Ohio State Snap Counts: Tighter Rotations, Freshmen Wide Receivers on the Rise

By Dan Smith on November 5, 2020 at 9:07 am
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) fights for yardage at the goal line as Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Lance Dixon (10) and Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Jayson Oweh (28) defend during the fourth quarter of a NCAA football game at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa. on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch
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Penn State's 38-25 loss to Ohio State has one silver lining compared to most conference losses: it was a career day for wide receiver Jahan Dotson, who put big numbers and made multiple highlight reel catches. That alone is enough reason not to burn the tape.

That said, there was not that much to get excited about on the rewatch. The 2020 Nittany Lions continue to be frustrating, and there are things for this coaching staff to clean up. But duty bound, we press on with Snap Counts.

Offense (62 plays)

Pos. First Team Second Team Third Team
QB Sean Clifford (61) Will Levis (1)  
RB Devyn Ford (55) Caziah Holmes (4) Keyvone Lee (3)
WR Jahan Dotson (60)    
WR KeAndre Lambert Smith (34) Daniel George (31)  
WR Parker Washington (60)    
TE Pat Freiermuth (59) Brenton Strange (4)  
LT Rasheed Walker (59) Caedan Wallace (3)  
LG Mike Miranda (56) Des Holmes (6)  
C Michael Menet (62)    
RG CJ Thorpe (55) Des Holmes (7)  
RT Will Fries (62)    
  • Quarterback: Levis' only down was a third down play in which Clifford had to leave the field because his helmet had come off while being sacked.
  • Running Back: The two true freshmen saw the field for one brief series apiece. Ford is going to be the bellcow, it appears.
  • Wide Receiver: Isaac Lutz did not get in the mix this week. Nor did Cam Sullivan-Brown, the originally listed starter. Lambert-Smith eclipsed George in playing time this week, and Washington seems comfortable enough in the slot that they can keep Dotson playing on the outside.
  • Tight End: Strange barely saw the field, as they shied away from the two-tight end sets this week. They went to that formation twice, and once did not run a play because of a delay of game. Speaking of which, there were two of those this week. That cannot keep happening.
  • Offensive Line: They are not rotating as much as last season, especially at tackle, where Wallace is not being leaned on. Holmes is a swing guard behind both starters. Last week, he played more in place of Thorpe. This week, it was essentially even. [UPDATE: We originally miscalculated this count and have adjusted the number.]

Defense (82 plays)

Pos. First Team Second Team Third Team
DE Jayson Oweh (59) Adisa Isaac (19) Nick Tarburton (3)
DT PJ Mustipher (75) Fred Hansard (13)  
DT Antonio Shelton (45) Hakeem Beamon (29)  
DE Shaka Toney (58) Shane Simmons (25)  
OLB Brandon Smith (63) Curtis Jacobs (6)  
MLB Ellis Brooks (69) Charlie Katshir (13)  
OLB Lance Dixon (41) Jesse Luketa (39)  
CB Tariq Castro-Fields (78) Daequan Hardy (1)  
S Jaquan Brisker (72) Ji'Ayir Brown (18)  
S Lamont Wade (65) Jon Sutherland (25)  
CB Joey Porter Jr. (66) Marquis Wilson (20)  
  • Defensive End: Welcome back, Nick Tarburton! He played in two games in his redshirt season in 2018, retained that redshirt, and then battled injuries through his 2019 season and never saw the field.
  • Defensive Tackle: Beamon is clearly the third defensive tackle, and their preferred pairing with Mustipher on passing downs. They have stayed away from kicking an end inside on passing downs as they had done in the past with players like Yetur Gross-Matos and Kevin Givens. Beamon seems to be taking care of that role. On another note, Mustipher is as much of a workhorse at defensive tackle as they have had at the position for a long time.
  • Linebacker: Five-star true freshman Jacobs made his defensive debut, and making his season debut was Katshir, who has moved from outside linebacker to middle linebacker. Luketa did not play in the first half due to his suspension for targeting that carried over from the third quarter of the Indiana game. Dixon played in his stead. Luketa saw the bulk of the snaps in the second half upon returning.
  • Cornerback: Porter was shaken up, but did return to the game, though he did not appear in the last couple of second half series. Wilson took his place outside when he was out. Hardy barely played, as they did not go into the dime nearly as much as they did last week.
  • Safety: Sutherland saw more time this week on the back end, and may be poised for a larger role here if that trend continues. Wade continues to be the primary option at slot corner, with Brown filling in behind him on those passing downs.
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