When the Ohio State Buckeyes face-off with the Alabama Crimson Tide on Monday night, the OSU offense might have to focus on just one side of the field thanks to Bama’s lockdown cornerback, Patrick Surtain II.
Surtain is one of the best defensive backs Alabama has seen in the Nick Saban era. This season he’s essentially shut down an entire side of the field. In the semifinal game against Notre Dame he and his DB corps didn’t give up a reception to a wide receiver until late in the second half. The real ceiling for this game is that he’s matchup up against OSU’s best wideout, Chris Olave, and shuts him down. Without Olave, Fields is a different player entirely. If you don’t hear his name called much on Monday night, that means Surtain is doing his job.
The floor here is if he breaks technique. He’s so technically sound, but if he has a slip-up or a misstep, Olave and other speedy OSU pass-catchers have the ability to get behind him. The Broward County native hasn’t missed his technique much this season, but this homecoming game in Miami could get him overly excited. He’s also known more for his technical ability than his speed, and if he’s forced to match on go routes all night in man-to-man he could struggle. While it’s unlikely, it’s still a possibility.