourth quarter Saturday, but Harrison stayed a dependable option throughout the game, racking up 185 yards on 10 receptions.
Much of Harrison’s work came on downfield routes breaking over the middle, and each of his 10 catches recorded at least 10 yards. None were as big as a third-and-10 reception with less than five minutes to play in a one-score game that moved the chains for Ohio State, leading to an eventual touchdown run for second-year running back TreVeyon Henderson.
Jack Emerson, BSB: In what turned out to be a bizarre game with plenty of ups-and-downs for the Buckeyes, defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau remained a consistent presence for Ohio State.
Tuimoloau set the tone for the Buckeye defense by forcing an interception on Sean Clifford’s fourth throw of the game, getting his hand on the ball and popping it in the air for Zach Harrison to register the pick. Just two throws later, Tuimoloau snagged an interception for himself by jumping between Clifford and his target Brenton Strange. He also added a devastating sack of Clifford for a loss of nine during the first play of the fourth quarter.
He also keyed another huge turnover with 8:26 to go in regulation, getting to Clifford and jarring the ball loose while falling on it himself to set the Buckeyes up from the PSU 24. The Buckeyes took a two-possession lead on the very next play, and he capped the game off later with a 14-yard interception return for a touchdown. He finished the afternoon with six tackles, three of which went for loss, alongside his pair of interceptions and the fumble recovery.
Braden Moles, BSB: While few would have expected him to finish with a solid stat line, running back TreVeyon Henderson ultimately turned in a good game for the Buckeyes after a slow start.
It took him time to get going after running back Miyan Williams was knocked out of the game with the hand injury, but Henderson responded exactly when the Buckeyes needed him, rushing for a 41-yard score in the fourth quarter to put Ohio State back on top, 30-21.
He added an insurance touchdown later on, a 7-yard score to put the Buckeyes up 37-24 and ice the game before the 44-31 final. Henderson finished with 15 carries for 69 yards (4.6 per attempt) with his pair of scores. Several defenders for Ohio State could have also earned this leaf, but it’s hard not to mention the player who helped kickstart an impressive fourth quarter for the Buckeyes.