The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the more confusing teams in the NFL. At 4-4, it’s easy to assume that the Eagles are an average team, yet Philly has outscored opponents by 57 points this season, the third-best differential behind the 7-1 Cowboys and 7-1 Patriots. Furthermore, Football Outsiders has the Eagles first in the NFL in defense-adjusted value over average, a metric that measures team performance on a play-by-play basis. So what’s the deal — are the Eagles secretly one of the best teams in the league, or have they somehow gamed the system?The obvious reason the Eagles are 4-4 despite putting up impressive numbers in the two stats mentioned above is that they clustered a lot of very strong play into just four games. In the team’s four wins, the Eagles have outscored opponents by a total of 76 points, an average of 19 points per victory. That makes Philadelphia one of four teams with an average margin of victory of at least 19 points in wins, joined by the Steelers (19.3 in four wins), Cardinals (23.3 in three wins) and 49ers (28.0 in one win).Meanwhile, the Eagles’ average margin of defeat in four losses is just 4.75 points, tied for the fifth-smallest margin. To put it another way, the point spread between the Eagles and their opponents is 14.25 points higher when Philadelphia wins than when it loses. That’s an inefficient way to rack up wins, of course. In fact, only the Cardinals have a larger disparity in their results in wins versus losses.1Note that the table below excludes the winless Browns. 27Kansas City6-2+11.7-18.0-6.3 8Carolina3-5+10.7-6.8+3.9 15Baltimore4-4+5.0-4.8+0.3 T23Chicago2-6+6.5-10.2-3.7 Numbers may not add up due to rounding. All information is through Week 9.Source: pro-football-reference.com 2Philadelphia4-4+19.0-4.8+14.3 29N.Y. Jets3-6+5.7-13.2-7.5 6San Diego4-5+10.8-4.4+6.4 2016′s most unbalanced point differentials 13Minnesota5-3+11.2-9.0+2.2 31Houston5-3+6.6-21.0-14.4 28Tampa Bay3-5+9.0-15.8-6.8 1Arizona3-4-1+23.3-7.8+15.6 18New England7-1+14.4-16.0-1.6 26Los Angeles3-5+5.0-10.4-5.4 T19Indianapolis4-5+5.8-8.0-2.3 5Buffalo4-5+17.8-7.4+10.4 TEAMRECORDWINSLOSSESDIFF 14New Orleans4-4+6.8-5.8+1.0 AVERAGE POINT DIFFERENTIAL IN … 25Oakland7-2+6.4-11.5-5.1 So Philadelphia is inadvertently testing the limits of two football analytics maxims: Good teams win in blowouts, and winning close games isn’t a skill. The Eagles are 0-4 in close games — that is, games decided by 7 or fewer points — which makes them tied with the Brown and Bills for the worst rate in the league. But unlike Cleveland and Buffalo, Philadelphia is 4-0 in games decided by 8 or more points. In fact, since 1970, Philadelphia is just the 4th team to start 4-0 in close games and 0-4 in other games, joining the 2006 Eagles, the 2005 Chargers and the 1991 49ers. Those three teams went 6-2, 5-3 and 6-2, respectively, in the second half of the season.Taking a broader look, winning big holds more predictive power than a team’s struggles in close games. I analyzed all 16-game seasons in NFL history and broke each team’s season into two halves: the first eight games and last eight games.2Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com I figured out how many games above or below .500 each team was in close games and how many games above or below .500 each team was in games that weren’t close, and then I calculated how those two variables affected the team’s record in the second half.3I ran a regression using those two variables as the inputs and the number of wins over the team’s final eight games as the output. The best-fit formula was: Rest of Year wins = 3.99 + 0.080 x Close-Game_Grade + 0.283 x Non-Close-Game_GradeBoth variables were statistically significant (with p-values of less than 0.01, and R-squared was 0.20 for the formula overall) in predicting each team’s number of wins the rest of the year, but the non-close-game variable had a weight about 3.5 times as large as the close-game variable. In short, things look good for the Eagles.Given their current record in close games and games that aren’t close, the Eagles would be expected to win 4.8 games the rest of the season. Had those numbers been flipped — i.e., 0-4 in games that aren’t close but 4-0 in close games — Philadelphia would be expected to win just 3.2 games the rest of the year. And, of course, had the Eagles been 2-2 in both sets of games, they would be expected to win 4.0 games over the rest of the year. So the way in which the Eagles have arrived at 4-4 does hold some predictive power.But it’s not all good news for the Eagles’ prospects. While the team may have outplayed its record, that’s partly because the Eagles have been great on special teams but below average on offense. According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles rank 23rd on offense, first on defense, and first in special teams. And according to ESPN’s expected points added rankings, Philadelphia’s offense ranks 23rd, its defense ranks fourth, and its special teams rank third. Research shows that offensive success is more sustainable than success on defense or special teams, in part because a team’s offense matters more than its defense in determining the final score of a given game. And the offense may not be in a position to turn things around, as rookie QB Carson Wentz has not looked as sharp lately after beginning the year on fire — possibly because teams have had more time to scout him.So while the Eagles may be playing better than their record, the way they’re doing it may be unsustainable. (In addition to being better on defense than offense, Philadelphia has also had outstanding fumble recovery luck this year, which is another type of performance that cannot be sustained.) And since Week 5, Carson Wentz ranks 31st out of 33 quarterbacks in adjusted yards per attempt. Philadelphia is just 1-4 since a surprising 3-0 start, and the team faces the second-hardest schedule in the league in its remaining games. Currently, ESPN projects the team with just a 51.9 percent chance of making the playoffs, down from 70.2 percent five weeks ago. 17Detroit5-4+3.4-4.5-1.1 16Tennessee4-5+7.5-7.8-0.3 9Denver6-3+12.2-8.3+3.8 21Cincinnati3-4-1+10.0-13.0-3.0 30Jacksonville2-6+2.0-11.0-9.0 12Seattle5-2-1+7.8-5.5+2.3 7Atlanta6-3+9.7-4.0+5.7 T19Miami4-4+7.0-9.3-2.3 T23N.Y. Giants5-3+4.0-7.7-3.7 22Washington4-3-1+6.5-9.7-3.2 3Dallas7-1+12.0-1.0+11.0 11Green Bay4-4+8.5-5.8+2.8 4San Francisco1-7+28.0-17.3+10.7 10Pittsburgh4-4+19.3-16.0+3.3
With how lopsided many of these first-round NBA playoff series have been, it would have been understandable to want the Thunder-Blazers matchup to continue beyond Tuesday, both because of its star power and because of the sheer back-and-forth competitiveness it displayed.But if the series had to end quickly, at least it went out with a bang: with Damian Lillard finishing not only with 50 points, but also with one of the greatest, most cold-blooded buzzer-beaters in NBA history — perhaps the most difficult one to ever end a playoff series, all things considered.This wasn’t Lillard’s first game-winner to end a series. He hit a more conventional one, coming off a screen for a lightning-quick catch-and-shoot opportunity, to knock out the Houston Rockets in 2014.But with Tuesday’s dagger, the Portland star finished off former MVP Russell Westbrook and his Oklahoma City club, literally waving goodbye to the visiting Thunder after nailing a shot just to the right of the Blazers’ half-court logo, a full 37 feet away from the basket. A shot from that distance would be difficult enough to knock down wide-open, let alone with an All-NBA defender like 6-foot-9 Paul George contesting it.“That’s a bad shot, I don’t care what anybody says. That’s a bad shot,” a defiant George told reporters after Oklahoma City fell, 118-115, putting an end to the five-game gentleman’s sweep.But in a way, that’s what made it such a spectacular one. Lillard wanted to take that shot. He had more than 10 seconds to make something else happen — to drive to the hoop for a closer look, or to potentially call a teammate over for a screen to get more space — and chose not to. Instead, he opted to let the clock run down to the final two seconds, took a side-step to his right and let it fly from 37. Ballgame.And despite George’s proclamation, that Lillard’s game-winner was a “bad shot” that went down anyway, consider this: Lillard had been doing stuff like this all series long. In fact, the buzzer-beater made Lillard an unthinkable 9-of-15 for the series from 30 feet and beyond, according to Second Spectrum. It’s part of the reason Lillard has been the most valuable player this postseason thus far.We’ve been critical of the Blazers and their roster construction at times in the past. A team built mostly around Lillard and CJ McCollum seems flawed, both because of the tough shots the guards rely on (especially when playing longer-wing defenders like Jrue Holiday last year) and because of the duo’s shortcomings on D. There have been some redeeming qualities present in their teamwide defense — the Blazers have been elite for years at limiting quality looks on that end of the floor. Still, the club’s calculus figured to get a lot tougher without starting center Jusuf Nurkic, who somehow had avoided serious injury in the past but then succumbed to a season-ending one just weeks before the playoffs began. And it didn’t help that the club entered this postseason having lost 10 playoff games in a row.Yet if Lillard can play anywhere close to this level going forward, it requires at least a brief reevaluation of everything. He had 34 points in the first half alone on Tuesday and hit three of his four attempts from 30-plus feet, including the one that sent the Thunder packing.Lillard’s ability to sink those shots — paired with Oklahoma City’s surprise that he’d even have the audacity to try them in some cases — was one of the key reasons Portland ran away with the series 4-1. The Thunder allowed him too much cushion, largely because defenders haven’t adjusted to the realization that Lillard, with nearly limitless range on his off-dribble jumpers, has arguably become the closest thing we have to Golden State’s Stephen Curry.Curry, Lillard and Atlanta rookie Trae Young were the only three players in the NBA to take more than 40 3-point attempts from 30 feet and beyond this past regular season, according to Basketball-Reference.com’s Play Index. Curry shot an impressive 31.1 percent, while Lillard hit 30.6 percent of his tries from that distance. (Young, promisingly, made 34.6 percent of his.)After the game, Lillard told reporters that his trainer, Phil Beckner, had him work on longer-than-usual 3-point attempts — closer to half-court — while working out in Oklahoma City earlier in the series. “I’m telling you, you’re gonna hit one of these,” he recalled Beckner saying.And unfortunately for the Thunder, that one — which might have been a bad shot for just about anybody other than Lillard — was enough to end their season in the most brutal way possible.
The Ohio State Buckeyes waited for months to see if Terrelle Pryor’s Rose Bowl performance could be something to build on.While the Spring Game isn’t a foolproof indication for what a team can expect, it can be reassuring to see that players haven’t taken a step back.In Pryor’s case, coach Jim Tressel said he has continued to progress, even if he only was on the field for three series.“I thought he was good,” Tressel said. “You have to play the hand that is dealt you. He knew he wasn’t going to play much and he knew he couldn’t go live on the run part of it, so he focused on what he could do. He worked on his footwork and coverage recognition, decision-making and so forth. I thought he did a fairly good job.”The Buckeye quarterback didn’t impress at first, as the Scarlet team started three-and-out.After a touchdown drive by the Gray, however, Pryor completed all four of his passes on a drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Dane Sanzenbacher.“It was very impressive because we came out first drive and scored and I thought that was going to put an edge up for me on Terrelle,” freshman quarterback Kenny Guiton said. “But he basically said ‘Nah, nah come back to me.’ He drove them down the field and it looked good to me.”Pryor finished the day 8-of-12 for 108 yards and a touchdown.Guiton separating himself as backupThe only quarterback competition taking place for the Buckeyes recently has been for the backup job, and after the performances of Guiton and Joe Bauserman in the Spring Game, that competition could be closer than ever.[Guiton] “looked awesome. He’s a great quarterback,” offensive lineman Jack Mewhort said. “I watched his high school film before he even came here and knew he would be amazing on the field someday. I don’t think anyone gave him enough credit and he proved himself out there today.”When Guiton found Taurian Washington for a 45-yard, game-winning touchdown for his team, it was the culmination of an impressive spring.“He played great today,” Washington said. “He proves himself every day in practice and his confidence has risen lately. He has played extremely well this spring and I think there are great things in the future for him.”Bauserman, on the other hand, had a day he would like to forget. He threw two interceptions and finished six-of-15.Spring game superstarTaurian Washington’s career hasn’t gone the way he would have thought.After catching a touchdown in his first game as a Buckeye, Washington has struggled with consistency and struggled to earn playing time.But if there was ever a guy who could be relied on if all games were played in April, it would be Washington.“I knew it was going to happen because T-Wash is a Spring Game legend around here,” Sanzenbacher said. “There was no denying that he was going to get into the end zone.”Technically, Washington has caught five touchdowns as a Buckeye, but only one that really counts.In last year’s Spring Game, he also caught two touchdowns, adding to his spring stardom.“I don’t know what it is about the spring. I really don’t know,” Washington said. “I am just proud that I have come out and been successful every year during spring ball.”Last season, Washington had a chance to finally make an impact when the Buckeyes started the season against Navy. Two dropped passes later, Washington didn’t earn many more opportunities to excel.Although he contemplated transferring, Washington returned to OSU and hopes he can finally turn his super springs into a productive senior season.“I’ve had a pretty successful spring,” Washington said. “I’m hoping it carries over into the fall.”
A 49-0 victory over Purdue wasn’t convincing enough for Ohio State to move up in the latest BCS rankings. Instead, the Buckeyes (7-1, 3-1) dropped one spot to No. 11, right behind No. 10 Wisconsin, who rose three spots after knocking off Iowa on the road. Auburn took over the No. 1 position from Oklahoma, who lost at Missouri on Saturday night. Oregon remained at No. 2 following its 60-13 win over UCLA. Boise State stayed at No. 3. TCU and Michigan State round out the top five. Missouri ascended to No. 6 after dethroning the Sooners, who fell to No. 9. Alabama and Utah check in at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. Ohio State plays at Minnesota Saturday at 8 p.m.
Ohio State has named Steve Rohlik as the interim coach of its men’s hockey team, according to a press release. Rohlik, who served as the Buckeyes’ associate head coach for three seasons, will replace former coach Mark Osiecki, who was let go by the program Monday. Rohlik said he doesn’t know why Osiecki was fired. “It has been a difficult couple days for everybody. I’m just focusing on my role of getting the players to finish up the semester in the way they need to do and that’s what my focus is on right now,” Rohlik said in an interview with The Lantern Tuesday afternoon. Rohlik joined OSU’s staff in 2010 after spending 10 years as an assistant coach at Minnesota Duluth. While he was on staff, the team advanced to two NCAA tournaments from 2001-2010, including a Frozen Four appearance in 2004 and the 2009 WCHA playoff title. Rohlik also served as an assistant coach for three seasons at Nebraska-Omaha from 1998-2000. Prior to that, he spent 1991 on the Wisconsin coaching staff. Like his predecessor, Rohlik is a Minnesota native and graduated from Wisconsin. He was a two-time captain for the Badgers hockey team, which won a national championship his senior year. Rohlik said he doesn’t know what his salary will be yet. “There’s been nothing like that right now at all,” Rohlik said. “Like I said, I’m just focusing on what my role is right now.” As of Tuesday afternoon, a description of the men’s hockey head coaching position was still available on OSU’s career website. The position’s description had not changed upon the announcement of Rohlik being named interim head coach.
OSU football coach Urban Meyer talks to senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett (63) during practice Aug. 9 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern photo editorWith just two weeks remaining before the season opener against Navy, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer is in the process of finalizing a starting lineup.Meyer, who is entering his third season at the helm of the Buckeyes, said at a Saturday press conference he has seen improvement from multiple positions including on the offensive line, a unit that graduated four starters from last year’s team.“(Redshirt-senior) Darryl Baldwin is the starting right tackle,” Meyer announced Saturday. “He is one of the most improved players on the team.”Meyer said that makes Baldwin, redshirt-sophomore Pat Elflein and junior Taylor Decker the three named starters along the offensive line. He added junior Jacoby Boren, senior Joel Hale, redshirt-junior Chase Farris, redshirt-freshman Billy Price and redshirt-junior Antonio Underwood are in the running for the final two starting spots.Meyer also mentioned Alabama transfer Chad Lindsay, but said Lindsay, a senior, has been banged up during camp.“His shoulder was dinged up a little bit, he did scrimmage today,” Meyer said. “The good thing is we have a couple names in there, the bad thing is it’s not solidified yet.”Other than naming Baldwin a starter, Meyer said there has been a shift in the battle to replace fan-favorite quarterback Kenny Guiton.“(Redshirt-freshman) J.T. Barrett has moved slightly ahead of (redshirt-sophomore) Cardale (Jones) in the quarterback derby,” Meyer said. “That is because of his opportunities…he has grown up a little bit. He was always kind of a quiet guy and he is starting to act like a quarterback.”Other than the quarterback position, which has been locked down by senior Braxton Miller since Meyer’s arrival to Columbus, getting touches on offense is something Meyer said needs to be earned.“I tell our guys it’s a street fight for the ball,” Meyer said. “Don’t have a bad day, because that’s a couple carries or that’s a couple pass receptions.”Replacing Carlos Hyde’s production from a year ago will likely be a team effort as Meyer said multiple running backs are in the conversation for playing time.Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott missed a few practices due to a minor wrist surgery, which gave redshirt-sophomore Bri’onte Dunn and redshirt-senior Rod Smith an opportunity, something Meyer said they embraced.“Zeke (Elliot) is back in the rotation just non-contact. Both (Dunn) and Rod Smith have made every practice and done really well,” he said. “I give credit to (Dunn) and Rod Smith, every day they have shown up and they have worked their tails off so they are in the mix.”The most scrutinized unit from last year, the defensive secondary, received high praise from Meyer.“Safety (position) is strong. You got (sophomore) Cam Burrows, (sophomore) Vonn Bell and (redshirt-sophomore) Tyvis Powell and (freshman) Erick Smith right on his toes,” Meyer said.The competition for the open spots is something that co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell believes will push OSU to become better as a team.“If we have a game tomorrow, I’d say we have 15 guys who can compete for a starting spot, not just a set 11,” Fickell said at OSU’s media day Aug. 10. “If you have a true 11 starters, you don’t have the great competition that makes a great team.”From the most dissected unit, to the most praised, the Buckeye defensive line has been tabbed by many as the best in the country. One of its members, junior Tommy Schutt was singled out by Meyer on Saturday.“Tommy Schutt is the most improved player at Ohio State right now,” Meyer said. “He has done a really really good job. You start seeing people like that step up along with Darryl Baldwin — they were non-factors a year ago and now they are going to be deep into the mix offensively and defensively.”One of the few concerns on the OSU defensive line is who will replace junior Noah Spence, who will miss the first two games of the 2014 season due to suspension. Meyer said there are a number of players in competition for extra playing time while Spence is out.“(Senior) Steve Miller, (redshirt-senior) Rashad Frazier are the two that will fill his spot,” Meyer said. “(Freshman) Jalyn Holmes is really making a push right now. When we go Navy period, which we have been going pretty much every day, he (Spence) is on the scout team. We do keep him training with the one defense though.”With so many talented players on the defensive line, first year OSU coach Larry Johnson said he wants to see all of them on the field.“My goal is to have a group of nine to 10 guys we can shuffle in and out in no particular order,” Johnson said at OSU’s media day. “We have the talent to be able to do that, we just have to coach it up.”Overall, Meyer said he is happy with the direction his team is heading, just two weeks away from its first game.“I feel good. I like our players. We are not going to practice tomorrow, they deserve that, they have earned that,” he said.The Buckeyes are scheduled to kickoff Aug. 30 at noon against the Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
OSU sophomore saftey Jordan Fuller speaks with the media on March 30 in the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex. Credit: Nicholas McWilliams | Sports EditorOf all the players Ohio State has to replace from the 2016 roster, safety Malik Hooker might be the most difficult. Projected as a top-10 NFL draft pick, Hooker was everything to the Buckeye defense in 2016 with seven interceptions and three defensive touchdowns.As spring practice continues, and with just two weeks from the annual spring game, sophomore safety Jordan Fuller is one of the players vying for that starting job.“It’s a battle,” Fuller said. “I don’t see myself leading. I see a lot of guys just competing together.”Returning at safety is senior Damon Webb, who started at safety opposite Hooker in every game last season, accumulating 57 total tackles. He said that just because he started last season doesn’t mean he has secured his starting spot in 2017.“Right now, we don’t have any starters, even me,” Webb said. “So it’s great competition. We’re all just trying to get better.”In addition to Hooker, the Ohio State defense also lost two potential NFL first-round cornerbacks in Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore. Lattimore is currently projected to be a top-5 draft pick and Conley to be taken early in the late first round.Last season, Conley and Lattimore had four interceptions a piece, while each posted 12 and 13 passes defended, respectively. Hooker and Lattimore combined for a total of four defensive touchdowns that were essential for the Buckeyes. Fuller played in all 12 games as a freshman — mostly on special teams — and accumulated 11 total tackles. He said he is well aware of the big shoes that he has to fill, but to him it’s just what comes with being a Buckeye.“We’ve got to keep it in our mind,” Fuller said of his predecessors in the secondary. “It’s a standard here at Ohio State … Obviously it’s a big void but we’re all taking it on our shoulders.”Fuller spent last year on the sidelines backing up Webb and getting comfortable with the defense. He said he was content with his role on the team and learned a lot from his teammates and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. Along with Webb, Fuller is competing for playing time with senior safety Erick Smith, whose career has been hampered with injuries.With a spot open and a year under his belt, Fuller said it’s about putting it all together and making plays. Fuller, at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, believes he has some similarities to Hooker on the field.“I think I have good range, like Malik,” Fuller said. “I think I can just make the plays necessary to hold the standard here.”In his second year with the Scarlet and Gray, Fuller sees earning a starting spot as a milestone.“It would mean the world to me,” Fuller said, “That’s why I work as hard as I do.”
Ohio State sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins (2) looks down the field from the bench in the second half of the game against Purdue on Oct. 20. Ohio State lost 49-20. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOhio State has some issues to overcome. In the final game before their bye week, the Buckeyes fell to Purdue 49-20, allowing 539 yards of total offense in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Saturday. Two weeks prior to Ohio State facing Nebraska at home on Nov. 3, redshirt senior wide receiver Terry McLaurin knows how players should approach the next few days: in the same way the Buckeyes approached practices and game planning after the Iowa loss last season. “There was a more seriousness that everybody took about,” McLaurin said. “When you are on a roll, it’s not like you feel like you can’t get touched, but you don’t know what that taste is like to lose. And it almost makes you recalibrated and get your mind right, look yourself in the mirror, all of us men in the locker room and see what you can do to get better.” Here are three takeaways Ohio State can look at after its 29-point loss to the Boilermakers. Dobbins struggles againHeading into the off week, much of the attention for Ohio State has been on the lack of production from the running back room, relying on the pro-style offense redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins has thrived in through the first seven games of the season. Splitting carries with redshirt junior running back Mike Weber, who leads the team averaging 5.4 yards per carry, sophomore J.K. Dobbins is in a rough stretch in terms of success in the ground game. Despite scoring two touchdowns in this span, Dobbins has averaged fewer than four yards per carry in the past four games, recording only 24 yards on 11 rushes against the Boilermakers on Saturday. The 2.2 yards per rush against Purdue was the lowest average he has had in a single game in his collegiate career. The sophomore running back had been targeted in the passing game more, recording a season-high four receptions for 34 yards. The offense is changing and Dobbins seems to be adapting, but the integral part of his game, the part that brought him to Ohio State in the first place and shined in his freshman season, has not been there through the past four games. Defensive line showed signs of life early The Purdue offense foreshadowed success against Ohio State in the very first play of the game when redshirt senior quarterback David Blough hit freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore for 23 yards, a connection that would be made 11 more times that game. However, the defensive line, knowing it would be without junior All-American defensive end Nick Bosa for the rest of the campaign, seemed to step up in the pass rush after that play. With sophomore Chase Young and junior Jonathon Cooper on either end, Ohio State forced Blough to five straight incompletions. Before Blough hit sophomore wide receiver Jared Sparks for a 16-yard gain in the third drive, the Boilermakers could not move against the Ohio State defensive line. However, as redshirt senior running back D.J. Knox began to get going, rushing for 128 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries, the Ohio State defensive line struggled, recording three of the seven team tackles for loss, with Young and Cooper combining for one sack. The defensive line showed signs of life, but showed a lack of consistency, allowing for Knox to find holes and for Blough to find time to hit Moore and other targets in the passing game. Stopping receivers like Rondale Moore Ohio State does not have to face Moore every week. In Saturday’s game, Moore recorded 170 yards and two touchdowns on 12 catches. Blough had an obvious game plan, targeting the freshman receiver 18 times in the passing game compared to targeting Sparks five times, the second-most on the team. Moore’s attributes are the Ohio State secondary’s worst nightmare, showcasing an ability to get open and out-running every member of the secondary in open space. Junior safety Jordan Fuller did not have much to say in terms of Moore’s success, saying the freshman was a good player and that he has a “bright future.” However, this shows a playbook of how opponents beat the Ohio State defense: using quick receivers to get open in short-yardage situations and use their speed to outrun safeties and corners. What Moore did was expected looking at what he did in the past for Purdue. Ohio State was still not able to stop it.
Junior pitcher Jake Vance (3), delivers a pitch during Ohio State’s game against Hawaii on March 24 at Nick Swisher Field. The Buckeyes came up short and lost the contest 3-15. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The LanternAfter the Northwestern series, Ohio State’s bullpen seemed to be in shambles. But that very bullpen was the reason the Buckeyes were able to pull out a win against Dayton. In a game where the Buckeyes were short on hits, the bullpen produced five scoreless innings. Ohio State (18-16, 2-4 Big Ten) outdueled Dayton (18-14-1, 7-2 Atlantic 10) 4-2 on Wednesday. In its past home series, the Ohio State bullpen had an ERA of 23.63.With the game hanging in the balance in the eighth inning, junior pitcher Jake Vance was faced with a bases loaded situation. “Whenever it’s bases loaded, I just try to hit another level and turn it up a notch.” Vance said.The right-handed pitcher was able to calmly record the final two outs of the inning to keep the score 2-2. “[Vance] showed mental toughness,” head coach Greg Beals said. “In the face of adversity, he executed pitches and was really, really good.” Vance had been the usual midweek starter, but after a stretch of struggling, he moved into the reliever role. “Some of my starts haven’t been as good as I wanted them to be, so I kind of told them that I wouldn’t mind coming out of the pen,” Vance said. Despite his past struggles, Vance was able to deliver a strong performance Wednesday. Vance would finish the game with four scoreless innings of work. Vance would strike out four and allow only three hits in his third win on the year. With both teams playing in their second weekday game, two freshmen pitchers were called upon to make their starting debuts. Freshman pitcher Mitch Milheim had made 10 appearances for the Buckeyes. The left-hander had struggled in his short time on the mound, allowing 15 runs in only 12 innings of work. In his first collegiate start, Milheim was able to deliver a much needed four innings for the Buckeyes. He would finish with two earned runs allowed and three strikeouts.“Moving [Milheim] into the start role today, probably the best he has pitched all year for us,” Beals said.Freshman pitcher Dylan Keller had realized more success, but he had only logged nine innings on the hill for the Flyers. Keller had an ERA of 2.00, but the freshman had more walks than strikeouts on the season. Keller allowed two runs in his six-inning start. He struck out two and allowed three hits. Junior right fielder Dominic Canzone came into Wednesday’s game riding the longest reached-base streak since then-sophomore outfielder Troy Montgomery reached base safely in 37 consecutive games between 2015 and 2016. Canzone was able to extend his streak to 30 against Dayton. The co-captain would finish the game with two hits and two runs. Dayton was able to crack the scoreboard first with a two-run third inning. The Buckeyes were able to strike back in the bottom half of the inning. Freshman third baseman Zach Dezenzo was able to scamper home after a wild pitch to cut the deficit in half.Ohio State tied the game at two with a sacrifice fly ball from senior left fielder Brady Cherry in the bottom of the sixth inning.A bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth gave Ohio State’s its first lead of the contest. A sacrifice fly ball to left field by sophomore catcher Dillon Dingler pushed the lead to two runs.Ohio State would win the game with only five hits.“Not like we banged the ball around the ballpark, but we took advantage of the opportunities we had,” Beals said. Ohio State junior pitcher Andrew Magno completed the pitching performance with a hitless ninth inning, earning his fifth save on the season. Ohio State will begin its three-game series against Michigan at 6:35 p.m. Friday.
The change is expected to force the disclosure by next summer of the pay packets of more than 100 of the BBC’s best-known faces including football commentator Gary Lineker and chat show host Graham Norton.It has sparked protests from the BBC, which raised fears it would be harder to hold on to its biggest names and pointed out that it already paid less than other broadcasters.But Ms Bradley told MPs: “The BBC is one of this country’s greatest achievements and greatest treasures. These reforms ensure that it will continue to be cherished at home and abroad for many years to come.” The logo for the Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBCCredit:Carl Court/Getty Images The BBC Trust’s chairman Rona Fairhead hit out at the decision to reveal presenters’ pay, saying that it is not in the interest of viewers.The outgoing chairman of the BBC Trust said: “We don’t agree with the Government on everything and are disappointed with the decision on the disclosure of presenters’ pay. We don’t believe this is in the long-term interests of licence fee payers.”She added: “Today’s draft Charter is validation of what the public have told us they want – a strong, bold BBC, editorially independent, effectively governed and which places audiences at its heart.”Long, tough but ultimately constructive negotiations have put the BBC on a strong footing for the future.”It is good that, for the first time, there will be a more transparent process for setting the licence fee.”The Government should go further and we will continue to urge them to publish future funding proposals for external scrutiny before making a final decision.” 12:08PMRona Fairhead: ‘Government should go further’ Up late due to an overrunning debate, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is speaking and has announced a new BBC Charter for the next 11 years.She told the House of Commons it would ensure that “a strong, distinctive, independent BBC will continue to thrive for years to come”. A new Royal Charter for the BBC covering the next 11 years will ensure that “a strong, distinctive, independent BBC will continue to thrive for years to come”, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has told the House of Commons.Ms Bradley unveiled the draft Charter in a statement to the Commons in which she confirmed that the corporation will be required to name BBC stars earning more than £150,000. 11:47AMNew Charter announced Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.