Ohio State played the team’s most complete performance of the season in the Buckeyes’ 38-3 win over Michigan State.
With no shortage of impressive performances on both sides of the ball, here are our picks for players worthy of receiving Buckeye Leaves:
Patrick Engels: My Buckeye Leaf goes to tight end Cade Stover, who returned with a bang for the Buckeyes after missing last week’s game against Rutgers.
Stover’s presence was felt early and often for Ohio State’s offense, where he corralled in an impressive seven catches for 79 yards in the first half alone. Stover seemed to be McCord’s first read early in the game, and it showed when he made a number of sure-handed catches towards the middle of the field.
No catch for Stover was bigger tonight than his 18-yard touchdown at the end of the first half, though. The veteran tight end found a seam through the middle of the field and hauled in an impressive back-shoulder catch from McCord for the score, giving the Buckeyes a convincing 35-3 lead at halftime that they would never look back from.
Braden Moles: Freshman safety Malik Hartford got just his second career start, filling in for the injured Josh Proctor, but Ohio State’s secondary did not skip a beat with Hartford in the game, so he gets my Buckeye Leaf.
Hartford finished with four tackles – all solo – including a third-down stop in the third quarter. While he did pick up a pass interference penalty later in the game, it was the lone mistake on the day for the first-year Buckeye, who should be able to build on this positive performance moving forward.
Greg Wilson: Marvin Harrison Jr. was back to showing off his skills as the best wide receiver in college football, and it didn’t take long. The Buckeyes scored three touchdowns in their first three drives and each of them were Harrison touchdowns.
The first was a rushing touchdown, the first of his career, for 19 yards to put Ohio State up 7-0. The second was a 26-yard over the shoulder catch that could have been one of the best catches of many other receivers’ careers, but for Harrison it was just another day. The third was at the beginning of the third quarter, and with a one-on-one matchup, he created multiple yards of space for the easy score. He finished with seven catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns – as well as the rushing score – and was the leading receiver on the team yet again.
The Heisman campaign may have hit a speed bump last week against Rutgers with only four catches for 25 yards, but this week against Michigan State was nothing but speeding down an open road for Maserati Marv.