DE / OHIO STATE
Sam Hubbard desires to play for a national championship this season, to play in the NFL beyond, and to one day hold a high-powered finance job, perhaps on Wall Street.
But there is an obscure item on his list of great desires that he checked off a week ago in Ohio State’s 39-38 win over Penn State. On a play that helped turn the game toward the Buckeyes, the defensive end rushed in and tackled quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley together, bear-hug style.
“It meant the world to me. I wanted more than anything in the world to make a play like that,” said Hubbard, a fourth-year junior. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for a moment like that, and for it to finally happen, it was really emotional.”
It also was a microcosm of how the defensive front, lauded going into the season as one of the more talented and deep in the nation, took over the game on the two possessions. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz noticed this week as he prepared his youngish offensive line — it includes redshirt freshman Alaric Jackson at left tackle and true freshman Tristan Wirfs at right tackle — to take on the Buckeyes.
“Probably the toughest thing (for Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson) is to figure out who to put in there, because they have a lot of guys who are really good football players,” Ferentz said. “As a result of that, they are able to keep their guys fresh.
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“Hubbard is very similar to the other ends. I mean, they are all different in terms of their builds and things, but they are all very, very athletic, they can play with power, they can play with speed and quickness.”
Ferentz said he refrains from using the word “instinctive, because it kind of suggests a guy really doesn’t (work at it) — that he’s just lucky or born a certain way. But that guy (Hubbard) knows how to play football. He gets to the football, he’s got a high motor. He’s got everything you want in a good defensive end.”