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Buckeye Leaves: Oklahoma
By John Porentas

COLUMBUS, OH - The Buckeye tree got a one-week reprieve after the Tulsa game but after the performance in Norman it's going to have to give up a lot of leaves this week. And you know what? After that performance the tree had absolutely no complaints about being plucked like a chicken. The plucking is done, now let's award the leaves.


Noah Brown -  Like you didn't know this was coming. Brown made the Sooner corners look silly. His four touchdown receptions tied an OSU single-game record. Brown gets the recognition for making the catches, but the OSU coaching staff did a great job of recognizing the matchup advantage that Brown had and then putting together the right formation and play calls to get him matched up with the people they thought he could beat. 

J.T. Barrett - No turnovers, 4 touchdown passes, 14 of 20 for 152 yards, 74 yards rushing, That's a pretty good day's work, but it doesn't fully describe Barrett's day. The Buckeyes were constantly in the right play and Barrett got the ball to the right guy way more often than not. It wasn't a perfect day, there was a delay of game penalty that was pretty ugly, but it was clearly a leaf-worthy performance. When an offense is as efficient as the Buckeyes were against Oklahoma the QB and OL are clicking. 

Mike Weber - Weber put up 123 yards rushing against an odd-front defense that was determined to stop the run. He ran over tacklers, through tacklers, away from tacklers, and around tacklers. The only thing missing from his day was a huge play, but he made his share of big plays and had a long rush of 35 yards. You can decide for yourself when big ends and huge starts, but in the end it doesn't really matter. What matters is that Weber was extremely effective against a defense set to make that difficult. He also played well without the ball with good blocking and had a reception.

Curtis Samuel - Samuel amassed 118 all-purpose yards, second only to Weber's 129. He provided the outside threat that helped open up the inside with Weber, and he did that early when he beat the Sooner defense to the corner and raced 36 yards down the sideline to the end zone for the first score of the game. That served notice that the Sooners couldn't bunch up the middle and opened up the playbook for the Buckeyes. 

Offensive Line - More than any other position group the offensive line is a unit and the performance of the offensive line depends on all the parts operating well. That happened against Oklahoma. The offensive line opened holes for Weber and Samuel and gave Barrett time to throw. It was their best effort of the season because of the quality of the opponent. You need only look at the third and fourth down numbers to know the offensive line was effective. OSU was 6 of 14 on third down and two of two on fourth down. For the record, these leaves go to Jamarco Jones, Billy Price, Pat Elflein, Michael Jordan and Isaiah Prince. 

Coaching - Preparation, game plan, play calling, it was all good. The Buckeye offense had the Oklahoma defense on its heels all night. Credit to the OSU coaching staff. 


The toughest part of the defensive leaf-list is paring it down. So many players played well that a case can be made for just awarding everybody a leaf or whole units a leaf. That would be a lot less work, but a lot less fun, so we're going to single out a lot of Buckeye defenders.

Chris Worley - Worley led the Buckeyes in tackles with 10 and had a tackle for loss. He made plays, but beyond that, he is the veteran on a young defense that helps bring maturity and stability to the field. The only mistake he has made in his Buckeye career was being on the roster at the same time as Darron Lee. Had that not happened we would be talking about Worley and a dependable multi-year starter. He played like one against Oklahoma.

Raekwon McMillan - Eight tackles, a pass breakup and a tackle for loss made this a very productive game for McMillan. What running game the Sooners had was outside, not up the middle where McMillan was patrolling. Like Worley, McMillan played like a dependable veteran, a tough dependable veteran. 

Jerome Baker - Eight tackles, a sack, and 68-yard pick-six: not bad for the second team, eh?  Baker made the plays he was supposed to make and a few that definitely make you raise your eyebrows. On his pick-six he looked more like a defensive back than linebacker racing to the end zone. He had a terrific game. 

Malik Hooker - Hooker didn't quite have the stat line that he has had in the first two games, but he was still outstanding. One of the reasons his stats were down was that the Sooners had the good sense not to go at him. That brought his stat numbers down, but so what. He took away a big piece of the field just by being on it. He still registered eight tackles and showed a new weapon in his arsenal. He was the designated blitzer in certain packages and picked up a sack against the Sooners and in the process took the OSU defense from vanilla to fudge ripple at minimum. 

Marshon Lattimore - Lattimore had five tackles, three of them solos, and an interception that he returned 24 yards. His biggest contribution was his tight coverage that left no easy throws for Sooner quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield often stood in the backfield staring downfield for the open receiver that just wasn't there. That allowed the Buckeye pass rush to make him very uncomfortable. Lattimore was one of main reason Mayfield had trouble finding open receivers. 

Jalyn Holmes - Holmes was around the ball all day. He was credited with three tackles, one a sack and one a TFL, and also had a quarterback hurry. When he wasn't making the play he was funneling the ball carrier to a teammate who could. It seemed like he was always around the ball and always disrupting the Sooners. 

Michael Hill - Sometime the stats don't reflect the quality of play. That applies to Michael Hill this week. There were virtually no yards for the Sooners up the middle, and a lot of the credit for that goes to Hill. Oklahoma power back Samaji Perine was frustrated all day. That's because Hill was occupying blockers and allowing the OSU linebackers to flow to the ball and make tackles. Hill was a big part of taking away a big piece of the Sooner offense. 

Coaching - The OSU staff had the upper hand all night. They took their defense from vanilla to Neapolitan and made the Oklahoma defense uncomfortable all night. They Buckeyes were money on the money downs limiting Oklahoma 5 of 13 on third down and 0 for 3 on fourth down. Credit that to the OSU coaching staff.

Special teams 

Cameron Johnston - Johnston was nails. He averaged 50.6 yards per punt on five kicks with a long of 68 that completely flipped field position. All five of his kicks were downed inside the 20-yard line. 

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