Take 5: Ohio State, Steelers, Scholarships


Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/TNS

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) makes a pass against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.

By TPN Staff

Our staff tackles a variety of topics in this week’s Take 5, from the Steelers bounceback opportunity to Bianca Andreescu’s rise to tennis stardom.

Steelers to bounce back in Week 2

The Pittsburgh Steelers were dismantled 33-3 last Sunday night when they traveled to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots. This was a game in which Pittsburgh was outcoached, outperformed and outclassed. Ben Roethlisberger took accountability for the loss, noting that he needed to give his receivers more accurately placed throws.

While Pittsburgh fans currently have real concerns, they should remember that Roethlisberger is no stranger to adversity. Three seasons ago, the Philadelphia Eagles destroyed Pittsburgh 34-3. The very next week, the Steelers blew out the Chiefs en route to becoming an 11-5 playoff team. The next year, Roethlisberger threw five interceptions against the Jaguars and marched forward — helping lead his team to a 13-3 record.

This Sunday, you can expect big things from Pittsburgh when the Seattle Seahawks come to town. Seattle is 1-0 on the season, but struggled against Cincinnati, which didn’t have receiver A.J. Green and running back Joe Mixon for the majority of the game. Seattle has been notorious for not having the greatest offensive line, and Russell Wilson will be running outside the pocket all day. Wilson can extend and create plays for his team but it won’t be enough, as the Steelers — who tied for first in the NFL with 52 sacks last season — will contain the quarterback.

On offense, Seattle cannot expect another woeful exhibition from the Steelers. The Steelers averaged 403 yards per game last year, which marked fourth overall in the league. While Antonio Brown is no longer a member of the team, Pittsburgh still brought back playmakers James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vance McDonald and James Washington, who should all rise to the occasion. It’s time for them to move on from last week and take care of business this week. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be victorious on Sunday.

— Elliott Borawski, For The Pitt News

Buckeyes back in the Playoff

The Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0) had an incredible start to their 2019-20 campaign. They pulverized Florida Atlantic and Cincinnati to open up the year, proving they still have what it takes to make it back to the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State’s matchup with Florida Atlantic was decided after the first couple possessions. The Buckeyes put up 28 points in the first quarter en route to a 45-21 victory. The Owls scored half of their points in garbage time, so don’t let the score fool you.

The Cincinnati victory was even more impressive, as Ohio thoroughly demolished the Bearcats 42-0. The offense flashed its playoff potential by racking up 508 offensive yards in total.

Two factors have led to the Buckeyes’ success so far — the production from sophomore quarterback Justin Fields and the drastic improvement from the defense.

Fields has played as advertised so far, throwing for six touchdowns and completing 76% of his passes this year. He also boasts the third best QBR in the nation. Fields is playing like a Heisman contender and if he continues to produce like this, then Ohio State will find itself in playoff contention.

The Buckeyes’ defense has also improved since last season, surrendering only 21 points in two games. Ohio State’s defense last season was its Achilles’ heel and one of the biggest reasons the team was kept out of the CFP. Their stingy defense this season may avenge the woes from the season prior. Along with Fields’ play, Ohio State looks to be back on top.

— Tyler Moran, Staff Writer

Is Derrius Guice running out of time?

Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice tore his meniscus against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday after running for 18 yards on 10 carries. Considering that Guice already missed his entire 2018 rookie season with a torn ACL in his other knee, the injury raised serious concerns about Guice’s future in the league. He’s expected to miss six to eight weeks if he decides to proceed with surgery.

If Guice continues to be injury-prone, which is by no means his fault, when should he call it a career? Should he try and switch to a team with a better medical staff? Andrew Luck retired not long ago at the age of 30. It may be advisable for other NFL players to take Luck’s same path. Guice has worked hard to become an NFL star his whole life, so it wouldn’t be easy to give up the game. At some point, he’s sacrificing more than just physical health. It’s ultimately up to the individual player, but we have seen that recurring injuries can affect players’ happiness and mental health.

As a larger question, how many injuries are too many? Injuries are different for each player, but on average, how many severe injuries are enough?

— Sam Krimins, For The Pitt News

Strong start to the class of 2032

It’s not everyday that a 12-year-old and a 9-year-old can say that their college plans are already set. But one young man’s concern over the financial possibility of his future education, combined with another’s dedication to the university he supports, made national waves and supplied a couple feel-good stories for the week.

The first case belongs to 12-year-old Jaylin Clyburn, a South Carolina native and Carolina Panthers fan, who decided to take up some work mowing lawns throughout the summer in order to start saving for his college tuition down the road.

Clyburn’s hard work and eye to the future caught the attention of Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera, who invited the young man down to Charlotte to help with some grassy patches around the Panthers’ home field. While that was happening, Rivera surprised him with a new Panthers electric lawnmower, a signed Cam Newton football and various other items.

But after the video was posted to Carolina’s social media, many on the Internet lashed out at Rivera and the Panthers for not simply helping Clyburn with his tuition savings. Taking the backlash in stride, new Panthers’ owner (and CMU/Pitt alum) David Tepper stepped in to help beef up Jaylin’s savings.

The other situation involved an unnamed Florida fourth-grader who was looking to rep his favorite team, the Tennessee Volunteers. As if being a Vols fan right now is not hard enough, the boy’s mother was unable to locate a shirt for him to rep. And so, in a story shared by his teacher, he decided to make his own, resulting in harsh bullying and teasing from his classmates.

In the days since his story went viral, UT’s VolShop has pre-sold 50,000 shirts bearing the young boy’s design with all proceeds being donated to Stomp Out Bullying.

Oh, and Tennessee has already offered him admission with a full scholarship for the class of 2032. Who’s got the last laugh now, punks?

— Ben Bobeck, Staff Writer

Bianca Andreescu brings a new swagger to tennis

Tennis fans all over the world flocked to their TVs over the last few weeks to watch the U.S. Open — the final grand slam tournament of the year. It was difficult to keep up with all of the amazing storylines to follow, from 15-year-old phenom Coco Gauff’s run to the Russian villain-turned-darling Daniil Medvedev. But the most exciting development of the past few weeks was the rise of Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu.

The 19-year-old Andreescu defeated Serena Williams 6-3, 7-5 in the U.S. Open Women’s Final last week to become Canada’s first ever Grand Slam winner. The win over one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time was not only was a huge upset, but it also opened the door for a new potential star to take over the face of the sport when Serena retires. Andreescu is here to stay.

Her turbulent rise in the rankings is amazing. Not only was this win her first ever Grand Slam title, but it was the first time she had ever made it out of the second round. Starting the season ranked No. 152 in the world, Andreescu turned heads in her first tournament of the year, upsetting many opponents on her way to a runner-up finish. She went on to win her first two Women’s Tennis Association titles — the BNP Paribas Open and Rogers Cup — to bring her up to No. 15 entering the U.S. Open.

The next big factor contributing to Andreescu’s success is her style of play. She plays with extreme power, narrowly straddling the line between aggressive and out of control. In the semifinals, Andreescu played opposite another up-and-coming player Belinda Bencic. Bencic, who plays a defensive game, could not slow Andreescu down. After a convincing first-set win, Andreescu staged a roaring second-set comeback to advance, hitting 40 winners total in the match. The offensive menace outpowered the defensive artist.

Andreescu also has the confidence a transcendent star needs. She stares down opponents after winning, yells after winning points and even shows signs of a hot temper when not playing well. Her antics got under multiple major winner Angelique Kerber’s skin enough for a slight altercation after the match, though Kerber may have just been upset about losing twice to Andreescu in a week.

Off the court, Andreescu seems to be sweet and relatable. She requested a congratulations text from fellow Canadian Drake and comforted a crying Williams after her withdrawal from the Rogers Cup. Turns out she’s a Serena Williams superfan, just like the rest of the world. She may need to prepare herself for the fans that are about to hop on her hype train.

— Alex Lehmbeck, Staff Writer