Week Five of the college football season has come and gone and once again your Empire team is here to pass out a few helmet stickers to deserving Buckeyes. Urban Meyer and Ohio State notched their first road victory of the 2012 season and now sit at 5-0 overall and 1-0 in-conference, good enough to perch them atop the Leaders Division of the B1G next to also-ineligible Penn State.
The Buckeyes went into East Lansing as 3-point underdogs and came out looking like the class of the Big Ten. For their efforts the Associated Pres voters have moved them up two more spot to 12th in the country, good enough for the highest ranking among all B1G teams (Nebraska 21st, Northwestern 24th).
Saturday’s battle with the Spartans marked the first time the Silver Bullets defense performed at or above expectation, holding Michigan State to just 16 points and all-everything running back Le’Veon Bell to only 45 yards on 17 carries. This week, rather than each Empire staffer passing out one offensive and one defensive helmet sticker, we’ve allowed each writer to distribute five stickers each to whoever they saw fit. We’ll continue to do that throughout the remainder of the season, but first things first: Helmet Stickers earned versus Michigan State…
Braxton Miller, in a spot he’s certainly gotten used to, receives 12 Empire helmet stickers this week which brings his total after five games up to 38. Simply put, he’s been the fuel for Ohio State fire on every drive of each of the Buckeyes’ five games thus far. Saturday afternoon in East Lansing was no different.
All he did at Spartan Stadium was compile 315 of Ohio State’s 383 total yards, good for 82% of the Buckeyes’ total offensive output. Once again Miller went over the century mark on the ground, recording 136 yards on 23 carries, good for a 5.9 yard-per-carry average.
His 70% completion rate (16 completions in just 23 pass attempts) was much-needed against a Sparty defense who loads the box and forces you to make plays in the air. Miller did just that, including a key 63-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith that gave Ohio State the lead for good.
Multiple Silver Bullets received helmet stickers this week from your empire staff (22 total), but senior linebacker Etienne Sabino was the leader he needed to be on Saturday in order to get the defense back into the dominant mode that’s been missing thus far in 2012.
When all was said and done, Michigan State was only able to muster 22 total yards on the ground on Saturday, in part because of the space-eating Johnathan Hankins (five helmet stickers this week), but the man among boys this week was Sabino. He finished with 8 total tackles (4 solo), one huge sack that immediately hushed the Spartan Stadium crowd, two quarterback hurries and was credited with one pass defended.
The whole of the Ohio State roster voted Sabino one of their team captains before the season got underway, and Saturday he showed the exact physical and emotional leadership that this defense needed to get back on the right track, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. A road win, in-conference, against a ranked opponent could very well be catapult this young team into a run of wins that could ultimately lead to an unblemished 12-0 record to start the Urban Meyer Era.
Others receiving helmet stickers this week:
Reid Fragel (6); Johnathan Hankins (5); Devin Smith (4); Bradley Roby (4); Ryan Shazier (3); Carlos Hyde (3); Nathan Williams (2); Orhian Johnson (1); Travis Howard (1); Drew Basil (1)
2012 Season Totals:
- Braxton Miller (38)
- Devin Smith (10)
- Johnathan Hankins (10)
- Travis Howard (10)
- Etienne Sabino (7)
- John Simon (7)
- Doran Grant (6)
- Reid Fragel (6)
- Orhian Johnson (5)
- Ryan Shazier (5)
- Carlos Hyde (4)
- Bradley Roby (4)
- Jordan Hall (2)
- Nathan Williams (2)
- Jake Stoneburner (1)
- Nathan Williams (1)
- Zach Boren (1)
- Christian Bryant (1)
- Drew Basil (1)
Question our decisions as equipment managers? Have a few Helmet Stickers of your own to pass out? Leave your thoughts in the Comment section below.