Elite rookies keep Ohio State competitive in college football landscape

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JT Tuimoloau had six tackles, two sacks and two interceptions in Ohio State’s win over Penn State at Beaver Stadium.

One of the biggest reasons Ohio State can take on the Alabamas, Georgias and Clemsons of college football is because the Buckeyes have as much recruiting reach as they do. Ryan Day and his team can go wherever they need to go to attract elite talent.

The latest stark example of this is the wreckage of Seattle product JT Tuimoloau left at Beaver Stadium on Saturday. The defensive end produced a line of stats that even Chase Young and the Bosa brothers couldn’t touch during their tenures at Ohio State: six tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, two interceptions ( a return for a touchdown), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a broken pass. A ridiculous one-player feat.

Day called it “his coming out party” after the game. Tuimoloau was the rivals.com Nation’s No. 7 prospect in the Class of 2021, picking Ohio State over all West Coast schools and Alabama. Tuimoloau helped immediately, but not dramatically. So far. On a day when Ohio State’s offense was sometimes erratic and sometimes explosive, Tuimoloau’s ability to single-handedly produce three of the Buckeyes’ four takeouts was a huge factor.

Other members of this 2021 Ohio State recruiting class: wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. (of Philadelphia) and Emeka Egbuka (of Tacoma, Wash.), who combined for 16 receptions and 238 yards against Penn State. On the season, these two have a total of 94 catches for 1,571 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Talent is the currency of the kingdom. And teams that can get it from anywhere in the country have dominated the sport in recent years. Ohio State prominently among them.

Other changes in the games midi window:

  • Notre Dame’s full-card season reached another high point on Saturday with a rout of Syracuse, dropping the Orange to 6-2 and lifting the Fighting Irish to 5-3. The Irish, who lost at home to Marshall and Stanford (combined record 7-7), also picked up wins on the road against North Carolina and Orange (combined record 12-2 heading into the day).

This offense of Notre Dame is not a work of art, and to compensate this Saturday the Irish made points in different ways. They recorded a pick six on the first play of the game, then blocked a punt in the fourth quarter to set up a two-yard touchdown.

The Irish won’t make the college football playoffs, but they have two great chances to beat the teams that do. They host Clemson next Saturday and visit USC on November 26.

  • With reports swirling that Auburn may have their new athletic director on the way, football coach Bryan Harsin has reinforced certainty that he is on his way out. The Harsin Tigers were routed at home by Arkansas, 41-27, falling to 3-5 and 1-4 in the SEC.

Harsin is staggering to two losing seasons in two years on the job, and Auburn hasn’t had less than .500 straight years since the 1990s. The program’s free fall will allow the new AD to move more quickly in a new direction – and Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellerger reported Saturday that the school was in talks with Mississippi State DA John Cohen to take the job.

Changing schools within the SEC is a centuries-old tradition, and Cohen appears to be the next set to do so, despite being a beloved former and former baseball coach from Mississippi State.

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