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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Michael Chen

Which Ohio State football players earned Buckeye leaves against Notre Dame

It was one dramatic Saturday evening for Ohio State football, as they battled the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and outlasted them for a 17-14 road victory.

The Buckeyes had a game winning 15-play, 65-yard touchdown drive, leaving the Irish with just one second left to try to scramble for a victory. It was snuffed out and elation ensued from the Ohio State sidelines.

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Some of those helmets flying around will be adding more of the famed Buckeye leaf stickers before we see them next in the longest two weeks ever. These are the players that I think will have a lot more of their helmet covered up.

Safety Lathan Ransom


It seemed like Ransom was all over the field, all evening long. He defended passes, made big tackles and didn’t let anything behind him. Cam Martinez was held out due to an injury and Ransom didn’t miss a beat. It was a very good night for the Buckeye safety, leading the team with 13 tackles on the evening.

Defensive tackle Tyleik Williams


A terror for the Irish offensive line all night. Like Ransom, it seemed like Williams was in most of the Buckeye stops. He didn’t get nearly as much credit, just 4 tackles, but he almost picked off a pass, got a tackle for loss, and ran Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt — a projected NFL first round pick — into quarterback Sam Hartman to force a bad throw. Williams has had a monster season and continues to shine for Ohio State.

Cornerback Denzel Burke


There was a lot of talk heading into this game about how Hartman was so deadly on deep passes, but the farthest completion was for 28 yards. The Buckeye secondary gets a major boost when it knows half of the field is blanketed by Burke’s coverage. Oh and his huge stop off Hartman on 4th down. Like our next player, the junior is officially back.

Running back TreVeyon Henderson


As I just mentioned, this junior is also back from his sophomore slump. Henderson’s had a lot more to do with injuries than his play, but it wasn’t the second season many expected. Tonight he showed a workhorse mentality, running 14 times for 104 yards with that huge scoring run. Yeah, if you take out that 61-yard jaunt, the numbers don’t look so great, but that is part of the equation with him. Small runs, then the explosiveness. Henderson has been a lot of fun to watch now that he’s healthy again.

Defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau


For more than three quarters, the Buckeye defensive end was held in check, but when it mattered most, Tuimoloau showed up. He had a massive tackle for loss when Hartman opted to keep a zone read in the 4th quarter. Then followed that up by almost intercepting a screen pass, similar to what he did last season against Penn State. Hopefully, Tuimoloau keeps up the production because it would make this Buckeye defense that much better.

Quarterback Kyle McCord


In his first true road test (Indiana doesn’t count) McCord managed the game extremely well. The offense didn’t turn the ball over, and there was only a few passes that could have been picked off. McCord was calm during the final drive, converting a third-and-ten, fourth-and-seven, and a third-and-nineteen to help the Buckeyes march down the field. With so many elite skill players around him, McCord doesn’t need to be great for this team to win, he just has to do his job. He did that and then some. McCord grew up tonight. Look for this to be a springboard to bigger things.

Running back Chip Trayanum


You know exactly why. It seems as if Trayanum has overtaken Miyan Williams as RB2 for the Buckeyes and it’s due to his stellar play. The stats won’t show that he had a big game, but he came in as a blocking back on passing downs, helping McCord to have more time to find receivers. The box score doesn’t give justice to how impactful Trayanum was tonight. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about the winning tough-as-nails score.

Ryan Day


Day doesn’t strap on the helmet but he might as well have after his firey post-game interview. Calling out Notre Dame legend Lou Holtz for his comments, this team followed its leaders intensity. Could the Buckeyes have played better and not needed a final drive touchdown to win the game? Sure, but would that have been as fun as it was? Nope, hat’s off to Day for trusting his players late to make plays and not turtling up when the moment got very big.

The rest


So many defenders had big games, and I didn’t want to exclude any of them. Three members of the secondary; Sonny Styles, Davison Igbinosun, and Josh Proctor; linebackers Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg all had big impacts. This side of the ball is unquestionably championship caliber. In its previous four games, Notre Dame hadn’t scored less than 41 points. Great effort from this group.

Contact/Follow @BuckeyesWire on X (formerly Twitter), and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes, and opinion. Follow Michael Chen on X.

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