Demario McCall

Posted by Buckeye D | Posted in Big Ten News, Buckeye News | Posted on 05-04-2017

0

Found at ESPN:

Replacing Curtis Samuel might not be a one-man job. But at Ohio State, that’s not exactly an issue when the line to slide into his role started forming the day the star H-back declared for the NFL draft.

Filling the void left by one of the most versatile, dynamic offensive weapons in the country isn’t supposed to be easy, and there also isn’t supposed to be so many seemingly perfect, ready-made candidates on hand to take over such a prominent role. The amount of options might actually provide some challenge for the Buckeyes as they try to identify the best way to move on without Samuel, but as far as problems go, that’s obviously a good one to have.

“I think we’ve got some guys who can do that — a plethora of guys,” running backs coach Tony Alford said. “Listen, we don’t lack for playmakers. Can they get better? Absolutely. But they’re here, they’re running around this building somewhere. There’s a few of them.

“I think we can spread it out. You don’t just say, I’m going to take all this pie [from Curtis Samuel] and now he gets to eat all the pie. No, everybody has to help fill that role and play their role.”No matter how the Buckeyes slice it up, Samuel’s heavy plate last season leaves a sizable production void that will have to be filled to keep the power-spread attack humming. And after seeing what Samuel could do in Urban Meyer’s vaunted H-back position a year ago while turning his 97 rushing attempts and 74 receptions into more than 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns, Ohio State had a bunch of hungry receivers and running backs jockeying for a shot at his job.

Veteran wideout Parris Campbell has emerged as an early leader in that battle this spring, and he’s earned rave reviews as he’s flashed back to show some of the tailback skills that he hasn’t really used since high school. K.J. Hill and converted defensive back Eric Glover-Williams have also given the Buckeyes more options to consider, though running back Demario McCall might wind up being the best fit by the time the season kicks off in August.

Like Samuel a few years ago when he was trapped behind Ezekiel Elliott on the depth chart at running back, the incredible potential McCall flashed off the bench as a true freshman is likely still going to be blocked for now by Mike Weber at his current position. But his electrifying moves, blazing speed, versatility and a frame that has added 20 pounds of muscle since arriving on campus are also all reminiscent of Samuel.

The only thing missing now? Actually getting some reps at H-back.

“Yeah, I talked to Coach Alford about it,” McCall said. “In spring camp, he wanted me to get the running back stuff down first and then probably in summer they’re going to put me in the slot, catching those little swing passes and routes and then we’ll go from there.

“I actually haven’t got any reps at H-back this spring. But the tailback stuff that we do, it goes along with the H-back stuff. It’s like I’m learning them both, but I’m not actually in the slot yet.”

That move seems inevitable for the Buckeyes, who have already proven they can’t resist getting McCall involved early in his career.

In his limited opportunities last season, McCall posted some Samuel-like numbers by racking up 270 rushing yards on 49 carries, averaging 21 yards on his four receptions and scoring four touchdowns.

And while he’s still focused on a role primarily in Ohio State’s backfield, working to improve his pass blocking and maintaining that he feels most comfortable at tailback, McCall might soon find himself in a different line for reps. And whether he’s working as part of a group or jumps to the top of the depth chart, it’s already clear McCall isn’t intimidated by the challenge of becoming the next Samuel.

“No, not at all,” McCall said. “I mean, I’m a natural.

“Whenever they tell me to go out in the slot, I’m going to go out there and do what I do.”

With so many candidates for the job on hand, maybe there’s a chance that call won’t come for McCall. But whether replacing Samuel takes one man or several, it’s safer to expect to see his name on the list.

30 – 27 , OT x2

Posted by Buckeye D | Posted in Big Ten News, Buckeye News, College football news | Posted on 28-11-2016

0

Found at ESPN:

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Curtis Samuel swept in for a 15-yard touchdown after Ohio State barely converted a fourth-and-1 and the second-ranked Buckeyes beat No. 3 Michigan 30-27 in double overtime Saturday to win one of the greatest games in the history of one of college football’s greatest rivalries.

Facing fourth-and-1 from the 16, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer decided not to kick a potential game-tying field goal with a kicker who had already missed two short ones in regulation.

J.T. Barrett kept it on fourth down and slammed into the back of his blocker, A.J. Alexander, right at the line to gain. The first-down call stood up to video review.

“That was not a first down,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I’m bitterly disappointed with the officiating today.”

On the next play, Samuel, who had made a swerving, change-of-direction run to set up the fourth-and-1, found a lane and raced into the end zone to win it.

The scarlet-clad crowd soon covered the field. The first game to go to overtime in the 113-game history of the rivalry likely eliminated Michigan from the playoff race and could have locked up a spot for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes will have to wait until Penn State plays to find out if they will play for the Big Ten title. Still, they added to a resume that already was impressing the College Football Playoff selection committee.

Michigan could end up in the Rose Bowl, but the biggest prizes are still eluding the Wolverines in their second year under coach Jim Harbaugh, who dropped to 0-2 against Meyer and the Buckeyes. Michigan has not won the Big Ten since 2004.

But if this is just the start of a new Ten Year War for Michigan and Ohio State, with Meyer and Harbaugh playing the roles of Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler, there is much for to look forward to for college football fans.

Ohio State wiped out a 10-point third-quarter deficit and dominated the fourth quarter, but Tyler Durbin missed a 20-yard field goal to tie it with 7:01 remaining.

Barrett and the Buckeyes gave him another chance, this time from 23 yards with a second left in regulation and Durbin nailed it.

Barrett scored on a quarterback draw and Ohio State’s first possession of OT to give the Buckeyes the lead, but Michigan tied it on a 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Wilton Speight to Amara Darboh.

Escape like a boss!

Posted by Buckeye D | Posted in College football news | Posted on 23-11-2016

0

Found at ESPN:

LANSING, Mich. — Before Ohio State could move on to next weekend’s showdown with Michigan, the Buckeyes had to deal with a different nemesis.

As usual, Michigan State gave Urban Meyer’s team all it could handle.

Mike Weber ran for 111 yards and a touchdown, and No. 2 Ohio State held off Michigan State 17-16 on Saturday after the upset-minded Spartans missed a 2-point conversion with 4:41 remaining.

“Tough day at the office right there,” Meyer said. “We’ll take the win against a team that we know very well and on the road in November. We’re 10-1 and getting ready for rivalry week.”

Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten, No. 2 AP) can now focus on Michigan, but only after withstanding a spirited challenge from a Michigan State team that derailed the Buckeyes’ national title bids in two of the previous three seasons. The Spartans (3-8, 1-7) were down 17-10 when LJ Scott scored on a 1-yard run with 4:41 to play. Michigan State went for the lead, but Tyler O’Connor’s pass on the 2-point conversion attempt was intercepted in the end zone.

“All week long I’d said that, hey, if we get close at the end of the game, we’re going for 2, and we’re going to take an aggressive approach and play to win the football game rather than to tie,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “They had us covered up on that particular play, so good job by them.”

The Spartans got the ball back one more time, at their own 20 with 2:04 remaining. Tyquan Lewis sacked O’Connor on the first play, and then Gareon Conley intercepted him on the second.

Scott ran for 160 yards and also scored on a 64-yard catch-and-run in the first minute of the game, but the Ohio State defense didn’t allow much more after that. J.T. Barrett threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Samuel in the first quarter, and the game was tied at 10 at halftime.

Weber’s 4-yard TD run in the third gave the Buckeyes the lead for good.

THE TAKEAWAY

Ohio State: The Buckeyes had to claw their way to this win, but it was still a sweet one against the team that has given them more trouble than any in recent seasons. Michigan State beat Ohio State in the 2013 Big Ten title game and again late in the regular season last year. Ohio State’s stellar pass defense was the difference. O’Connor and Damion Terry were a combined 8 of 21 with two interceptions for the Spartans.

Michigan State: Dantonio’s team threw everything it had at Ohio State, executing a successful fake punt in the fourth quarter and later going for 2 when an extra point would have tied it. The Spartans fell just short in the end, unable to establish any consistent offensive threats aside from Scott.

The 2-point conversion may be second-guessed in the days to come, but O’Connor said the team was on board with it.

“We don’t play for second place, obviously,” O’Connor said. “Everybody was all in on going for it.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Ohio State: The Buckeyes trailed only top-ranked Alabama coming into this weekend, but the bigger concern for them is their playoff position. Even if Ohio State beats Michigan, it could lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with Penn State for the division title.

TOUGH SLEDDING

Michigan State managed only 127 yards passing, over half of it on one play. Ohio State wasn’t very productive through the air either. Barrett went 10 of 22 for 86 yards on a windy day that included sporadic snow flurries. The Spartans, who had only seven sacks coming into the game, had three against Ohio State.