While every team begins its season hoping to finish No. 1, two was the key number for the Ohio State Buckeyes over the first half of Saturday’s opener against visiting Oregon State.
That’s how many fumble recoveries superstar Nick Bosa recorded (the No. 2-rated player on my Big Board), including one for a touchdown.
It is also the number of sacks another potential future first round pick, Dre’Mont Jones, registered over the first 30 minutes of action (after getting just one a year ago), as well as how many impressive touchdowns were scored by Mike Weber, as the Buckeyes raced out to a 42-14 halftime lead.
Bosa, of course, was the headliner and proved worthy of all his preseason buzz attention almost immediately, repeatedly burning the Beavers with his initial quickness and varied rushes, including the one below.
The 6-3, 286 pound Jones (school numbers) was just as effective, slithering his way through the over-matched Oregon State, showing the burst, quick swim move and closing speed every team in the NFL is looking for in an interior defensive lineman.
Unlike Bosa, who entered his junior campaign with stellar production already (combined 63 tackles, including 23 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks), Jones flashed more than finished last season, his second as a starter for the Buckeyes. Jones was credited with 20 tackles on the season, including five for loss and a single sack (against Penn State), making Saturday’s debut all the more noteworthy.
Splitting duties with freshman phenom J.K. Dobbins a year ago in resulted in similarly pedestrian numbers for Weber but the rock-solid 5-09, 215 pound junior looked ready to run back up draft boards Saturday, rushing for 92 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries by halftime, which was extended due to a weather delay.
Weber’s naturally low center of gravity allows him to bounce off would-be tacklers, as one Oregon State defensive back learned the hard way around the five-yard line.
Unlike most backs of his compact frame, Weber also possesses legitimate breakaway speed, as this 49-yard jaunt off the left side demonstrated.
All in all, not a bad start for Ohio State and their top-rated NFL prospects.