Because of the COVID-19 outbreak that left Ohio State with 23 unavailable players for Saturday’s game at Michigan State, this week’s Snap Counts look quite a bit different from Ohio State’s first four games of the year.
Ohio State was without four starters for the trip to East Lansing (offensive linemen Thayer Munford, Josh Myers and Nicholas Petit-Frere and middle linebacker Tuf Borland) as well as three other players who had played in every game this year (defensive end Tyler Friday, safety Josh Proctor and wide receiver Kamryn Babb). That forced Ohio State to shuffle its depth chart around at multiple positions, especially on the offensive line.
Even with those players out, though, Ohio State still got 63 different players on the field against the Spartans. Some players took on the biggest roles of their Ohio State careers to date – such as offensive linemen Dawand Jones, Matthew Jones and Max Wray and safety Ronnie Hickman – but other players simply got the chance for some late-game snaps thanks to the Buckeyes winning Saturday’s game in blowout fashion, 52-12.
Backup offensive linemen Josh Fryar and Jack Jamieson played their first-ever snaps as Buckeyes, while defensive tackle Jaden McKenzie and linebacker Tommy Eichenberg played their first snaps of the year, and numerous other Buckeyes who had only played sparingly this season also had the opportunity for a little more playing time against Michigan State.
We run through all the snaps they played below. As always, all snap counts were compiled by Eleven Warriors and should be considered unofficial. Only offensive and defensive snaps are counted in the totals, though participants on each special teams unit are also listed below.
Justin Fields: 67
C.J. Stroud: 6
Jack Miller: 4
We might have gotten our first real glimpse at who’s Ohio State’s next man up at quarterback when Fields took a hard hit that shook him up and forced him to leave the game for one play, as it was Stroud who the Buckeyes called upon to run onto the field into his place.
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, Fields was fine to return for the rest of the game, and he remained in until he completed a 41-yard touchdown pass to Chris Olave that gave the Buckeyes a 45-10 lead with 8:16 to play.
After that, Stroud came back into the game and capped off his lone full drive in the game by running for a 48-yard touchdown, his first score as a Buckeye. Miller came in for the Buckeyes’ final two possessions, so Ohio State’s two freshman quarterbacks have now both appeared in two games this season.
C.J. Stroud scored his first career touchdown on a 48-yard run against Michigan State. (Photo: Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)
Trey Sermon: 32
Master Teague: 31
Miyan Williams: 8
Steele Chambers: 4
Xavier Johnson: Special teams only
While it appeared as though Teague had separated himself as Ohio State’s top running back against Indiana, considering he played more than twice as many snaps as Sermon against the Hoosiers, the Buckeyes went back to a more even split in playing time against Michigan State as Sermon had his best game of his Ohio State career to date, rushing for 112 yards on 10 carries including a 64-yard touchdown.
In a change from previous games, Williams was the third running back to see playing time for the Buckeyes against Michigan State. The true freshman, who played just one snap in Ohio State’s first four games, ran for 28 yards on five carries.
Chambers, who played the third-most snaps at running back in the first four games of the season, came in after Williams for the final four snaps of Saturday’s game, rushing for eight yards on his only carry.
Garrett Wilson: 57
Chris Olave: 55
Jameson Williams: 31
Jaxon Smith-Njigba: 28
Julian Fleming: 21
Demario McCall: 4
Wilson and Olave both continued to play a majority of snaps against Michigan State, with Wilson lining up in the slot in three-receiver sets.
Williams played the third-most snaps among receivers for a third consecutive game to start the season, playing exclusively as an outside receiver in three-receiver formations, but Smith-Njigba and Fleming both played their highest snap counts so far of their young Ohio State careers against Michigan State. Smith-Njigba continued to see snaps at both outside receiver and slot receiver, while Fleming’s snaps all came in place of Olave.
McCall, who has seen snaps at both running back and wide receiver this season, played exclusively at slot receiver at Michigan State, though he replaced the running back as a second slot receiver in empty formations on his first two plays in the game.
Luke Farrell: 43
Jeremy Ruckert: 39
Jake Hausmann: 18
Mitch Rossi: 12
Cade Stover: 2
With tight ends coach Kevin Wilson leading offensive play calling in Ryan Day’s absence, Ohio State used multi-tight end sets heavily against Michigan State, putting two tight ends on the field for 25 plays and three tight ends on the field for six plays. That allowed Farrell and Ruckert to both play more than half of Ohio State’s offensive snaps for a fourth game in a row.
Rossi, who played exclusively in multi-tight end packages, was the third tight end into the game against Michigan State, but Hausmann still saw his highest snap count of the season after missing the Buckeyes’ previous two games.
Stover’s two snaps both came on the Buckeyes’ second-to-last offensive possession.
Dawand Jones: 73
Matthew Jones: 69
Harry Miller: 69
Max Wray: 68
Wyatt Davis: 66
Enokk Vimahi: 13
Gavin Cupp: 11
Luke Wypler: 8
Josh Fryar: 4
Jack Jamieson: 4
Jones, Jones and Wray (who had played just one offensive snap in his entire Ohio State career before Saturday) all played the highest snap counts of their careers by far on Saturday, as each of them made their first career starts with Dawand Jones (who played the most snaps of any Buckeye in Saturday’s game) at left tackle, Matthew Jones at left guard and Wray at right tackle.
Miller, who was Ohio State’s starting left guard for the first four games, moved over to center to fill in for Myers. Davis – who left the game a couple plays before the other starters after suffering an injury, but is expected to be available against Michigan – was the only regular starter on the offensive line to start in his usual position against Michigan State.
Vimahi subbed in for Matthew Jones on occasional plays in the first half – and helped lead Teague to a 21-yard run and Sermon to a 25-yard run on his first two plays in the game – before finishing the game at right tackle with the second-team offensive line.
Cupp replaced Davis at right guard for Ohio State’s final 11 offensive plays. Wypler came in for Miller in the fourth quarter, though Miller checked back in for the game’s final two plays – both kneel-downs – after Wypler sent a snap over Jack Miller’s head that resulted in a safety.
Fryar checked in at left tackle and Jamieson checked in at left guard for Ohio State’s final four offensive plays to make their Buckeye debuts.
Jonathon Cooper: 33
Tyreke Smith: 33
Javontae Jean-Baptiste: 31
Zach Harrison: 29
Cormontae Hamilton: 6
With Tyler Friday unavailable for Saturday’s game, Ohio State used a simple four-man defensive end rotation against Michigan State. Cooper and Smith started the game and were on the field together for all 33 of their snaps, while Jean-Baptiste and Harrison also played together for all of their snaps until the final defensive series.
Hamilton, a converted tight end who recorded his first career sack in just his second game appearance as a Buckeye, played four snaps opposite Jean-Baptiste and two snaps opposite Harrison on Michigan State’s final possession of the game.
Haskell Garrett: 33
Tommy Togiai: 29
Taron Vincent: 25
Antwuan Jackson: 21
Jerron Cage: 11
Ty Hamilton: 5
Jaden McKenzie: 5
For the first time all season, Togiai didn’t play the most snaps among defensive tackles against Michigan State, as Garrett – who had the highlight of the game by tipping a pass to himself and intercepting it in the end zone for a touchdown – outpaced him slightly by playing exactly half of Ohio State’s defensive plays in East Lansing.
Togiai still played the highest snap count among nose tackles, but Jackson and Cage both saw their share of playing time in the rotation against Michigan State as well, while Hamilton also played five snaps at the position on Ohio State’s final defensive series of the day. Garrett and Vincent made up the 3-technique rotation for most of the game, though McKenzie played five snaps at that spot in the fourth quarter for his first playing time of the year.
Pete Werner: 57
Baron Browning: 57
Justin Hilliard: 41
Dallas Gant: 11
K’Vaughan Pope: 9
Cody Simon: 9
Tommy Eichenberg: 6
Teradja Mitchell: 3
Cade Kacherski: Special teams only
Werner and Browning were both on the field for every one of Ohio State’s first 57 defensive plays in Saturday’s game, with Browning moving to inside linebacker in the base defense to fill in for Borland. Hilliard took Browning’s normal spot in the starting lineup at Sam linebacker and played his highest snap count of the season.
Gant also saw some playing time with the starters at inside linebacker when the Buckeyes put their four-linebacker defense on the field, while Mitchell played three snaps alongside Werner and Browning in the Buckeyes’ 3-3-5 nickel defense.
Pope, Simon and Eichenberg saw all of their defensive snaps in the fourth quarter, with Pope lining up at Sam and Simon and Eichenberg manning the two inside linebacker spots.
Sevyn Banks: 60
Marcus Williamson: 52
Shaun Wade: 51
Tyreke Johnson: 15
Ryan Watts: 6
Lathan Ransom: 1
Banks was on the field for all of Ohio State’s first 60 defensive plays, the most of any Buckeye defender against Michigan State, before Watts took his place in the lineup for the final defensive series. Wade was on the field for 51 of the Buckeyes’ first 60 defensive plays, but was replaced by Johnson – who also finished out the game in his place – briefly in the third quarter after getting banged up.
With Proctor unavailable to rotate in this week, Williamson played 52 of the first 60 defensive plays in East Lansing, only coming off the field when the Buckeyes put a fourth linebacker in.
Ransom came into the game for one third-quarter snap at slot cornerback in a nickel package with Williamson playing as a second safety.
Sevyn Banks played the most snaps of any Ohio State defender against Michigan State. (Photo: Tim Fuller – USA TODAY Sports)
Marcus Hooker: 57
Ronnie Hickman: 21
Bryson Shaw: 9
Hooker played 57 of Ohio State’s first 60 defensive plays at deep safety, with Shaw occasionally taking his place in the lineup and finishing out the game in that spot. Hickman played 15 snaps as a second safety in nickel packages before taking over at slot cornerback for Ohio State’s final six defensive plays.
Field Goals/Extra Points
Blake Haubeil (kicker)
Drue Chrisman (holder)
Bradley Robinson (long snapper)
Jeremy Ruckert or Mitch Rossi (wing)
Matthew Jones (rocker)
Max Wray (tackle)
Dawand Jones (guard)
Jerron Cage (guard)
Gavin Cupp (tackle)
Enokk Vimahi (rocker)
Luke Farrell or Jake Hausmann (wing)
After missing Ohio State’s previous two games with a groin injury, Haubeil returned to action against Michigan State and made a 27-yard field goal along with all seven of his extra point attempts. Vimahi, who had been replaced on the field goal unit by Cupp against Indiana, returned to the lineup against Michigan State because Paris Johnson Jr., a regular on the unit, was unavailable.
Dominic DiMaccio (kicker)
Lathan Ransom (gunner)
Cody Simon (gunner)
Teradja Mitchell (gunner)
Marcus Hooker (gunner)
Cade Kacherski or Cade Stover (gunner)
Jameson Williams or K’Vaughan Pope (gunner)
Ronnie Hickman or Ryan Watts (gunner)
Chris Booker (gunner)
Tommy Eichenberg (gunner)
Marcus Williamson or Xavier Johnson (gunner)
Even with Haubeil back for field goals and extra points, DiMaccio continued to handle kickoffs for a fourth consecutive game.
Eichenberg made his season debut while Simon returned to the kickoff coverage unit against Michigan State, replacing Josh Proctor and Justin Hilliard. Kacherski had to be helped off the field after suffering a leg injury on Ohio State’s third kickoff of the game and was replaced by Stover for the rest of the day.
Demario McCall (returner)
Trey Sermon (blocker
Steele Chambers (blocker)
Cade Stover (blocker)
Mitch Rossi (blocker)
Dallas Gant (blocker)
Cody Simon (blocker)
Lathan Ransom (blocker)
Ronnie Hickman (blocker)
Chris Booker (blocker)
Ryan Watts (blocker)
Sermon, Simon and Ransom were new additions to the kickoff return unit against Michigan State, replacing Steele Chambers, Cade Kacherski and Kamryn Babb. McCall continued to handle return duties as he has all season and had one return for 18 yards.
Drue Chrisman (punter)
Bradley Robinson (long snapper)
Pete Werner (upback)
Jake Hausmann (upback)
Baron Browning (guard)
Dallas Gant (guard)
Justin Hilliard (tackle)
Luke Farrell (tackle/wing)
Jameson Williams (gunner) or Xavier Johnson (tackle/wing)
Julian Fleming (gunner)
Chris Olave or Demario McCall (gunner)
Werner took Tuf Borland’s usual place on the punting unit while Hausmann returned to man the other upback spot after missing the previous two games. Fleming was a regular on the punt team for the first time while Williams and McCall were new additions to the outside gunner rotation. Chrisman was at his best against Michigan State, averaging 53.4 yards per punt including a 74-yard punt and two punts downed inside the 2-yard line.
Garrett Wilson or Jaxon Smith-Njigba (returner)
Cade Kacherski or Cade Stover (lineman)
Xavier Johnson (lineman)
Steele Chambers (lineman)
Cody Simon (lineman)
Trey Sermon (lineman)
Chris Booker (lineman)
Lathan Ransom (linebacker)
Shaun Wade or Julian Fleming (cornerback)
Sevyn Banks (cornerback)
Bryson Shaw (safety)
Ohio State was in punt safe – meaning it kept its defense on the field, with the exception of the punt returner – for most of Michigan State’s 10 punts on Saturday, but these were the players who were in the game when the Buckeyes put their regular punt block unit on the field. Smith-Njigba replaced Wilson on the field for Michigan State’s final three punts and had a 7-yard return for the longest punt return of the day.
Field Goal/PAT Block
Sevyn Banks (lineman)
Teradja Mitchell (lineman)
Tyreke Smith (lineman)
Haskell Garrett (lineman)
Tommy Togiai or Antwuan Jackson (lineman)
Pete Werner (lineman)
Jonathon Cooper (lineman)
Shaun Wade (lineman)
Bryson Shaw or Marcus Hooker (linebacker)
Dallas Gant (linebacker)
Marcus Williamson (linebacker)
Smith, Shaw, Gant and Williamson were new additions to the field goal block unit against Michigan State, with Josh Proctor and Tuf Borland unavailable, while Zach Harrison also did not play on this unit after lining up there in each of the Buckeyes’ four previous games.
|QB||JACK MILLER III||6||DNP||DNP||DNP||4||10|
|WR||GEE SCOTT JR.||4||ST||8||DNP||DNP||12|
|OL||PARIS JOHNSON JR.||6||ST||1||ST||DNP||7|