Rapid Reactions: Five Quick Observations

  • The Buckeyes were completely dominant in this game.  The Defensive Line has an army, and they showed why they are considered to be a Top 5 unit.  They lived in the Rutgers backfield for the entirety of the game.
  • Offensive Onslaught, 628-209!  The Buckeye offense looked poised and confident, two things that lacked early on in the season.  Now, with the offense seemingly clicking, the Buckeyes will continue to build on their success so far this season.
  • QB and RB Depth.  Barrett, Burrow, Haskins and Martell, and Dobbins, McCall, Weber and Williams.  The depth at Ohio State is crazy, but it is a good problem to have.  Barrett had another good game, Haskins and Burrow showed that they can lead, and Martell waits for his name to be called with Emory Jones coming in after Barrett says goodbye.  The QB battle will be fierce.  Weber scored his first three touchdowns of the year, Dobbins was his usual self, running hard, and McCall lit it up and scored twice, his first two of the year and racked up 138 all-purpose yards.  Williams was unable to make the trip to New Jersey and Master Teague and Jaelin Gill will be coming in next year and the depth will once again be a trendy topic.
  • Penalty Monster.  The penalty monster appeared again and it has hurt the Buckeyes a ton this season.  Prior to the game, they were second in the nation in penalty yardage.  This game was no different as they were penalized 10 times for 106 yards with the targeting play on Jahsen Wint being the most notable one.  There was some improvement in this category though because there were no defensive pass interference and holding penalties on the corners.
  • Dixon, Zone 6 Revival.  After multiple seasons of being injured and almost walking away from the game he loves, Dixon showed the nation how talented he is and can be.  He is improving on his craft is starting to impose his will and gain separation.  The rest of Zone 6 has also improved.  Their confidence is rising and they are beginning to help Barrett’s as well.  They need to continue to improve cause their schedule will get harder as time goes by.

Recap: #11 Ohio State (4-1, BIG 2-0) at Rutgers (1-4, BIG 0-2)

First Half:

The Buckeyes began the game with the ball first, but their playcalling was sporadic, and it resulted in a game-opening punt on their first possession.  Their defense stepped up to stop the Scarlet Knights on their own first drive.

On Ohio State’s next possession, J.T. Barrett rattled off a huge run for 37 yards to put him over the 10,000-yard mark to be the first Buckeye to meet that mark.  As they inched closer toward the end zone, Mike Weber punched it in for his first touchdown of the season for the first score of the game.  On their third possession, they were forced to punt once again.

On the next Rutgers drive, they benefited from a bad punt by Chrisman, but they were backed up further after a block in the back penalty.  Rutgers drove the ball inside of the Ohio State 20-yard line, but they were turned away by the defense after Tracy Sprinkle tipped a pass to Dante Booker for the spinning interception.

On the ensuing possession, the offense was clicking as Barrett found his receivers and his Tight End for short pass plays.  J.K. Dobbins also flashed his speed and power as he broke off a 34-yard run on a 3rd and 2 to the Rutgers 44 yard line.  Mike Weber rotated in and scored on another short run to push the lead to 14-0.

After a combination of punts between both teams, J.T. Barrett caught a Rutgers defensive back looking into the backfield and before you know it, Johnnie Dixon was left by himself and he took the ball 70-yards for another Buckeye touchdown.  Dixon stayed hot and tippy-toed the sideline for another long score of 39-yards to extend the lead to 28-0.

Right before halftime, Weber scored for the third time as the Buckeyes take a commanding 35-0 lead after the half.  The yardage discrepancy was encouraging for the Buckeyes.  They led 336-77 in total offensive yardage.

Second Half:

The Defense picked up where they left off as they forced another Rutgers punt to open the second half.  Coincidentally, the Buckeyes were turned down on 4th down on the Rutgers 40, but they were just looking to run some time off the clock.

On the next Rutgers play their backup quarterback threw behind his receiver then Ward picked the ball off for their second turnover of the game.  The Buckeyes then had a 60 yarder to Dixon that was taken away because he pushed off, but the drive was eventually capped off after Barrett found Victor for a 23-yard strike.

The Rutgers then found themselves in Ohio State territory after a screen pass was successful. The Buckeye defense then stiffined up in the Red Zone as they turned away Rutgers on 4th down. Barrett finished the game with around 4 minutes remaining in the game, giving Haskins more reps for Ohio State.  He finished 14 for 22 for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns and 10 rushes for 89 yards.

Barrett finished the game with around 4 minutes remaining in the game, giving Haskins more reps for Ohio State.  He finished 14 for 22 for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns and 10 rushes for 89 yards.

Haskins took some time to get a rhythm, but he eventually lofted a pass to Demario McCall on a wheel route for a 35-yard score to add to the route, 49-0.

On 3rd and 7, Jahsen Wint committed a costly targeting penalty that gave Rutgers first down yards.  It only adds to the penalty tally, but younger players will learn.  The defense forced another punt that nearly was fumbled away by McCall, but they regained possession at the Ohio State 2 yard line.

Joe Burrow came into salt the game away and with less than 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter, Ohio State is looking to run time off of the clock.  The drive took 3:23 but it featured the forgotten man in Tote Nation Demario McCall.  He racked up 80 rushing yards as he ran for 48 yards for his second touchdown of the game and the season.  For the game, McCall has 11 carries for 103 yards and a catch for 35 yards for two total touchdowns.

Rutger drove the ball with 13 plays, which is the most plays called against the Buckeyes, but they were turned away after Hart missed a field goal in Buckeye territory.  Game Buckeyes.  This is the second shutout of Rutgers, last year 58-0 and this year 56-0.

 

Preview: #11 Ohio State (3-1, BIG 1-0) at Rutgers (1-3, BIG 0-1)

Coach Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to Piscataway, New Jersey to face a familiar face in Coach Chris Ash and his Scarlet Knights.  This contest will pit a scrappy Rutgers team that has displayed improvements, but this game should still get out of hand.

Team Stats

Points Per Game 39.3 27.3
Points Allowed Per Game 20.0 18.3
Total Yards 549.0 326.8
Yards Passing 319.3 163.5
Yards Rushing 229.8 163.3
Yards Allowed 367.3 298.3
Pass Yards Allowed 228.3 179.5
Rush Yards Allowed 139.0 118.8

As provided by ESPN, both teams both teams differ in each category, with the closest being Points Allowed Per Game.  Other than that, the offensive statistics favor the Buckeyes, but the defensive statistics favor the Scarlet Knights, with the caveat being that difference in competition.  The Buckeyes faced moderate to great offenses, Indiana and Oklahoma, where Rutgers played a turnover-prone Nebraska team and a Washington offense that is still trying to find their identity.

The Buckeyes faced moderate to great offenses, Indiana and Oklahoma, where Rutgers played a turnover-prone Nebraska team and a Washington offense that is still trying to find their identity. This is by no means an excuse or a shoe-in for a blowout, but it could still be over by halftime.

What To Watch For:

1.)  BACK TO THE START, LEGRAND REUNION.

The current Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator at Ohio State will come back to his old stomping grounds in New Jersey, where he received his first opportunity as a Head Coach.  Schiano was so successful at Rutgers, he eventually received an offer to become the Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs, which did not work out that well.

Now, Coach Meyer and Coach Schiano will face a familiar face in Coach Ash, who was a former pupil of Meyer.  He helped recruit a few of the current BIA members prior to his departure for a tougher challenge, and this game of chess will be one to watch.

A former Rutger player, Eric LeGrand who was paralyzed after a collision against Army will be in attendance to reunite with his former coach, which is a story to follow throughout the day.  It has been five years since that tragic day, but the reunion will be a sight to see even though they are pulling for their respective teams.

2.)  SCHIANO VERSUS ASH.

Both Coaches share the same qualities as both coaches put their DB’s on islands, playing similar styles.  Both benefited from Coach Coombs and both were quality recruiters for the Buckeyes, but now they are pitted against each other. The Old versus the New.

Ash has been invaluable on the recruiting trail and he has brought in a lot of talent in the secondary.  He has developed the Buckeyes prior to leaving and now his former players have thrived in Schiano’s first year, but this year has been a little rough around the edges.

There is no doubt that Schiano and Coombs will have their guys ready, but Coach Ash got some terrible news this week as his best Cover Corner Blessuan Austin suffered a season-ending injury that will leave him thin at Cornerback.  He has two capable bodies, but behind them is a lot of inexperience, which could benefit the Buckeyes offense.

3.)  QB, WR, CB & LB IMPROVEMENTS.

In what seems to be a constant topic within Buckeye Nation, will there be miscues between J.T. Barrett and Zone 6?  Last week, they improved in most departments with Barrett missing a few easy throws even though it was against an overmatched UNLV team.

His decision making was better along with the playcalling, but they still have to work out a few more kinks.  He missed a few throws, but he did well enough in a little less than a half.

His receivers also did well, showing the ability to earn yards after the catch and finding the empty spaces in zone coverage for easy receptions.  They regained their confidence and they will continue to improve against a thin Rutgers team who just lost their best player.

On the other side of the ball, the Buckeyes are struggling at the Cornerback and Middle Linebacker positions.  The Corners are placed on islands all game, but from time to time they get beat and they start grabbing at the receivers to make a play.  This often causes penalties that give the opposite team easy conversions, which often lead to scores.

The Corners are placed on islands all game, but from time to time they get beat and they start grabbing at the receivers to make a play.  This often causes penalties that give the opposite team easy conversions, which often lead to scores.

The Linebackers have improved more than the Corners with the addition of Tuf Borland, who is making plays and improving after each contest.  Big Play Baker has regressed and Dante Booker has been making plays, but he is just as inconsistent as the others.

Prediction:  49-14 Ohio State defeats Rutgers

 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good:

The most impressive phase of the game came from the playmakers from Zone 6 and TE Rashod Berry.  In the first time in a while, the Buckeyes found 7 different receivers for scores, setting a new Big Ten record.

J.T. Barrett was taken out just before halftime, but he was very close to the team record for passing yards.  Barrett was 14 yards short of the 10,000-yard mark, which he will break when he travels to Piscataway, New Jersey to face a familiar face in Coach Ash.  The Rutgers head man will most likely have a few tricks up his sleeve, because of his familiarity of the Buckeye playmakers.

Dwayne Haskins had himself an up and down game.  He finished 15 for 23 for 228 yards and two touchdowns, but he did not finish without any errors.  He forced a pass to a well-covered receiver and he watched as the defender took it 65-yards to the house.

Joey Burrow made his debut after being cleared by the team doctors and he picked up where he left off.  Prior to coming out, he hit Trevon Grimes for a pair of 6-yarders before finishing off by hitting C.J. Saunders for a huge gain.  This makes the future bright and if Ohio State manages to hold onto the commitment of Emory Jones, their Quarterback room will be filled with talented playmakers that includes Tate Martell.

The Bad:  

I know that this is not Buckeye related directly, but if you follow recruiting, you know that Florida State has been neck and neck with the Buckeyes for top tier, blue-chippers year after year.  Yes, the ACC won the last CFB Championship and they are pretty darn good, but this might open some doors for the Buckeyes.

With this loss, the Seminoles fall to 0-2 for the first time since 1989, where they rebounded and finished the season 10-2 and with a Fiesta Bowl victory.  While teams can falter early and still make the playoffs (Ohio State loss to Virginia Tech in 2014), this might hurt the Noles on the recruiting trail, which would benefit Ohio State.

The Ugly:

Kendell Sheffield needs to get better, and fast.  It is like clockwork, he constantly gets beat week after week, and he is often the guilty party on defense as he is responsible for multiple PI and holding penalties that extend their opponents drives.

He needs to get better and with Sheffield being the starter at the nickel, he will always be scrutinized for being a part of the BIA.  It will get harder as the season gets further into conference play as the talent they will face will be better than what they have faced so far, minus the ones from the Indiana and Oklahoma games.

 

Recap: UNLV at #10 Ohio State

 First Half:

After pounding Army into the dirt, the Buckeyes begin their quest to add another convincing win to their resume.  UNLV isn’t a team that scares top tier teams like Ohio State, but you never know in College Football.

UNLV won the toss and elected to receive, but their initial drive fell short of expectation.  During the opening kickoff, the crowd immediately got into it as one of their players on Special Teams delivered a huge hit to incite the crowd.

After receiving the punt, J.T. Barrett immediately went to work with a 2-play, 77-yard drive where he found Campbell on a swing pass, where Campbell took it 69-yards to the house.  Although it wasn’t a downfield pass, the initial drive took a mere 29 seconds, which is a vast improvement for this offense although it is against inferior competition.

On the ensuing UNLV drive, they stalled once again as they attempted a 52-yard FG which was sent away and blocked by Dre’Mont Jones.  After Barrett took over, he went 65-yards and found Johnnie Dixon for a 16-yard score pushing the lead to 14-0.

The Rebels then had the ball and took it 20-yards prior to punting the ball again, but as soon as the Buckeyes began to threaten again, Campbell took a huge hit and he fumbled the ball inside of the 2-yard line for their first turnover of the game.  The momentum stayed in the Buckeyes corner as Dre’Mont Jones stuffed the run and got to the ball carrier for a safety to push the lead 16-0.

With the momentum clearly in the Buckeyes favor, they went 3 for 3 on 4th down for short touchdowns to Victor, McLaurin and Hill.  The set-up for each of these touchdowns came courtesy of BIA Damon Arnette and Damon Webb even though they’ve had a rough day penalty wise.  The penalties incurred have cost the Buckeyes their shutout as Lexington Thomas put it in the end zone.

Barrett finished his day with 12 for 17 for 209 yards and 5 touchdowns falling 14 yards short of 10,000 yards before giving way to Dwayne Haskins who threw a dart to former walk-on C.J. Saunders for a 28-yard score in traffic.

Second Half:

Once again plagued by costly penalties, this time with a roughing the punter penalty, Ohio State surrendered their second rushing touchdown of the day to Thomas as he took it 55-yards to the end zone.

After a punt the Haskins threw another score to former DL Rashod Berry for a 38-yard score to push their lead to 54-14.  The key stat of the day?  The Buckeyes have found 7 different receivers for a score, which is a new BIG 10 record.

The Silver Bullets have been all over the UNLV backfield.  Time and time again, they have played with their hair on fire, and for their effort, they have racked up 12 tackles for losses.

In the 4th, Haskins made his first major mistake as a Buckeye as he forced the ball to a blanketed receiver, which resulted in a 65-yard interception return for UNLV to make the score 54-21.  This will be looked at as a valuable lesson in a game that has already been decided, but he will do nothing but grow from here on out.

With the backup linemen in the game, the Buckeyes stalled after giving up a sack and now they have their second punt of the game.  Drue Chrisman has been a weapon for the Buckeyes after he pinned UNLV on their 15-yard line.

Jeffrey Okudah made an appearance during mop-up duty as he batted down a pass after pressure was put on the UNLV QB.  They failed to convert on 3rd and long and they lined up for another FG attempt, which sailed wide right.

The Buckeyes drove into the red zone once again, but unfortunately, Berry was stripped once again for their second fumble inside of the 5-yard line.  This turnover resulted in no points after the defense clamped down to force a punt.

With the Buckeyes tying their team record, they give Joe Burrow a few reps after being cleared from an injury to his throwing hand.  He was 4-4 for 37 yards with two passes to Trevon Grimes and one to C.J. Saunders before Haskins came out for the victory formation.

An impressive win over another inferior non-conference foe, but they are continuing to build their confidence prior to heading into conference play.

 

Recap: Army vs #8 Ohio State

After another lackluster performance against Oklahoma, the Buckeyes face an Army team that rarely threatens teams through the air.  Even though they aren’t dangerous, the Black Knights are #2 in the nation in the rushing department.

The Buckeyes front seven need to stay disciplined and the entire team needs to make sure tackles.  This is a winnable game that they need to regain confidence in their scheme for the rest of the season.

First Half:

The Buckeyes began the game with the opening possession, and within 2:37 after receiving the kickoff, J.T. Barrett put seven on the board with a 5-yard touchdown run.  On Army’s first possession, they were forced to punt the ball away and the Buckeyes responded with a drive that lasted 4:12, that ended with another short-yardage touchdown by J.K. Dobbins.

From then on out, the ugliness seeped out both teams exchanged punts, but Army answered the call after they drove 99-yards for a touchdown after a Buckeye punt at the Army 35 yard line. Army took a huge chunk of time off the clock on that drive and it left the Buckeyes with a single possession prior to the half ending, where they added a field goal to extend their lead 17-7.

Second Half:

The second half began with Army missing a 43-yarder and it quickly turned into another Buckeye touchdown after J.K. Dobbins broke off a pair of long runs, the first for 22-yards and the next for 52-yards and another touchdown.

On the next Army possession, they fumbled the ball on a bobbled handoff which resulted in a 20-yard passing score to Terry McLaurin to push the lead to 31-7.  That was essentially the end of the Army success on the ground, as the Buckeyes buckled down and shut them down.

The last Ohio State touchdown was a 9-yarder to Austin Mack for his first collegiate touchdown reception of his career which is significant, but it was Barrett who just bested Drew Brees’ BIG 10 total touchdown record with the last score of the game to push their lead to 38-7.

After the record was captured, Dwayne Haskins took his shot and entered the game during mop-up duty.  He finished 4-4 for 46 yards, and he proved that he has the talent to take the reigns after Barrett departs.  Another week down, and looking ahead, the Buckeyes will face a 1-1 UNLV team that lost to FCS school Howard during opening week.

Another week down, and looking ahead, the Buckeyes will face a 1-1 UNLV team that lost to FCS school Howard during opening week.  They will look to improve the passing game and maintaining the balance.  The defense will look to improve as well in all areas as they face a team that might test them through the air, but for now, we will enjoy the win.  Go Bucks!

 

 

Preview: Army vs #8 Ohio State

After a long week of bickering and talk from anyone and everyone, game day is finally upon us, and it will turn the page on the previous weeks awful showing at the home opener.  There was a whirlwind of opinions from people dishing their hot takes after the Oklahoma loss at home.  A lot of people got into the conversation, ranging from notable analysts, former Buckeyes, hardcore fans and even potential recruiting targets found themselves in the storm.  Most notably, two top tier 5* targets in OT Jackson Carman and DE Micah Parsons, who were calling their shot and stating their desire to pass on Barrett and go to their “boy” Dwayne Haskins.

A lot of people got into the conversation, ranging from notable analysts, former Buckeyes, hardcore fans and even potential recruiting targets found themselves in the storm.  Most notably, two top tier 5* targets in OT Jackson Carman and DE Micah Parsons, who were calling their shot and stating their desire to pass on Barrett and go to their “boy” Dwayne Haskins.

We all weathered the storm and now an opportunity to right the ship and turn the page is almost here.  The Army Black Knights are 2-0 and they will test the strength of the front seven for the entirety of this contest with an efficient rushing offense that ranks 2nd in the nation with 835 yards and 11 touchdowns on 113 attempts, averaging 417.5 yards per game.

On the other side, the home team Ohio State Buckeyes are surrendering 60.5 yards per contest, holding their opponents to 121 total yards on 64 rushing attempts.  They are allowing 1.89 yards per rush, while only giving up a single rushing touchdown so far this season.

Ohio State is #32 in the NCAA in rushing offense for 459 total yards in 85 attempts for 4 scores. They are averaging 5.4 yards per rushing attempt and 229.5 yards per contest and they must establish a balance to control the pace of the game.

The right side of the O-Line suffered against the constant pressure, so this game will be needed to regain their swagger.  They got beat often and were caught off guard by blitzing defenders, so they really need a boost.

Barrett on the other hand also needs this game to re-establish himself as the starting QB with everyone and their mother bashing him over the lack of down the field pass attempts and the lack of accuracy in his passes.  He is 39-70 for 487 yards and 3 touchdowns against one interception. He is averaging 243.5 yards per game, 6.96 yards per attempt and 12.49 yards per completion, which isn’t bad but he needs to show a lot of improvement in both the accuracy and the production department to truly improve and become more successful.

This Army team appears to be no threat to the Buckeyes through the air and through 2 games, as they are 2-10 for 17 yards.  They are averaging 1.7 yards per attempt and 8.5 yards per game, but they will be a could find a way to involve the running backs, similar to what Oklahoma did.

The Buckeyes linebackers were getting beat by dump-off passes, which could work to Army’s advantage during the game. The linebackers were often out of position and looked confused, so let’s hope they worked out the kinks.

The secondary improved, but tackling was an issue again as they were constantly looking for the big hit instead of wrapping up for the sure tackle.  They need to build on their performance again this week.

Prediction:  41-9 Buckeyes

After that embarrassing loss at home, it will drive the cause the Buckeyes to take a step in the right direction.  The offense improves and executes better, but will still be a work in progress. There will be a balance between the run and pass, and a big play or two will occur, with emphasis on improving the play-calling situation.    

The defense racks up TFL’s against the Army rushing attack forcing them to attempt more passes.  I am calling for a forced fumble and a pick to happen due to the immense pressure that the Rushmen place of the Army O-Line.  

 

Recap: #5 Oklahoma vs #2 Ohio State

First Half:

In an early test for both teams, neither seemed to get into a rhythm in the first half of the game. Oklahoma has statistically been more successful outgaining the often anemic Ohio State offense 222-92.  They have outgained the home team by a large margin and they seem to be gaining more and more confidence as the game continues.

Baker Mayfield has been leaning solely on his arm, which has been dicing up the Ohio State defense for 158 yards on 11 of 18 attempts, and he is gaining 8.8 yards per pass attempt but has no touchdowns to show for it yet.  He has been banged up as well, as he can be seen limping off to the sideline after taking a few huge hits.  So far Mayfield has been sacked twice, both by Sam Hubbard.

J.T. Barrett has struggled mightily, and he has been leaning more towards the designed QB runs, that have Buckeye fans scratching their heads.  Barrett finished the first half 5 for 11 for 25 yards and also carried the ball 10 times for 35 yards.

The first half ended in a 3-3 tie with Oklahoma turning the ball over three times.  They had two critical fumbles and a missed field goal, in what appears to be a defensive struggle.  Sooners also lost Mark Andrews, their big WR/TE to an apparent leg injury.

Second Half:

The Buckeyes started the half with balance and they capped off the opening drive with J.K. Dobbins’ first touchdown as a Buckeye.

Mayfield was quick to answer with a touchdown of his own to a 36-yard pass to Dimitri Flowers to tie up this contest.  The Sooner offense also caught fire as Mayfield found his teammates for 2 scores, 1 by RB Trey Sermon and another to Lee Morris.  Jordan Smallwood also found paydirt on a jet sweep.

The Sooner defense clamped down and shut down the Buckeyes, only giving up two field goals in the second half.  One in the early 3rd quarter and a second mid-4th quarter.  After a failed onside kick, the Sooners continue to drive the ball and rack up yardage on the tired Buckeye defense.

The Sooners win 31-16 with their rookie Head Coach Lincoln Riley, which is a rare and impressive feat in itself.  This by no means knocks the Buckeyes out of the playoff conversation.  There are obvious deficiencies on offense that need to be addressed all across the offense.

There are obvious deficiencies on offense that need to be addressed all across the offense.  The WR’s failed to separate, they were back to their old ways with the play calling, and J.T. Barrett’s issues accuracy and trust in his receivers.

The Buckeyes will be back, so stay tuned Buckeye Nation.

 

 

 

 

 

Preview: #7 Oklahoma vs #2 Ohio State

With the first week of the young CFB season behind us, we look forward to another contest that has once again garnered another College Gameday appearance.  The featured matchup will place two Top 10 teams against each other, and with two big-time and experienced leaders at the Quarterback position, there will be no shortage of big plays and drama.

What To Watch For:

J.T. Barrett versus Baker Mayfield:

In a game filled with great matchups, Barrett versus Mayfield takes the front seat in this contest. Mayfield led the offense to an impressive win over UTEP, while Barrett took some time to get his offense going.  Although it was not entirely his fault, the WR’s failed to break away from the opposing DB’s.

Mayfield looked sharp against inferior and outclassed competition.  He finished 19 for 20 for 329 yards and 3 scores, in a 56-7 drubbing of UTEP.  This week he will face a newly pieced together set of DB’s and he will be looking to test them early and often with his crop of receivers.

Barrett was efficient during his showing and he showed some improvement balancing the running and passing.  He finished with 4 total TD’s and 365 yards, 301 of which were through the air and he also had 64 on the ground.  This balance was needed and he will need to stay focused and sharp against a mostly experienced secondary that has three Seniors to lean on.

This game will most likely fall on the shoulders of both men with ball security, balance and turnovers will be the deciding factor.  There will be no shortage of big plays and offensive fireworks, this is what makes this so exciting.

Trench Wars, Best D-Line versus Best O-Line:

In what is almost another given, the battle in the trenches between Oklahoma and Ohio State is another key matchup to watch in this battle of two Top 10 teams.

Oklahoma has one of the best Offensive Lines in the nation led by LT Orlando Brown and they average out to about 304.4 lbs of humanity tasked to protect Mayfield.

On the other side of the line will be one of the best Defensive Lines in the nation led by Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis.  Behind them, the depth at Ohio State, particularly on the Defensive Line, they are two or three deep at each position.

This matchup will determine the success of either team.  The Sooner line is talented and will be a major test for the Buckeyes line.

Buckeye DB’s versus Sooner WR’s:

I remember people saying that Ohio State will not face another crop of big, physical receivers again this season. Guess what?  They were wrong.  The Sooners top 3 receivers are 6’3″, 6’5″ and 6’5″.  Ceedee Lamb, Mark

The Sooners top 3 receivers are 6’3″, 6’5″ and 6’5″.  Ceedee Lamb, Mark Andrews, and Jeffery Mead are massive, with Andrews, a former Buckeye target being the heaviest at 253 lbs.  Kendall Sheffield, Damon Arnette, and Denzel Ward need to be sharp.  Jordan Fuller and Damon Webb need to stay disciplined as well.

Kendall Sheffield, Damon Arnette, and Denzel Ward need to be sharp.  Jordan Fuller and Damon Webb need to stay disciplined as well.

This could be another shootout, but can the Buckeye secondary cover and force a few turnovers for the defense?  Can the Sooner Wideouts out-muscle their smaller opponents?

Sooner Front 7 versus Dobbins/Weber:

True Freshman J.K. Dobbins received his first start and he surely did not disappoint.  He finished the game with 29 carries for 181 yards and 2 catches for 24 yards.  This week he will share the load with Mike Weber.

Together they face a stout front 7 led by 3 seniors. They will be tasked to stop the ground game and get to the QB.  It won’t be easy, but they gave them fits a season ago, so it’ll be interesting.

The Ohio State line isn’t sorry either, as they average 310.8 lbs as a whole.  Three of the five a 6’7″, with Jones being 6’5″ and Price being 6’4″.  With a major chip on their shoulders, particularly with the right side of the line, Bowen and Prince will be looking to establish themselves.

Can WR’s break open:

Finally, can the Buckeye WR’s break open consistently enough to and make plays?  This will be hard due to the experience opposing them.

They are all talented, but they need to outwork the DB’s to give Barrett a chance to win the game for them.  Barrett wasn’t perfect, and he did miss a few of his guys on errant passes, but the WR’s had a few drops during the game too.

Will they be reliable threats for Barrett?  Will they be able to break free from the coverage and make plays?  Can Zone 6 make the Buckeye Offense, particularly the deep ball sizzle again?

Prediction:

This will be another hard fought game with the Sooners keeping it close in the first half.  Their WR’s will out muscle the DB’s early before halftime.  This game will be a back and forth affair until the Buckeye Defense takes over and forces a few turnovers.

With a combination of second half adjustments and the Buckeye front seven’s relentlessness, the Buckeyes pull away in the second half for a close win at home.

This game will showcase many NFL hopefuls and it will be filled with team scouts.  This game will also feature the next wave of talent, as many Buckeye commits and targets will be present for the show.

Final Score:  41-31 Buckeyes

 

 

 

 

Ohio State Projected Depth Chart 2017

With under a week left of the dreaded offseason, another year chalked full of expectation is upon us.  After a dreadful, nightmarish showing in last seasons CFB Playoff, Coach Meyer and company will prepare themselves for another run at the title.

Projected Starters for 2017:

QB:  J.T. Barrett

RB:  Mike Weber

WR:  Johnnie Dixon

WR:  Austin Mack

Slot/H-Back:  Terry McLaurin

TE:  Marcus Baugh

LT:  Jamarco Jones

LG:  Michael Jordan

C:  Billy Price

RG:  Brandon Bowen

RT:  Isaiah Prince

DE:  Sam Hubbard

DE:  Tyquan Lewis

DT:  Dre’mont Jones

DT:  Tracy Sprinkle

WLB:  Jerome Baker

MLB:  Chris Worley

SLB:  Dante Booker

CB:  Denzel Ward

CB:  Damon Arnette

Nickel:  Kendall Sheffield

S:  Damon Webb

S:  Erick Smith

K:  Sean Nuernberger

P:  Drue Chrisman

J.T. Barrett will return for the final chapter in his career.  Barrett will lead another talented offense in their quest for another title.  He will most likely hold every, if not most of Ohio State’s records and he will be able to obtain a few BIG records too.

Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins were neck and neck up until now, but due to an injury during practice, Haskins will serve as the backup QB.  This is a case of plain bad luck, and it really opens the door for Haskins to audition for the starting job in the 2018 season.  True Freshman Tate Martell is another interesting prospect who might just see some time during garbage time, but we will just have to see.

Weber will resume duties as the lead back of Tote Nation.  Behind him, he will have a true freshman, J.K. Dobbins to relieve him.  Dobbins has quite the following as he surpassed Antonio Williams and Demario McCall.

Zone 6 took a hit after Samuel and Brown left for the NFL, but the players that are on the team are sneaky good.  With the lack of a deep threat last season and a combination of poor play calling and the lack of confidence, the offense sputtered and was predictable.

This season will be different with Coach Wilson and Coach Day.  Both will provide a quick paced and high tempo attack that will leave opposing defenses gasping for air.  Mack, Dixon, and McLaurin are all speedsters that have big play ability and behind them are bigger stronger receivers like Victor, Harris, Grimes and Gardiner.

The O-Line returns 4 starters from last season, which helps Barrett remain upright.  The Slobs are all over 6’4″ with Price being the shortest of the bunch.  Prince was a liability, earned the title of starter at RG, but he is wedged between Price and Prince just in case he needs help.

The D-Line or the Rushmen returned the starters from last year and their backups.  They will terrorize teams with relentless pursuit.  Baker, Worley and a healthy Booker return to bolster their LB group.

The secondary proves to be of concern because they basically have to reload once again, after losing three first rounders to the NFL Draft.  Damon Webb and Denzel Ward return, but Damon Arnette, Kendall Sheffield will be the next two corners up, while Erick Smith will assume the other Safety spot.

Overall, I think the Buckeyes have what it takes to win the BIG onward to another Playoff berth, but crazy thing could happen as the season develops.  I will watch it as it progresses, but the talent is certainly there.  The drama has yet to unfold, but with the season fast approaching, I cannot wait to go through the emotions with you.