Olave was Oregon fan growing up but Ducks never called


By Jim Naveau - jnaveau@limanews.com



No. 12 Oregon (1-0) at No. 3 Ohio State (1-0)

By The Associated Press

Saturday at noon EDT (FOX).

Line: Ohio State by 14 ½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Ohio State leads 9-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State’s new starting quarterback, wants to show he is a worthy heir to Justin Fields. After some early jitters, the freshman had an outstanding second half as the Buckeyes pulled away from Minnesota 45-31 in the opener on Thursday. Success for Ohio State will depend on Stroud’s continued development. Oregon gets a measuring-stick game after surviving unranked Fresno State on Saturday. Ohio Stadium will be at full capacity of over 100,000.

KEY MATCHUP

Ohio State’s offensive line vs. Oregon’s defensive front. The Buckeyes O-line is huge, even by Buckeyes standards, and just as talented. The unit was tested against Minnesota’s pass rush and will have another fight on its hands against Oregon’s front, although the unit may be without star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who left Saturday’s game at halftime with a left ankle injury. The Oregon defense had four sacks, eight tackles-for-loss and four forced fumbles in the opener.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Oregon: With Thibodeaux’s status uncertain, freshman linebacker Justin Flowe will be asked to do more. Flowe logged 14 tackles against Fresno State and forced a fumble that set up the game-tying field goal. He was limited to one game during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season due to a knee injury.

Ohio State: Social media was howling for Ohio State to bench Stroud after the Buckeyes trailed at halftime 14-10. The 19-year-old came out in the second half and blew away the Gophers, throwing for four touchdowns and racking up 246 of his total 294 yards passing.

FACTS & FIGURES

This season is the 100th in Ohio Stadium for the Buckeyes. They christened their new home with a 5-0 victory over Ohio Wesleyan on Oct. 7, 1922. … The Ducks are looking for their first win over a top-five team since they beat No. 5 Utah in the 2019 Pac-12 Championship game. … The Buckeyes ran 48 offensive plays at Minnesota but averaged a school-record 10.3 yards per play. … Ohio State is 6-0 in game in which receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson each catch a touchdown pass, which they did against Minnesota.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

COLUMBUS — Chris Olave saved the fancy footwork for sideline passes, smiled and admitted his heart belonged to a team other than Ohio State when he was younger.

That team was Oregon, which is OSU’s opponent in a match-up of ranked teams on Saturday afternoon at Ohio Stadium.

Growing up in California, Ohio State’s senior wide receiver was like a lot of West Coast kids who were fascinated by the Ducks’ success and their closet full of Nike-designed uniforms that made them the fashion leaders in college football.

Olave called Oregon “my dream school” and recalled how Ohio State’s 42-20 win over the Ducks in the 2014 College Football Playoff national championship game was not the outcome he had hoped for.

“Oregon was like a powerhouse with (coach) Chip Kelly. I remember watching Oregon with my family growing up. We were all Oregon fans, me and my brothers,” Olave said on Tuesday.

Oregon played in national championship games in the 2014 and 2010 seasons. OSU is ranked No. 3 and Oregon is No. 12 going into Saturday’s game.

Olave was an under the radar 3-star recruit when Ryan Day discovered him while recruiting one of his high school teammates.

By the time Oregon contacted him, he already was solidly in Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class.

“I wasn’t really a big-time recruit until Ohio State offered me, probably like midseason of my senior year, and that’s when everybody else started coming,” Olave said.

“We (he and Oregon) had some contact. They wanted me to visit, like in late January, but my mind was kind of set on Ohio State. It (Oregon) was my dream school but I don’t know. We’ll never know. They never came so I guess we’ll never know.

“It’s like a childhood dream to play in a game like this, Ohio State against Oregon,” he said.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day’s career path also was influenced by Kelly, but in a larger and more direct way.

Kelly was the offensive coordinator at the University of New Hampshire when Day was the Wildcats’ quarterback. Those years were the beginning of a long and close relationship.

“We talked yesterday, we talk all the time,” Day said on Tuesday. He’s very, very close to me. In the summers his summer home is right across the street from mine. His wife and mine are very, very close,” Day said.

“We’ve stayed very close. We share thoughts and ideas in just about everything. He’s a huge mentor to me. He’s a very close friend.”

When Kelly was an NFL head coach he hired Day twice, first as the quarterbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagle and then for the same job with the San Francisco 49ers.

But, like Olave, Day didn’t make a connection with Oregon when he might have done that. He and Kelly discussed a job at Oregon but Day decided against accepting it.

“We talked several times about going there. At the time we’d just had R.J. (his son) and Nina (his wife) was pregnant with Grace. I thought long and hard about doing it but it was just too far to go at the time,” Day said.

“I didn’t want to go all the way across the country with a young family. Chip was great. He said, ‘That’s why I love you so much. You love your family.’ He said, ‘We’ll coach together someday and five years later, lo and behold, we were together on the West Coast in San Francisco.”

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/09/web1_LOGO.osu_.jpg

By Jim Naveau

jnaveau@limanews.com

No. 12 Oregon (1-0) at No. 3 Ohio State (1-0)

By The Associated Press

Saturday at noon EDT (FOX).

Line: Ohio State by 14 ½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Ohio State leads 9-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State’s new starting quarterback, wants to show he is a worthy heir to Justin Fields. After some early jitters, the freshman had an outstanding second half as the Buckeyes pulled away from Minnesota 45-31 in the opener on Thursday. Success for Ohio State will depend on Stroud’s continued development. Oregon gets a measuring-stick game after surviving unranked Fresno State on Saturday. Ohio Stadium will be at full capacity of over 100,000.

KEY MATCHUP

Ohio State’s offensive line vs. Oregon’s defensive front. The Buckeyes O-line is huge, even by Buckeyes standards, and just as talented. The unit was tested against Minnesota’s pass rush and will have another fight on its hands against Oregon’s front, although the unit may be without star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who left Saturday’s game at halftime with a left ankle injury. The Oregon defense had four sacks, eight tackles-for-loss and four forced fumbles in the opener.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Oregon: With Thibodeaux’s status uncertain, freshman linebacker Justin Flowe will be asked to do more. Flowe logged 14 tackles against Fresno State and forced a fumble that set up the game-tying field goal. He was limited to one game during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season due to a knee injury.

Ohio State: Social media was howling for Ohio State to bench Stroud after the Buckeyes trailed at halftime 14-10. The 19-year-old came out in the second half and blew away the Gophers, throwing for four touchdowns and racking up 246 of his total 294 yards passing.

FACTS & FIGURES

This season is the 100th in Ohio Stadium for the Buckeyes. They christened their new home with a 5-0 victory over Ohio Wesleyan on Oct. 7, 1922. … The Ducks are looking for their first win over a top-five team since they beat No. 5 Utah in the 2019 Pac-12 Championship game. … The Buckeyes ran 48 offensive plays at Minnesota but averaged a school-record 10.3 yards per play. … Ohio State is 6-0 in game in which receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson each catch a touchdown pass, which they did against Minnesota.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau