Ohio State-Maryland | Rob Oller’s Second Thoughts

Rob Oller
Ohio State Buckeyes tight end Jeremy Ruckert (88) runs the ball during the second quarter of a NCAA Division I college football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

• The most conspiratorial comments of the day occurred on TV when Ohio State used two timeouts in the final 44 seconds despite leading 42-0. Fox broadcasters Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt dropped hints — with chuckles that made you wonder if they were being playfully provocative — that Maryland might have had something to do with bringing the Chase Young loan information to light. After Klatt remarked that Ohio State coach Ryan Day was “pouring it on a little bit here,” Johnson said, “It looks personal,” before adding, “Remember, Chase Young is from that Washington D.C., area. He said he borrowed money from a family friend. Who would know about that?” Johnson didn’t walk back his comments when I caught up with him at halftime. Day’s eyebrows arched when I asked him about it after the game. “No, nothing like that at all. Nope,” he said. “That wasn’t anything other than just we’re always going to be aggressive in the first half. By no means would I ever try to run up the score at all … that would be completely out of line.”

• Life Without Chase Part I. Given that OSU had a season-high seven sacks, maybe Ohio State should self-report possible NCAA violations more often. I kid. I kid. But think of it this way: If Day wanted to impress the socks off the College Football Playoff committee, one way to do it was to destroy Maryland defensively without having Young leading the charge. Logically, if the Buckeyes dominate while missing the best defensive player in the nation, that means they are even better than the committee thought. It also likely lessens the chance that the committee will hold Young’s suspension against OSU if a playoff vote comes down to the Buckeyes and another team. As a potential strategy, it’s kind of a brilliant lose-win.

• Life Without Chase Part II. Hmm, let’s see, Ohio State had three Heisman Trophy candidates in Young, quarterback Justin Fields and tailback J.K. Dobbins. Young and Dobbins were long shots, but having three still handcuffed the athletic department in that how do you promote one teammate over another? Plus, the three undoubtedly would split some votes, hurting each player’s chances. But now that Young’s Heisman hopes have vanished and Dobbins is still a real reach to win, OSU can go full steam ahead with endorsing Fields, who has the fourth-best odds (12 to 1) to win the trophy, behind quarterbacks Joe Burrow (LSU, 6 to 5), Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma, 5 to 2) and Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama, 3 to 1).

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