This weekend will mark the first time the Buckeyes Head Coach Urban Meyer goes toe to toe with one of his former coaches, Chris Ash who was the Buckeyes Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach for the last two seasons. Ash took a Head Coaching job within the BIG 10 and he is the newly minted coach at Rutgers. This will be one of those games that could get out of hand quickly, but I look for Urban Meyer to show “some” mercy for his first clash or encounter with a former member of the Urban Meyer coaching tree.
Chris Ash spent two years at Ohio State coaching up the Defensive Backs. During his tenure, he helped develop players such as Doran Grant, Eli Apple, Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell. He helped secure the commitments of some notable players like current players, Defensive End Jashon Cornell, Running Back Antonio Williams and Wideout K.J. Hill. He brought in Safeties Isaiah Pryor and Brendon White for the 2017 Class. He has proven that he was one of Ohio State’s best recruiters during his tenure and now that he is the head man at Rutgers, it is just a waiting game until he can stop the TTUN’s pipeline in the talent-rich state of New Jersey. You can expect to see a lot of rugby-style tackles from the Scarlet Knights’ defense. A lot of man to man defense. A lot of press coverage. I am not going to discredit Ash’s ability to turn a team around and I don’t plan on starting.
What if I had told you that sure, we lost Chris Ash to Rutgers, but we gained a former Rutgers Head Coach of 11 years and a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach in Greg Schiano? Well, it happened as quickly as Ash left for the Rutgers job. Greg Schiano basically built his career up from the dust during his tenure in Piscataway, New Jersey. He wasn’t known for flashy offenses, but he had a reputation for coaching high-caliber, highly effective defenses. He mirrors the defensive scheme that Coach Ash left behind. They both play man coverage and place their corners on islands. They both preach hard-nosed defense that covers opposing Wideouts for the duration of the play, so the front seven can put additional pressure on the Quarterback. The only difference? Coach Ash wanted to minimize big plays by shutting down the opposing offense, forcing punts. Coach Schiano craves and wants takeaways. Now seeing how Ohio State’s defense is leading the nation in takeaways and scoring defense, I think they responded accordingly without any dropoff in production.
J.T. Barrett will go up against a Rutgers defense that is giving up 362 yards per game, 180 through the air and 181 on the ground. J.T. Barrett and his offense average about 545 yards in total offense, 239 through the air and 306 on the ground. That is well over the averages that the Rutgers have been giving up after three weeks into the young College Football Season. Barrett is completing 67% of his passes, averaging 8.90 yards per attempt. He has 650 passing yards with 10 touchdowns against one interception. Barrett, being the Dual-Threat that he is, has 159 rushing yards for three scores. The Slobs are also gelling together and they have given up two sacks in the season. The Slobs are young, but minus the penalties, they will grow into their roles as the season advances. They will be prepared to grind out the meaty, more difficult portion of their schedule during the last half of the season.
Chirs Laviano will be the starting Quarterback, opposite of Barrett. He has an almost identical numbers compared to Barrett. He has 647 passing yards with 5 touchdowns against two interceptions. The only difference is Laviano isn’t a Dual-Threat Quarterback. Laviano comes into the game with a 52% completion rating which isn’t good by any Head Coaches standards. Add that to the fact that he has been sacked 8 times, let’s just say that he might not like what the Silver Bullets have in store for him once he visits during Homecoming. He will look to take care of the ball and feed Robert Martin the rock to soften up the Buckeye Defense. It is easier said than done, but you never know in College Football. Things don’t always go according to plan and they MIGHT come in with a massive chip on their shoulders after they opened up as 38 point underdogs to start the new week.
The “Basic” Defense comes into the game after a convincing and satisfying win in Norman against a Sooners team that began the season as the #3 team in the nation. The Silver Bullets are back and they are feeding off of the mindset of Greg Schiano. They are looking for the takeaways and they sit at +11 and the #1 in the Nation In Takeaways. They will be going against a Rutgers offense that has struggled, so the results will vary, but I am feeling like since it is Homecoming at Ohio State, all bets are off. The Silver Bullets will look to put the pressure on early and often, forcing Laviano and his offense to struggle mightily. With no dependable Offensive Lineman on the roster, the Scarlet Knights might endure another long game. For what it’s worth, the Buckeyes are giving up 278 yards per game, 176 through the air and 102 on the ground so we will see if the Rutgers can get something going against a stout and loaded Ohio State Defense.
The Rutgers Defense is the polar opposite of the Ohio State Defense. They were lit up at Washington to open up the season and they currently are sitting at 2-2 coming into the game. The defense surrendered a total of 42 points combined to Howard University and New Mexico which doesn’t bode well for the Scarlet Knights because Ohio State is averaging 56.7 points per game through 3 games. They have a few sacks and interceptions, but they came during garbage time and against sub-par teams. The Rutgers will be tested early and often. I expect J.T. Barrett and company to run in down their throats until they find passing lanes, then before you know it the Buckeye reserves will gain some valuable playing after the game gets out of hand.
J.T. Barrett: 245 yards with 3 touchdowns, 7 rushes for 1 touchdown
Mike Weber: 104 yards with 1 touchdown
Curtis Samuel: 120 yards receiving with 1 touchdown, 10 rushes for 70 yards and 1 touchdown
Noah Brown: 4 catches for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns
Buckeyes Defense: 4 QB Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 2 Interceptions with 1 going for six
Although this will be a game early, the Buckeyes will blow the doors off and at least approach their season average for points per game. J.T. Barrett lights up the Rutgers Secondary, Mike Weber grinds out the clock and gets his second score of the season, Curtis Samuel acts as the Swiss Army Knife once again and Noah Brown puts another helpless Defensive Back on a poster. The Silver Bullets swarm and engulf Laviano forcing pressure from start to beginning. Forcing him to make costly turnovers early and often. The Defensive Unit surrendered two offensive touchdowns last week to the Sooners and they will be looking for redemption against the Rutgers. The Rutgers line flounders once again and Baby Bosa garners another sack to make big brother proud. The knockout blow will be a near deathblow and let’s just say Coach Meyer’s Special Teams Unit makes a play this week. I don’t know who it’ll be, but I am calling for a blocked kick or punt or even a kickoff or punt return. Maybe I am expecting too much, but it has been a while.
Final: Ohio State over Rutgers 55-12
Mr. Ohio State Danny Clark has just decommitted from the Buckeyes after finally accepting the fact that he was no longer the future at Ohio State. Clark had been committed for quite some time and it is truly sad to see him go, but I wish him luck with whichever team he chooses to play for. Crystal Balls have been in Kentucky’s favor, but we will see. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in the BIG 10.. Maybe playing for Coach Ash in Piscataway. That would be crazy, but for now he will re-open it up. His spot is now up for grabs and there are still a lot of fish in the recruiting ocean for Ohio State to catch. Maybe Ohio State uses it to add another Playmaking Wideout or another Linebacker or Defensive Lineman. Who knows and the recruiting world is unpredictable. It is another interesting thing to follow as the path to National Signing Day appraoches.