Skull Session: Ryan Day Believes Maryland Poses a Threat, Marvin Harrison Jr.’s Emergence Isn’t Surprising and OSU Subtly Improved the Run Game Saturday

Skull Session: Ryan Day Believes Maryland Poses a Threat, Marvin Harrison Jr.’s Emergence Isn’t Surprising and OSU Subtly Improved the Run Game Saturday

Welcome to the Wednesday Skull Session.

Today’s article begins with a clip of Jack Sawyer demolishing Indiana quarterback Dexter Williams, including soundbites from Gus Johnson and Paul Keels. Can it get any better than that?

Let’s have a good Wednesday, shall we?

TERPS TIME. Earlier this week, our poll question was, “Does Maryland pose a threat to Ohio State on Saturday?”

Of 6,002 responses, 61% answered “No,” and 39% answered “Yes.” How do you think Ryan Day would answer that question, assuming he doesn’t read Eleven Warriors‘ articles (which everybody should do) and vote on the daily poll?

Well, there’s no need to ponder that question, as Day told the media on Tuesday precisely what he thinks of the Terrapins. The fourth-year Ohio State head coach expects a significant challenge from Maryland on Saturday and cited the 52-51 overtime win in 2018 as proof of how much of a tough out that team can be.

So, to the 2,325 people who answered “Yes” to our poll question on Monday, I say congratulations because coach Day agrees with you. For the 3,677 of you that said “No,” it’s time to shape up! (I totally didn’t answer the same as you…totally.)

As the press conference continued, Day said Maryland is “always dangerous,” especially when it plays at home in College Park. He reiterated that Ohio State was one play away from losing the 2018 game to the Terrapins and that suffering a defeat in that game would have drastically changed the season, as it would if the Buckeyes lost to Maryland in 2022.

With that said, Ohio State is on high alert for the Maryland game this weekend and is taking no chances with looking past the Terrapins toward the matchup with Michigan. Expect the Buckeyes to come out with intentions to put them away early, as reliving the anxiety-inducing game from four years ago is not something Day wants to happen on Saturday.

And, I’ll speak for everyone here, neither do we.

SHOULD’VE SEEN IT COMING. From the moment Marvin Harrison Jr. stepped into Ohio Stadium on Saturday wearing an all-red suit – reminding me of D’Angelo Russell’s attire at the 2015 NBA draft – I should have known that he was bound for an otherworldly performance.

There are many things I should have seen coming about Harrison’s career, which in his second season seems destined for multiple All-American accolades and perhaps one or two Biletnikoff Awards. How did I not see it sooner?

Well, maybe because many people didn’t see it sooner, either.

Harrison was a highly-touted recruit from St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia but wasn’t the most sought-after receiver prospect in his year. According to the 247Sports composite, he was only a four-star recruit and the No. 14 wide receiver in the class of 2021. And who were the other receivers in front of him?

2021 Top Wide Receiver Recruitment

RANK

PLAYER

STARS

RATINGS

TEAM

1 EMEKA EGBUKA 5 0.9945 OHIO STATE

2

JA’COREY BROOKS

5

0.9861

ALABAMA

3

TROY FRANKLIN

4

0.9808

OREGON

4

MARIO WILLIAMS

4

0.9801

OKLAHOMA

5

AGIYE HALL

4

0.9788

ALABAMA

6

JOJO EARLE

4

0.9762

ALABAMA

7

DONT’E THORTON

4

0.9719

OREGON

8

XAVIER WORTHY

4

0.9712

TEXAS

9

DEION SMITH

4

0.9690

USL

10

CHRISTIAN LEARY

4

0.9672

ALABAMA

11

CHRIST HILTON

4

0.9646

USL

12

BEAUTIFUL COLLINS

4

0.9624

CLEMSON

13

BRIAN THOMAS JR.

4

0.9600

USL

14 MARVIN HARRISON JR. 4 0.9583 OHIO STATE

Looking at that list today makes me upset. How did the recruiting experts not have that Marvin Harrison Jr. – son of NFL Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison – would be the best of the bunch? No disrespect to the other players, especially Emeka Egbuka, but that’s the reality two years later.

Not only is Harrison the best in this class, but he is the best receiver in America, regardless of age. Ask Jim Knowles, and he’d say Harrison is the best wide receiver he has ever seen in his 35 years of coaching college football.

To steal from Perry Eliano, Tim Walton and the Ohio State cornerbacks and safeties room, Harrison is the Best in America. BIA. That’s what he is after only 10 games in the 2022 season and a start in the Rose Bowl, in which he caught three touchdowns, in case you forgot.

It’s all just silly – I should have known! But now that I do know, I am having fun watching him. We all are, I’d say. And the best part? We have another few games this season and another year in 2023 to see how great he can be.

RUN THE BALL. Ohio State ran the ball 43 times for 351 yards against Indiana on Saturday. That’s pretty good really good. But what made the run game so effective when it had been average to below average at best against Iowa, Penn State and Indiana?

Joel Klatt weighed in on his podcast this week:

Now, before you tell me, “Chase! It was against Indiana. They’re not good! You told me last week the Hoosiers weren’t good!” Yes. That’s true – they aren’t good. But if they also held their own defensively in the run game against some of the Big Ten’s best this season, and here’s the proof:

  • Sept. 2 vs. Illinois: 216 yards, 4.0 ypc

  • Oct. 8 vs. Michigan: 165 yards, 41. YPC

  • Nov. 5 vs. Penn State: 179 yards, 3.7 ypc

And then…

  • Nov. 12 vs. Ohio State: 340 yards, 7.8 ypc

Of course, the failures in the short-yardage run game still make Ryan Day want to bang his head up against a wall, but there was an overall improvement in that department on Saturday.

Baby steps, people. Babysteps. Let’s see how the Ohio State running backs and offensive line do against Maryland on Saturday before they lay it all on the line against Michigan in two weeks. That’s when we’ll see if the improvements have really paid off. I, for one, can’t wait to find out.

OLYMPIC VILLAGE. Ohio State women’s volleyball is on a roll, as the Buckeyes have won 14 consecutive matches and are ranked No. 5 in the most recent AVCA Coaches Poll at 19-5 and 15-1 in Big Ten competition.

One of the most significant reasons for the Buckeyes’ success this season has been junior opposite Emily Londot, who was named Big Ten player of the week on Monday and national player of the week by the AVCA on Tuesday.

Londot had her best performance of the season against then-No. 4 Nebraska on Sunday, collecting 23 kills (one shy of her career-high), a career-high 21 digs and four blocks. In the first set alone, Londot had 12 kills, including back-to-back kills when Ohio State trailed 29-28 to set up set point. It was her 10th double-double of the season, which leads the team.

The Utica, Ohio, native is the ninth player in program history to earn national player of the week honors and the first since Taylor Sandbothe won the award on Oct. 4, 2016, according to a team spokesperson.

SONG OF THE DAY. “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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