Jaxon Smith of the Ohio State Buckeyes is already a man among boys in college football, with an amazing sophomore season under his belt.
Jaxon Smith is an American football player for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He plays wide receiver and special teams. Smith was born in New York City, but grew up in Columbus, Ohio.
In the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capital One Venture X, Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and quarterback C.J. Stroud set a new record.
In a 48-45 win against Utah on Saturday, the Buckeyes broke or equaled eight Rose Bowl records, as well as a couple Ohio State marks.
Smith-Njigba established multiple records for himself in the game, catching 15 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns. The 347 receiving yards were an FBS record as well as a Buckeyes record, while the 15 receptions were a Rose Bowl record. Along with teammate Marvin Harrison Jr., who also scored three receiving touchdowns in the game, the wideout also equaled the Rose Bowl record for receiving touchdowns and established the Ohio State receiving yardage record for a season.
After finishing 37-of-46 for 573 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception, Stroud set a new Rose Bowl record for throwing yards and touchdowns.
Smith-performance Njigba’s didn’t surprise Stroud since he had seen him do it all season, in practice and in games. Smith-Njigba had 240 receiving yards against Nebraska earlier this season, and his effort on Saturday made him the first Ohio State receiver to ever have two 200-yard receiving games.
Stroud said, “We formed that bond probably all the way back to like, we came in as freshmen together, came in early, we were throwing at the Woody [Hayes Athletic Center] our first day.” “Last year, scout team, that’s when we really developed it.”
Despite the absence of top receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, both predicted to be first-round choices in the 2019 NFL draft, the squad accomplished all of this. The Buckeyes were behind 35-21 at halftime, but came back to win the game by scoring 27 points in the second half.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day said the team’s leaders stepped up in the locker room at halftime, similar to what occurred against Wisconsin in the 2019 Big Ten title game. Day said he’ll leave what was said in the locker room alone, noting that part of it he wouldn’t be able to repeat anyhow, but that the team’s leaders stood up.
Day remarked after the game, “I’m just really proud of the coaching staff, the players, and the leaders of this team for playing the way we did, particularly in the second half and winning this game.” “We were short-handed, and several of our regulars weren’t available today. And the fact that we responded so well at halftime and then came out and played in the second half speaks a lot about the spirit of this team.”
Terry Glenn’s school record of 253 yards, achieved against Pitt in 1995, was shattered by Smith-Njigba. He also eclipsed Keyshawn Johnson’s previous Rose Bowl record of 216 yards by a wide margin. If that wasn’t enough, the sophomore set a new single-season school record with 1,606 receiving yards, beating David Boston’s previous mark of 1,435 yards set in 1998.
“I just try to take advantage of any opportunity I have when the ball is in the air,” Smith-Njigba said.
Stroud’s 573 throwing yards rank third all-time in a bowl game and second all-time in any Big Ten game. Dave Wilson scored 621 points for Illinois versus Ohio State in 1980.
However, the game wasn’t all Ohio State, as Utah led early and then rallied late with backup quarterback Bryson Barnes, who hadn’t thrown a pass all season.
With 9:56 remaining in the game, Utah starting quarterback Cameron Rising exited with an apparent head injury, but his first examination was not serious, according to coach Kyle Whittingham.
“He’s doing OK now, according to the postgame report,” Whittingham said, “until something materializes that we don’t know about.”
Late in the fourth quarter, Barnes led the Utes to a game-tying score, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Buckeyes at bay. The halftime rally and the players’ leadership propelled Ohio State forward.
Day saw this game as a positive for next season, noting that Stroud is a freshman and Smith-Njigba is a sophomore, and that it made him understand the squad is in excellent hands with young leaders who have already taken control.
“As we go into the offseason, that’s the element of this game that we’ll really focus on,” Day said. “The leadership that propelled us in the second half that we weren’t going to be denied, and two of them are right here.” “And if we want to be where we want to be next year, we surely have; it’s a long way off, but I’m already thinking about that first game, which means these two guys’ leadership needs to really catapult. The way they performed in the second half of the game, but actually the whole game, is going to help them get some traction.”
Kyle Bonagura of ESPN contributed to this article.
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Jaxon Smith is a wide receiver for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He was born in Newark, NJ and attended Cardinal Mooney High School. His 40 time at the NFL Combine was 4.4 seconds. Reference: jaxon smith-njigba 40 time.
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