Brentford’s second goal in Tuesday’s thrilling 3-2 win at home to Peterborough has been credited to Will Grigg.On-loan Chelsea midfielder George Saville was initially credited with what would have been his third goal for the Bees since joining them in the summer.But after video footage was reviewed, striker Grigg has now been officially listed as the goalscorer as it was decided that he got the final touch before the ball crossed the line.See also:Donaldson nets late winner for BeesRosler is jubilant after Brentford 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
This panel assists the department with the shortlisting of trees, which are then published for comment, and finally declared as protected.Raising awareness with tree climbing A team of international tree climbers arrived in South Africa on 4 January for a month-long expedition to climb Champion Trees throughout the country. The aim of this expedition is to climb about 20 of the largest and oldest Champion Trees. They include several venerable yellowwood trees towering above the canopy of the Knysna forests, giant baobabs such as the iconic Sagole tree in Vendaland, the Three Queens trio of Matumi trees (Breonadia salicina) at Amorentia Estate near Tzaneen, and the tallest tree in Africa, one of the Twin Giants of Woodbush State Forest. Like rock climbing, tree climbing is a potentially dangerous pastime practised by a small and adventurous group of people, and it has caught on in South Africa too. Local tree climbing enthusiasts like Visser will join the expedition on some of the climbs. Stellenbosch resident Visser has in the past helped the department to measure the height of very tall Champion Trees that cannot be reliably measured with instruments. “Tree climbers have an ambition to climb the biggest and the oldest trees, and height is not always the defining criterion,” says Van der Merwe. The Sagole baobab is only 22 metres tall, but a mathematic size formula determines it as the largest indigenous tree in the country on the basis of its enormous 33 metre trunk circumference. Apart from ticking off the largest trees on their tree climbing list, the team also hopes to raise awareness of trees and the need to protect the tree heritage. The department and the local Dendrological Society assisted with organising the tree climbing expedition, and obtaining the necessary approval of various land owners and conservation authorities. First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service. 15 January 2013 South Africa is home to more than 1 700 indigenous species of trees and shrubs, some of which are threatened because of their rarity as well as the pressure of commercial and subsistence use. Currently, more than 70 trees and groups of trees have been declared national “Champion Trees” by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which means they are fully protected under the National Forests Act of 1998. Under the declaration, tree species listed as protected may not be cut, disturbed or damaged and their products may not be owned, transported, exported or sold without a licence. Once a tree is listed as a Champion, all trees of the species fall under the protection of the Act. “Listing certain species as protected is not primarily aimed at preventing the use of a tree species, but to ensure sustainable use through licensing control measures,” says Champion Tree coordinator Izak van der Merwe. According to the department, such projects have been established in several countries, but this is the first of its kind in Africa.Protecting trees of national conservation significance The Champion Tree project of South Africa aims to list and protect trees of national conservation significance. The project over the years has been about raising awareness for the national tree heritage, and to promote it as an asset for tourism. The first tree to be declared as protected under the Act in 2003 was an English oak tree (Quercus robur) in Sophiatown in Johannesburg. Estimated to be over a century old, it was the only relic and landmark of the days before the residents were forcibly relocated and the town was turned into a whites-only suburb under apartheid. The tree is of cultural significance because it was under its leafy branches that residents and political activists used to gather for meetings. The Sophiatown oak tree was visible from several street blocks away, with a trunk girth of 4.48 metres and a crown diameter of more than 30 metres. The Act was materialised as an attempt to stop the destruction of the tree by a property owner. The tree fell down in 2008 but its trunk can be seen at the Trevor Huddlestone Centre.Champion trees of South Africa Other Champion Trees include two massive Australian Moreton Bay fig trees (Ficus macrophylla), one standing on the campus of the University of Cape Town and the other inside the Pretoria Zoological Gardens. Both these trees have a crown diameter of more than 40 metres, and trunk circumference of more than 16 metres and 9 metres respectively. In the Goudveld Forest near Knysna, Western Cape, one of the more recent Champions has been renamed the Dalene Matthee Big Tree, as a tribute to the author who wrote a best-seller series of historic novels about life in the forests in the 19th century. Previously known as the Krisjan se Nek Big Tree, this Outeniqua yellowwood (Podocarpus falcatus), is nearly 900 years old and stands 40m tall. The 1 000-year-old Wonderboom Wild Fig tree (Ficus salicifolia), located in Pretoria, has the largest crown of all the champion trees with a diameter of 61 metres, while in Limpopo stands the largest indigenous tree in South Africa – the Sagole baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) – with a trunk circumference of more than 33 metres. The Twin Giants of Woodbush State Forest in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, are the tallest of the lofty Saligna blue gum trees (Eucalyptus saligna), and were measured by professional tree climbers in 2008. Africa’s tallest trees At a height of 79 metres, they tower above a 26-storey block of flats. Planted in 1926, they are the tallest trees in Africa, and according to the department, the tallest of the species anywhere in the world. Category 1 invasive trees are dangerous species of trees that are not eligible to be Champion trees and are therefore not protected; however, category 2 of invasive trees, such as blue gum trees, are not dangerous and are therefore protected with Champion status. “The most outstanding find among the indigenous trees is a Lowveld cabbage tree (Cussonia spicata) towering above the canopy of a natural forest at the Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge near Magoebaskloof,” explains Van der Merwe. This tree is about 35 metres tall and has a trunk circumference of 11.6 metres. Another indigenous tree that has to be seen to be believed is a baobab on the farm Swartwater in Limpopo. This tree has a trunk circumference of 24.5 metres. The tallest indigenous tree on the list is an Outeniqua yellowwood of about 41 metres high, growing in the forests of the Blouberg Mountains in Limpopo. However, the Outeniqua yellowwoods of the Knysna forests draw many visitors, such as the Tsitsikamma Big Tree, which receives more than 80 000 visitors a year. “Exotic tree species introduced from other parts of the world tend to dominate the Champion Tree list, with eucalypt species topping the list in terms of size,” Van der Merwe says. “Many of these trees attain heights of more than 50 metres, such as a group of newly listed eucalypts of various species in the KwaZulu-Natal Botanical Gardens.” According to Van der Merwe, pine trees seldom attain such heights, but a Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) discovered on the Buffelsnek Forest Estate near Knysna by tree climber Leon Visser, just about topped the 60 metre mark. A group of false Weymouth pine trees (Pinus pseudostrobus) was also added to the list, growing about 50 metres tall and sporting trunk circumferences up to 4.93 metres.Nominating trees to be protected Anyone can nominate indigenous or non-indigenous trees for Champion status. According to Van der Merwe, trees can be listed according to size criteria like height and trunk circumference, or according to value criteria such as historic value and age. The nomination cycle starts on 1 August of each year, and ends on 31 July the following year; thereafter the nominated trees are assessed by a panel of experts.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released their 2017 Infrastructure Report Card – an assessment of the condition of the nation’s infrastructure across 16 categories, including surface transportation, railroads, inland waterways and electrical grid. The report card is issued every four years and can be reviewed at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/.The overall grade given to the U.S. infrastructure incorporating all 16 categories is a D+. Some of the grades for the individual categories that are consequential to the movement of farm commodities and other agricultural products are as follows:Bridges: C+Ports: C+Dams: DRailroads: BRoads: D-Inland Waterways: DLevees: DThe report card estimates that between 2016 and 2025 (10 years), there will be a funding gap across all the infrastructure categories of $2 trillion.“It’s hard to have an A+ economy and A+ agriculture with a D+ infrastructure,” said Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “In order to be profitable, it is not sufficient to stimulate supply and demand. It is also essential to stimulate greater connectivity with supply and demand. Transportation infrastructure provides that connectivity.”Steenhoek argues that agriculture has one of the most diverse and elongated supply chains of any industry in existence and is heavily exposed to and dependent upon the nation’s system of roads and bridges, highways and interstates, inland waterways, railroads, and ports.“Farmers do not have the luxury of locating themselves in proximity to infrastructure. Rather, farmers hope infrastructure locates in proximity to them,” Steenhoek said. “The viability as an industry depends upon having each of these modes being properly maintained and providing seamless transition from one to the other.”Steenhoek says a topic that receives less attention is how essential it is to have a robust amount of funding for improving infrastructure and just how essential it also is for federal, state, and local government to provide greater predictability and reliability of that funding. When it comes to promoting our transportation infrastructure, he would rather the government be predictably good than sporadically great.“Constructing and maintaining infrastructure is very expensive and requires years of planning and execution,” Steenhoek said. “It is much more effective when government can provide greater certainty of funding over a number of years rather than a surge of funding in one year and a scarcity of funding the next. Because they do not provide this certainty – especially with regards to the nation’s lock and dam inventory – cost escalations and project delays become commonplace”It is very apparent to Steenhoek that additional funding is necessary. The Soy Transportation Coalition, for example, funded and disseminated analysis a couple years ago that suggested indexing the fuel tax to inflation so that revenue to improve roads and bridges can better keep pace with the costs of doing so. However, he says it is also important for federal, state, and local government to demonstrate better stewardship of taxpayer dollars when maintaining and improving infrastructure.“Before the government asks more from the taxpayer, it should ask more from itself,” Steenhoek said. “There are opportunities to institute and employ best practices so that taxpayer dollars can be stretched further.”
TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Liverpool boss Klopp surprised by Moreno comments: He’s a fantastic professionalby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he was surprised by comments made by Alberto Moreno in the Spanish press.Moreno criticised Klopp for mishandling him being replaced by Andy Robertson as the Reds first-choice left-back.The German sympathises with Moreno’s situation, but he insists the 26-year-old has not confronted him personally.”Matt [McCann, press officer] told me about it! I’m still not prepared to say something to be honest,” Klopp told a press conference. “How I deal with things like that is usually; my door is not always literally open, but it’s always open if somebody wants to talk.”As long as they don’t talk to me, it doesn’t really exist!”But that Alberto is not happy with not having too much minutes, it’s obvious. The more important thing is he never shows it in any training sessions, he’s a fantastic professional and trains really well when he can.”The last couple of weeks he has had back problems and that kept him out of a lot of sessions. Yesterday was the first session it looked 100 per cent good again. That’s all.”
David De Gea ‘honoured’ to sign new Man Utd dealby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has signed a new contract.De Gea has signed a new four-year contract with the option to extend that by a further year, ending long-term speculation over his future at the club.De Gea was signed from Atletico Madrid by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011, taking time to adapt to English football before establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.Now 28-year-old, he has won every major trophy, bar the Champions League, in his time at the club, and has been voted Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year on four occasions.“It has been a privilege to spend eight years at this great club and the opportunity to continue my career at Manchester United is a genuine honour,” De Gea told the club website. “Since I arrived here, I could never have imagined I would play over 350 games for this club.“Now my future is fixed, all I want is to help this team achieve what I believe we can and win trophies again, together.“As one of the senior players in the squad, I want to support and lead in any way that I can to assist the younger players, so they know what it means to play here.”I still feel that I have so much more to achieve at the club and I truly believe that Manchester United can build on the club’s tradition of success and reward our fans for their support.“I am committed to continue repaying the fans for all of the care that they’ve shown me during the good times and the bad.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Chris Stewart APTN National NewsThousands of Fort McMurray evacuees lined up to receive emergency cash from the Red Cross Thursday.In Edmonton, people waited hours for their email@example.com
This NBA season has produced more than its fair share of ridiculous, eye-popping statistics. Russell Westbrook got his record-tying 41st triple-double of the season on Tuesday. The Rockets shattered the league record for threes made in a single campaign with two weeks left to play. And 20-year-old Devin Booker, who’d never even scored 40 points in a contest before, somehow logged 70 points in one game last month.But Booker’s team is on the cusp of crossing a less-than-ideal threshold as things wind down: The Phoenix Suns, who lead the NBA in fouls by a wide margin with 1,963 so far, are on pace to eclipse the 2,000-foul mark, which would make them the first NBA club to hit that mark in 10 years.The Suns commit 25 fouls per game (the NBA average is 20) and send their opponents to the free-throw line an NBA-high 29 times a night. It isn’t necessarily a new problem, since Phoenix allowed opponents to go to the stripe more than anyone last season, too. But the team’s fouls are up 10 percent from last year, and the team is becoming a bit of an outlier by fouling more often, given that NBA foul rates have decreased over the past decade as more and more shooters space the floor, leading to less contact from play to play.The chronic fouling is a symptom of two much larger issues: 1. The team’s inability to contain their opponents on defense, where the Suns allow 109 points per 100 plays, third-worst in the league. Being that bad leaves their players out of position, often leading to more desperate fouls as they try to recover. And 2. Phoenix’s relative youth and inexperience, especially in the post, where it’s fairly common for players to struggle with foul trouble at the beginning of their careers.This talented group is still developing, both physically and mentally. The Suns are one of the NBA’s shortest and lightest teams, which might make them a bit easier to push around. But Phoenix — which last month used the youngest starting five in NBA history — also has plenty to learn when it comes to countering the offensive tricks and techniques that veteran players acquire over the years.“You ever seen a young group of guys play against a group of older guys in pickup? The older guys somehow manage to physically take advantage of the younger guys without making it look like that’s what they’re doing. Then the young guy starts to hit back, and it’s completely obvious? That’s what we look like sometimes,” coach Earl Watson told me last week during his club’s East Coast trip. “Players in this league are so good, and our guys are still learning how to be aggressive without committing obvious fouls.”Those gaps in experience are most apparent in scenarios where a single defender is being asked to hold his own: 1-on-1s and post-ups. The Suns have committed the second- and fourth-highest rates of shooting fouls this season when guarding 1-on-1s and post-ups, respectively,1Phoenix has been whistled for shooting fouls 14 percent of the time in isolation scenarios and about 15 percent of the time when guarding post-up opportunities. according to Synergy Sports.It’s hard to fault the players’ intent, despite the dismal results. They often sacrifice their bodies in hopes of forcing a turnover, but many times they haven’t established good enough positioning to ward off defensive-foul calls. This has been especially true of some young players, like Booker, rookie power forward Marquese Chriss and fourth-year center Alex Len, who are 1-of-18, 5-of-28 and 0-of-14 when it comes drawing charge calls this season. (Those numbers are pretty abysmal, considering that the leaguewide average charge rate is 40 percent.)Phoenix’s learning curve has gotten considerably steeper in recent weeks, since the Suns elected to shut down a handful of healthy veteran players, including usual starters Eric Bledsoe and Tyson Chandler, in pursuit of some lottery ping-pong balls and a chance to give their younger, less-used talent some spin over the final month of a losing season.That has meant fielding lineups that have little institutional knowledge of how to defend without fouling.“If I’m the only young guy out there with four veterans, those four can kind of direct traffic and help cover for me when I mess up,” said Chriss, who commits 5.5 fouls per 36 minutes, tied for the NBA’s fourth-highest rate among players who’ve logged at least 1,000 minutes.2He’s tied with Len. “But when it’s a situation where everybody on the floor is, at most, 3 or 4 years into their career, that’s kind of tough, because then we’re all kind of lost, and still learning how to communicate with each other as players.”It’s not just an issue of youth. There are several other, less-examined factors that help explain why they’ve committed so many fouls. Phoenix plays at a blistering pace, handling more possessions than most, which puts the team in a position to commit more fouls than any other club. The Suns have been in more close games where they trailed late than any other team, meaning a decent number of their infractions were likely intentional and committed in hopes of stopping the clock. And it’s worth noting that Phoenix also comfortably leads the NBA in offensive fouls. So, not every foul Phoenix commits is a symptom of the Suns’ weak defense.Make no mistake, though: The Suns do an absolute ton of hacking, and they usually get called for it.“Refs officiate games with a certain rhythm. They’re used to a certain speed and rhythm. When you jump out of that rhythm, it’s easy for them to see, and you’re going to get called for it,” said Chandler, an NBA champion who joined the league as a teenager and went from committing more than 5 fouls per 36 minutes in his fifth season to eventually winning Defensive Player of the Year. Chandler added that the Suns, much like he was as a youngster, are often overeager to make a play, and wind up swiping or jumping when they shouldn’t.Nevertheless, struggles and all, Watson is an eternal optimist. He takes ample time most days to walk through film of the team’s fouling tendencies, and he told me that he feels his team is only a reinforcement or two away from a huge turnaround if the young players keep developing.“I was with OKC during Russ’s first year” — Westbrook, of course — “and I always let [my Phoenix players] know: That year, [the Thunder] won 23 games. The next year they won 50, and did it because their young guys had gotten so much experience and developed a supreme confidence.”Phoenix may not go on to write the kind of success story that the Thunder did, at least not next season. But if putting in a year at the School of Hard Knocks helps this team improve on defense, maybe the Suns will eventually be able to say that this furious foul pace was a worthwhile learning experience.Check out our NBA predictions.
Of all the storylines to watch as Major League Baseball begins the second half of the 2018 season, the most interesting might be whether the Seattle Mariners can hold on to their current position in the standings — and, in the process, end the longest active postseason drought in major professional sports. (The Mariners earned this dubious honor when the Buffalo Bills grabbed an AFC wild card last season.)It’s been a magical start to the summer so far in Seattle. Picked preseason to finish around .500, the Mariners instead sit nearly 20 games over that benchmark. Surprisingly, they spent much of the first half challenging the defending champion Houston Astros for the top spot in the American League West; they’ve also built for themselves a three-game cushion over the division-rival Oakland A’s in the race for the AL’s second wild card. (And they’ve done it even after losing star second baseman Robinson Cano, who was putting up great numbers before getting busted for steroids in mid-May.) If the regular season ended today, the M’s would finally be back in the playoffs.That would be a major accomplishment for a Seattle club that hasn’t tasted postseason baseball since its disappointing five-game exit from the American League Championship Series 17 years ago. When my former colleague Rob Arthur wrote about the Mariners’ streak a few seasons back, he found that no team in baseball had made the playoffs fewer times relative to expectation (based on their regular-season records) since 1998 than Seattle. It’s undeniable that, with just a little better luck, the Mariners would have sneaked into the playoffs at least a few times over the span of their drought. In that regard, they are long overdue to catch a break.In 2018, however, Seattle might be collecting all of the extra good fortune it’s owed at once. According to The Baseball Gauge, no first-half team exceeded its expected record more through luck in close games or favorable “sequencing”1Bunching hits within innings on offense and scattering them across innings on defense. than the Mariners. For instance, if you simply looked at Seattle’s runs scored (412) and allowed (414), you’d think it was precisely the .500-ish team that the preseason projections had called for. Instead, the Mariners have gone 26-12 in one-run games, which — while not exactly in 2016 Texas Rangers territory — suggests they could be due for a serious second-half downturn.In fact, Seattle’s combination of win-loss record and negative run differential is so unusual that it’s tough to find similar historical teams. Since 1950, the Mariners are the only team to be 19 games over .500 through a similar stage of the season2Specifically, between 90 and 100 games into the schedule. while also having a run differential below zero. But if we just limit ourselves to the 13 teams that were at least 10 wins above .500 and had outscored opponents by 10 runs or fewer through 97 games, those clubs won only 51 percent of their games over the rest of the season (an 83-win pace per 162). So the Mariners probably shouldn’t expect to keep cruising along at a clip remotely close to their current .598 winning percentage.Indeed, if the wheels do fall off for Seattle, naysayers may point to the team’s poor play just before the All-Star break — eight losses in its last 11 games — as a sign of when things started to go wrong. But ace pitcher James Paxton will be back from the disabled list soon, and Cano is eligible to return Aug. 14. Meanwhile, the time off should benefit the slumping quintet of Kyle Seager, Jean Segura, Dee Gordon, Ryon Healy and Nelson Cruz, each of whom seemed to be running out of gas heading into the break.In the bigger picture, there’s also something to be said for the team’s overall balance as an antidote to the notion of an impending collapse. The Mariners are one of only six teams in baseball to rank among the top 10 in wins above replacement3Averaging together the WAR values found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. from both its pure hitting and its pitching, joining the Astros, Red Sox, Yankees, Indians and Dodgers — pretty good company! Of course, that brushes aside Mariner weaknesses such as baserunning (they rank 24th) and fielding (20th), but it also underscores that despite Seattle’s uninspiring run differential, the fundamentals of the team aren’t necessarily unsound.In order to stay on course for the playoffs, Seattle will need to keep getting unexpected performances like the ones they’ve enjoyed from first-time All-Star Mitch Haniger and journeyman-turned-10-game winner Marco Gonzales. Closer Edwin Diaz (who leads baseball with 36 saves) will have to keep slamming the door shut in the ninth inning, and the lineup will need to continue hitting well in big moments. None of that will be easy, especially not with Oakland zooming up in the rearview mirror. But after nearly two decades of the pieces never falling into place for a postseason push, it’s high time the Mariners had the breaks go their way.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
Then-redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) runs with the ball during a game against Michigan on Nov. 29 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won 42-28. Credit: Lantern File PhotoAfter losing its first game in 23 tries against Michigan State last Saturday, No. 8 Ohio State (10-1, 6-1) has to recover quickly before a meeting with No. 10 Michigan (9-2, 6-1). Here are five things The Lantern’s sports editors Ryan Cooper and Kevin Stankiewicz will be keeping an eye on starting at noon on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan.Zeke backing up his wordsAfter the loss to Michigan State, it was well-publicized that junior running back Ezekiel Elliott went on a rant in which he criticized the play calling and announced he would be leaving Columbus after the season.In that emotional press conference, however, the St. Louis native also made a declaration that the sting from the loss would have the Buckeyes show an intensity not seen before to make sure it doesn’t happen again.“We’re hungry. I’m personally not going to let anyone slack off,” Elliott said after the game. “This game means the world to us and everyone in Ohio, and we represent everyone in Ohio. We’re going to come out, and we’re going to play a hell of a ballgame, you’ll see. It’s going to look like a new team.”It is certainly reasonable to expect Elliott to receive more than the 12 carries he did against the Spartans, but what he does with his workload will be an intriguing storyline to watch on Saturday.Elliott’s Heisman Trophy aspirations took a major hit with the loss and only 32 yards in Ohio Stadium, but he still has a chance to make a major statement in The Game, especially given the microscope he will be put over by OSU and national observers alike.Elliott needs 170 yards to pass Eddie George for the second-most rushing yards in OSU history. While that is certainly the furthest thing from his mind heading into Saturday, if he backs up his words, he could very well get there and help keep OSU’s slim playoff hopes alive.Will there be a rivalry moment?As anyone knows, the rivalry between OSU and Michigan is one of the most heated in college football, if not all of sports.With that rivalry territory comes a fair share of moments that capture just how much the teams dislike each other beyond being two of the most storied programs.Taunting, trash-talking, shoving and all-out fighting is always on the table when the two teams meet.The last time the game was played in Michigan Stadium in 2013, it turned out to be a fight that highlighted the afternoon. In the second quarter, OSU then-freshman running back Dontre Wilson got into a skirmish with a group of Michigan players after a kick return, which turned into a brawl. Wilson was ejected for his role in the incident, as was former OSU offensive lineman Marcus Hall and Michigan then-sophomore linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone.Hall made a memorable exit with a double-handed gesture toward the fans at The Big House.OSU senior linebacker Joshua Perry said he and other veterans on the team have taken measures to make sure the young players don’t let the emotions of the game overwhelm them, but it still would not be an OSU-Michigan game without some memorable moments to accentuate just how little the teams care for each other.Salt in the woundAs Perry said earlier in the week, the team knows Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is going to use redshirt freshman safety Jabrill Peppers one way or another across the field.The question is just how much the Wolverines lean on the do-it-all star.Peppers will obviously be lined up in the secondary throughout the game, while also getting rush attempts, lining up as a receiver, returning punts and stepping in to play linebacker or even moving all the way to the defensive line.Harbaugh has shown in the past that he is not afraid to rely heavily on the former top recruit in the country from East Orange, New Jersey. And in The Game, which coaches keep in the back of their minds throughout the entire season, he could be saving Peppers’ best performance for last.On the year, Peppers has 40 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss, 11 rushes for 43 yards and two touchdowns, six receptions for 54 yards and 17 punt returns for 194 yards.Peppers is arguably the best athlete in the country, and Harbaugh might use every ounce of that athleticism to keep the Buckeyes on their toes throughout the afternoon.Jake Rudock vs. Ohio State’s secondary All season long, the narrative surrounding the OSU defense was that it can impede offenses manned by pocket-passers, but as soon as a team quarterbacked a mobile player — like Maryland’s Perry Hills, Indiana’s Zander Diamond or Michigan State’s two backups from last week — the defense, especially the secondary, became vulnerable.On Saturday, that narrative will be tested for accuracy. Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock is playing some of the best football in the country over the last three weeks. The redshirt senior has thrown for an average of 344 yards and three touchdowns, including a school-record six scores against Indiana. On top of that, Rudock, a graduate transfer from Iowa, also has the ability to move a little. He by no means will be confused with a scrambling quarterback, but the 6-foot-3 Floridian has caused secondaries issues with his improvising skills. For the season, Rudock has gained 222 yards on the ground, with a net yardage of 145. Michigan will rarely call any designed runs for Rudock, but Harbaugh likes to get him on the move a little bit with bootleg plays. Then, factor in his ability to step up in the pocket and pick up chunks of yards with his highly efficient performance in the throw game, and there is reason to have concern for the OSU secondary. The matchup between Rudock and the OSU secondary could potentially be the most important factor in deciding which team wins The Game. Seniors playing their final regular-season game Last week, the OSU seniors played their final game inside Ohio Stadium. It didn’t go as they planed.But now, they will play their final regular-season game with a shot at redemption and a fourth pair of gold pants.Some of the seniors who will be playing in The Game for the final time include left tackle Taylor Decker, right tackle Chase Ferris, H-back Braxton Miller and Perry. Others include tight end Nick Vannett, defensive end Adolphus Washington and defensive tackle Tommy Schutt.With it being their final regular-season game, it can be expected that there will be some added pep in their step as they try to avoid a two-game skid to end the season. Their senior day at the ‘Shoe did not go according to script, but for many of them, a win over Michigan could help alleviate the bad memories from last week. The performance of the seniors — and whether or not they bounce back or fall flat — will have a huge impact in The Game.
Junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) throws the ball during a game against Indiana Nov. 23 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-14.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State junior quarterback Braxton Miller has made the decision to return for his senior season and not enter the 2014 NFL Draft.An OSU spokesman confirmed Thursday that Miller will return to OSU.Miller is the two-time defending Big Ten offensive player of the year and is coming off a season in which he finished in the top 10 in the conference in both rushing and passing yards per game.“I want to help this team win a Big Ten championship next year,” Miller said in a press release Thursday night. “Plus, I want to improve as a quarterback in all aspects of my game. I’m looking forward to working for another year with coach (Urban) Meyer and (offensive coordinator quarterbacks coach Tom) Herman.“And I want to graduate, so this will help get me close to my academic goal.”The quarterback is also coming off back-to-back losses, including a 40-35 defeat at the hands of Clemson in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl Jan. 3. Despite the losses, he has compiled a 28-8 record as the starting quarterback at OSU.Meyer said he is looking forward to working with the quarterback for another season.“We look forward to having Braxton Miller return to this team for his senior season,” Meyer said in the release. “He has been an extremely valuable member of our team and he is also a fine student. His desire to lead our team to a championship, to earn his degree from The Ohio State University net spring and to continue to improve as a quarterback are his motivation.”With Miller’s decision, the Buckeye offense will return five starters from a offense that finished the year third in the country in scoring offense with an average 45.5 points per game and seventh in total offense with 511.9 average yards per game.After the Orange Bowl loss, Miller said he was going to talk to coach Urban Meyer about whether or not he should turn pro.“I’ve got to think hard about it. I will talk to coach Meyer and see what he thinks,” Miller said. “He’s been through the process many times, so that’s the guy to go to. He never steers you wrong and ever since I got here, he took me under his wing and taught me a lot of things.”The Buckeyes are set to open their 2014 season with an Aug. 30 trip to Baltimore against Navy.