The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

Third Base, Huh?


There are 52 weeks in a calendar year, but if this one doesn’t end in jubilant triumph, the other 51 don’t matter.

Buckle up. The 119th edition of “The Game” is upon us.

A game that has predominantly gone in my favor my entire life (17-5 record over the Wolverines since I’ve been alive), it’s been punishing to live this dark period of the rivalry as I’ve watched my team get rolled over in consecutive matchups.

Including the latest episode in this historic feud, which I attended in Columbus last year for my first ever game inside Ohio Stadium. An experience that was still cherishable as the college football extremist that I am, will also forever have a stain on it.

Some memories you just never forget as a human. Maybe it’s that concert at Madison Square Garden you went to go see. Maybe it’s your wedding day or the birth of your child. 

I have a cemented memory, too: the cement my eyes stared at as I moped out of the Horseshoe last November. I wasn’t even looking in the direction that I was walking because my head was drooped in utter disappointment.

I left feeling like I deserved that moment. The sight of a momentous Ohio State victory gathered by a hundred thousand die-hards like myself. All the years of emotional investment, and it led me to this?

I’ve grown up aggressively rooting for the Buckeyes for as long as I can remember. What turned into innocent fandom as a youngster, quickly escalated into a prodigious passion as a teen and young adult.

This team is everything to me. They’re what I look forward to, and the thing that gets me through some of my own life challenges. Whether I’m up into the late hours of the night piling through homework or running wind sprints until I can’t run anymore at lacrosse practice, Ohio State football has always been the chase that keeps me moving.

I always like to think to myself, “What am I going to do to beat Michigan today?”

Nearly 365 days have passed since that calamitous November afternoon, and from that moment to now I believe the team, as well as myself, have reached an upturn in our trajectory.

What exactly do I mean? Long story short, this time last year I was stuck studying a field that I didn’t enjoy the way I anticipated. I didn’t like the direction that I was headed, I didn’t like how I felt about myself.

Similarly the way I felt about the Buckeyes last football season.

The point being, I addressed the elephant in the room (despite being six months away from receiving my Bachelor’s) and ultimately switched my career path to sports journalism. It was a much better fit for me and a change that has positively impacted me since.

Similarly, Ryan Day got personal about his own changes he had to make this offseason. After back-to-back humiliating losses to Jim Harbaugh because of a lackluster defense, he looked his glaring problem in the eyes and attacked it vigorously.

Fast forward to today, as I write to you as the proud Sports Editor for The Impact and the Buckeyes hold the No. 2 scoring defense in America. Ohio State football and I elevated together, and when they walk into Ann Arbor on Saturday, they not only represent their onerous hard work, but mine as well.

I do have quite a bit of thoughts about this game that I’m going to share, but I’ll lead off with this:

There is no player or coach with more weight on their shoulders than Ryan Day this weekend.

Two blowout losses in a row will do that when you’re the head coach at Ohio State. The only program in the country where a 11-1 record at the end of the season isn’t good enough if you’re defeated by the Wolverines.

Ryan Day is no exception, and the Buckeye faithful have made that clear from their outside noise over the last two years. His immaculate 56-6 record as the head coach means slim to none to fans if he can’t slay that team up North, so it’s on him to change that.

Taking over for Michigan during Harbaugh’s suspension will be Sherrone Moore, the team’s offensive coordinator who has already acted as the head coach multiple times this season. The last we saw of him up close, he was bawling his eyes out on national television dropping F bombs left and right, victimizing his entire team like a phony. 

Moore has shown signs in the last three games that he may be in over his head taking on the lead role. He’s taken on play calling duties since Jim Harbaugh’s absence, and their offense hasn’t looked nearly as explosive as they once did.

J.J. McCarthy is really the one being negatively impacted here, having thrown zero touchdown passes and struggling to move the ball down field since Moore took over. It’s been an ongoing trend that frankly, I don’t think is coincidental.

Under no circumstance can Ryan Day lose to this coaching staff. Did you forget the comments Harbaugh made two years ago? Indirectly saying that Day was “born on third base.” Yeah, well, the opportunity to cross home plate looms this weekend, and he’s going to.

So, what’s the path to a Buckeye victory on Saturday?

Statistics show that the last 21 winners in this heated showdown out-rushed the opposing team in the game. TreVeyon Henderson wasn’t healthy against Michigan last season, but the former five star will be a green light in this one looking to close out his tremendous comeback campaign.

Getting the running game going will be essential to open up the Buckeye air attack. You look around at the plethora of blue chip receivers in this offense and it’s borderline comical for a collegiate roster.

Henderson’s individual success will be telling in the final score, win or lose. 

Not Marvin Harrison Jr. Not Kyle McCord. This is Trey’s game to take over.

I expect Harrison to be covered by Michigan’s Will Johnson for most of this game, but the other defensive backs in coverage for the Wolverines are vulnerable on all accounts.

Maryland exposed that secondary last week. We all watched it. The Terps had two receivers go for 70-plus yards, making you want to scratch your head and wonder…

What are they going to let players like Emeka Egbuka and Cade Stover do against them?

Although the Wolverines have been the best in college football on the defensive end this year, owning the nation’s No. 1 unit, they have come back down to earth since the firing of Connor Stalions a month ago.

Nobody is denying that their defense is stout, but they aren’t this unmovable force that they’ve been made out to be. I just don’t buy it.

After what I’ve seen, the Buckeyes are more than equipped to walk out of the Big House victorious this weekend. The period of suffering is over, now it’s time to restore the order.

And if they don’t, don’t check up on me for the next 51 weeks.

Go Bucks.

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About the Contributor
TJ Heyder
TJ Heyder, Sports Editor
TJ Heyder is a fifth year Media Studies major at Mercy, with a passion for sports journalism. TJ has become a main beat writer covering Mercy athletics in his time writing for The Impact. He’s also a current member of the Men’s Lacrosse team for the Mavericks.  He writes a college sports based column titled "Around The Net,” with a sharp focus on The Ohio State Buckeyes.  He can be reached at [email protected]  

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