NFL Wild Card Playoffs: Ohio State vs Alabama Connections

Alabama plays Ohio State in the College Football National Championship Game on Monday 1/11. Before that, the NFL will have 6 Wild Card Playoffs games on Saturday and Sunday.

I take a look at those 6 games and the 12 teams, to identify the connections to Ohio State or Alabama. This includes guys who played for or against either school and only includes QB, RB, WR (there are so many NFL alums from both schools that it was easier to limit this article to offense-only).

Bills vs Colts

Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin RB) – He faced Ohio State twice in 2019. In the regular season, Ohio State won 38-7, Taylor ran 20 time for just 52 yards, his lowest rushing output of the season and one of 3 (out of 14) games where he did not score a touchdown.

In the Big Ten Championship Game, Taylor again ran 20 times but this time had 148 yards and 1 TD in a 34-21 loss.

Parris Campbell (Ohio State WR) – Between 2016-2018, Campbell had 143 catches for 1,768 yards, 15 TD (plus 2 rush TDs) for Ohio State.

Ravens vs Titans

Derrick Henry (Alabama RB) – In 2015, Henry won the Heisman Trophy and ran for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns. His Alabama career ended in the Sugar Bowl that season, in the first ever playoffs, where Henry ran for 95 yards and 13 carries and 1 TD.

Mark Ingram (Alabama RB) – Ingram won the Heisman as a sophomore in 2009, running for 1,658 yards and 17 rush TDs. As a freshman in 2008, he ran for 728 yards. He ended his career, running for 875 yards and 13 TDs in 2010.

JK Dobbins (Ohio State RB) – Henry goes up against, not just Ingram, but Ravens rookie JK Dobbins, who last year was thurd in the country with 2,003 yards rushing.

Dobbins is the second all-time leading rusher at Ohio State with 4,459 yards, behind Archie Griffin, an above Ezekiel Elliot and Eddie Georgie. His 38 rush TDs are 5th most in school hitory

AJ Brown (Ole Miss WR) – In 2018, Ole Miss lost 62-7 to Alabama. Brown caught 4 of QB Jordan Ta’amu’s 7 completions for 34 yards.

Chris Moore (Cincinnati WR) – In 2015, current Ravens WR Chris Moore caught 3 passes for 221 yards and 3 TDs. Ohio State CB Eli Apple was on the coverage for all 3 passes.

Browns vs Steelers

Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma QB) – In 2015, Mayfield led #5 Oklahoma to a win over #2 Ohio State, in Columbus.  Mayfield threw for 386 yards and 3 TDs with no turnovers.

Worth noting, the leading rusher for the Sooners was Trey Sermon, who arried the ball 17 times for 62 yards and caught 3 passes, including a TD.  Sermon transferred to OSU for the 2020 season and in the Big Ten Championship Game, set a record with 331 yards rushing.

Nick Chubb (Georgia RB) – In 2017, Mayfield and Oklahoma lost the Rose Bowl to Georgia, led Browns RB Nick Chubb. In the National Championship Game of January 2018, Chubb ran for just 25 yards against Alabama’s defense.

Jarvis Landry (LSU WR) – Landry played 2 games against Alabama. In 2012, he had 8 catches for 76 yards and a TD. In 2013, he had 5 catches for 90 yards. LSU lost both games

Juju Smith-Schuster (USC WR) – In week 1 of the 2016 season, Alabama blew out USC 52-6. Smith-Schuster caught 1 pass for 9 yards.

Rams vs Seahawks

Russell Wilson (Wisconsin QB) – after transferring to Wisconsin for the 2011 season, the 15th ranked Badgers lost on 10/29/2011 at Ohio State. Wilson threw for 253 yards and 3 TDs.

Josh Reynolds (Texas A&M WR) – Reynolds played three games against Alabama.

  • 2014 – 3 catches, 42 yards
  • 2015 – 3 catches, 56 yards
  • 2016 – 2 catches, 27 yards, TD

DK Metcalf (Ole Miss WR) – In 2018, Ole Miss led Alabama 7-0 after Metcalf caught a 75 yard TD on the first play of the game. Ole Miss would go on to lose 62-7. That one catch accounted for 56% of Ole Miss’s passing yards. Metcalf finished with 92 yards total (out of 133 yards passing).

Carlos Hyde (Ohio State RB) – Seahawks backup RB had a successful career at OSU (2010-2013), running for 3,198 yards (6.1 ypc) and 37 rush TDs.

Saints vs Bears

Drew Brees (Purdue QB) – In 2000, Purdue beat Ohio State 31-27, in a wild game, where Brees completed 39 of 65 passes for 455 yards, throwing 3 TDs and 4 INTs. 2000 was the last time Purdue made the Rose Bowl.

The year prior, Brees went 24-39 for 205 yards with no TDs and INTs in another thrilled, that Purdue lost 25-22.

Michael Thomas (Ohio State WR) – In the 2015 Sugar Bowl against Alabama, Thomas led OSU with 7 catches, for 66 yards and a TD. In three years at OSU (2012, 2014-15), Thomas caught 113 passes for 1,602 yards and 18 TDs.

Alvin Kamara – red-shirted in 2013, but after sitting behind Derrick Henry, TJ Yeldon, and Kenyan Drake opted to transfer to Tennessee in 2014.

Allen Robinson (Penn State WR) – Robinson lost twice against Ohio State, but despite a blow out in 2013, put up monster numbers with 12 catches, 173 yards and a TD in a 63-14 loss. In 2012, he caught 5 passes for 68 yards in a 35-23 loss.

Washington vs Bucs

Tom Brady (Michigan QB) – At the end of the 1999 season, with Michigan trailing 17-10, Tom Brady threw 2 TD passes, both in the final 16 minutes of the game to lead Michigan to a 24-17 win over the rival Buckeyes. In 1998, Brady completed 31-56 passes for 375 yards, TD, and 2 INTs in a 31-16 loss.

Mike Evans (Texas A&M WR) – Since joining the SEC in 2012, Texas A&M has lost 8 in a row against Alabama. But in 2012, they won their first SEC game. A&M WR Mike Evans had 5 catches for 40 yards in the 29-24 win.

In a 49-42 loss in 2013, Evans had 7 catches for 279 yards and a TD.

Chris Godwin (Penn State WR) – In 2016, Penn State outscored Ohio State 17-0 in the fourth quarter, to upset #2 ranked Buckeyes 24-21. Penn State (now Ravens) QB Trace Mcsorley managed just 8 completions for 154 yards. WR Chris Godwin caught 2 passes for 39 yards and PSU’s only passing TD. Penn State would win the Big Ten title in 2016, but Ohio State stil made the playoffs (lost 31-0 to Clemson).

In 2015, Ohio State crushed Penn State 38-10. Godwin caught 3 passes for 103 yards.

Ronald Jones (USC RB) – Alabama opened the 2016 season with a 52-6 win over USC. RB Ronald Jones le USC with just 7 carries for 46 yards.

Leonard Fournette (LSU RB) – Fournette struggled in two games against Alabama. In 2014, he ran for 79 yards on 21 carries and in 2015, he ran for just 31 yards on 19 carries (plus a TD).

Terry McLaurin (Ohio State WR) – Before being rafted in the third round of the 2019 Draft, McLaurin had 75 catches for 1,251 yards, and 19 TDs in his OSU career.

Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State QB) – Recently released by Washington, Haskins was the #15 pick in the 2019 draft, after throwing 50 TD passes at Ohio State in 2018 and leading them to a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl win.

Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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