The Maryland Terrapins VS The Ohio State Buckeyes

Friday morning could have been better, but we are a day away until game time! What seems like to be a constant thing when considering Ohio State, there is always something that comes up to snuff out the momentum and it is usually is accompanied by something negative and whats are the words I am searching for… a conspiracy-laden narrative that will at least attempt to bring them back down to Earth. It what seems to be another strategically timed “article” where it was reported that Chase Young accepted money and that he is suspended for this contest as a minimum pending investigation from the Ohio State Compliance Office. Yay and boo, but all we have to do is wait for the process to wind down and just hope they get it right this time. Whatever happens, does so and I will not waste my breath with the situation.

This game is all about continuing the momentum into the last half of the season and against a once-promising Maryland squad will be the obstacle for the Buckeyes this week. Their opponent was leading the nation in scoring through the first two weeks of the season, but they have faded into obscurity and have limped forward to a 3-6 record through this point of the season. With the Buckeyes being without their defensive stalwart, Chase Young, the Buckeyes will look toward this contest without him, but they have the depth to survive without him. This defense has been stellar with him and without him–I think they’ll be fine, but we will have to see for now.

Buckeyes swarming defense.

Young Bucks Golden Opportunity

As we stated before, Chase Young is out and it will be up to a few younger players to step up and earn their keep for the foreseeable future until Young gets back from his recent suspension. With the Next man up mantra enter Zach Harrison and Tyreke Smith to fill the void for the time being. As we have seen after the game has been put away, the aforementioned two along with Javonte Jean-Baptiste and Tyler Friday have been key members among the Rushmen and they can get some playing time and be disruptive. Defensive Captain Jonathan Cooper will lead this group and he has Davon Hamilton and BB Landers will also help along with their reserves Tommy Togiai and Garrett Haskel too. These younger players have the benefit of learning behind such a talented group of upperclassmen and a great group of leaders on the defensive side of the ball. It is an opportunity to see what the future will look like, but I have a feeling it’ll be good. The once fast offense will have a hard time blocking so many talented players, but I know they’ll be ready for the challenge.

Malik Harrison breaking through.

Defensive Effort

Malik Harrison will have to provide the same spark that Darron Lee created during his breakout season at Ohio State. The Linebackers have willed recent teams to success and he needs to be more of a dog from here on out. He needs to blitz, cover and be disruptive enough while directing his forces to fill the void against a once lethal and fast Terps offense. Communication will be key with the defensive linemen and the defensive back, and my gut tells me they’ll be ready to silence the critics without their star players. The Wisconsin game proved what the team could be with Young and this game will prove that they’ll be fine without them for however long it’ll be or take for the investigation to be over. Best case scenario, he’s out for a single game. Worst case, it’ll be two with Rutgers on the schedule, but I think the compliance department will mess it up again. I am a pessimist, but I can see it going south, but the defense will continue to shine during his absence. The last contest between the two ended in a double-overtime contest where the Buckeyes nearly took the L with an errant throw on a two-point, game-clinching pass to a wide-open receiver that sailed out of reach. The Buckeyes will look to redeem themselves and further prove that they are legit, even without Young.

Fields dodging a would-be tackler.

Field Of Dreams

Justin Fields has been on a tear lately, but after last week’s destruction of Wisconsin, he gave the team and their fans a scare when he came up hobbled after scoring a rushing touchdown. Luckily it wasn’t serious, but Fields is definitely capable of leading the charge on the offensive side of the ball. With another great group of wide receivers and the recent inclusion of their tight ends, they can put the game out of reach and give the defense some juice in the process. In another great year for a quarterback, Fields brings a lot for this offense and he leads them in a calmly and with his play. He will be ready for this contest to show his value to this offense. This is another noon game, but the Buckeyes will pour it on Maryland and former player Keiondre Jones. Welcome back to the Shoe, but buckle up.

Dobbins rumbling through the Spartan defense.

Boom Boom Room

Ohio State has had quite a few playmakers at running back and the “boom, boom room” is always capable of causing fireworks during the perfect time on gamedays. This week is no different and this porous defense is no exception. This defense is bad and without a consistent defense, they will most likely get tore up against this stable of backs that features a young muscle hamster, J.K. Dobbins, a young beast mode clone, Master Teague and mystery man, Marcus Crowley, who gets carries late but has flashed brilliance in limited action. They also have a speedy back Demario McCall, who is also used sparingly but he could be used as a weapon. There is a lot and there is also Jaelin Gill, who is the backup H-Back, who might be used, but I think is en-route to a redshirt. This room is stacked and with the recent misses in the running back position, the future is still bright despite the lack of a 2020 recruit.

Match-Ups To Watch

  • Fields vs Maryland Secondary
  • Buckeyes Linebackers vs Terrapin Playmakers
  • Buckeyes Backs vs Maryland Defense

Prediction

The Ohio State Buckeyes defeat the Maryland Terrapins 45-6.

Rumble In The ‘Bus: Badgers vs. Buckeyes

We are midway through the 2019 season, this game was circled in red from the beginning it will still be a good old slobber knocker of a contest. Although the game has lost the interest of the nation after Wisconsin went down in Champagne, this game will still generate the hype and the fireworks to make it another instant classic between two powers of the Big Ten. An undefeated Buckeye squad against an angry or wounded Badger team, but if someone said that it has lost its luster, they have it all wrong. Every occurrence has been close ever since the inaugural College Football Playoffs run, but this has all the inner makings of another classic clash between two conference powerhouses. Will we see a reeling Wisconsin team still at a loss for the after falling from the undefeated ranks or will they be a grounded, angry team vying for an upset? This is the line in the sand and if the Buckeyes are looking for a CFB Playoff berth, they need to play disciplined to come out of this clash still undefeated.

J.K. Dobbins bursting through the Cincinnati for the score

Ground Wars: J.K. Dobbins

This will be a battle of will in the trenches and Dobbins is one of the warriors on this team that has to show up. He has to be effective and he has to punish the Badger defenders in such poor conditions with the weather potentially being a factor. Dobbins has been on a tear as of late and he has to shine early and often against this stingy Badger defense that surrenders just 2.3 yards per rush. So far, Dobbins has 134 carries for 947 yards and 7 TDs. He also chipped in 8 grabs for 55 yards and 2 TDs, but this game should be a battle for ground supremacy. The Buckeyes have been balanced and it will be a key part of the gameplan. They can’t afford to play scared and it will be up to Fields along with Dobbins to bring the team to victory.

Jonathan Taylor turning on the jets for a score

Ground Wars: Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor is the other side of the ground war and he has been quite the player for the Badgers. They have relied on him to produce and he racked up 157 carries for 15 scores and he chipped in 11 catches for 73 yards and a score. He accounts for the majority of offense and the Buckeyes have to play the gaps while being mindful of the play-action pass to stop Taylor and the Badgers. Coan and Taylor play well together, but they will look to run first to pound the Buckeyes into submission. They both got beat up pretty bad against a lowly Illini team, but they will look to expose the back seven in this matchup. With Arnette dealing with a broken bone on his hand and with Borland in tow, they could look to soften up the zone with a mix of run and pass, and a steady dose of it. Like the Badger defense, the Buckeyes are also stingy on the ground averaging 2.6 yards per rush–which is literally .3 more than Wisconsin’s average. This game could turn out to be another Big Ten signature game with both if not a single team pounding the rock relentlessly.

Justin Fields weaving through the trenches

Soaked Fields Day

Justin Fields has also been on a tear and he has been one of the stars of this offensive attack. A humble leader with no ego has launched the Buckeyes into another stratosphere and with the impending weather, the Buckeyes could face a huge test with a stiff defense. He will look to flash his arm when necessary, but he will play a factor on the ground. He has 1,492 yards and 22 TDs through the air and 63 carries for 291 yards and 8 more TDs and he has done it with just two turnovers. One interception and one lost fumble are all that have blemished his stellar play and with the weather concerns, it looks to be a conservative approach to secure a win. Either way, I think he will find a way to spark this offense even though if it continues to take the ball out of his hands via Dobbins and Teague to soften up and tire the Wisconsin defense. He hasn’t faced a defense like this, but he will approach it like any other game, but if he wanted to make a statement, he would need to show the nation that they are real and that they are a force to be reckoned with this year. This might be his shot to impress and make a statement.

Young Guns

Chase Young and his team have been stingy and he will look to battle this stout Badger line. The big uglies versus the Rushmen and the Linebackers will be the focus and it will be electric with the weather. The advantage is being the home team, but against Wisconsin, it might get rough. They rank 3rd in the nation in sacks per game with 4.14 and 29 total for the year. It’ll be tough against a team that ranks tied for 30th in the nation with 1.43 sacks allowed per game, but they’ll be game to see where they stand. They need to play disciplined and with Taylor, they need to shut him down and force Coan to beat them through the air in order to have their way this game.

Pesky Badgers Defense

On the other side, the Badgers have also been stingy and they rank in the Top 10 in defense this season. Besides the upset loss in Champagne, they have been playing lights out and they have been disruptive and they force takeaways. They need to do both of these to see if Fields will fight or if he will crumble under pressure. The Ohio State line has surrenders 2 sacks per game that puts them tied for 64th in the nation which could be a problem, but we will have to see how much the weather plays a factor. If it pours, running will be the primary weapon, but if not, they need to stop an explosive and shift Fields and his receivers. This may be a cliche, but this game feels like an old-school Big Ten type of game.

Match-Ups To Watch:

  • Quarterbacks versus Opposing Defenses
  • Running Backs versus The Trenches
  • Offensive Lines versus Defensive Lines
  • Buckeye DB’s versus Badger WR’s
  • Wisconsin WR’s versus Buckeye DB’s

Prediction:

The Ohio State Buckeyes defeat The Wisconsin Badgers 38-21.

The Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0, Big Ten 2-0) defeated The Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-2, Big Ten 1-1)

Justin Fields takes his team away from the confines of Columbus and journeys to Lincoln, Nebraska for just their second road game of the season and on paper, the Cornhuskers looked to make it a contest, but it was not meant to be.  The Buckeyes began with electing to receive the ball in the second half and during Nebraska’s first drive, Jeffrey Okudah set the tone by picking off Martinez during their first drive of the game.  Wan’dale Robinson, the talent equivalent to Rondale Moore was the intended target but the ultra-athletic Okudah lunged in front of his blanketed assignment and made a momentum-swinging play.

Prior to last week, Okudah has not had an interception but last week against Miami (OH) he got the first of his career.  Flash forward into week five, he added two more with the aforementioned pick on the first drive of the game and the last one on the third Nebraska possession of the game, where Robinson was targeted once again, but his outstretched hands tipped the pass to a lying Okudah, who was on his back waiting for another gift from Martinez.  Okudah had two of the three picks of the game and the third pick came because of the pressure from Chase Young and Jonathan Cooper, who forced an errant pass that ended up in Jordan Fuller’s hands.

The Rushmen played well and generated a lot of pressure that forced Frost to travel back in time to use a few of his mid-90’s power running plays to mix it up.  It was successful at first, but once the Buckeyes buckled down, there was no chance for them to get rid of the constant pressure.  This was by far the worst O-Line that they’ve gone against and the Silver Bullets wreaked havoc all game long.  Chase Young notched another sack to his season and it was another strip-sack that nearly resulted in another turnover, but the writing was on the wall from an opening couple of drives.

Justin Fields and his playmakers looked like a well-oiled machine and they accounted for six total touchdowns, three through the air and another three on the ground and it was another display of great preparation.  Fields starting the onslaught with a 15-yard rushing touchdown he hit K.J. Hill for a short passing touchdown on two drives later after one of two Blake Haubiel field goals.  Master Teague churned out some scores as he scored on the next two possessions.  Fields ended his night when he engineered three scoring drives where he hit Mack in traffic, a second Haubiel field goal, and another corner catch from Garrett Wilson before his night ended.

Although Dobbins failed to score, he had another impactful game as he racked up 24 carries for 177 yards and a healthy 7.4 average and a long of 26.  Teague spelled Dobbins and had 12 carries for 77 yards and a 6.4 average and a long of 26.  Not to be outdone, Fields finished 15/21 for 212 yards and three scores and he had 12 rushes for 72 yards and another score with a long of 41 yards.  This offense can put up video game numbers, but they have not been tested yet through five weeks, but that could change against a stout and stingy Spartan defense next week.  Actually, the next four weeks have the Buckeyes at home against Sparty, a bye week before traveling to Evanston in a conference championship rematch with Northwestern, before clashing with a potent Wisconsin team in Columbus.

The road ahead will surely be prove-it games, but let’s take it a week at a time.  So far the Buckeyes have exceeded expectations and so far they have been nearly unstoppable.  The defense has been stellar as well, but Nebraska and Indiana are fringe offenses that are not as consistent.  The same thing can be said for Michigan State, but their defense is legit and they could give the Slobs issues.  They are physical and aggressive, but next week will be used to make another statement to the conference and the nation.

The Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0, Big Ten 1-0) VS The Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-1, Big Ten 1-0)

This Saturday, in prime time, the Buckeyes will travel to Lincoln to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in what could become a high scoring affair.  Both teams are more than capable of lighting up the scoreboard and tomorrow night they will square off under the lights in a conference matchup.  A dominant Ohio State team that has played at home in three out of the four past games and they are playing lights out with few, if any weaknesses.  Nebraska has split home and away games, winning two of the three contests, with the lone loss coming at Colorado in an overtime heartbreaker.

Prime Time:  Day vs Frost

Two up-and-comers in the coaching realm that plunged into a leadership role as their respective teams Head Coach.  Scott Frost is in his second season in Lincoln after rebuilding UCF to a fringe competitor and potential Playoff Darkhorse.  In two seasons he holds a 7-9 record.  In 2018 he finished 4-8 and in 2019 he claims a 3-1 with the lone loss coming on the road against the Colorado Buffaloes in a hard-fought overtime thriller.

On the other side of the field, Ryan Day is the heir to the Ohio State throne and in his first four games, he has his team motivated and they look dangerous early on.  He is 4-0 and he is looking to forward to a big-time night road game against Nebraska.  Up to this point, he has his team looking unbeatable, but this feels like another statement-making type of game in primetime with the nation watching.

This is the first contest between these young coaches but Ohio State holds a 6-1 series lead and they have won four straight against Nebraska.  The lone loss to Nebraska was in 2011 against Taylor Martinez in a 34-27 loss.  This should be an easy game, but with a target on Ohio State’s and in a hostile environment, it might get interesting.

Kentucky Curse 2.0

For whoever follows recruiting closely, there are two types of players have always come back to hurt the Buckeyes in the past two.  Ohio kids that could not get that coveted home team offer and the ones that could not fit into a crowded and talent-laden recruiting class.  Two out of the three bad losses to Big Ten West teams have been painful and the only knock against the Buckeyes that have kept them out of the College Football Playoffs, at least for the last two years against less-than-stellar teams with one of these players.

Against Iowa, it was a night game at Iowa with emotion running high and they handled Ohio State in front of the whole crowd and the nation.  At Purdue, a combination of an Ohio kid who never got that coveted offer and an electric playmaker from Kentucky in Rondale Moore that could not secure a spot in the 2018 class.  Flash forward to the 2019 class, where another kid from Kentucky couldn’t get in the class either and goes to a Big Ten West school and gets to play against the Buckeyes at home.

In last weeks come from behind victory against Illinois, he racked up 186 all-purpose yards and scored three times.  He looks electric and he showed that he can be that Rondale Moore type of gadget player that could explode at any moment to shift the momentum.  The Buckeyes can put this curse to rest by bottling up Robinson and staying disciplined.  They need to come out strong and if needed, weather the storm keep him in check.

Dual-Threat Quarterback With Weapons

Nothing scares Ohio State fans like a quarterback that can do it all.  Whether it is with his arm or his leg, the dual-threat signal-callers have been able to squeak by the defense.  Adrian Martinez was recruited by Day and the Buckeyes but was never offered.  He joins Nebraska in his second year as the starter and he has the weapons to give the new-look defense fits while they are on the field.

Martinez is joined by JD Spielman and a dinged-up Maurice Washington and together they will look to test the improved Buckeye defense.  Shifty playmakers and speedy quarterbacks have always been trouble, but in the game at Illinois, they have an obvious weakness that the Buckeyes defense could exploit, the trenches.  The offense has been explosive, but they have to perfect against the Buckeyes to be competitive.  Martinez never got that offer from the Buckeyes out of high school due to an injury, so could this slight be a chip on his shoulder to will his team into a victory or to be competitive in this contest?

Silver Bullet Trench Warfare

There is no doubt that the 2019 defense has vastly improved and they have been playing lights out.  They are 4th in the nation in 3rd down defense with a stout front led by Chase Young.  They are holding opponents to a measly .231% conversion rate on 3rd downs.  They are 3rd in the nation in redzone defense allowing .545%.  The overall defense has also improved where they are 7th in the nation in rushing defense and 18th in the nation in passing defense.

They have also racked up the sack count and they have 20 total through four games and they are averaging 5 per game.  The younger Rushmen have also contributed and shined during mop-up duty showing their depth.  This Cornhusker O-Line looked average against Illinois so they could expose them early and often.  Ohio State ranks 2nd in the nation in total defense allowing 3.42 yards per play while giving up 222 yards per game.  Special Teams have also been a factor for this team, they are 1st in the nation in blocked kicks and 2nd blocked punts.  The game-changing plays have come from both the defense and the Special Teams units and they will continue to swing the momentum in their favor.

Fields’ Second Road Test

Balance has been at the forefront in this offensive attack and it seems to be working in their favor.  Justin Fields has had one of the most meteoric rises as a starter and he has compiled one heck of a season so far, but he can still improve as the season ages.   He has a combined 19 touchdowns with 13 through the air and 6 with his legs and he has looked good so far with a few things to fix.

He has leaned on his coaches and he has led his team with a killer instinct that could still be improved.  He has a few things to clean up, one would be his ability to read defenses under duress or pressure.  We saw against FAU and Indiana, when he was pressured, he overthrew his intended receivers.  He certainly could have a day, but he cannot forget about his workhorse, JK Dobbins.

Dobbins has had a heck of a season with 68 carries and 477 yards and 5 scores.  He has also chipped in for 5 receptions and 42 yards and another score.  He cannot be underutilized and I think the combination of the two, along with the playmakers at receiver and tight end can give the once feared Blackshirt defense fits and grind them down or wear them out.  The O-Line might get tested, but if they could hold up, the game may get out of hand fast.

PREDICTION

5 Match-Ups To Watch:

  • Fields vs The Secondary
  • Slobs vs The Blackshirts
  • Rushmen vs The Cornhusker O-Line
  • BIA/Linebackers vs Spielman/Robinson/TE’s In The Seams
  • Dobbins/Teague vs Blackshirts

49-17 Ohio State defeats Nebraska.

The Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0) defeat The Cincinnati Bearcats (1-1)

With the return of Buckeye football, the much-anticipated return of Luke Fickell was one of the most frequent stories of the offseason.  Would Coach Fickell be out to make a statement?  How amped up would his team be after using the most effective way to place huge chips on the shoulders of the Ohio kids that were deemed as not being good enough to don the scarlet and gray?

It definitely worked for a little bit as a few players from the Bearcat roster played with that chip and they began chirping at the Ohio State DB’s–more so with Damon Arnette.  The game looked to be another tightly contested game with two defenses battling it out, but the flood gates opened up and Dobbins provided that spark after he scores on a short scamper and then ripped off an impressive 60-yard dash to the endzone.  Dobbins showed his burst and quickness, and he definitely swung the momentum in the Buckeyes favor for good.  He finished with 17 total carries and 141 yards and a healthy 8.3 average before he was pulled, but he will be leaned on heavily when they travel to Indiana.

In relief duties, Master Teague showed his power and vision that secures the future, if or when Dobbins decides to take it to the next level.  The rushing attack was clearly the focus and the Buckeyes racked up 270 yards and 4 total TD’s.  Dobbins and Fields had two apiece, but Fields was also highly efficient through the air where he finished 20-25 for 224 yards and two passing TD’s to the highly touted true freshman Garrett Wilson and his last to K.J. Hill.  Wilson in limited snaps showed why he was one of the best receivers to come out of high school and his hands?  They are solid!  He took that ball out of the sky in traffic to secure the first collegiate touchdown of his young career.

The offense put on another show and this time, they did not lay off the gas pedal and they put in their first complete game of the season before giving way to the backups.  The same thing can be said for the defense as they secured their first complete game and the backups with a clutch turnover in the red zone to secure the shutout.  The Buckeyes had zero turnovers, but Dobbins almost coughed it up again, but a penalty negated the fumble.  They also forced two turnovers, one interception off a deflection and the fumble toward the end of the game and a blocked field goal.  The defense also relentlessly harassed the Bearcat offense and had five sacks for the day.  They barely let splash plays develop, but the Tight End and the slants were there, but not as frequently as before.  They look motivated and the tackling and the discipline is evident.

Justin Fields was very deadly over the first two weeks, and he will be tested in week 3 as the Buckeyes travel to Indiana for his first true road test as a Buckeye.  He is capable of making the correct read and he has the awareness to throw the ball away if the play isn’t there and those choices will be important on the road.  Awesome game from start to finish and the momentum is definitely building up.  The Slobs are also gelling and it is beginning to show.  They need to build on it and as the games get tougher, I think they’ll be an important factor.  If the entire team can keep it up and avoid the late-season letdown, the Buckeyes could find themselves in the big dance.  They cannot get complacent and they must stay consistent.  Another great win against an even better team in Cincinnati.  It was their first big test and they met or exceeded expectations.  The tests will keep coming and we will see you next week Buckeye Nation.

For The Roses: Coach Meyer’s Last Ride As HC

 

One last game.  One last moment.  It is time for us to all collectively take it all in–for the last time where Coach Meyer will spearhead the Scarlet and Gray in the mother of all games, The Rose Bowl.  This moment could be or feel bittersweet, but it is time for Coach Meyer to call it quits and what better send-off than a victory, especially a resounding victory at his first Rose Bowl?

This game will be filled with NFL caliber talent all over the field and on both teams.  There is a lot at stake and there are many storylines that could be the focus, but both teams are conference champs and both teams are vying for a Rose Bowl victory.  Coach Meyer’s last ride as the Buckeye Head Coach and Coach Petersen’s first shot at the Rose Bowl and against the Buckeyes.

QB Battle Brewing

With both teams vying for the win the talent at quarterback is key to eithers success on the field.  Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, a Heisman finalist in the end with a high draft grade and Jake Browning, a four-star with something to prove against an aggressive Buckeye defense that is both inconsistent and is seemingly finding their grove after that embarrassing loss at Purdue.

Haskins has been in the spotlight with all the draft talk stealing the majority of the headlines.  He has repeatedly been asked about his impending decision, but all of that will be placed on hold for the time being to ensure that all of his focus is on the Rose Bowl and not on his future endeavors, which is a smart move for all parties involved with the Buckeyes.

Browning made waves on one of his interviews where he explained that the Buckeye defense had “exploits” and “weaknesses” they discovered after reviewing the Purdue tape.  Yes, that game was by Iowa 2.0. and the defense was gashed the entire game, but teams improve and there should be small windows, but not the massive ones from the Purdue game.  He also didn’t say it to be disrespectful or give Ohio State bulletin board material, but these quotes will somehow make it on one for the game.

Either way, the battle at quarterback will be one to watch.  Both defenses are good, but the offenses can overshadow the defense easily with the big-play ability on both sides.  Both of their supporting cast members are electric, fast, and talented.  It will only add to the drama if things end up being close.  Ohio State wants to send their legendary coach on a good note so I would not be surprised if this game is out of reach early.

Playmakers Paradise

What game outside of the CFB Playoff teams has what seems like an endless roster filled with playmakers than Ohio State and Washington?  Both are talented teams filled  with NFL-type players that are looking to improve their draft stock or put on a show to remember.  Both teams have contrasting schemes and they will look to impose their will on the other team to ensure a victory.

For Ohio State, they rely on Haskins’ arm while sprinkling in the run by either Dobbins or Weber.  They will lean heavily on the running game to break it up a little and keep the defense on their toes.  The key unit will be Zone 6 and their three senior captains, Dixon, McLaurin, and Campbell–they will dictate the game for Haskins and the offense.  It will be up to the Washington defense to stop them but even if they do, the younger players waiting in the wings could also make an impact.  One of the biggest obstacles will be the Huskies defense because they are allowing 15.5 points per game, but we all saw what the Buckeyes did to the #1 ranked Wolverines defense.

For Washington, they focus on the run more than the passing attack.  Gaskin will be overutilized and he will be all over the field.  Running Backs like Gaskin can be Ohio State’s undoing and their Linebackers need to play disciplined to stop him.  They will end up giving up big plays but not the Purdue big plays because the Buckeyes are planning to send their coach with a win, and by all means they will achieve it.

Defense

The defense will be another phase of the game to watch because it is filled with NFL prospects.  Dre’Mont Jones is a future first round pick and he will be playing to end his career with his coach and his teammates.  Jordan Fuller, Kendall Sheffield, and Damon Arnette have not announced yet, but depending on what happens, they could also be playing their last game as a Buckeye.  The Buckeyes have improved a lot over the last few weeks and I am sure they are tired of the slights about their play, especially how the Purdue game keeps coming up.  They will look to silence everyone for Urban Meyer’s impeding departure.

The Washington defense is stout and filled with talent.  Led by the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American Ben Burr-Kirven, they will try to stop the Ohio State offense.  So far, Washington has allowed just 9 passing touchdowns the entire year, but with the caliber of Ohio State talent on every level of the offense, we will see if that holds up.

Prediction

So here is prediction time and this game contains the storyline that gives the Buckeyes the edge.  Your coach is leaving due to illness and is retiring to become the assistant AD and every player wants to send him out on the right note.  The Washington starting QB giving the defense some or more bulletin board material that will fire up the Silver Bullets for the contest.

This game will be close right before half before the Buckeyes pull away.  I also see the game getting out of hand before half, but I will go with the first prediction.  The second half adjustments will close the door on the Washington comeback charge.

Final Score:  55-24

Bucks by 90 by @MarkSamuelPrine

Since last spring, the coaching staff at Ohio State has reminded players to “Win the moment”. Urban Meyer has consistently sang that tune as recently as Friday at the Big Ten Championship press conference. When asked about whether the Buckeyes have to win big over Northwestern to have a chance at another College Football Playoff appearance, he maintained that their would be no talk of the playoff in Ohio State’s locker room. The Buckeyes will focus on one thing and one thing only; win the moment. Beat Northwestern. How then, should Ohio State go about beating Northwestern?

The wildcats do not have the most prolific offense we’ve ever seen. In fact, averaging only 23.7 points per game with a quarterback who has only thrown fourteen touchdowns this season means Northwestern is about as average as it gets offensively. However, while only scoring 284 points on offense to this point, the Wildcat defense has given up only 260 points all season. Which means, if my math is correct, Northwestern likes to play smash mouth football with just enough offense to get the W.  The biggest question for Northwestern will be whether or not their offense will be able to produce enough points against Ohio State’s middle-of-the-road defense, in order to squeeze out another victory; especially when it’s own defense will have it’s hands full with with the “second best” offense in the sport (obviously, I remain unimpressed by Oklahoma’s offense running up the score in the Big 12; but I digress).

Finally, one of the biggest advantages for OSU is the experience factor. With respect to experience in a conference championship game, Northwestern has none. This will be the first ever appearance by the Wildcats; while the Buckeyes will make their fourth appearance in six years. This matters because we know the moment shouldn’t be to big for the Buckeyes to go out and seize it. The average fan should look for Ohio State to score early and often, as Dwayne Haskins could have a huge game against the Wildcats’ back seven.

 

Prediction:

Dwayne Haskins: 70% or higher completion percentage. 400 yards and 4 TDs.

Mike Weber: 100 yards and two TDs

Bucks by 90.

The Game: For All The Glory and Bragging Rights

Ohio State.  That Team Up North.  It is that time of the year where two of College Football Blue Blood programs will duke it out with what seems like everything being on the line.  For Ohio State, a shot to win the conference crown and a potential playoff berth with one last major obstacle in their way–their neighbors to the north.  TTUN has the same goals in mind and they can control their destiny, but they must go through Columbus to reach them.

I cannot stress the importance of this game for either side.  School and personal pride coupled with the College Football Playoff implications, it is like a high stakes poker game pitting two heavy hitters vying for the entire pot.  Ohio State looking for another high stakes signature win against another ranked team.  TTUN looking to continue their revenge tour and their rise from a mediocre team to an elite one.  They are also desperate to break the Buckeyes current 6-game winning streak and they will try to win in Columbus for the first time in what seems like forever.

Both teams underperformed the week prior.  The Buckeyes nearly lost to a high octane Terrapins offense before closing the door in overtime while the Wolverines narrowly beat Indiana.  It seemed like both teams were looking ahead to this matchup and both looked sluggish before securing the win.

This game is a beat writers dream with a lot of storylines to cover with one of the biggest matchups will be between both signal-callers, the Quarterbacks.  Haskins versus Patterson.  Both got the job done last week with Haskins accounting for 6 total touchdowns (3 passing, 3 rushing).  Patterson did his job and kept his offense in the game.  An interesting dimension to this game is both signal-callers actually talk and are friends and this game will certainly put their friendship aside.

The Running Backs for both sides are another storyline worth keeping an eye on.  The Buckeyes have Dobbins and Weber, both of which are studs.  Dobbins bared the workload and carried the rock 37 times and McCall had a few snaps here and there.  Weber did not play due to a quadriceps injury, but his status is questionable this early in the week.  Dobbins has his eye intently on this game and he will look to secure another victory against TTUN.  He stated that “He left Texas for The Game”.  What adds to the drama, Higdon just guaranteed a win against their arch-rivals this weekend, which could spice up the game and turn the drama up a notch.

The two major keys will be how will the Buckeyes defense responds after their near defeat and will the trench war lose it for the Buckeyes with their inconsistencies and struggles to maintain leverage.  For the Wolverines, will Winovich play and can they finally beat the Buckeyes and complete their “revenge tour”?

On a side note, the Buckeyes will host a lot of high school talent that could add to the depth of the team.  There are too many great prospects to name, but this will be another opportunity to secure a few commitments prior to the early signing period in December.  The home team better be ready to be as loud and obnoxious as possible to rattle the Wolverines and impress the high school prospects.  Oh, not to mention that this could be a great chance for the NFL Draft eligible Buckeyes to improve their draft position against a great Wolverine team.  Look for some highlight plays and questionable ones too as the game inches closer to the end.

Prediction:

This game will be a doozy.  Both teams playing on another level in all phases will keep us all on the edge of our seats.  This has all the makings of another instant classic between these bitter rivals that will stress us out.  As much as I want it to, I want to blow this team out badly like how the 2014 team dismantled and shut out the Badgers before winning it all, but I know better.  It will be a defensive battle that will have an occasional big play, but I wouldn’t mind if I was wrong.

Penalties will occur and this game will not be pretty.  The TTUN’s defense will frustrate the Buckeyes O-Line for much of the first half, and the second half adjustments will be invaluable.  The TTUN Tight Ends will make some plays and DPJ will do the same because of the Buckeyes tendency to give up huge, momentum-swinging plays.

The Buckeye defense will show up when they need it the most.  Haskins will do enough to mix it up with passing and running and the RB’s will share the load.  Tate Martell will also make an impact with his package of plays to confuse the opposing defense.  All-in-all, I say the Buckeyes extend their streak to 7 games against TTUN.

Final:  38-31 Buckeyes.

 

Scarlet Letter: Don’t Give Up Just Yet

With another hard-fought victory against another Big 10 conference opponent, the Buckeyes leave today’s game with a few more questions about their identity and their ability to fend off a lesser team that they should have dominated.  Aside from Rutgers and Tulane, the Buckeyes have been vulnerable and prone to giving up huge, momentum-shifting plays to teams week in and week out.

I have never seen an Ohio State defense get gashed, nickel-and-dimed, and straight up bullied by opponents this badly, and it is becoming quite bothersome if I am honest.  This is definitely not up to par and it is not close to the standard that we have enjoyed, but maybe–just maybe this game might light a bigger fire underneath the players and they will start to take things personally and to heart pushing forward.

As I watch the fanbase implode and point fingers, it makes me wonder if they were all fully invested with the team that they “love” and if the “love” was truly real or not.  It is understandable and it is very frustrating, but we are still undefeated.  Insert shrug emoji here.

Have we become too spoiled as fans to the point to where hard-fought wins that displayed the Buckeyes resiliency, their grit, and their determination to secure an ugly win is not enough?  An undefeated season is still not enough?  No one is perfect and the weaknesses today will be addressed a week from now because it was evident that more work needed to be done.

Yes, certain players and position groups need to improve, they need to play much better than they have been, but it’ll take time and it isn’t an easy fix.  I could easily call out everyone on social media, but you know what?  That does more negative things than positive.  Just calm down and enjoy the ride because you never know what the future would be like, and it could be grimmer than right now.

Injuries, penalties, and miscommunication happens–and again, it will be addressed and fixed.  Just have faith in the coaches, in the players, and everything will fall into place.  Enjoy the win because next week will be another hard-fought game.  It is not like the Big 10 of old, where it is top heavy.  Teams have improved, there are a few bottom feeders, that have the talent, but it will take time.  Breathe Buckeye Nation, WE…ARE…FINE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indiana (4-1, Big 10, 1-1) at Ohio State (5-0, Big 10 2-0)

After a drama-filled, come from behind victory at Happy Valley, the Buckeyes face a resurgent Indiana team that could potentially give them problems.  In what was one of the better games of the season, pitting two Top-10 teams against each other, and during a White-Out, the Buckeyes cannot afford to take a loss to another unranked, but talented team again just like that terrible Iowa loss a season ago.  The stars aligned once again and after another 1-point, hard-fought win, the Buckeyes might be vulnerable once again.

Indiana will take their Sophomore QB Peyton Ramsey into Columbus to try to shock the world.  Ohio State will be looking to maintain their current hot streak and blow past Indiana.  Ramsey is no slouch, he is efficient, but he leaves points off the board and he tends to force throws.  He won’t be alone in the backfield because he has another bruiser at RB in Stevie Scott.

With that combination, it might give them some life to at the very least, put up a fight.  On the other end, Dwayne Haskins, Zone 6, and the duo of Dobbins and Weber will look to continue on with their fireworks display on offense.  The defense will look to sharpen up their skill and be more disciplined as they get into matchups with conference foes.

Positional Keys:

  • Quarterback:  Remain calm/Stay sharp
  • Running Backs:  No dancing around/Remain involved in the gameplan
  • Wide Receivers and Tight Ends:  No drops/Gain separation
  • Offensive Line:  Grind out possessions/Maul defenders/Minimize penalties
  • Defensive Line:  Shed blocks/Gap discipline
  • Linebackers:  Discipline in coverage/Do not overrun gaps/Tackle better
  • Defensive Backs:  No blown coverages/Tackle better

There was a lot of errors on the Buckeyes’ part, but this win has and will boost their confidence moving forward.  Last week drops, overrunning plays, and tackling were issues that stunted their progress down the field, but this week, they will be better since they’re at home.

Realistically, the Buckeyes will start out slow because of last week and injuries are a concern with Bosa still being out and Jones almost being lost to injury as well.  Realistically, the Buckeyes will be looking to put this game out of reach by halftime as well, but we will have to see how they will respond, and I am leaning more toward the latter because they played poorly, but showed their grit in the second half.

Haskins will put up points in a hurry as he looks to retain his hot streak and I think it’ll be another multi-touchdown game.  Dobbins and Weber will bruise the defense and Zone 6 will necessary blocks and make the plays once again.  The defense will be looking to improve and play better in the absence of Nick Bosa.

Final Score:  Ohio State defeats Indiana 58-17.