Darrelle Revis, disgruntled with his New York Jets’ contract, was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 13th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and a conditional pick next year.The deal is worth $96 million, making Revis the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history, but includes no guaranteed money, according to sources close to the Pro Bowl cornerback.The conditional pick headed to the Jets is a fourth-round selection in 2014, but could become a third-rounder if Revis is on Tampa Bay’s roster on the third day of the 2014 league year, sources said.The Buccaneers will formally introduce Revis during a news conference Monday at noon EST. The front page of the Buccaneers’ official website posted a large photo of Revis in what appears to be a Tampa Bay jersey with the words: “Treasure Island. Darrelle Revis (CB). It’s a Bucs Life.”A four-time Pro Bowler during his six-year stint in New York, the 27-year-old Revis addressed Jets fans in a series of tweets Sunday night.“I been sitting around for the last hour trying to figure out what to say to the Jet Nation & I came up with this,” Revis posted on his Twitter account. “The six years I played for the New York Jets were unbelievable. I put my body on the line everyday & did everything could to help the team win.“I experienced a lot & learned a lot. The memories I had in New York I will keep dearly to my heart. I want to thank all the jets fans for making me feel welcome.”The six-year, $96 million deal would make Revis one of the NFL’s two highest-paid defensive players, along with Mario Williams.Jets general manager John Idzik cited multiple reasons for the trade, namely the inability to negotiate a long-term extension and a “degree of uncertainty” regarding Revis’ rehab from a serious knee injury suffered last season.“It became quite evident to us that there is a substantial difference between Darrelle’s view of his value and ours,” Idzik said Sunday during a conference call.Revis will not be released before this season, meaning he is assured of making this season’s base salary, but his contract includes none of the money that the NFL refers to as “guaranteed” money. Tampa Bay would be able to release Revis before any season without incurring any salary-cap charge.The final obstacle to the deal was completed Sunday, when Revis flew on a private plane from New Jersey to Tampa, Fla., to undergo a physical that included a comprehensive checkup on his knee. He passed it, making the trade official.“We have no concerns about Darrelle Revis’ physical condition,” a Bucs senior team official told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. “He will be out there the first day of training camp and ready to go Week 1.”The three sides — the Jets, the Buccaneers and Revis — spent the weekend hammering out their respective agreements.
Career expected points added per rush for Colin Kaepernick and Mark Sanchez, 2009-18 7Russell Wilson3390.3210.513 Meanwhile, Kaepernick adds roughly equal value to his team whether he runs or passes the football, making him a legitimate dual threat. It was this ability that took the San Francisco 49ers within 5 yards of winning the 2012-13 Super Bowl. What’s more, the league has become more open to the air raid concepts Kaepernick ran at the University of Nevada, as evidenced by the ascendancy of Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, who played in an air raid system at Texas Tech. There are legitimate reasons to believe that Kaepernick could still fit in the league.Kaepernick’s path to snaps in Washington is blocked by current quarterback Johnson, who has just 193 total career pass attempts to his name and, like Sanchez, is a year older than Kaepernick. When we look at his career efficiency numbers compared with Kaepernick’s, we can see why Johnson hasn’t been allowed much opportunity to throw. Plays with Johnson under center have resulted in negative value for his teams. 27Matthew Stafford4640.1700.482 46Chase Daniel76-0.0960.47 29Kirk Cousins5250.1460.51 The contest wasn’t a contest at all. Kaepernick is superior to Sanchez over his career by a large margin and across a wide spectrum of metrics. Kaepernick’s career yards per pass attempt is higher than Sanchez’s by more than half a yard. His career EPA per play is on the order of 40 times better than Sanchez, despite their yards after catch EPA per play being relatively close.Kaepernick has been far from perfect. His career yards per attempt is no better than league average, and his career completion percentage is low at 59.8 percent. His greatest flaws as a passer show themselves at the intermediate depths, where his completion percentage is well below average. Whether this is because he struggles to make reads or because his decision making on slower developing routes is poor is an open question. What is clear is that neither Kaepernick nor Sanchez is particularly accurate across most depths of target. Kaepernick, however, has also affected game outcomes with his legs. He is not exactly young anymore, though, at 31 years old; we might expect a decline in rushing effectiveness that typically accompanies NFL QBs as they age. Still, Kaepernick’s legs are fresh, and Sanchez has never shown the ability to add value on the ground. 49Derek Anderson70-0.3250.429 Kaepernick has easily outperformed SanchezAttempts, yards per attempt, expected points added per play, success rate and yards after catch EPA per play for Kaepernick and Sanchez, 2009-18 Show more rowsSource: Elias Sports Bureau PasserAttemptsYards/ AttemptEPA/PlaySuccess RateYAC EPA/Play 1Patrick Mahomes4830.4410.561 Kaepernick has outperformed Johnson, tooAttempts, yards per attempt, expected points added per play, success rate and yards after catch EPA per play for Kaepernick and Johnson, 20tk-18 11Carson Wentz4000.2810.535 After starting quarterback Alex Smith broke his leg in Week 11, the Washington Redskins rode their journeyman backup, Colt McCoy, to two losses and a 7-3 deficit against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13 before he also broke his leg. Struck with misfortune at the most important position in professional sports, Washington trotted out Mark Sanchez, a player signed off the street to back up McCoy.This obviously didn’t work out well. Sanchez had not played an NFL game since 2015, and he went on to record the worst expected points added (EPA) per play (-0.627) of any NFL QB in 2018 with at least 20 pass attempts. This includes Nathan Peterman. Sanchez was promptly benched in a blowout 40-16 loss to the Giants in Week 14. His replacement: Josh Johnson, a 32-year-old journeyman who has played for 12 different NFL teams and who reportedly had to play Madden to learn the names of his new teammates.Hindsight is 20-20, but it’s worth asking if this skid could have been avoided — or at least somewhat mitigated — had Washington signed free agent Colin Kaepernick instead of Sanchez. It’s even worth wondering if they still should sign him. A playoff berth for the Redskins is highly unlikely, but they are still not mathematically eliminated. Could signing Kaepernick help the team win out, finish 9-7, and give them a shot at the postseason?Let’s look at this as a purely football decision and put aside any public relations baggage that would come with signing Kaepernick. Let’s also assume that Kaepernick is in decent enough shape to put on a jersey right now and play at the levels we have seen from him in the past. (For what it’s worth, he has said that he’s remained in game shape.)I looked at standard measures of quarterback performance like yards per attempt along with more advanced stats like EPA per play and success rate, which measures how often a player keeps his team “on schedule” or on track for a first down. The first question — “Should Washington have signed Sanchez or Kaepernick?” — is straightforward to answer.Using data from Ron Yurko’s EPA model, I analyzed both of the QBs over their careers to see which one has been better at creating expected value per pass. I also broke out the contribution of yards after the catch to help with the comparison. Yards after catch is probably best thought of as the product of scheme and wide receiver skill, but passes that are on time and on target from a QB surely help as well. 35Cody Kessler970.1190.491 Sanchez-0.05 So what about moving forward? Could Kaepernick help Washington win? Our best predictors of future performance at the QB position are career efficiency measures like yards per attempt and EPA per play — far more useful than looking only at Kaepernick’s most recent season.The table below shows every player who has attempted at least 20 passes this season, sorted by total expected points added per play. Total EPA includes both passing and rushing production, and gives a full picture of a player’s offensive contribution. Kaepernick’s career numbers would put him 26th among quarterbacks this season, ahead of Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins — who are being paid a combined $50.5 million. 31Joe Flacco3770.1320.454 48Josh McCown109-0.2190.383 17Dak Prescott4180.2300.492 PasserAttemptsYARDS/ ATTEMPTEPA/PLAYSUCCESS RATEYAC EPA/PLAY 42Tyrod Taylor84-0.0010.354 32Baker Mayfield3790.1240.479 41Nick Foles800.0240.398 PlayerPass AttemptsTotal EPA/PLAYSuccess Rate 38Brock Osweiler1780.1010.44 10Ben Roethlisberger5480.2830.517 51Mark Sanchez35-0.6270.361 Most starting quarterbacks with NFL experience did indeed create value per play above what we might expect from Kaepernick, but Kaepernick’s worst season is still better than 26 percent of the quarterbacks who have attempted a pass in the NFL in 2018. Kaepernick may be a fringe starting NFL talent, but he is likely better than many of the quarterbacks who have seen playing time this season, including even Alex Smith.It’s probable that Kaepernick could start for Washington and produce enough with his arm and his legs to salvage their playoff hopes. There remains the opportunity for Washington to sign him and find out for certain. Instead he continues to languish in free agency.Check out our latest NFL predictions.CORRECTION (Dec. 15, 2018, 11:45 a.m.): A previous headline on this story misspelled Colin Kaepernick’s name. Colin Kaepernick1,9417.2+0.170.45+0.67 Colin Kaepernick1,9417.2+0.170.45+0.67 20Marcus Mariota3000.2130.51 14Aaron Rodgers4940.2550.49 12Ryan Fitzpatrick2480.2750.523 2Drew Brees4160.4320.589 37Case Keenum4520.1060.449 18Jeff Driskel1010.2140.46 Kaepernick+0.21 15Mitch Trubisky3520.2480.522 6Jared Goff4600.3280.517 30Colt McCoy520.1340.492 33C.J. Beathard1710.1220.463 21Andrew Luck5330.2050.52 Mark Sanchez2,4036.6+0.000.45+0.60 3Matt Barkley250.4310.44 13Deshaun Watson3970.2620.526 28Nick Mullens1700.1570.478 8Jameis Winston2700.2910.542 19Eli Manning4610.2130.462 Data includes two-point conversions but does not include kneel downs. 5Matt Ryan5050.3290.547 23Lamar Jackson1010.1910.519 16Jimmy Garoppolo900.2310.52 Josh Johnson1936.1-0.040.46+0.60 36Alex Smith3270.1130.457 47Sam Bradford81-0.1560.329 24Derek Carr4520.1760.511 39Josh Allen2280.0790.435 40Blake Bortles3700.0400.463 EPA/Rush Data includes two-point conversions but does not include kneel downs.Source: Elias Sports Bureau 43Blaine Gabbert61-0.0150.453 Kaepernick would be in the middle of the pack this yearEvery quarterback with a minimum of 20 pass attempts this season in the NFL, compared with the career numbers of Colin Kaepernick 22Cam Newton4440.2010.521 25Andy Dalton3620.1750.508 4Philip Rivers4140.4240.541 45Josh Rosen314-0.0870.425 9Tom Brady4760.2900.526 50Nathan Peterman82-0.5890.315 26Colin Kaepernick1,9410.1710.464 34Ryan Tannehill1960.1200.479 44Sam Darnold314-0.0600.427
Freshman defensive specialist Camry Halm (14) celebrates after a point during a match against Wisconsin at St. John Arena on Nov. 2. Credit: Jenna Leinasars | Assistant News DirectorThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team is off to Manhattan, Kansas, for the first round of the NCAA tournament, and its first opponent is the same team that handed the Buckeyes an early preseason defeat.At 6 p.m. on Friday, OSU and the Missouri State Bears will face off for the second time this year — but this time around, the stakes are much higher. One team will keep its dreams of a national championship alive, while the other will leave empty handed. On Sept. 9, it was the Bears who locked down the tight, five-set win in front of a home crowd and gave OSU its second loss on the season. The Buckeyes finished off their regular season with two consecutive wins, while Missouri State split 1-1 with a win over Illinois State and a loss to Wichita State.OSU coach Geoff Carlston said the match against Missouri State will be the culmination of all the work his team has put in thus far. “This is where all the days in the gym and all the stresses and all of the good memories, all of those things you keep in your backpack — you use them now,” he said. The Buckeyes have made numerous changes since their last encounter with the Bears, and the team is hopeful the new strategies will pay off. “We’ve definitely improved our offense, and I think throughout the season, we’ve run a lot of defensive systems and offensive systems,” said junior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer. “I think this versatility allows us to change and adapt in situations where they might be beating us in one area.” Sophomore setter Taylor Hughes added that OSU has stopped relying on one or two of its hitters, which has diversified offensive options. Hughes has also seen more attacking opportunities with the increased role of fellow setter, senior Abby Fesl. Hughes joined senior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe on Tuesday on the Big Ten’s All-Conference teams; Sandbothe received first team and Hughes earned honorable mention. A goal the team set at the beginning of the season was to advance to the Final Four match of the tournament, which will be played at Nationwide Arena in Columbus this year. But if you ask them about that target right now, it’s the furthest thing from their minds. “We’re not talking about it. (We’re) focusing on one game at a time and that’s Missouri State coming up next,” said Hughes. With tournament play soon to be in full swing, every team will be fighting for their existence. One loss and it’s game over for the season. Carlston said the Buckeyes have been preparing for this pressure long before the tournament brackets were even released. “We’ve had practice and we’ve talked a lot about sense of urgency and treating every match we’ve played for the past three or four weeks as if it is our last,” he said. For Schirmer, she’s acknowledging the gravity that Friday will bring, but said playing with high risks comes with the territory of playing the sport.“Especially now, it’s like any day could be your last day, and I think that’s scary but at the same time that’s really cool because we’re fighting for our lives,” she said. “That’s what makes playing volleyball so exciting.” The first serve between the Bears and the Buckeyes is set for 6 p.m. on Friday in Manhattan and can be viewed on ESPN3.
Coming off a dominating 18-8 win against first-year program Marquette, the No. 13 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team takes its unbeaten streak into Happy Valley on Saturday at 1 p.m. to take on the No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions. At 3-0, the Buckeyes hope to keep up the success that they have found early in the year. Freshman attacker Carter Brown and sophomore midfielder Jesse King recorded a combined 13 points against the Golden Eagles and sparked OSU’s offense which had been stagnant the week before against Jacksonville in a 9-6 win. For his four goals and three assists, Brown was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week. The freshman, though, saw the improvement of the team as a whole, not just his individual statistics. “Our offense was clicking in the second quarter especially,” Brown said. “We were just making the easy play and I just got some easy goals.” King, too, said he felt the team improved on offense after a tough week of practice. “Honestly, this week we worked out a lot on working the ball on the outside,” King said. “Our chemistry is coming together, and this week it just clicked.” But the Buckeyes will likely have a tougher challenge this week against Penn State in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions have already defeated No. 10 Denver on the year and took No. 2 Notre Dame to overtime in their only loss of the season. Last year, Penn State handed OSU its second loss of the season in a 5-2 victory March 3 at Ohio Stadium. In spite of a schedule featuring five games against top-11 opponents in March, some members of the team are staying positive. OSU coach Nick Myers sees how far his players have come so far this year, but understands there are improvements to be made. “We’ve got a lot of work to continue to do,” Myers said. “It’s February … We’re not the team that we wanted to be yet, but we’re taking steps in the right direction.” The game could also be a potential precursor for what is to come, with reports swirling that a Big Ten conference for lacrosse could be on the horizon. “There’s been some positive conversation,” Myers said about the potential new conference. “This Penn State-Ohio State rivalry has been special for years now. I think that will only get more traction if the Big Ten conference continues to move in the right direction.” King, who was a part of the team that lost to Penn State in Columbus last year, is excited to get another shot at the Nittany Lions. “I’m excited, they’re going to be a great game,” King said. “It’s always fun playing against Penn State.”
Then-freshman outfielder Tim Wetzel (31) takes an at bat during a game against Illinois May 26, 2011, at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU lost, 5-4.Lantern file photoA feeling of rejuvenation came over the Woody Hayes Athletic Center as the pitching staff of the Ohio State baseball team took the turf to begin practice.After earning the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament last year, only to miss out on the NCAA Tournament, the team is looking to take care of some unfinished business.Redshirt-junior pitcher and first baseman Josh Dezse, a third-team Louisville Slugger preseason All-American selection, said the team is aiming to get back in the spotlight this year.“We didn’t have a bunch of little goals,” Dezse said. “Our main goal is to go out and represent Ohio State in the National Tournament this year.”The program has enjoyed a resurgence under Greg Beals, who was named head coach in June 2010. The Buckeyes’ record has increased each year under his leadership and, even after coming so close to winning the Big Ten last year, Beals said he expects they should be an improved club this season.“Our goals, right now, are just to keep getting better. This is a younger team, but a talented team,” Beals said. “Our mentality is to win today.”The youth he is referring to can be largely found in the pitching staff. The team lost all three members of its starting rotation from last season. Losing that many innings from the rotation could be worrisome to most teams, but pitching coach Mike Stafford didn’t seem bothered by it.“We have a whole mess looking like they’re ready for some competition,” Stafford said.Freshmen pitchers Zach Farmer, Travis Lakins, Tanner Tully and Adam Niemeyer were specifically mentioned by Stafford as some of the young guns who are ready to bring some heat.Junior catcher Aaron Gretz said he doesn’t think the players’ inexperience will be a problem at all.“I think we’re going to have as good or an even better pitching staff than last year,” Gretz said. “Talent-wise I think they’re right there to being one of the top in the nation.”While the rotation will start out with some new faces, the bullpen brings some star power late into games, specifically in junior pitcher and closer Trace Dempsey. Dempsey, who joins Dezse on the third team All-American list, finished last season with a Big Ten-best 17 saves. As long as the starters keep opposing offenses at bay and Dempsey continues to show an ability to come in and slam the door at the end of the game, opponents could have a very difficult time scoring runs this season.The offense looks to put a lot of runs on the scoreboard at Bill Davis Stadium. Sophomore infielders Jacob Bosiokovic and Troy Kuhn, and junior outfielder Pat Porter, return after finishing in the top five in batting average last season. They also receive a boost from Dezse, who missed all of last season with a stress reaction in his back.With the team set to begin play in just over three weeks, it is time to stop talking about goals and start chasing them.“There’s no magical potion that you sprinkle on. It’s just good old blood, sweat and tears,” Beals said. “We have an expectation level … Ohio State has an expectation level of excellence. Combine the two of those and I think it broods for success.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to begin play in Port Charlotte, Fla., Feb. 14 against Connecticut as part of the Snowbird Classic.
Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell shoots a shot during the Buckeyes’ game against Washington on Nov. 19. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorAfter an 84-75 loss to No. 19 Michigan Tuesday night, the No. 8 Ohio State women’s basketball team (16-3, 5-1 Big Ten) will head on the road for a Monday night game against No. 14 Maryland (16-3, 5-1 Big Ten). In the last matchup between the two teams, the Buckeyes upset the No. 2 Terrapins 98-87 at the end of the regular season last year. In recent years, Maryland has been the Big Ten’s powerhouse, winning the conference the past two years. Though this year’s Terrapin team lacks the star-power of recent years, Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff stressed his team’s need to be prepared for another top-25 team.“They’re good, they’re talented, they’re well coached, they’re used to winning,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “They have an expectation to win. They’re gonna be ready. We’ll have to be really good on Monday.”The Terrapins have won 14 of their last 15 games with the lone loss coming Jan. 11 against the Michigan State Spartans.Redshirt senior guard Linnae Harper said the team will need to come in with the same level of intensity if it hopes to come away with a win against the Terrapins, like it did last year.“The amount of focus that we had, the amount of intensity and effort we brought, all of us that played that game we just brought it,” Harper said. “We played together, our chemistry was great and we really wanted to win. We have to approach this upcoming game the same way we approached it last year and make sure that we’re doing everything we have to do to get the win.”Maryland sophomore guard Kaila Charles, who leads her team in scoring with 17.1 points per game, must pick up the workload offensively. The Terrapins’ second-leading scorer, sophomore guard Blair Watson, suffered a torn ACL in a January practice that will force her to miss the remainder of the season. Watson was averaging 13.8 points per game prior to the injury.The Terrapins’ depth has helped them absorb the loss of Watson this season. Maryland has six active players who put up at least 10.5 points per game, and would have been seven had Watson not suffered a season-ending injury.This game will have major implications on which team takes the edge in the Big Ten. Ohio State and Maryland are tied for first atop the conference and both are the only teams with one loss. Conference control is not McGuff’s main focus, though.“I just think it’s about us being prepared for this game and putting our best foot forward here, as we saw Tuesday anything can happen,” McGuff said. In the Big Ten there’s a lot of parity this year. We need to take this game first and go from there.”The Buckeyes will need to find a way to put up points on a night when the 3-pointer does not fall. While they were aggressive and hit 17-of-22 free throws the previous game, they shot 36 percent from the field, which hindered their second-half productivity. McGuff said he would like to see his team stay patient, even when shots aren’t dropping for the team. “One, continue to take good shots no matter what,” McGuff said. “Two, just continue to work [on it]. I think we’ve, knock on wood, done a better job recently getting some balance in our offense, scoring a little bit more around the basket and I think we need to continue to do that.”
Ohio State redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun attempts a shot during the Buckeyes’ game against Minnesota in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament on March 3, 2018. Ohio State won 90-88 to advance to the championship. Credit: Alyssia Graves | Assistant Sports DirectorINDIANAPOLIS — The Ohio State women’s basketball team claimed an outright Big Ten regular-season championship and now it has its sights on winning the conference tournament for the first time since 2011.In order to achieve that goal, the Buckeyes would have to knock off Maryland, which has won the past three Big Ten championship games by a combined margin of 29 points. The two teams met in the championship in 2015, and the Terrapins won 77-74.On Jan. 22 in College Park, Maryland, Ohio State fell 99-69 to Maryland in its largest loss of the season despite all five starters scoring in double-figures. The top-seeded Buckeyes will have their shot at revenge in the Big Ten championship when they take on the second-seeded Terrapins at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis at 7 p.m. Sunday.Projected StartersOhio State:G — Kelsey Mitchell — Senior, 5-foot-8, 24.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.3 apgG — Linnae Harper — Redshirt senior, 5-foot-8, 14.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.5 apgG — Sierra Calhoun — Redshirt junior, 6-foot, 11.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.3 apgF — Alexa Hart — Senior, 6-foot-3, 5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.9 apgF — Stephanie Mavunga — Redshirt senior, 6-foot-3, 16.5 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 0.7 apgMaryland: G — Channise Lewis — Freshman, 5-foot-8, 5.4 ppg, 2 rpg, 4.8 apgG — Kristen Confroy — Senior, 5-foot-9, 9.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.8 apgG/F — Eleanna Christinaki — Junior, 6-foot, 12.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 apgG — Kaila Charles — Sophomore, 6-foot-1, 18.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.2 apgF — Stephanie Jones — Sophomore, 6-foot-2, 11.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 0.9 apgScouting MarylandIn the first meeting between Ohio State and Maryland this season, the Terrapins had their way. They shot 54.9 percent from the field and hit 11-of-18 3-pointers to bury the Buckeyes, who fell behind by double-digits less than five minutes into the game and never recovered.In that game, junior guard/forward Eleanna Christinaki and guard Kalia Charles powered the Terrapins just as they have in most games. Christinaki dropped 26 points, went 6-for-11 from deep and grabbed eight rebounds while Charles had a game-high 32 points, making 12-of-16 shots from the field and 7-of-8 free throws.The combination of defense, rebounding and a diverse scoring attack gave the Buckeyes major problems and figures to be a substantial challenge again.The Terrapins hold opponents to 38.8 percent shooting from the field and hit 39 percent of their 3-pointers. They start senior guard Kristen Confroy, who averages the fourth-most points of the projected starters, but shoots a Big-Ten best of 44.2 percent from beyond the arc.Though Maryland does not have any interior player as dominant as Ohio State redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga — who picked up the first 20-point, 20-rebound game in Big Ten tournament history on Saturday — it maintains the second-best rebounding margin in the conference of plus-eight rebounds. The Terrapins showed that edge with a 47-32 rebounding advantage in the season’s first matchup against the Buckeyes.Maryland (plus-17.1) and Ohio State (plus-14.1) have the top scoring margins in the Big Ten, having blown out many teams this season. But they ended the season with different trajectories.On Jan. 26, Maryland sat in first in the conference by two games after Ohio State lost three-straight games, including the 30-point defeat by the Terrapins. But the Buckeyes won eight of their final nine regular-season games and won the first two games of the conference tournament as well. Maryland, however, lost three of its final four regular-season games to Purdue, Minnesota and Michigan to slip into second place and give Ohio State an opportunity to pounce on the regular-season title. It lost the three games by a combined margin of 35 points.Regardless of how the Terrapins finished, they pose more challenges to the Buckeyes than any other team in the Big Ten. If Ohio State can control the pace, keep Maryland off the offensive glass and keep Charles and Christinaki from getting hot, it has a chance to claim the championship. But that is a tall task for a team sans a starter that fell to the Terrapins by 30 points less than two months ago.Still not tired?The day before the Buckeyes opened the Big Ten tournament with a win against Rutgers, senior guard Asia Doss learned she would not play due to a sprained right ankle suffered in the regular-season finale. The loss of her squeezed Ohio State’s already-lacking depth even more.In the quarterfinals, the Buckeyes took an early lead — and some key players got into foul trouble — which allowed them to give ample rest, playing seven core players between 18 and 33 minutes. But the next day against Minnesota, guards Kelsey Mitchell, Sierra Calhoun and Linnae Harper and forward Stephanie Mavunga played at least 34 minutes. Mitchell did not sit out a single minute.With less than 24 hours between the end of that contest and the tip-off of the Buckeyes’ game against Maryland, fatigue would seem to be a struggle. But Mitchell and Mavunga don’t see that as an option.“Well, if we want to win, and I think everybody wants to do that, we’re going to be okay,” Mitchell said. “We don’t have a choice.”Mavunga quickly chimed in: “Coach McGuff said we’ll rest on Monday.”Mitchell went so far as to say she enjoys the feeling of playing multiple games in subsequent days, which reminds her of AAU games with higher stakes.“It feels good, like it feels good to be able to play games back to back and you don’t know who is going to win,” she said.
Ohio State freshman defenseman Madison Bizal makes a move against a Minnesota State defender on Oct. 12. Ohio State won 4-0. Credit: Wyatt Crosher | Assistant Sports EditorOhio State freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli made headlines for the second straight week after she was named WCHA Goaltender of the Week for her performance against No. 3 Minnesota. Braendli and the No. 4 Ohio State women’s hockey team took on the Gophers in a top-five matchup last week. After losing the first game 3-0, the Buckeyes came away with a strong road victory by a score of 3-2 in Game 2. Now, Ohio State (6-2-0, 3-1-0-0 WCHA) will attempt to ride that wave of momentum this week when it continues its road stretch and travels to Canton, New York, to face No. 10 St. Lawrence (3-4-1). “That’s what you need to do, you need to build momentum and learn from some of the mistakes we made throughout the weekend,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “We need to build off the good we created. Taking three points from a No. 3 team in the country was huge at their rank nonetheless.” While the Saints are not as highly ranked as Minnesota, the Buckeyes will still be faced with another tough opponent. The Saints are fresh off a win against No. 2 Clarkson, the defending national champion and the team that beat Ohio State in the Frozen Four last season. “What’s nice is there is parity in the country right now,” Muzerall said. “Every team is putting up a good battle and is making the league and the NCAA fun to watch. We just need to focus on the things that we do very well and drive a little more offensively and then buckle down defensively and be more intelligent.” The team defensively has little to worry about with Braendli stepping in and making a name for herself only five games into her college career, winning WCHA Rookie of the Week two weeks ago and now Goaltender of the Week. In her five games played, Braendli leads the WCHA with a .950 save percentage. “It’s really awesome having someone as solid as her backing the net,” redshirt junior defenseman Jincy Dunne said. “She got the chance to play and capitalized on the opportunity. She’s done amazing and we’re lucky to have her.” Offensively, Ohio State has a little bit of work to do. St. Lawrence allows 1.88 goals per game, and the key to victory for the Buckeyes will be a fast and aggressive offense to create scoring opportunities. But St. Lawrence scores the fifth-fewest goals per game in the NCAA at 1.50 per game. Ohio State sophomore forward Emma Maltais has as many points as the Saint have goals all season.“Defensively, St. Lawrence is a very good team,” Dunne said. “The challenge is on us to create offense and to score off the opportunities we make and continue to capitalize on the chances we get.”The Buckeyes travel to play against St. Lawrence at 6 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Ohio State then-freshman forward Tatum Skaggs (11) races to the puck in the first period of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignSophomore forward Emma Maltais and the Buckeyes were on point Saturday against St. Cloud State, coming out with a commanding performance that led to a 3-2 win. With the win, Ohio State (9-3, 5-1 WCHA) completed the weekend sweep of St. Cloud State (4-8, 2-6 WCHA). “It’s nice to see that we played six solid periods of hockey,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “You just build confidence from that. They were all hard fought and all four lines got to play, illustrating our depth. We’re going to take that and roll into next weekend.” Ohio State came out firing on all cylinders in the first period. The Buckeyes controlled the puck and led in shots on goal with 11, while holding St. Cloud State to three shots on goal for the entire period. Their hard play was finally rewarded more than 16 minutes into the first period. Sophomore Tatum Skaggs found the net past St. Cloud State junior goaltender Janine Alder to give the Buckeyes an early 1-0 lead. This goal marks Skaggs’ team-leading seventh of the season, and the goal was assisted by freshman forward Sara Saekkinen and sophomore defenseman Lisa Bruno. “It’s a huge advantage, getting off to a good start,” Muzerall said. “You can feel more relaxed with the puck. We peppered all yesterday and just couldn’t finalize on our scoring chances. Alder is a very good goalie, so we had to make sure we had to make our chances count. St. Cloud has some good goaltending, but we have the strength.” The Huskies came roaring back early in the second period. Just over a minute into the second period, senior forward Julia Tylke shot one past freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli to even the game up at 1-1.The Buckeyes took the lead right back less than four minutes into the second period when senior forward Madison Field ripped a shot past Alder for her sixth goal of the season. Maltais was credited with her league-leading 13th assist on the season. Redshirt junior Jincy Dunne also was credited with an assist.“Emma is relentless, she’s a 200-foot player,” Muzerall said. “She’s not going to back down. She’s not going to stop. She’s going to all the things nobody likes with stops and blocking shots. She does a lot of the little things that don’t show up on a statistic sheet.” Ohio State found the net more than 14 minutes into the second period. Maltais and Dunne set up senior forward Charly Dahlquist for the short-handed goal that gave the Buckeyes a 3-1 lead. Dahlquist earned her fifth goal of the season and Maltais and Dunne assists, Maltais’ 14th. “It’s cool to get a short-handed goal that’s not an empty net goal,” Maltais said. “To finally have our forecheck produce something is really cool. Obviously, Charly is always in the right spot and she put that short side. That’s all her on that on that shot. I owe everything to the people I play with.” Ohio State’s lead was cut to just one more than 16 minutes into the third period when junior forward Hallie Theodosopoulos scored for the Huskies. Freshman forward Jenniina Nylund assisted Theodosopoulos on the goal. With time winding down in the game, St. Cloud State pulled its goalie to gain an extra attacker on the ice in an attempt to tie the game up and force overtime, but it was not enough to get past Braendli as the Buckeyes held on to get the win. “We were looking to play a full 60 minutes and aside from a couple three-minute breakdowns, we did that,” Maltais said. “We were really buzzing as a full team today and yesterday, and I think that says a lot about how we’re progressing as a team.” Ohio State heads back on the road to face the Bemidji State in an in-conference matchup series on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10.
Ohio State had expectations coming out of its bye week. After sitting on a 49-20 loss to Purdue on Oct. 20, the talk heading into the matchup with Nebraska revolved around the team playing angry, playing “pissed off” with players ready to prove that the Buckeyes are indeed a Big Ten championship contender, a College Football Playoff contender. And although it was not in dominant fashion like other games against Nebraska have been in the past, No. 10 Ohio State got back into the win column Saturday, defeating the Cornhuskers 36-31.“The biggest thing to get that darned bad taste out of your mouth from a couple weeks ago and go win the game,” Meyer said. “We’re going to go back to work. We’re going to enjoy that win now.” Offensively, it meant going back to its roots, the balanced offense, the offense that Meyer is comfortable with, the offense with the “two-headed monster” of redshirt junior running back Mike Weber and sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins as primary contributors. “We definitely wanted to run the ball today,” redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins said.”That was our goal for this game, for this Saturday, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that.” The pair combined for 254 rushing yards, recording the most yards on the ground the unit has had since Sept. 1, each averaging over seven yards per carry. Dobbins and Weber also became the first pair in Ohio State history to both have 2,000 career rushing yards. Dobbins showed this focus in the very first drive of the game, recording nine yards on the first two rushes, but the Ohio State offense of old returned, failing to convert on a short-yardage situation. It did not return for long. After Haskins connected with Dixon for a 42-yard score in the second offensive drive, Dobbins, at the end of the first quarter, brought the Buckeyes into the red zone with a 16-yard run, scoring his first touchdown of the day on a 10-yard rush. But Ohio State could not take that dominating lead, the lead it needed to meet the expectation the Buckeyes had for themselves after the 29-point loss to Purdue. In the first offensive drive of the game, Nebraska freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez led the Cornhuskers on a 12-play, 75-yard drive, ending with a 1-yard touchdown run by senior running back Devine Ozigbo. Even after breaks that fell in favor of the Buckeyes, blocking a punt that resulted in a safety in the first quarter and a whiffed onside kick attempt which Ohio State recovered at the Cornhuskers 31-yard line, they could not take advantage, losing two fumbles in the second quarter, leading to two 2-yard option scores by Martinez. Trailing 21-16 at halftime, the expectation for Ohio State was to have its offensive leader, Haskins, who had thrown for more than 400 yards in each of his last three games, use his arm to put the game out of reach for Nebraska. He led the offense on a methodical drive out of halftime, getting to the red zone, but threw his sixth interception of the season, a ball meant for Dixon in the end zone that landed in the hands of Nebraska junior cornerback Lamar Jackson. But the Ohio State defense stepped up in the third quarter to keep the Cornhuskers at bay. Nebraska averaged 3.6 yards per rush on 10 carries with Martinez completing three of seven passes for 17 yards. Overall, despite allowing 450 yards of offense and two plays of over 30 yards, Meyer said those big plays, the big plays that have plagues this defense and led to the success of opposing offenses, did not necessarily happen against Nebraska, vene though there are things to work on. “There’s defensively still some things but we didn’t give up a big hit,” Meyer said. “We had a couple of hits, but not the big hit. And we were without three starters in the back end of our defense.”Junior safety Jordan Fuller was ejected from the game in the second quarter after being called for targeting. With a secondary already struggling with depth, playing without sophomore safety Isaiah Pryor, who did not play due to an impingement to his shoulder, Fuller’s absence moved sophomore Brendon White into the safety rotation, recording 13 tackles and two tackles for loss in Saturday’s win. Meyer said, defensively, Ohio State was much improved against Nebraska, especially with the continuous lineup changes needed because of the injuries to Pryor and sophomore cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, who was suffering through a groin issue from this week’s practice, along with the loss of Fuller. He also said he expects to have everyone back in the rotation next week. Scoring two touchdowns on a 3-yard rush by Dobbins and a 9-yard shovel pass from Haskins to redshirt senior receiver Parris Campbell, Ohio State took the 30-21 lead heading into the final quarter. But Nebraska came back with a seven-play, 65 yard scoring drive, leading to an 18-yard field goal,bringing the Cornhuskers within one score. However, to extend the lead, Haskins led the Buckeyes on a 7-play, 82-yard drive, ending with a Dobbins 42-yard rushing touchdown, his third of the day. The sophomore running back finished with 163 yards on 23 carries, scoring three touchdowns in a game for the first time in his collegiate career. Nebraska sophomore wide receiver JD Spielman secured a 17-yard touchdown to bring the Cornhuskers back to within ne score with 2:57 left in the game, but, it was not enough as Haskins and the Ohio State offense did not allow another opportunity for Nebraska. Ohio State defeated a two-win Nebraska team, but Haskins viewed this as an opportunity to give future opponents an idea of what Ohio State will bring. “We are focused, motivated, angry,” Haskins said. “We just feel like we are being disrespected right now, but we are going to continue to fight and continue to show the country we are one of the top teams.” To Dobbins, this five-point win over Nebraska created a level of momentum Ohio State will use. “We have momentum right now,” Dobbins said. “We are going to take it into next week, because we have a big game next week.” Ohio State goes back on the road to face Michigan State on Nov. 10.