A. Salam Qureishi grew up in India and knew nothing about football — or America. And yet in the early 1960s, Qureishi, a computer programmer and statistician, helped the Dallas Cowboys overhaul their scouting system, replacing hunches with hard numbers.The result: five Super Bowl appearances and two titles. FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films present “The Cowboys and the Indian,” directed by Mark Polish. It’s the second film in our short series “Signals.” (Watch our first “Signals” film, “The Man vs. the Machine,” here.)
The absence of the Russians in a Winter Games definitely benefits certain countries more than others — mainly because the Russians are good at many things but not everything. Here are some takeaways from our reimagined Sochi Games:USA takes top spot. The United States leads the medal table now, which is none too surprising considering the U.S. leads the table after the 11 medals were stripped, too.Latvia makes history. Latvia earns the first two gold medals at a Winter Games in its country’s history. The Latvians, like the Russians, are good at the sliding sports, so without the Russians, they nab two golds in men’s skeleton and four-man bobsled — which they deserve anyway because those two Russian medals were among those stripped away.Gracie Bronze. The U.S. women have been left off the podium in the past two Winter Games in the premier event of single figure skating. Aptronymic American hopeful Gracie Gold finished in a disappointing fourth in Sochi, but she sneaks onto the podium now.China improves its haul. The 2022 hosts specialize in short-track speed skating, a series of events that the Russian men dominated in Sochi. In the adjusted table, the Chinese add five medals, making them the biggest mover in the medal standings.The alpine events go untouched. The Russians are seldom a factor on the slopes, and the 2014 skiing results stay the same. So if there are any countries where the Russian ban means the least in terms of medal haul, it’s the alpine powers of Switzerland and Austria. Likewise, Canada and the U.S., which traditionally rule the snowboarding events, will see a lesser effect because the Russians are not particularly notable at that either, despite collecting some hardware in Sochi.Thanks to the speedy work done by The New York Times, we can start to put together a picture of the implications of winning medals in Pyeongchang, which will host the games that are due to start in just 65 days. Of the 102 events at next year’s games, Russian athletes would have been likely medal contenders in 32 of them, based on their performances at the most recent world championship-level event for each sport. In particular, Russia seemed primed for a big showing in cross-country skiing: Russian athletes had finished within the top five positions in eight of the sport’s 12 events during their latest world championship-level contests.Russia has long been a power player at the Winter Games, with dominating performances in certain events over the years, particularly at Sochi. If the Russian athletes are not in South Korea in two months, it will be the other Winter Olympic mainstays that could receive a boosted chance of medal glory. The International Olympic Committee’s suspension of Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics for doping leaves us in uncharted territory. Previous Olympics have been held without a Russian presence,1The Soviet Union didn’t participate in the Olympics until 1952 and boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. but there’s never been a doping ban of this magnitude in Olympic history, and Russia (or the Soviet Union) has been at every Winter Games since 1956.To get a sense of how this ban may affect the other countries, we recalculated the Sochi results to see what the medal table would look like without the Russians. Eleven Russian medals have already been stripped in the doping fallout, but those lost golds, silvers and bronzes were never backfilled and remain vacant. Of course, it’s very possible that many of the Russian athletes, including some of Sochi’s medalists, will still compete in Pyeongchang under the IOC banner.2Individual Russian athletes are permitted to participate in the games as long as they meet certain criteria and are deemed “clean,” though they cannot compete under the Russian name and flag. But for this experiment, we will show the effects of the Winter Games losing all Russian competitors.In our exercise, we simply bumped up anyone who finished behind a Russian at Sochi. If the Russians swept the podium, like they did in men’s 50-kilometer mass start cross-country skiing, we awarded medals to those who finished fourth through sixth.
See more NBA predictions Things That Caught My EyePlayoff LeBron is hereLeBron James posted 45 points in Sunday’s win over the Indiana Pacers, with a further 9 rebounds and 7 assists. The Cavaliers will advance to face the Toronto Raptors, so if LeBron hopes to keep up his otherworldly performance now would be the time to do so. It’s not particularly clear if anyone else on the Cavs plans to show up, after all. [FiveThirtyEight]Ovechkin is the greatest to never make a conference finalAlex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is by far the best forward — based on point shares through their age 32 season since 1987 — to have never once make a conference final. His postseason disappointment is in a lot of ways the result of a tough time closing out series — his Caps are 3-7 in game sevens. [FiveThirtyEight]Baker Mayfield to BrownsBaker Mayfield was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the first overall pick in the NFL draft. As long as we’ve had data on QBR seasons, since 2004, Mayfield singlehandedly posted two of the six best seasons ever, and his quarterback rating of 92.1 in his final two seasons is the best of any quarterback in the set. On the other hand, he is going to Cleveland. [ESPN]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?Barkley to NYCThe New York Giants are making a go of it and drafted Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick. This gives Barkely the fourth-highest paid salary among running backs in terms of average annual value. New York desperately needs a shot in the arm for the run game; they haven’t finished with a top-10 rushing season in eight years. [ESPN, ESPN]Jets to enjoy bakeoffWith their third pick in the draft, the New York Jets drafted quarterback Sam Darnold. This means that the Jets currently have five quarterbacks on the roster, including Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty, Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater and Darnold. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, there can only be one single quarterback on the field at a given time, so this is far too many quarterbacks. [ESPN]Harden rolls over JazzJames Harden posted his sixth career playoff game where he scored 40 or more points in a win over the Utah Jazz. His 41 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists helped the Houston Rockets dispatch Utah 110-96 in the series opener. [ESPN]Big Number(s)53 percentWe have a bona fide favorite for the NBA title. The Houston Rockets are a 53 percent chance of winning the title, while everybody else combines for only 47 percent chance of taking the championship. It certainly appears their rivals for the title will be from either Toronto or Philly; they each have a respective 42 percent and a 37 percent chance of representing the East in the NBA Finals. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slack: gfoster:I don’t speak Italian. But this looks cool.AI Image Labandrea:Oh that is cool. You can tell something is cool when you’re impressed even though you don’t actually understand any of the words. Mama mia! Oh, and don’t forgetNew Orleans longreaad We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe Predictions NBA All newsletters
UPDATE (Nov. 29, 3:52 p.m.): The interactive tables above have been updated to include the results of Thursday’s match-ups, and those games has been removed (the text of the article has not been updated).Turkey and football is an annual tradition. Turkey and meaningful football is a treat. So be thankful this year: When ranked by total playoff “swing” — a measure of how much each game affects the playoff picture1As measured by the cumulative amount of playoff probability at stake — three of the top four Week 13 games will take place on Thanksgiving.When the Chicago Bears visit the Detroit Lions in the first Thanksgiving Day game, the stakes are straightforward. The Bears are largely out of playoff contention, so all affected teams do better with a Lions loss — excluding the Lions, of course.You don’t need a complicated statistical model to tell you that the next game, between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys, will have huge implications for the NFC East title race. Going into the game, the Eagles have a slight edge on the Cowboys, with a 55 percent chance to win the division. A win in Dallas would increase its division title chances to 82 percent; a loss would drop it to 36 percent. Outside of the NFC East, the Green Bay Packers would prefer an Eagles victory, and the 49ers would prefer a Cowboys victory.2The Packers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles, and the 49ers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cowboys.Thursday night’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers will have significant playoff implications, but probably not in the way envisioned when the schedule was drawn up. The NFC West title isn’t at stake; the Arizona Cardinals have crashed the divisional party this year. Arizona holds a two-game lead over both Seattle and San Francisco. The Lions, Cowboys and Eagles will all be rooting for a San Francisco loss. And though Arizona’s playoff chances are better with a 49ers loss, its division title chances are better with a Seattle loss.We’ll let the charts do the talking for the rest of Week 13’s games. The most meaningful non-Turkey Day game is between the New Orleans Saints and the Pittsburgh Steelers, with more than 90 percentage points of playoff probability on the line. But, to close out this column, we thought we’d highlight some of the more interesting (or infuriating, depending upon your perspective) playoff scenarios that emerged from the 50,000 simulations that form the basis for this weekly feature. You can try your own hand at this with ESPN’s excellent Playoff Machine tool. But the scenarios below at least have a veneer of statistical plausibility.In last week’s column, we mentioned there were five simulations in which a five-win team won the NFC South. With losses from both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans last week, there are now 107 simulations in which a five-win team wins the NFC South, amounting to an 0.2 percent probability.3Of those 107 simulations, 89 resulted in a Carolina Panthers division title, and 18 resulted in a title for Atlanta.There were 2,029 instances (4 percent probability) in which an 11-win team did not make the playoffs. The Cowboys and the Eagles are the two teams most likely to suffer that fate.There were seven simulations in which a five-win team made the playoffs and an 11-win team did not.There were two simulations in which all four AFC North teams finished with 11 wins.A five-win division winner hosting a 12-win wild card team? That happened nine times in our simulations.
Since its rather hazy inception at Burlington Central High School in Burlington, Ontario, in 1989, people from all over the world have attempted the beer mile: a four-lap, four-beer testament to just how insane elite runners really are. As the beer mile migrated south from Canada, the event gained traction on college campuses in the United States as an unofficial tradition to celebrate the end of track season, when young runners were in peak physical shape and seeking reprieve from a notoriously regimented sport.Seanna Robinson, the former women’s beer mile world record-holder, went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, when the beer mile rules were still being ironed out. The competition still operates on the “Kingston Rules,” which outline the penalty lap that is incurred if a runner vomits before finishing. “The naked run, the Timbits challenge and the beer mile were just some of the many things we did that played at running and celebrating,” Robinson said. When Robinson started running beer miles at Queen’s University, women were only required to drink three beers, skipping the first. She argued for the beer mile to be the same for men and women.At around the same time Robinson was pioneering for four-beer gender equality, and setting her longstanding record, Patrick Butler — at the time a member of the Wesleyan University track team — purchased the domain BeerMile.com. He’d seen the Kingston Rules online and wanted to adopt them in the U.S., as well as to create a place to aggregate and keep track of “official” beer mile results from all over the world. That was in 1998, and there were 452 beer miles logged on the site that year. Now there are about 40,000 total races — 4,439 of them coming this year (as of Dec. 3).Butler knows the database isn’t complete — he estimates that less than 10 percent of beer mile results are actually submitted to the site. But it’s prominent enough that some competitors want out. “I probably get five or six emails a week from people saying, ‘Can you take my name off of your site? I’m trying to get a job,’” said Butler, who maintains the database himself as a passion project.Nick Symmonds, an Olympic middle-distance runner, isn’t concerned about being associated with the beer mile. If anything, he’s a proponent of the sport. “Most people don’t know what a 1:42.9 in the 800 means — which is what I did at the Olympics — but they understand what a 5:19 beer mile is,” he told me in Austin. Symmonds runs professionally for Brooks and definitely does not need to run beer miles in his spare time — for the prize money or the notoriety — but he schlepped to Austin from Seattle to create continued interest in track and field. When asked why he came to the World Championships, he said, “There’s a chance they’ll continue to watch us in two years [at the 2016 Olympics].” “Who’s got the legs, lungs and stomach to hold it all down?”The bald announcer was trying to get the crowd going before the races began. The event was meant to be held at Yellow Jacket Stadium, a proper 1,600-meter indoor running track. But last-minute concerns from the track’s owners about the imminent binge-drinking forced the race to move to a motor-racing track on the outskirts of Austin. Beneath an empty grandstand with seating for thousands, what would be the homestretch of a Formula 1 race had been transformed into a makeshift track — an oblong oval marked off by orange construction cones. The turns were too tight and the straightaways too long, but for an event that is as much about drinking as it is running, it was good enough.On the final straightaway loomed the party zone, straddled by two tables with beer lined up in rows of four. Each of the 117 participants got to choose his or her own beer, and the best runners could drink the night’s special “Beer Mile Brew.” Hops & Grain, a local Austin brewery and event sponsor, brewed the German-style blonde ale to contain only 2.2 volumes of CO2, down from a typical 2.6 volumes. Chuggability is critical in a beer mile.The women were up first, adjusting track shorts-wedgies with one hand and holding their first beers with the other as they waited to start. When the gun fired, the group of twelve toned, lean women cracked open their cans. While drinking, they waddled like drunk penguins from the back of the party zone to the front, then took off running. In the crowd, some people were sporting shirts reading, “You just got beat by a mother of six.” They were the friends and family of Chris Kimbrough, a 45-year-old Austin local, who broke the women’s world record in October on her first attempt with a time of 6:28.6.At the World Championships, though, Kimbrough was struggling; by the third beer she was doing that pre-vomit shiver that a body does when it wants to stop — and it would take her 32.3 seconds to finish beer No. 4. She stood no chance against Elizabeth Herndon, a 29-year-old professor and marathoner who came out of beer mile obscurity (and Ohio) to down her fourth beer, a New Belgium Fat Tire, in just 21.4 seconds. Herndon smashed the world record with a time of 6:17.8. Kimbrough placed fourth.Just minutes after organizers rinsed away the liquid vomit from the women’s race, 10 tank-top wearing men lined up at the same starting line for the elite men’s final. One guy was wearing jorts.James Nielsen, the highly contentious current world record-holder with a time of 4:57.0, was not among them. Nielsen said he “physically could not make it that week.” Others interpreted his absence as a clear indicator that he couldn’t defend his world record because it wasn’t legitimate.In a video he posted to YouTube, Nielsen downs his second beer in less than four seconds — a feat that other beer milers say is physically impossible. Symmonds and fan-favorite Corey Gallagher were both vying to break the elusive sub-five minute beer mile, if only to put Nielsen in his place.Bud Light Platinums featured heavily in the men’s elite race, and when the starting gun fired, iridescent blue bottles tilted skyward. Gallagher, wearing a single glove on his beer-chugging hand, downed the first in an astonishing 6.1 seconds, but coasted through lap one in 67 seconds (6 seconds slower than his final lap), allowing the guy in jorts to take the lead. But no one could drink like Gallagher. It didn’t take him longer than 10 seconds to finish any one beer, and with the final lap in sight he demolished his fourth beer faster than his previous two — in just 7.3 seconds. He rounded the last turn well ahead of the pack, the crowd screaming as he looked on pace to break 5 minutes. But he crashed through the finishing tape without breaking the threshold: 5.00.23.“This is the world record, James Nielsen is a cheat and a fake,” Gallagher declared post-race, swigging a replenishment drink from his silver plastic trophy.Nielsen vehemently denies all accusations of cheating. “I think people can drink beers even faster than me,” he said when reached by phone. “I am definitely not the human limit on how fast a beer can be drank out of a can — I’ve seen faster.” Canadian Corey Gallagher heads down the straight away trailed closely by Australian Jack Colreavy at the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships in Austin Josh Baker for Flocasts AUSTIN, Texas — Beer miles are won and lost in the “party zone.” When participants in the world’s most athletic binge-drinking event cross into it, they stop running, hastily down a minimum 5 percent ABV beer and then take off again. The zone is only 10 meters long.The best male beer-milers spend somewhere between 4 and 6 seconds in their first stop in the party zone; the best women stay for about 11 seconds. By their fourth time through — the beer mile requires four laps of running, four beers of chugging — the competitors slow. With shaky legs and winded lungs, these same men average about 14 seconds and the women about 31 seconds.1For this calculation, I did not include the final beer split of Kelly Williamson at the Beer Mile World Championships because the time was such an outlier at 1 minute and 30 seconds.But things are different at the Beer Mile World Championships, which were held here for the first time in early December. The champions drank their final beers almost twice as fast as the average elite runner in the competition — 7 seconds and 21 seconds for the male and female winners, respectively. In a race with the motto: “Chug, Run, Repeat,” the fiercest competitors guzzle through the party zone as fast as Olympic triathletes put on their post-swim socks. Members of the Women’s Elite race chug beers at the starting line of the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships in Austin Kirby Lee for Flocasts Athletes competing in the open heat of the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championship crack open their first beers at Circuit of the Americas in Austin Kirby Lee for Flocasts “This thing has been going on for 30 years with thousands of results and no one’s really paid attention, and then all of a sudden it’s on national news and people are noticing,” Nielsen said. The video of his world record-setting mile has been viewed 1.35 million times.Some of the participants at the World Championships admitted to running the beer mile in part to dispel the myth that elite runners are some strange breed of nutrition-obsessed freaks. “People think we hang out in a cabin eating chia seeds,” said 42-year-old Luis Armenteros, who placed third in the men’s sub-elite division with a time of 6:03.2. “I can’t drink everyone under the table, but I can drink a lot.”“There is the perception that elite runners are machines whose bodies are temples, but we have our vices,” said Jack Colreavy, a 25-year-old runner who traveled from Sydney, Australia, to race in the elite men’s group, but who was unable to finish. “And mine is drinking beer.”
OSU junior forward Marc Loving (2) looks to deliver a pass while Penn State freshman guard Josh Reaves (23) tries to slow him down in a game in the Big Ten tournament on March 10 in Indianapolis. OSU won, 79-75. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorDespite being left out of the NCAA tournament field after seven consecutive appearances, the Ohio State men’s basketball team will still get a taste of the postseason.The National Invitational Tournament announced its 32-team bracket Sunday night, in which the Buckeyes (20-13, 11-7) earned a No. 3 seed.OSU is scheduled to take on sixth-seeded Akron (26-8, 11-5) in the first round Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. The Zips, who are making their first NIT appearance since 2012, won the Mid-American Conference’s regular-season title. They fell to Buffalo in their the conference championship game Saturday night on a last-second 3-pointer. OSU played Akron in the first round of the NIT in 1989, defeating the Zips 81-70. The first three rounds of the NIT, which is, essentially, a consolation prize for schools like OSU, are played at the campus sites of the higher-ranked team. The semifinals are slated for March 29 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, while the championship game is set for March 31 at 7 p.m. As the regular season progressed and the young Buckeyes continued to struggle to find their stride, it seemed like they were destined for the NIT. An upset win over then-No. 8 Iowa on Feb. 28 inflated OSU’s chances to take part in March Madness, but tallying just one win in the Big Ten tournament before being bounced by Michigan State on Friday night sealed the Buckeyes’ fate. Speaking to the media after his team’s 81-54 loss to the Spartans, coach Thad Matta said because of his team’s youth, he would welcome any opportunity to continue playing additional games.“We need practice, we need as much as we can get, there’s no question about it,” Matta said Friday night. This marks just the second time an OSU team coached by Matta will play in the NIT. The first time was in 2008, when the Buckeyes won five games en route to capturing the tournament title. Matta likened that team to this year’s squad because of the amount of freshmen on each roster. The current Buckeyes have six first-year players, while the 2008 team had five. “I think it paid dividends for them,” the coach said about the NIT for his 2008 freshmen.Redshirt sophomore guard Kam Williams said Friday it didn’t matter which tournament his team ended up in, or who they would play. “We’re just going to prepare for whatever comes next,” he said, later adding, “hopefully we get a better result.”OSU, which went 3-10 against teams that made the NCAA tournament, is the only team from the Big Ten in the NIT. As for the NCAA tournament, seven of the Buckeyes’ conference counterparts received berths, highlighted by Michigan State, which is a No. 2 seed.
Ohio State upperclassmen begin their fall camp. Senior wide receiver Dontre Wilson on the first day on fall camp. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports Editor On Saturday, the 2016 Ohio State football team moved into their living quarters at the Hyatt in Columbus, just outside of the university, until all students move into campus on Aug. 20. On Sunday, the team hit the field for the first time this season officially inaugurating the fifth season under coach Urban Meyer.As has been tradition in the program, the freshmen practice in the morning with the upperclassmen practicing in the afternoon. The freshmen will join the rest of the team in practice on Monday. The team will practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center until Wednesday when they will head over to the fields at Coffey Road until Aug. 20. OSU will be back at the WHAC on Aug. 22 for the rest of the season.The Lantern was at the two practice sessions today taking in a few observations.Freshmen Michael Jordan (OL), Austin Mack (WR) and Antonio Williams (RB) practiced with the upperclassmen instead of the freshmen.New offensive line coach Greg Studrawa expects a lot out of his guys, including the freshmenAmong others, senior H-back Dontre Wilson was working the speed option with redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett. Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days that Wilson could be one of the guys in the backfield for OSUFreshman Nick Bosa looked sharp and polished despite recovering from ACL injuryNo clear cut first team in the four individual session the media watchedPlaying time will be tough to come by at wide receiver. Nine upperclassmen, including Mack and excluding H-backs, vying for playing time.Barrett and Burrow showed on-par, if not above average, velocity on throws 10-plus yards
Ohio State sported jerseys dating back to 1942 during Saturday’s meeting with Michigan, but the game’s result continued a tradition established in the last decade. The No. 8 Buckeyes rolled to their seventh consecutive win over rival Michigan, beating the Wolverines, 37-7, and clinching a share of their sixth straight Big Ten title in front of 105,491 fans at Ohio Stadium. As part of the Nike Pro Combat series, OSU wore custom-designed uniforms to honor the 1942 national championship team. The 2010 Buckeyes (11-1, 7-1) likely won’t be a part of any title game, but moved a step closer toward a BCS bowl invite with their ninth win in the last 10 games against Michigan (7-5, 3-5). “It’s always the same feeling,” linebacker Ross Homan said. “Every time we beat Michigan, it’s always a great feeling and a success.” It took the Buckeye offense a quarter to warm up on a chilly Columbus afternoon. After a scoreless first frame, OSU exploded for 24 points in the second quarter. Devin Barclay opened the scoring with a 33-yard field goal to cap a 10-play, 74-yard OSU drive. “They put in some schemes that we hadn’t seen before, and it took us a little while to adjust to them,” senior offensive lineman Bryant Browning said. “I thought as the game went on, our offense was more effective.” An 18-yard punt placed the Buckeyes’ next possession at the Michigan 35-yard line. Five plays later, quarterback Terrelle Pryor found Dane Sanzenbacher for a 7-yard touchdown. Michigan responded with an 80-yard drive, culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run by Michael Shaw, but Jordan Hall returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to push the OSU lead to 17-7. “Words can’t explain it,” Hall said. “I’ve been waiting for it so long. We’re supposed to give the ball to the ref after we score, but I don’t even know where I put it.” The Buckeyes then cashed in on a lost fumble by Michigan running back Vincent Smith with a 60-yard touchdown drive. Pryor connected with DeVier Posey across the middle, and the junior receiver dove into the end zone to increase OSU’s advantage. Pryor completed 18 of 27 passes for 219 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Posey hauled in five catches for 81 yards. Turnovers hindered Michigan’s first-half productivity. The Wolverines twice turned the ball over on downs and also lost a pair of fumbles. “We took advantage of their turnovers,” Pryor said. “Normally if you win the turnover margin, you have a good chance of winning.” Despite outgaining the Buckeyes 258-229, Michigan trailed 24-7 at halftime. Quarterback Denard Robinson, widely considered the Heisman trophy favorite throughout the first half of the season, rushed for 105 yards before intermission. However, coach Rich Rodriguez said at halftime that the sophomore dislocated a couple of fingers on his non-throwing hand. Robinson sat out Michigan’s final drive of the first half and much of the second half. “It wouldn’t have been much of a problem, but he likes to grip it with that hand and he couldn’t get any feeling back,” Rodriguez said. “He tried to go back in the second half but he just couldn’t do it. It’s unfortunate because he was playing well today.” Sophomore Tate Forcier, whom the Buckeyes picked off four times in Ann Arbor, Mich., in last year’s matchup, took over. He threw an interception on the first play after halftime. The Buckeye running game struggled before the break. Dan “Boom” Herron totaled minus-1 yards on five first-half carries. His fortunes changed in the third quarter. Herron scored from 32 yards out on OSU’s opening drive of the second half, his 11th straight game with a touchdown. “It was a strange game offensively where we kind of led with the pass in the first half and all of a sudden we got a couple turnovers and we are looking more at leading with the run the second half,” coach Jim Tressel said. “It wasn’t like all of a sudden a snowstorm came in or something. It was just that’s not what we needed to do and we always talk about we do what the team needs, and first half we needed to throw it.” Michigan punter Will Hagerup didn’t travel to Columbus after being suspended for what the team called “a violation of team rules.” After backup punter Seth Broekhulzen pinned the Buckeyes at their own 2-yard line, Herron thundered down the sideline to the end zone. A holding call against receiver Dane Sanzenbacher near the end of the run turned a 98-yard touchdown into an 89-yard pickup. Herron’s rush tied the school record for longest play from scrimmage. Gene Fekete gained 89 yards on a carry against Pittsburgh in 1942. “I didn’t think it was a penalty but I don’t make the calls,” Sanzenbacher said. “I wouldn’t change what I did if I could do the play again, if that makes it any better. Sorry to Boom to steal his touchdown. I was just trying to help clear the way for him to get into the end zone.” Herron finished with 22 carries for 175 yards, the third time he has topped the century mark in the last four contests. The game resembled the last trip the Wolverines made to the Horseshoe, when they fell 42-7 in Rich Rodriguez’s first season in 2008.
The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross-country teams look to redeem themselves at a championship meet this weekend and qualify for the NCAA Championships. The Buckeyes will run at the Great Lakes Regionals on Saturday in Toledo. The men and women are looking to rebound from their fifth- and ninth-place finishes, respectively, at the Big Ten Championships on Oct. 30. Finishing close to the top of the field is the goal for both teams. A top-two finish results in an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, but with highly ranked teams on both sides, OSU is aiming just outside second place. The No.1-ranked Wisconsin Badgers and No. 7 Indiana Hoosiers highlight the men’s field, with Big Ten Champion Michigan State as the leader on the women’s side. “I think we need to be third to make it to nationals,” OSU men’s head coach Robert Gary said. “That’s certainly the No. 1 goal for the season, so we’ll see.” Redshirt senior Taylor Williams agreed with his coach. “The goal is always to get one of those top-two automatic spots. Realistically, those spots will go to Wisconsin and Indiana,” he said. “I think third would definitely put us in a good position.” Women’s assistant coach Chris Neal said the women want to repeat their regional-meet success from years past. “We’ve been top five (at the Great Lakes Regional) two years in a row and we’re looking to extend that streak to three years,” he said. Tightening up the spread from their No. 1 to No. 5 runner will be the key to success for OSU this weekend, according to the coaches. “I’d like to see us get five to six guys on a 20-second spread,” Gary said. Neal echoed similar thoughts for the women. “We’ll need to run the first half of the race like we did (at the Big Ten Championships) and clean up the back half of our pack,” Neal said. Tori Brink, a junior on the women’s team, is confident her team’s spread will tighten. “We all train together and run together and we are always right there with each other, it shouldn’t be any different in a race,” she said. The men will not be at full strength for the third meet in a row. Jake Edwards, a former Big Ten Runner of the Week, injured his hamstring at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 30 and hasn’t run competitively since. With Edwards out, junior Donny Roys and Williams will lead the way for the men. Roys was the Buckeyes top runner at the Big Ten Championships, finishing 19th in 24:21. Williams covered the 8K-course in 24:24 on way to a 21st place. Junior Tori Brink and redshirt senior Jordan Jennewine finished 23rd and 32nd, respectively, at the Big Ten Championships and should lead the way for the women on Saturday. Based on how they perform on Saturday, the Buckeyes cross-country seasons will either come to an end, or will continue with a berth in the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 21.
OSU then-sophomore attacker Colin Chell (22) prepares to shoot during a scrimmage against The Hill Academy on Jan. 30. Credit: Kylie Bryant | | For The LanternA stinging loss to No. 19 Marquette followed by a marginal win against Detroit Mercy was not what the then-No. 6 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team had in mind going into the Midwest Lacrosse Classic last weekend. But the now-No. 14 Buckeyes (5-1) have had a full week of practice to improve their play as they prepare to clash with Towson for their first game of the season at Ohio Stadium.The Tigers have stumbled to a sluggish 2-3 record this season with an 0-2 away record. But the Buckeyes aren’t counting them out, especially considering Towson’s previous performances against them.“This is a game that the last four years we’ve played them — twice last year and the two prior to that — you’re looking at two overtime games and two one-goal games,” Ohio State head coach Nick Myers said. “We anticipate it being a really healthy competition, seeing two teams collide and probably being something like that as it has been in the past.”The Buckeyes are 3-1 in the past four years against Towson, with their lone loss coming in the 2016 season by way of a 10-9 overtime decision. Last year, Ohio State managed a 6-3 mid-season win versus the Tigers, and followed that up with a dramatic 11-10 win in the NCAA semifinals, before losing to Maryland in the championship game. Towson brings Colonial Athletic Association player of the week Jon Mazza to the table. He is a 6-foot-4 junior attack who had a standout day for the Tigers in their 8-6 win against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Saturday. He recorded five goals and two assists. Myers specifically mentioned Towson junior midfielder Alex Woodall, who has won 72-of-105 draws, as a notable opponent for Ohio State’s own faceoff specialists — freshman midfielder Justin Inacio and sophomore midfielder Christian Feliziani. “They’re very disciplined. They typically don’t do anything to beat themselves, and they’re going to force you to beat them, which for us creates a really good challenge,” Myers said.Myers said Ohio State’s first loss on the road against the Golden Eagles on Friday created a sense of urgency among team members, forcing them to analyze the facets of their game that needed attention before going up against Towson. “I think it just starts with leadership, you know just taking that one-goal-at-a-time approach,” senior attack Colin Chell said. “I think it’s really settling the guys down, making sure we have good offensive possessions, making stops on defense, big ground balls at the [faceoff] and just taking it one possession and one goal at a time.”Saturday’s game will be the team’s first this season playing in Ohio Stadium, a fact that leaves players both excited and humbled.“I’ve been fortunate enough to play in there for three years – this’ll be my fourth year – and you know we’re just excited to get out there,” said Chell. “[We’re] pumped for these young guys to experience the Shoe – it’s a truly incredible experience.”The Buckeyes’ faceoff is slated to begin at 4 p.m. Saturday in Ohio Stadium.