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Scarlet Sunrise: Seven former Buckeyes players advance to NFL conference championships

Andy Backstrom01/23/23
Article written by:On3 imageAndy Backstrom


Eli Apple by Cooper Neill/Getty Images
Former Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple is one of five Bengals player advancing to the AFC Championship who spent time with the Buckeyes. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise. Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Buckeyes football, recruiting, basketball and more in Scarlet Sunrise.

Seven former Buckeyes players advance to NFL conference championships

This time next week, we’ll know which two teams will be playing in Super Bowl LVII. But, first, the AFC and NFC Championships have to be played. And there will be a combined seven former Ohio State players in those games.

Of those seven, five fittingly play for the Cincinnati Bengals: quarterback Joe Burrow (who started his career at Ohio State before starring at LSU), cornerback Eli Apple, safety Vonn Bell, offensive tackle Isaiah Prince, defensive end Sam Hubbard and punter Drue Chrisman.

There are no former Buckeyes players on the Kansas City Chiefs, but there is one program alum representing the Philadelphia Eagles and another suiting up for the San Francisco 49ers. While he is tucked away on the depth chart, running back Trey Sermon is on the Eagles’ roster. Sermon was taken by the 49ers in the NFL Draft but waived after one year. San Francisco, of course, still has former Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa, the NFL’s sack leader (18.5) this season and a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

If you want to watch the former Buckeyes players in action on Sunday, here’s the schedule:


(2) San Francisco 49ers at (1) Philadelphia Eagles

Time: 3:00 p.m.

Broadcast: FOX


(3) Cincinnati Bengals at (1) Kansas City Chiefs

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Broadcast: CBS

Ohio State women’s basketball hosts Iowa in top-10 showdown

No. 2 Ohio State women’s basketball is hoping to improve to 20-0, including 9-0 in Big Ten competition, Monday night at 7 p.m. in The Schottenstein Center when it hosts No. 10 Iowa. The Hawkeyes have won four games in a row, but two of their four losses this season have come on the road, and Ohio State has yet to have a game decided by fewer than six points in Columbus.

Iowa is led by Caitlin Clark, a junior who is third nationally in scoring with 26.7 points per game. Clark, plus an undefeated Buckeyes team that has six players averaging double figures, is drawing quite the crowd. Here’s what the seating availability looks like, according to Ticketmaster.

Ohio State’s single-game program attendance record is 17,525. That was set on Feb. 27, 2005, when the Buckeyes were hosting Penn State amid a 30-win campaign. Ohio State made the Sweet Sixteen that year. Current head coach Kevin McGuff is looking to go further than that this time around.

The Buckeyes haven’t made the Elite Eight or Final Four since 1993.

Inside Isaac Likekele’s breakout performance against Hawkeyes

Ohio State men’s basketball guard Isaac Likekele had scored a combined 10 points in his first seven games back from attending to a “family matter” earlier this season. He erupted for a season-high 18 points, in addition to 10 rebounds and seven assists, in Saturday’s streak-snapping win over Iowa.

Even though Brice Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes in scoring with a personal-best 27 points on 12 shots, Likekele was the architect of Ohio State’s offense. He was a big reason why the Buckeyes finished with 15 assists, their most in a game since New Year’s Day. And he helped hold future NBA first rounder Kris Murray to just nine points through the first 26 minutes of game action.

“I thought Ice’s fingerprint was all over the game on both ends,” head coach Chris Holtmann said.

“I just wanted him to be Isaac. And that’s what I told him the day before the game: ‘I just want you to be Isaac. We just need you to be that guy.’ And he was certainly that and some.”

READ: ‘I just wanted him to be Isaac’: Isaac Likekele stars in offensive revival against Hawkeyes

Counting down

Buckeyes vs. Indiana: 222 days

Buckeyes vs. Michigan: 306 days

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