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ESPN Analyst Has Serious Criticism Of Justin Fields' Recent Play

Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes gets around a tackle

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 05: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes gets around the tackle of Maverick Hansen #97 of the Michigan State Spartans during a first half run at Spartan Stadium on December 05, 2020 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Justin Fields was basically perfect to start Ohio State's football season. The last few weeks have been far more shaky.

OSU started the season with wins over Nebraska, Penn State, and Rutgers. Through those three weeks, Fields completed over 86-percent of his passes, for 269.3 yards per game, 11 touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also ran for two scores.

The three games since have been against more difficult opponents—Indiana, Michigan State, and Northwestern—and Ohio State has been shorthanded due to COVID-19 issues. Still, Fields doesn't look nearly as incredible as of late. In that stretch, he's completing just 58-percent of his throws, averaging 204.3 yards per game, with four touchdowns and all five of his 2020 interceptions. He has done more damage on the ground, which has been important for Ohio State at times—217 yards and three touchdowns, with 104 and two scores coming against Michigan State—but it has been a disappointing stretch overall. With NFL Draft talks heating up, BYU's Zach Wilson is starting to gain on him in a big way.

ESPN's David Pollack had some very harsh words for Fields on the most recent ESPN College Football Podcast. In early November, it was Pollack who said that Fields should be considered ahead of Lawrence for the No. 1 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Now, the former Georgia star says doesn't look particularly close.

“And Ohio State, they’re not having a great team,” Pollack said, via Saturday Down South. “You can spin it however you want. The way they started the season, I thought, 'Dude.' I watched Justin Fields and I was like, ‘Oh, my God. This dude has closed the gap with Trevor Lawrence,’ from one of those players that you go, ‘Oh, my God,’ like, ‘This dude comes around once every 15 years.’ And slowly, though, now you’ve seen, ‘Whoa, not even close.’

"Taking a couple steps back, confused a lot, doesn’t know how to get rid of the football, doesn’t check the football down like you’d like to, not seeing it the way you would want to.”

While it's a small sample of down play for Fields, and he put together a Heisman-caliber season in 2019, it has been concerning. Of course, if he can lead the Buckeyes to an upset win over Lawrence and Clemson, it would probably put all of those concerns to bed with one game.

The Buckeyes and Tigers face off in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Sugar Bowl at 8 p.m. ET on Jan. 1.

[ESPN]