It’s week two of the post where analysis matters and the points don’t.
Here’s the rules: Every week, each writer picks the player they think will be the MVP on offense, defense, and special teams for OSU and their opponent. If a player has the best game out of those chosen, the writer who picked him gets a point. We’ll keep track of the points through the season.
Here are the standings after week one:
Phillip - 3 points
Cade - 2 points
Dustin - 1 point(s)
Christopher - 3 points
Joel - 1 point(s)
It should be easier to pick this week with the Cowboys facing a familiar FBS foe in the Central Michigan University Chippewas instead of an FCS team we’ve never heard of.
O - Mason Rudolph | D - Vincent Taylor | ST - Barry J. Sanders
Offense: I expect OSU to continue using the “running back by committee” approach while they work to figure out their lineup, so I’m going with Rudolph this week. He shouldn’t get pulled as early as he did against SELU. In fact I don’t expect to see Cornelius on the field until mid fourth quarter, which should give Rudolph plenty of yards and touchdowns.
Defense: He won me the point last week, and I don’t see any reason to think he won’t do the same thing this week. The Chippewas’ offense ran for 255 yards last week. I expect them to try and run the ball often, especially early. I also expect quarterback Rush Cooper to try and earn some yards on the ground. Those two factors will give Taylor plenty of opportunities for tackles, and maybe even forcing a fumble.
Special Teams: This.
O - Devon Spalding | D - Winslow Chapman | ST - Amari Coleman
Offense: Like I said before, Central Michigan ran for 255 yards last week. Spalding accounted for 135 of those. He also had 11 receiving yards. I expect CMU to ride Spalding hard on the ground, and to even get a few more chances for receptions.
Defense: Chapman had 4 solo tackles, a pass defended and an interception in CMU’s season opener. I expect he’ll get opportunities to bat down a pass and knock down a few players against an OSU offense that will spread the ball around to its receivers and running backs.
Special Teams: Coleman only got one chance to return a kickoff against Presbyterian and he got 11 yards out of it. He should have plenty of opportunities against OSU with as many times as we should score. Plus, after watching three different players kick-off for OSU last week, I don’t expect every kick to go out of the back of the endzone.
O - Mason Rudolph | D - Devante Averette | ST - Ben Grogan
Offense: I'm taking Mason here, for what is sure to be the first of many times this season. Last week he looked a step faster than he was last year, and he threw a very consistent ball. I'm expecting a full game with a larger amount of reps and lots of shots down the field.
Defense: There's a reason Dustin and I are doing the podcast together ... I'm taking Devante Averette this week also. He only had four tackles last week, three of which were solo. However, he made the play of the week with his fumble recovery and toss back to Ramon Richards to save a touchdown. Averette is a true playmaker at linebacker, and I expect him to have a big season and for him to pick up where he left off last week.
Special Teams: I wanted to pick Matt Amendola here because I think he is probably hungry to get last week's performance behind him, but I'm going to take Ben Grogan for the sake of #points. Like Eavey and CMU, picking the kicker is the smart play and that's what I'm doing here.
O- Cooper Rush | D - Amari Coleman | ST - Brian Eavey
Offense: As Dustin said, this is the obvious choice. Rush will have the ball in his hands on every play, and as we learned last year, he is more than capable of causing a headache for the Cowboy defense. While they were up to the challenge last year, Rush still poses a threat to the OSU secondary. That said, he threw two picks last week against Presbyterian. Either way, he is an impact player and should be taken seriously.
Defense: I'm taking Coleman because of the play he made last week against Presbyterian. He had a pick-six, and looks to be an experienced member of the Chippewa secondary. He had six tackles against OSU last year, so he figures to be a factor this year as well.
Special Teams: I think the smart play, for the rest of the year, is to pick the opposing team's kicker, and that's what I did here. No further analysis is needed.
O - Jhujan Seales | D - Devante Averette | ST - Ben Grogan
Offense: Seales had a solid showing against Southeastern Louisiana, and I could see him building on it in week 2. With all of the Chippewas' cornerbacks listed at below 6'0; Seales should be able to make some plays over the top. Additionally, James Washington will draw a lot of attention from the CMU defensive backs, and I could see this leaving Seales with some favorable matchups. Look for him to be a big target in the red zone for Rudolph.
Defense: Devante Averette was all over the field last Saturday. Along with his forced fumble and then amazing "assist" to Ramon Richards for the touchdown, he also recorded four tackles (3 solo). CMU rushed for over 230 yards against Presbyterian, and I could see them trying to get the running game going again. I think Averette, along with the rest of the OSU front 7 will shut this idea down pretty quick on Saturday. Averette also had two interceptions last year, and maybe he will get one againt the Chippewas' veteran quarterback Cooper Rush.
Special Teams: Grogan was 7/7 on extra points and 2/2 on field goals last Saturday. The Cowboys will definitely put some points on the board against CMU and I could see grogan getting multiple extra point attempts and the chance to knock in a couple of field goals. Grogan has an 80% career field goal percentage to go along with a 98% career extra point percentage, so he's always a safe bet to have a good outing.
O - Cooper Rush | D - Nathan Ricketts | ST - Brian Eavey
Offense: I think this is the obvious pick here, but I'm going to go with their 4 year starting senior quarterback Cooper Rush. He threw for over 3,800 yards and 25 touchdowns last year; including 225 yards passing, 51 yards rushing and a rushing touchdown against the Cowboys. He finished as second team All-MAC last year. He threw for 237, a touchdown and 2 interceptions against Presbyterian last week, but based on his experience and having played against OSU before, I could see him having a decent showing against the Cowboys.
Defense: I'm going to go with the leader of the Chippewas' defense, Nathan Ricketts. The senior will have his work cut out for him against the Cowboys, but I could see him being in the middle of a lot of plays. He was fourth on the team in 2015 with 55 tackles and he had 6 tackles in last week's match-up. (Honestly, I hope he gets 0 tackles and the Cowboys rush for 500 yards, but for the sake of this post, I'm going with Ricketts.)
Special Teams: I'll take Chippewas' kicker Brian Eavey. Eavey is a three year starter and is 85/87 for his career on extra points. In addition, he had a 73% field goal percentage. I can't see CMU giving him a chance to kick 7 extra points again like he did last week, but I definitely think CMU will score a couple of touchdowns and tack on a field goal or two.
O - Mason Rudolph | D - Jordan Sterns | ST - Ben Grogan
Offense: I was tempted to go with James Washington, who I think will have a big bounce-back week after a couple of drops last week, but I decided on the guy who will be delivering the ball instead, mostly because CMU has some solid defensive players, including corner Amari Coleman, but the Pokes just have too many weapons all over the field. I expect a lot of guys to catch passes, and there may not be one guy who stands out among them. But at the end of the day, I expect Rudolph to have a solid stat line.
Defense: CMU had great success on the ground last week, but with the dominance of Vincent Taylor and the guys up front, I don't think that will be the case this week. As such, I expect Cooper Rush to throw a lot, which means Sterns will have ample opportunity to impose his will upon the Chippewa receivers. I do not envy them.
Special Teams: Grogan had a great week 1 and, to me, is the easy choice at special teams. Barry J. looked spectacular in his punt return last week, but split time with McCleskey. Either of those guys could break a big return this week, but who knows which one? Grogan will get his chances and doesn't appear to be getting challenged for his role as placekicker. Give me the safe pick here.
O - Cooper Rush | D - Tony Annese | ST - Brian Eavey
Offense: Rush is an NFL prospect, currently projected around the 4th round. Last yeaer he threw for 225 yards and led the Chippewas in rushing against the Pokes. In the CMU offense, several guys get carries and the ball tends to be spread around, so I think the guy flinging it is the easy choice.
Defense: There are a few good choices here. CMU has a decent defense, as they proved against OSU last season. They certainly had their way with Presbyterian last week. I'm going with the safety Annese, who leads the secondary, mostly because I expect Rudolph to be throwing early and often and Annese will have a lot of opportunities to tackle the Cowboy receivers and maybe sneak a pick off of Mason.
Special Teams: I'm going with the kicker here because I think the Chippewa offense will give him opportunities. I considered going with punt returner Emmett Thomas, but my hope is that even if the CMU defense is able to force several punts, Zach Sinor will limit the effectiveness of the Chippewa return man.
O - Mason Rudolph | D - Tre Flowers | S - Barry J Sanders
Offense: I expect Mason to build off of his good game against SELA. He looks more confident and comfortable on the field. He'll do well against the CMU defense.
Defense: Cooper Rush is going to sling the ball all over the field, so hopefully the OSU secondary is ready for it. Flowers is a hard hitting safety and he'll get his tackles if the Chips throw the ball across the middle.
Special Teams: CMU will have to punt the ball pretty often, and I expect BJS to be back to return for the Pokes. He showed elusiveness in his few returns, the ability to make a man miss in the return is huge.
O - Cooper Rush | D - Nathan Ricketts | S - Brian Eavey
Offense: Cooper Rush is the four year starter for the Chippewas. He will have a good game and help keep the game close for a little while. The defense will key on him though, so we'll see how he does against a Big 12 defense rather the swiss cheese that is the MAC.
Defense: Nathan Ricketts was the 4th leading tackler on the team last season and will help solidify the middle of the CMU defense. He has a nose for the football, 37 of his 55 tackles last season were solo.
Special Teams: Brian Eavey is one of the best kickers in the MAC and a 3 year starter. He is automatic on extra points, and almost at 80% career from field goal range. I don't expect CMU to score many TD's, but I bet they will get into field goal range on occasion and that is where Eavey will thrive.