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Ohio State Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Week 1 Game

Tim BielikSenior Analyst IOctober 24, 2016

Ohio State Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Week 1 Game

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    So far, so good for Urban Meyer as his debut at Ohio State was a success, with his team rolling Miami (OH) 56-10 on Saturday.

    The first quarter was very dreadful for the Buckeyes as they struggled to do anything on either side of the ball.

    Whatever Meyer said after that quarter must have worked because OSU was a different team, especially on offense, where they scored 35 unanswered points to build a lead they would never give up.

    Here's how we are grading all of the Buckeyes' 22 starters after the opening week of the season.

QB Braxton Miller: B+

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    As poorly as Braxton Miller started the game, he made up for it in the second and third quarters until he left early due to cramping.

    Miller was indecisive and missed all sorts of throws in the opening quarter.

    Luckily, he stepped up and made some big plays to ignite the Buckeye offense.

    And setting the OSU single-game rushing record for a quarterback doesn't hurt either.

RB Carlos Hyde: A-

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    Carlos Hyde will never be confused for a Chris Rainey or Jeff Demps, but he had a great opening game, finding the endzone twice.

    As the game went on and OSU's tempo started to make an effect, Hyde became better, breaking a few more tackles each time he ran the ball.

    That type of power could be an interesting benefit in the spread attack because tackling a big back like Hyde takes a lot of energy.

WR Devin Smith: A+

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    When you make a catch like this, there is no other grade you can give.

WR Corey "Philly" Brown: A

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    Corey Brown's season debut was not as demonstrative as Devin Smith's, but that's asking too much of anyone not named Calvin Johnson.

    Brown was very good though in his own right, catching 7 passes—half of his total from all of 2011—for 84 yards and a touchdown, tying last year's touchdown total.

    He was motioned into the backfield nearly a dozen times on Saturday, though he was used as a decoy every time.

    That probably won't be the case in the future, and he may become a run threat as soon as next week against Central Florida.

WR Jake Stoneburner: B-

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    Jake Stoneburner made the move from tight end back to wide receiver towards the end of fall camp.

    His first game at the position was rather quiet, as he had just two catches in the game for 28 yards.

    Odds are that as the season goes on, he will be targeted more and get more opportunities than he did on Saturday.

FB Zach Boren: A

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    After not scoring a touchdown since his freshman year at Indiana, it was good to see senior Zach Boren finally make a return trip to the endzone like he did against the RedHawks.

    Boren had two carries and two catches, which is much more activity than he has had for most of his Ohio State career.

    Expect him to get some touches consistently throughout the season.

LT Jack Mewhort: A-; LG Andrew Norwell: A

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    Jack Mewhort's first start at LT was pretty solid, leading an OSU offense that rushed for 294 yards on the afternoon.

    It's tough to evaluate individual line performances, but Mewhort looked pretty solid, especially considering the fact that he was suspended for the summer quarter along with Stoneburner.

    After playing tackle in each of his first two seasons, Andrew Norwell started at LG for Ohio State on Saturday.

    Norwell's power makes him a good fit at guard, and he should be a good fit on the left side with Jack Mewhort.

C Corey Linsley: A-

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    Centers are based solely on how they get the ball to the quarterback, especially in spread offenses.

    Corey Linsley had only one bad snap, so he had a very good day.

RG Marcus Hall: A-; RT Reid Fragel: B

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    Reid Fragel won't be doing any more of what he did in the picture. The former tight end converted to a right tackle and got his first start at the position on Saturday.

    Hall and Fragel were strong as Carlos Hyde ran to that side quite a bit throughout the game.

    Hall got some decent push, while Fragel's grade is lower because he was the only lineman to commit a penalty in the game.

DE John Simon: A-; DE J.T. Moore: A

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    J.T Moore was technically designated as a starter by the OSU statisticians, but senior Nathan Williams got a good amount of the playing time in the first half, making a handful of tackles in his return from knee surgery.

    Moore played solid at the end spot in his time, though he, like the rest of the defensive line, struggled early in the game in terms of getting to Zac Dysert.

    John Simon was John Simon, making big plays on defense and being a presence all over the field.

DT Johnathan Hankins: A; DT Garrett Goebel: A-

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    Even though Miami's run game was virtually non-existant last season by every stretch of the imagination, holding any team to -1 yards rushing is a great job.

    Johnathan Hankins and Garrett Goebel were great at controlling the middle of the defensive line and not allowing any leverage against them in the run game.

    They won't ever allow negative rushing yards for a game, but this tandem has great experience and should be able to control most offensive fronts this year.

OLB Ryan Shazier: A

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    Ohio State's other freshman sensation set forth on Saturday to prove that 2011 was no fluke.

    Ryan Shazier led the team with eight tackles—six of them solo—and a pass breakup.

    Plain and simple, he was all over the place as usual and helped create some pressure on Dysert over the course of the game.

    So far it does not look like he's lost any speed despite adding a few pounds in the offseason.

MLB Curtis Grant: B+

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    Curtis Grant was tabbed early in the spring as the reason Ohio State's defense would either succeed or fail.

    In his debut as a starter, he was extremely quiet, registering three assist tackles and no solo stops.

    Grant is still very green so it's almost insane to assume he would be Ray Lewis from his first day, but he should be a more involved defender as the season progresses.

OLB Etienne Sabino: A+

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    After four years of looking like a five-star bust, Etienne Sabino finally had the type of game worthy of his five-star status.

    Sabino played downhill putting up four solo tackles, including an assist on a sack by Noah Spence which later forced a punt deep in Miami territory.

    No. 6 looked like he was playing much, much faster than ever before, at least for one day. If he can do that frequently, he can help to reverse his image as a highly-touted kid that just didn't pan out.

CB Bradley Roby: A-

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    Bradley Roby had one of those days were he was pretty much involved in every single play.

    In his first game wearing No. 1, Roby was burned on a 58-yard pass, had an interception overturned and broke up two passes, all in the first half.

    He also recovered a botched snap on a punt in the endzone for a touchdown, rounding out his day.

    Roby was certainly busy all game long, but he made plenty of plays to prove worthy of the hype surrounding him.

CB Travis Howard: A

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    Just like how Devin Smith's day was defined by his one catch, Travis Howard's day was defined by the two passes he caught.

    Howard had the only two interceptions of the game on either side, the second of which helped set up another Ohio State touchdown.

    Luckily for Howard and the Buckeye secondary, none of the next 11 opponents should throw 53 times against OSU.

S Christian Bryant: B+

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    Safety Christian Bryant got his chance to start in the secondary along with senior C.J. Barnett, and he made a solid impact in his first start.

    Bryant, along with Barnett, had trouble keeping the RedHawks receivers under wraps, as he was burned for a 42-yard pass and was forced to make several tackles after decent gains.

    He may still be learning the position, but he has to do a better job of not letting receivers get behind him.

S C.J. Barnett: B

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    C.J. Barnett and the rest of the secondary were extremely busy playing air traffic control as Miami threw 54 times in the Buckeyes' win.

    Barnett had two tackles but his biggest problem was in the beginning of the game when he and Bryant let several of the Miami receivers burn them for big plays.

    And once again, he dropped an interception that was right in his hands.

    You have to believe that, just once, he will hold on to the football and get that interception he deserves, yet keeps eluding him oh so much.


    Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.

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