Andy Anders, BSB: With all the talk surrounding 2021 five-star defensive ends J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer, it was another key 2021 defensive line commit that shined brightest on defense against Notre Dame.
Consensus four-star Mike Hall, playing mostly the one-technique defensive tackle with some three-technique mixed in, made plays all over the field Saturday. He was in Notre Dame sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner’s lap all evening, recording several pressures with what could be considered the game-sealing sack. He blew up the middle on a plethora of Fighting Irish runs as well, mounting a considerable four tackles (three solo) considering he’s mostly a nose guard.
Hall’s emergence in this game, if he can sustain this level of play, gives Ohio State a game-changing interior presence moving forward.
Jack Emerson, BSB: My Buckeye Leaf goes to former walk-on turned scholarship wide receiver Xavier Johnson. While the Buckeyes offense was sputtering to open the second half, Johnson hauled in his first career touchdown reception to give the Buckeyes their first lead in the second half.
On the ensuing kickoff, Johnson raced past the Notre Dame kick return coverage team to make a huge tackle and force Notre Dame to start from its own 13-yard line. Not only did the walk-on make huge plays when he needed to, he also galvanized his teammates and the Ohio Stadium crowd.
Braden Moles, BSB: When Ohio State’s offense struggled to get into a rhythm, it wasn’t quarterback C.J. Stroud, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba or running back TreVeyon Henderson that helped get things back in motion. No, the man of the hour was the man known as non other than Pork Chop: running back Miyan Williams.
Williams’ bruising rushing attack totaled 84 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries – good for 6.0 yards per rush, just trailing Henderson’s 6.1 average – and few plays got a louder response from the 106,594 fans in attendance than those where Williams got a head of steam and ran through Notre Dame’s defense in the second half, not to mention his impressive 12-yard snag near the sideline. He made a case against the Irish that his carries should remain consistent with Henderson’s.