COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two games in, Tommy Togiai is making a bid to emerge as the most important player on Ohio State football’s defense.
The 6-2, 300-pound junior nose tackle relentlessly bashed through Penn State’s offensive line in Saturday’s 38-25 victory. His breakthrough performance was one of many along the Buckeyes’ defensive front and earned him Defensive Player of the Game honors.
Togiai assembled an uncommon stat line for nose tackles. He collected seven tackles with three sacks and two quarterback hurries. His previous career high for tackles was four, and the sacks were the first of his Buckeyes career.
With defensive line depth an issue to begin the season, Ohio State needed Togiai to immediately transition from his 2019 depth role to a consistent force in 2020. The pressure he is creating from the interior added an important dimension to a Buckeye defense still forming its identity.
Also recognized from Saturday’s victory in State College:
• Take your pick of who to recognize from the Justin Fields-Chris Olave-Garrett Wilson triumvirate. This week the Buckeyes gave Offensive Player of the Game to Olave, who turned seven receptions into 120 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdown catches were memorable — one a leaping grab in coverage in the front of the end zone, the other a fingertips-at-full-stride grab of Fields’ deep sideline bomb fr 49 yards.
I might have given the award, though, to tackles Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere, who did not allow a sack or pressure from Penn State’s talented defensive ends, per Pro Football Focus.
• Cade Stover earned Special Teams Player of the Game for the hard-to-measure contribution of “4 to 6 all day.” The redshirt freshman tight end also recorded a tackle on a kickoff and a knockdown on a punt return while playing on three units.
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