PREVIEW: TULSA vs. OHIO STATE:
With week 1 in the books for Ohio State, we can only look ahead to our next opponent. Yes, technically the week isn’t over yet, but it is for Ohio State. So like farmer Fran said, “You live to fight another day.” The Buckeyes not only lived to fight another day, they were afforded and had earned some well deserved experience that will hopefully stick with them throughout the season. Bowling Green was Coach Meyer’s first coaching stop and he surely has not forgotten where it all began. The Buckeyes featured a bunch of young, unproven talent and for what its worth, they look pretty good. Youth in spread throughout the roster on both sides of the ball and during the game they showed their worth to the nation and to the coaches. Understandably, it was against Bowling Green but a win is a win and at least it is a Division 1 team and not a Division 2 team.
The Falcons featured a high-powered offense, slightly similar to what Meyer had built during his time there and with a young defense at hand, Urban and company let the young wolves loose to see what they are capable of. The young Buckeyes defense were up to the task as they annihilated the 4th best team in total offense and 6th best in scoring offense. Tusla will provide another high-powered offense that finished 13th in total offense and 21st in scoring offense in 2015. The Buckeyes and the Golden Hurricanes have never met on the gridiron and this will be another test for the young defense. The Tusla Head Coach, Phillip Montgomery was present as an Offensive Coordinator for Baylor and Houston so I think that it is safe to say that they should expect a lot of hurry-up offense and no-huddle sets.
Senior Quarterback Dane Evans returned for one more year and he looks to cut down on mistakes this season. Evans has the ability and the experience to successfully run the offense this season. He understands the playbook and has been around the system long enough to operate in it. The Golden Hurricanes return a trio of experienced Wide Receiver in Keevan Lucas, Josh Atkinson and Justin Hobbs. Lucas returns from a knee injury that had sidelined him last season, but he looks to have a huge year a year removed from injury.
The biggest elephant in the room is can the new-look Offensive Line gel quickly enough after losing two key players after the 2015 season. They are breaking in a new batch of linemen and we will just have to see if they can survive the season with little to no experience and against the talented Buckeyes, this will be their stiffest test early-on in the season. It will give the Tulsa coaches the opportunity to measure and gage their talent and to see the capabilities of their kids. The front seven will constantly pressure all five members to see if they make any mistakes and I wouldn’t put it past Coach Schiano to send one of his many Defensive Backs on a blitz to also test their mettle and capabilities.
D’Angelo Brewer is a shifty runner who can break it for huge yardage at any given moment during games. He is deceptively fast and is capable of catching passes out of the backfield. He will be going up against a young defensive line that is in sore need of a replacement at DT as Tracy Sprinkle suffered a season ending leg injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season. Ohio State has the talent waiting in the wings and as long as they buy in to what Coach Fickell and Coach Johnson are preaching, I see them playing lights out for each other and for the aforementioned Sprinkle. We will see if he is up to the task and if he can break past the vaunted Ohio State defense.
The Golden Hurricane defense is another story. They are lacking proven playmakers, but they have a lot of boom-or-bust players that take high risk, high reward literally. We will see how the pieces fall next weekend but here is some food for thought. The Tulsa offense has the tools to put up points and put them up quickly, but the defense is their Achilles heel. If the Buckeyes shut down their offense like the Bowling Green game, the sleeping giant will wake once again and crush the team that woke it up. Tusla’s defense is lacking in playmakers and we will have to wait and see if the Buckeyes can put them in horrible situations to exploit the inexperience.
With all things considered and the lack of defense on the other side, I expect J.T. Barrett to move the ball at a frightening pace. J.T. will finish the game with 260+ yards through the air with nearly 100 yards on the ground with 3 passing touchdowns and two rushing. Mike Weber will drive the ball down their defenses throat for a cool 120 yards with a touchdown. The defense will sack Evans at least 5 times with at least one more defensive touchdown and Evans will throw a pick to Hooker. Hooker is special and he looks to become a key cog in the secondary. The Buckeyes will steam roll Tulsa in style and continue their offensive onslaught in preparation for the Oklahoma game:
Buckeyes 56 – 20 Tulsa