Snap Counts: Matthew Jones, Marcus Williamson, Lathan Ransom Play Expanded Roles, 60 Total Buckeyes Play in Oh – Eleven Warriors

A total of 60 Buckeyes played on-field roles in Ohio State’s historic win over Clemson in Friday’s College Football Playoff semifinal at the Sugar Bowl.

Though the Buckeyes were without a few regular contributors including left guard Harry Miller, running back Master Teague and defensive ends Zach Harrison and Tyler Friday for their clash with the Tigers, they weren’t without as many players as they had been for their previous two games against Michigan State and Northwestern, and 80 percent of their available players for the game (not including safety Ronnie Hickman, who was also sidelined by injury) played at least one snap in Ohio State’s 49-28 victory.

As we continue to look back on the Buckeyes’ first-ever win over Clemson that punched their ticket to next week’s national championship game against Alabama, it’s time for our report on how many snaps and what roles each of those Buckeyes played. As always, all snap counts were compiled by Eleven Warriors and include only the number of snaps played on offense or defense, though participants on special teams units are also listed.

Quarterbacks

Justin Fields: 72
C.J. Stroud: 1

Despite taking a vicious second-quarter shot from Clemson linebacker James Skalski that injured his midsection, Fields left the Sugar Bowl for just one play – on which Stroud, who also took Fields’ place on the field when he had to leave for a play against Michigan State, checked in as the No. 2 quarterback.

After that, Fields returned and played every play for the rest of the game. Despite being in evident pain both during and after the game, Fields delivered the finest performance of his Ohio State career, completing 22 of 28 passing attempts for 385 yards and six touchdowns while also running for 42 yards on eight carries to lead the Buckeyes to their three-score win. 

Running Backs

Trey Sermon: 70
Miyan Williams: 3
Marcus Crowley: Special teams only
Steele Chambers: Special teams only
Xavier Johnson: Special teams only

With Teague sidelined by injury (which Chris Fowler reported as a concussion during ESPN’s broadcast of the game), Sermon made his first start as a Buckeye – which he presumably would have even if Teague was healthy after his school-record 331 yards against Northwestern – and played all but three snaps of the Sugar Bowl. He had another spectacular showing against Clemson, rushing for 193 yards on 31 carries and adding 61 yards on four catches.

The only time Sermon came out of the game was after he ran 91 yards on a screen-pass touchdown that was ultimately overturned after Sermon’s knee was ruled down. Williams came into the game to give Sermon a breather and ran the ball on all three of his snaps on the field, gaining 21 total yards.

Trey SermonTrey Sermon

Trey Sermon played a career-high 70 snaps in Ohio State’s win over Clemson.

Wide Receivers

Chris Olave: 58
Garrett Wilson: 56
Jameson Williams: 41
Jaxon Smith-Njigba: 21
Julian Fleming: 14
Kamryn Babb: Special teams only
Chris Booker: Special teams only
Demario McCall: Special teams only
Gee Scott Jr.: Special teams only

As Ohio State’s top two receivers, Olave and Wilson were each on the field for more than 75 percent of the Buckeyes’ offensive plays against Clemson. Williams also started the game and was on the field for more than half of the Buckeyes’ offensive plays against Clemson, playing exclusively in three-receiver lineups as an outside receiver.

Smith-Njigba saw playing time at both slot receiver and outside receiver, with 14 of his 21 snaps coming in the second half, while Fleming rotated in for Olave for 14 plays, with all but one of his snaps coming in the third and fourth quarters. Those two freshmen were the only backup receivers that saw playing time on offense in the Sugar Bowl.

Tight Ends

Luke Farrell: 50
Jeremy Ruckert: 45
Jake Hausmann: 5
Mitch Rossi: 2
Cade Stover: Special teams only

In a game where Ohio State actually used its tight ends prominently as receivers, throwing two touchdowns to Ruckert and one to Farrell, each of the Buckeyes’ top two tight ends were on the field for more than half of the Buckeyes’ offensive plays, including 24 plays where they were on the field together.

Hausmann played two snaps in the third quarter and was on the field for the Buckeyes’ final three plays of the game. Rossi played one snap in the third quarter and was on the field for the Buckeyes’ final running play of the game, on which they had all of their top four tight ends in the game.

Offensive Linemen

Thayer Munford: 73
Josh Myers: 73
Wyatt Davis: 73
Nicholas Petit-Frere: 73
Matthew Jones: 64
Paris Johnson Jr.: 9
Gavin Cupp: Special teams only
Dawand Jones: Special teams only
Max Wray: Special teams only

With Harry Miller out due to COVID-19, Matthew Jones made his second start of the season at left guard, having also started at that position against Michigan State after Miller moved to center to fill in for Myers, who missed that game following a positive COVID-19 test.

When Jones had to leave the game for a series in the second quarter with an apparent injury, Johnson – who had previously played only at tackle for the Buckeyes – took his place in the lineup at left guard for eight plays. Jones returned for Ohio State’s following possession, but Johnson checked in again for one play in the third quarter when Jones had to briefly check out of the game again.

Defensive Ends

Jonathon Cooper: 56
Tyreke Smith: 49
Javontae Jean-Baptiste: 30
Cormontae Hamilton: 3
Noah Potter: 3

With Friday and Harrison both sidelined for the Sugar Bowl, Ohio State’s core rotation at defensive end was cut down to just three players for the second game in a row. Cooper and Smith started and each played a majority of defensive snaps for the second game in a row, but Jean-Baptiste returned to action after missing the Big Ten Championship Game and played 30 total snaps as the first defensive end off the bench, along with two snaps as a nose tackle between Cooper and Smith in three-man fronts.

Potter and Hamilton saw their only playing time, for three snaps each, on Ohio State’s final defensive series of the game.

Defensive Tackles

Tommy Togiai: 49
Haskell Garrett: 38
Taron Vincent: 24
Antwuan Jackson: 17
Jerron Cage: 13

Togiai and Garrett continued to lead Ohio State’s defensive tackle rotation against Clemson. Togiai played more than two-thirds of the Buckeyes’ defensive snaps at nose tackle while Garrett played just over half of Ohio State’s defensive plays along the line, including three snaps as a defensive end in the Buckeyes’ base 4-3 front along with 35 snaps at his usual 3-technique position.

Vincent played most of the snaps at 3-technique when Garrett wasn’t in that spot, though Jackson also saw some snaps at 3-tech in addition to being the first nose tackle off the bench, as Cage also played his third-highest snap count of the season at nose.

Linebackers

Pete Werner: 71
Tuf Borland: 43
Baron Browning: 38
Justin Hilliard: 34
Teradja Mitchell: 2
Ryan Batsch: Special teams only
Dallas Gant: Special teams only
K’Vaughan Pope: Special teams only
Cody Simon: Special teams only

Werner never left the field against Clemson, playing all 71 of Ohio State’s defensive snaps for the game and tying for the team lead with nine tackles. Borland played every snap at middle linebacker in the Buckeyes’ base defense, but came off the field for all nickel packages, which Ohio State used on 28 plays against Clemson.

Browning started the game at Sam linebacker after missing the Big Ten Championship Game, but was replaced by Hilliard after Ohio State gave up a touchdown on its opening defensive series. Hilliard went on to play all but two snaps in the base defense for the remainder of the game – and was one of the Buckeyes’ top defensive players in the game once again – but Browning was on the field for all nickel plays.

Mitchell entered the game for a pair of 3-3-5 nickel packages on which he lined up as an edge-rushing linebacker opposite Browning.

Pete WernerPete Werner

Pete Werner was one of four Ohio State defenders who played every snap against Clemson.

Cornerbacks

Sevyn Banks: 71
Shaun Wade: 71
Lathan Ransom: 28

Banks and Wade both played every snap of Friday’s game as the Buckeyes’ two outside cornerbacks. 

Ransom, who played just 24 total snaps in Ohio State’s first six games of the year, was on the field for every one of Ohio State’s 28 nickel plays against Clemson as the Buckeyes’ fifth defensive back, primarily lining up as a slot cornerback. He played the most snaps on defense or offense of any Ohio State freshman in the Sugar Bowl.

Safeties

Josh Proctor: 71
Marcus Williamson: 70
Marcus Hooker: Special teams only
Bryson Shaw: Special teams only

Even though Hooker returned to action against Clemson after missing the Big Ten Championship Game, he played only on kickoff coverage against the Tigers as Proctor and Williamson took every snap at safety.

While Williamson mostly played up at the line of scrimmage as a slot cornerback during the regular season, he lined up primarily as a safety against Clemson – sometimes as a second deep safety alongside Proctor, sometimes with Proctor playing up in the box. Proctor played every defensive snap for a second game in a row while Williamson only came off for one third-and-short play on which the Buckeyes put four linebackers on the field.

Extra Points

Blake Haubeil (kicker)
Drue Chrisman (holder)
Bradley Robinson (long snapper)
Jeremy Ruckert (wing)
Matthew Jones (rocker)
Paris Johnson Jr. (tackle)
Dawand Jones (guard)
Jerron Cage (guard)
Gavin Cupp (tackle)
Max Wray (rocker)
Luke Farrell (wing)

Chrisman returned to action against Clemson after missing the Big Ten Championship Game due to COVID-19. The rest of the placekicking unit remained unchanged for Ohio State’s seven successful extra points against the Tigers.

Kickoffs

Blake Haubeil or Dominic DiMaccio (kicker)
Josh Proctor or Marcus Crowley (gunner)
Justin Hilliard or K’Vaughan Pope (gunner)
Teradja Mitchell (gunner)
Cade Stover (gunner)
Dallas Gant (gunner)
Jameson Williams or Chris Booker (gunner)
Kamryn Babb (gunner)
Marcus Williamson or Marcus Hooker (gunner)
Baron Browning or Cody Simon (gunner)
Lathan Ransom (gunner)

Haubeil handled Ohio State’s first four kickoffs against Clemson before being replaced by DiMaccio for its last four. Booker, Hooker and Browning all returned to kickoff coverage duty after being out of the Big Ten Championship Game. Proctor, Hilliard, Williams, Williamson and Browning each played on kickoff coverage only in the first half before backups took their place on the field.

Kickoff Returns

Demario McCall (returner)
Trey Sermon (blocker)
Xavier Johnson (blocker)
Jake Hausmann (blocker)
Mitch Rossi (blocker)
Dallas Gant (blocker)
Cody Simon (blocker)
Gee Scott Jr. (blocker)
Lathan Ransom (blocker)
Chris Booker (blocker)
Kamryn Babb (blocker)

McCall lined up as Ohio State’s deep returner for all five of Clemson’s kickoffs but did not have any kickoff returns (though he did let one kickoff bounce in the field of play, resulting in the Buckeyes starting a drive at the 9-yard line). Booker and Scott returned to the kickoff return unit against the Tigers, replacing Ryan Watts and Julian Fleming.

Punts

Drue Chrisman (punter)
Bradley Robinson (long snapper)
Pete Werner (upback)
Tuf Borland (upback)
Luke Farrell (upback/tackle)
Dallas Gant (guard)
Cody Simon (guard)
Justin Hilliard (tackle)
Kamryn Babb (gunner/wing)
Chris Olave or Julian Fleming (gunner)
Jameson Williams or Julian Fleming (gunner)

In his return to action after missing the Northwestern game, Chrisman averaged 47.2 yards per punt on four punts, including a 67-yard punt. Olave also returned to his punt gunning duties after missing the Big Ten Championship Game, but the rest of the unit remained the same.

Punt Blocks/Returns

Garrett Wilson (returner)
Shaun Wade (lineman)
Kamryn Babb (lineman)
Xavier Johnson (lineman)
Steele Chambers (lineman)
Cody Simon (lineman)
Bryson Shaw (lineman)
Dallas Gant (lineman)
Gee Scott Jr. (lineman)
Lathan Ransom (lineman)
Chris Booker (lineman)

Ohio State only deployed its punt blocking unit on Clemson’s first punt of the Sugar Bowl, going with a punt safe of lineup of regular defensive players for the rest of the Tigers’ punts. Chambers and Shaw played their only snap of the game as part of that unit.

Punt Safe

Garrett Wilson (returner)
Jonathon Cooper (end) or Ryan Batsch (safety)
Javontae Jean-Baptiste or Taron Vincent (lineman)
Tommy Togiai (lineman)
Haskell Garrett (lineman)
Pete Werner (linebacker)
Tuf Borland (linebacker)
Justin Hilliard (linebacker)
Marcus Williamson (linebacker)
Sevyn Banks (cornerback)
Shaun Wade (cornerback)

As aforementioned, the Buckeyes kept their defense on the field to guard against a fake for Clemson’s final four punts of the Sugar Bowl. Batsch did come onto the field for Clemson’s final punt to play his only snap of the game.

Extra Point Block

Shaun Wade (lineman)
Teradja Mitchell (lineman)
Tyreke Smith (lineman)
Haskell Garrett (lineman)
Tommy Togiai (lineman)
Pete Werner (lineman)
Jonathon Cooper (lineman)
Sevyn Banks (lineman)
Marcus Williamson (linebacker)
Tuf Borland (linebacker)
Josh Proctor (linebacker)

Smith replaced Zach Harrison on Ohio State’s extra point block unit, which didn’t actively attempt to block any of Clemson’s extra points to avoid risking a penalty. The rest of this unit’s lineup remained the same from the Big Ten Championship Game.

Snap Tracker: Offense
POS PLAYER NEB PSU RU IU MSU NU CU TOTAL
QB JUSTIN FIELDS 65 81 70 82 67 74 72 511
QB JACK MILLER III 6 DNP DNP DNP 4 DNP DNP 10
QB C.J. STROUD DNP DNP 1 DNP 6 DNP 1 8
RB TREY SERMON 28 37 27 24 32 64 70 282
RB MASTER TEAGUE 30 44 34 57 31 8 DNP 204
RB STEELE CHAMBERS 7 ST 7 ST 4 DNP ST 18
RB MIYAN WILLIAMS DNP DNP   DNP 8 2 3 14
RB XAVIER JOHNSON 6 ST ST ST ST ST ST 6
RB MARCUS CROWLEY DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP ST ST ST
WR GARRETT WILSON 48 70 48 67 57 73 56 419
WR CHRIS OLAVE 52 80 58 76 55 DNP 58 379
WR JAMESON WILLIAMS 48 36 29 40 31 43 41 268
WR JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA 17 23 27 24 28 DNP 21 140
WR JULIAN FLEMING 19 1 12 6 21 52 14 125
WR KAMRYN BABB 6 ST 6 ST ST 19 ST 31
WR GEE SCOTT JR. 4 ST 8 ST DNP DNP ST 12
WR/RB DEMARIO McCALL ST ST 4 1 4 ST ST 9
WR CHRIS BOOKER ST ST ST ST ST DNP ST ST
WR SAM WIGLUSZ ST DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP ST
TE LUKE FARRELL 40 44 42 63 43 55 50 337
TE JEREMY RUCKERT 33 55 40 51 39 51 45 314
TE JAKE HAUSMANN 9 15 DNP DNP 18 3 5 50
TE MITCH ROSSI 7 ST 10 1 12 ST 2 32
TE CADE STOVER 1 ST 2 DNP 2 ST ST 5
OL WYATT DAVIS 65 81 70 82 66 74 73 511
OL THAYER MUNFORD 65 81 70 82 DNP 74 73 445
OL JOSH MYERS 65 81 70 82 DNP 74 73 445
OL NICHOLAS PETIT-FRERE 65 81 70 82 DNP 74 73 445
OL HARRY MILLER 61 81 70 82 69 74 DNP 437
OL MATTHEW JONES 10 ST ST DNP 69 ST 64 143
OL DAWAND JONES 6 ST 1 ST 73 ST ST 80
OL MAX WRAY ST ST 1 ST 68 ST ST 69
OL ENOKK VIMAHI 6 ST 1 DNP 13 DNP DNP 20
OL PARIS JOHNSON JR. 6 ST 1 ST DNP ST 9 16
OL LUKE WYPLER 6 DNP 1 DNP 8 DNP DNP 15
OL GAVIN CUPP DNP DNP DNP ST 11 ST ST 11
K BLAKE HAUBEIL ST ST DNP DNP ST ST ST ST
K DOMINIC DiMACCIO ST ST ST ST ST DNP ST ST
K JAKE SEIBERT DNP DNP ST ST DNP DNP DNP ST
Snap Tracker: Defense
POS PLAYER NEB PSU RU IU MSU NU CU TOTAL
DE JONATHON COOPER 31 35 35 51 33 57 56 298
DE TYREKE SMITH 21 28 38 29 33 50 49 248
DE ZACH HARRISON 15 28 25 31 29 36 DNP 164
DE JAVONTAE JEAN-BAPTISTE 19 10 32 12 31 DNP 30 134
DE TYLER FRIDAY 26 27 34 24 DNP DNP DNP 111
DE NOAH POTTER 2 DNP 7 DNP DNP 3 3 15
DE CORMONTAE HAMILTON DNP DNP 3 DNP 6 1 3 13
DE DARRION HENRY-YOUNG 2 DNP 2 DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
DT TOMMY TOGIAI 41 42 41 44 29 51 49 297
DT HASKELL GARRETT 23 33 37 37 33 49 38 250
DT ANTWUAN JACKSON 30 16 28 13 21 17 17 142
DT TARON VINCENT DNP 11 28 18 25 19 24 125
DT JERRON CAGE 15 3 27 4 11 4 13 77
DT TY HAMILTON 5 DNP 13 DNP 5 DNP DNP 23
DT ZAID HAMDAN 2 DNP 4 DNP DNP DNP DNP 6
DT JADEN McKENZIE DNP DNP DNP DNP 5 DNP DNP 5
LB PETE WERNER 42 62 50 65 57 72 71 419
LB BARON BROWNING 47 62 34 55 57 DNP 38 293
LB TUF BORLAND 34 41 45 44 DNP 68 43 275
LB JUSTIN HILLIARD DNP DNP 26 13 41 62 34 175
LB TERADJA MITCHELL 16 15 33 12 3 4 2 85
LB DALLAS GANT 18 ST 38 ST 11 5 ST 72
LB CRAIG YOUNG 9 1 29 ST DNP DNP DNP 39
LB K’VAUGHAN POPE 2 ST 5 DNP 9 ST ST 16
LB CODY SIMON ST ST 5 DNP 9 ST ST 14
LB TOMMY EICHENBERG DNP DNP DNP DNP 6 DNP DNP 6
LB CADE KACHERSKI ST ST ST ST ST DNP DNP ST
LB RYAN BATSCH ST DNP DNP DNP DNP ST ST ST
LB MITCHELL MELTON ST DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP ST
LB BEN SCHMIESING ST DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP ST
LB TRAYVON WILBURN ST DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP ST
CB SHAUN WADE 47 62 66 68 51 72 71 437
CB SEVYN BANKS 39 53 37 68 60 71 71 399
CB TYREKE JOHNSON 9 DNP 50 DNP 15 1 ST 75
CB/S LATHAN RAMSOM 2 9 ST ST 1 12 28 52
CB CAMERON BROWN 23 16 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 39
CB RYAN WATTS DNP DNP 22 ST 6 ST DNP 28
CB LLOYD McFARQUHAR 2 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
CB DARRYL SINCLAIR 2 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
CB CAMERON MARTINEZ DNP DNP DNP ST DNP DNP DNP ST
S/CB MARCUS WILLIAMSON 41 39 47 46 52 67 70 362
S MARCUS HOOKER 35 62 65 68 58 DNP ST 288
S/CB JOSH PROCTOR 24 27 30 46 DNP 72 71 270
S/CB RONNIE HICKMAN 9 ST 16 ST 21 DNP DNP 46
S BRYSON SHAW 5 ST 16 DNP 9 DNP ST 30
S KEVIN DEVER ST DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP ST
P DRUE CHRISMAN ST ST ST ST ST DNP ST ST
P ZACH HOOVER DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP ST DNP ST
LS BRADLEY ROBINSON ST ST ST ST ST ST ST ST