Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Position Battles (Part III)

With this matchup being approximately a week away the focus will be on the defensive position battles between Ohio State and USC.  This matchup will feature Ohio State and their Top 10 defensive unit against a reinvigorated defense that has won 5 straight.

Defensive Line:

The Rushmen package that Coach Johnson has installed has worked tremendously well for the Silver Bullets.  The combination of Bosa, Lewis, Holmes, and Hubbard will be used to solely to disrupt Sam Darnold and cause chaos.  It has worked for most of the season, and why not go back to the well.

The depth and talent of the players on Ohio State’s bench are ridiculous, and most, if not all of them are starters at any other school in the nation.  That is the best part about having such a coach like Coach Johnson on to mentor them.

In the interior, Sprinkle and Jones will start the game with Hill and Landers relieving them when they get tired, and they are a pretty talented group of individuals who could all wreak havoc on the trenches.

They are 20th in the nation in total sacks and 13th in team tackles for loss.  They are averaging 2.85 sacks per game and 7.7 in total yards lost.  USC needs to control the trenches to succeed in this matchup because if the floodgates open, it’ll be a long day for Darnold.

Rasheem Green was once an Ohio State target when he was coming out of high school, but things did not work out.  Unlike Ohio State, who runs a 4-3, USC runs the opposite, a 3-4.  Rasheem Green, Josh Fatu, and Christian Rector all start for the Trojans, and they all are space eaters in the trenches.

USC is 6th in the nation in team sacks edging out the Ohio State’s unit with 3.31 sacks per game.  Running a different scheme has its advantages, but the Ohio State Offensive Linemen are one of the most talented groups that USC has faced, so it will have to be determined come gameday.


Both teams have an embarrassment of riches at the LB positions.  Ohio State has Baker, Borland, and Worley as starters, with Jones, Harrison, and Booker in the wings.  Together, they make a formidable trio for defenses and they are the second level behind the Rushmen.

Baker is a potential first rounder that can do it all.  In coverage, as a spy, even as a blitzer, he will do everything he can to make an impact.  Worley and Borland play well at their new positions.  Worley moved back outside while Borland took Worley’s spot in the middle, and it has worked out pretty good.

USC has quite a formidable combination at LB, and I think they are the reason why their defense has so many sacks.  The USC linemen occupy blockers while the LB’s knife through to seek out the Quarterback.

Led by Iosefa and Smith, this unit is scary good and they could give the right side of the line fits.  They are ranked as the 56th best team in the nation in tackles for loss, but I have a feeling that they will get to Barrett a lot this game due to the inconsistency of the right side, but I do not think it will be as bad as two years ago.

They will do enough to disrupt Barrett and his decision-making process, and they will most likely take the Buckeyes backs down a couple of times in the backfield.  This matchup will be between NFL Linebackers prospects, who are trying to make it to the next level.

Defensive Backs:

Denzel Ward leads another talented group of DB’s at Ohio State, along with Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield at Cornerback.  The definition of a shutdown corner in a long line produced by Coach Coombs, he will look to stop USC’s best playmaker on offense like he has done all season.

At Safety Damon Webb, a hard-hitting safety will patrol the top quarters along with Jordan Fuller to prevent the big plays downfield.

Collectively, BIA will be looking to prove once again that they are the Best In America by locking up USC, but Arnette and Sheffield must avoid the costly penalties that have been a problem for them this season to be successful.

Jack Jones, Iman Marshall, and Chris Hawkins lead the DB’s, and they will look to stop the Buckeye speed.  A lot of teams outside of Oklahoma and Iowa were unsuccessful in preventing the speedy WR’s from getting behind them, but they have the talent in the secondary to do so.

Like Ohio State’s starters, they will be tasked to stop a talented offense and they have the skills and the talent to certainly do so, but it is easier said then done.  Ohio State loves those crossing routes, but I feel like in order for this unit to succeed, they must stop Dobbins and Weber, and Barrett too from establishing a balance and establishing the run.

If they successfully make Ohio State one-dimensional, they will most likely have success.  If not, I think it’ll be a long day.

Position Battles:

DL:  Due to the different defensive schemes, this matchup is close.  From a talent standpoint, I will give the edge to the Buckeyes, but the production edge goes to USC.  The biggest factor will depend on which offensive line shows up.  If 2016 Ohio State shows up, USC wins easily.  If this seasons team does, Ohio State wins.  I am counting on the 2017 team to show up so I will give the slight edge to Ohio State.

LB:  Both units have a lot of talent that is starting and on the bench.  With Ohio State, they have been good, but inconsistent.  Baker tends to gamble and run himself out of position and Borland is good, but young.  USC will blitz like crazy and they have a lot of former Buckeye targets on their roster that will show up in the game.  With that, I declare this draw because there are too many variables that could swing either way.

DB:  This matchup features NFL prospects on both sides.  Ward is a lock in the 1st Round and everyone else is looking to get drafted.  Ohio State suffers from inconsistency outside of Ward, and when Arnette and Sheffield struggle, the game is almost unwatchable.  On USC’s side, Marshall and Marvell are looking to improve their draft position with a great performance against a Top 5 team and fellow conference champion.  I will give the Buckeyes the slight edge.

Special Teams:  I did not forget about this unit, but it will be an important part of the game in regards to the field position battle.  Ohio State has improved a lot over the course of the season, but USC’s unit is better in my opinion.  If USC can dominate this phase, they will be in line for an 8th straight win over the Buckeyes, but I think they finally break the streak.

Prediction:  Ohio State defeats USC 31-20

All things considered, I think the Buckeyes earn a victory in this contest.  The 7 wins in a row comment on Twitter, kind of gave the “Basic Defense” vibe and the last thing the Buckeyes need is more bulletin board material after being left out of the playoffs in favor of Bama.  I would love to see a decisive victory over USC, but I think both teams come out swinging with NFL draft positions being up for grabs.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Position Battles (Part II)

The positions battles that I will be focusing on this week are WR, TE and the OL.  Each side has their fair share of talent and weapons.  In order to be effective, the skill positions must make plays to move the chains and keep drives alive.  In the trenches, each team needs to be flawless and they must execute to establish the run.  Quarterback play will also be a key to victory for either team.

Playmakers Galore

Deontay Burnett, Tyler Vaughns, Steven Mitchell Jr, and Michael Pittman Jr are all ballers at WR, and they will be tasked to battle Ohio State’s BIA, with Denzel Ward leading the secondary.

On the next level at TE, Tyler Petite leads the charge with former Buckeye targets Josh Falo and Daniel Imatorbhebhe are athletic enough to utilize the invisibility codes against the Buckeyes since they seem to have trouble keeping tabs on both the RB’s and the TE’s this season (a la Iowa).

Together, all the players mentioned above account for 3,133 yards and 25 TD’s, which is crazy considering who they have at the Quarterback position.  If they get lose or open, it will be a long day for the Silver Bullets for sure.

K.J. Hill will be the key Zone 6 member as he goes up against this USC team that features another set of former targets, Iman Marshall and Porter Gustin.  Hill will be the go-to receiver on third downs and Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin, Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, and Parris Campbell will be looking to make an impact as well.

At TE, Marcus Baugh will be a multipurpose threat in the passing game and the blocking game along with Rashod Berry.  Baugh was a good player coming out of high school, but injuries and being underutilized during his time here has hurt his numbers, but the last two drafts we saw Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett drafted by NFL teams, so the dream is alive and well.

Collectively, they account for 2989 yards and 36 TD’s, which is surprising.  Barrett won’t take that many chances, but if the play is there, they are gone!  Speed kills and with most of Zone 6 being speedy and dynamic, it will be interesting.  Victor, Berry, and Baugh are the big, strong threats, but sometimes being big and strong is all for naught because dropped balls have been a problem as of late.

Road Graders

Billy Price leads this year’s Offensive Line at Center in his last season at Ohio State.  He moved on from Guard, but the move was seamless.  Coming out of high school, Price was actually a DT for all of you who don’t follow recruiting, and with a background in wrestling, it was natural for him to thrive in the trenches.

This line is big, strong and nasty at every position, with the smallest members being Price at 6’4″, 312 lbs and next man up, Demetrious Knox, who replaced Bowen, being 6’4″, 308 lbs.  The others are 6’5″ and over, which should help in the trenches.  A season ago, the right side of the line was a major issue, but this season, they improved drastically.  Prince and Knox will be targeted more often on blitzes than Jones and Jordan, but we will have to wait to see how they respond to the pressure.

Nico Falah leads the Trojan trench warfare effort against the Rushmen.  Freshman RG Andrew Vorhees will go up against a combination of linemen that will target him because of his youth.

The average height for this line is 6’5″ with Toa Lobendahn being the shortest at 6’3″ and the tallest being Vorhees at 6’6″.  The average weight is around 300 lbs, which might be enough to at least slow down the defense.

I could not find a statistic for USC in sacks allowed, but I don’t know whether that is good or bad news for the defense.  I guess we will have to find out.

Position Battles

WR:  This battle is production versus talent.  Both teams are dead even in both categories, with slight differences in their approaches.  Ohio State has less overall yardage, but more TD’s and USC has more yards, but fewer TDs.  Both groups are going against good DB’s, but I will declare this a draw.

TE:  Baugh and Berry versus Petite, Falo, and Imatorbhebhe.  Like the WR matchup, it is a dead heat.  Both teams have athleticism in the back 7 which will be another toss-up when both teams show up.  Draw.

OL:  This matchup, in particular, will tell you a lot.  The battle in the trenches will be one to watch with all the NFL prospects participating.  Price, Jones, and Prince are eligible to improve their draft stock and the same goes for all but Vorhees on USC’s side.  The Buckeyes have seasoned members but will be going up against their first 3-4 defense of the season.  USC will go up against a 4-3 defense that has NFL prospects at all levels.  This will be the most depth and talent to date this season, and I will give the edge to Ohio State.


Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Position Battles (Part I)

Bowl Season is inching closer, the 2017 College Football season regrettably is coming to an end.  The last game of the season will feature two conference champions who were not voted into this seasons College Football Playoffs in favor of non-conference champion Alabama.  Even though neither team isn’t a part of the big dance, it does not mean that this game will lack the drama, the intensity, and the sizzle of the teams that made it.

The BIG 10 Champions, the Ohio State Buckeyes finished their regular season at 11-2, with losses against Oklahoma at home by 15 and at Iowa, by a whopping 31 points to an above average team.  The Iowa loss was the Buckeyes worst conference losses to date, that I could recall, but that was the factor that eliminated them from the conversation.

The 11-2 USC Trojans were never really in the conversation even though they were crowned as the PAC 12 Champions.  They suffered both of their losses on the road, to Washington State and Notre Dame.  Their losses were not as bad as Ohio State’s, losing to Washington State late, by a FG and a 35-point throttling at the hands of the Irish.

Both teams have a lot to prove, and with an abundance of NFL talent on each team, this is a must watch.  Both teams were pre-season favorites to make the playoffs, but things happen as both are aiming to finish this season on a high note with a victory in Dallas.

Head-to-head, USC has won 13 out of 23 contests against Ohio State’s 9 and a single tie.  USC has won 7 straight and is looking to add an 8th consecutive win at the Rose Bowl.  Ohio State’s last win against the Trojans was back in 1974 under Woody Hayes.

Dynamic Duo’s

Both Ohio State and USC have a playmaker at every single level, but both teams have studs at the QB and RB positions, which will most likely attract scouts to the game.

On one side you have a surefire first round pick in Sam Darnold, a RS Sophomore and Junior Ronald Jones II competing against Fifth Year Senior, J.T. Barrett and RS Sophomore Mike Weber, with J.K. Dobbins, a talented True Freshman in the rotation.

In Darnold, you have a talented QB capable of making plays on the fly with his arm.  For the season he is 277-435 and has thrown for 3787 yards, 26 TD’s against 12 INT’s, with 100 yards on the ground and 5 TD’s.  He has a lot of talent around him at WR and TE that could give the Silver Bullets fits.

With Barrett, he is a dual-threat that tends to take over during crunch time.  He is 229-354 for 2939 yards with 35 TD’s and 9 INT’s.  He also has rushed for 732 and 10 TD’s.  He holds a variety of BIG and NCAA records, but he is a long shot in this years draft to make in on an NFL roster.  Barrett has weapons at WR and TE, but they aren’t as established as USC’s is, but they can flat out fly past defenders and make people miss for yards after the catch.

In the backfield, Ronald Jones is a load at running back with 1486 yards and 18 TD’s for the season.  Ohio State has a two-headed monster in Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins, who combined for 1972 total yards rushing and 17 TD’s, with Dobbins becoming the the 4th Freshman at Ohio State to break the 1,000 yard mark and surpassing Weber’s mark from a season ago.

Both teams will try to impose their will against each others defenses and it will start with these two positions.  Neither team can afford to start out sloppy because the game could get out of hand quickly.  Turnovers will give the other team the edge.

Position Advantages

QB:  Objectively, I will give the slight edge at this position to USC.  Yes, Darnold is prone to turnovers, but like we saw against Washington, he is elusive in the pocket and has the awareness and accuracy and arm strength to get out of trouble.  I love Barrett, but his accuracy has been an issue this season and throwing just isn’t his strength.

RB:  Ronald Jones II is a beast, but the depth isn’t there.  Carr is a good player, but I will give Ohio State the edge at RB.  J.K. Dobbins has been a pleasant surprise this season and leads the Buckeyes in rushing, but Mike Weber has also come on as of late.  Together, they make up one of the best duo’s in College Football, and they are both looking to tear up this USC defense.  Jones is an all-purpose back, but so is Dobbins.  The deciding factor is Weber’s ability to run north and south.




Illibuck stays in Columbus

In Columbus, on their last home game for the season, J.T. Barrett and the other seniors on the roster looked for a perfect send-off from friends, families, and coaches before heading to Ann Arbor to cap off their rollercoaster regular season.

The game began with Ohio State taking the first possession of the game and it really did not take long for the Buckeyes to impose their will against the Illini.  Their main objective was to run into the defenses teeth and they definitely made that happen.  By the time the game ended, after all the smoke, the Buckeyes ran all over the defense and registered 325 rushing yards for 4 TDs.

Mike Weber proved that he is healthy once again and for the second consecutive game, he went over the 100-yard mark again after busting through for a 43-yarder to essentially put the game further out of reach.  Weber also notched another game where he scored multiple times.

Dobbins and Barrett combined for 84 yards, with a TD a piece.  After their day was done Antonio Williams came in for relief duty and he ran with determination and power before finishing the game with 19 carries and 74 yards.

Barrett did not have a turnover this game, but he was an effective passer as he reached 101 total passing TDs in his career.  He was 11 for 19 with 2 TDs hitting Victor and Baugh for touchdowns.  Once the game had been decided, the backups Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow got their chance for a few reps, and Buckeye nation got a snapshot at what should be one hell of a QB battle next season along with Tate Martell for the starting QB spot.

On the initial Haskins drive, he tried to take it past the first down marker, but he was hit hard and he fumbled the football and it was returned for Illinois’ first score of the game, effectively breaking the shutout.  He was quickly benched in favor of Barrett for one last drive and after he finished the drive, Burrow was put in and he also fumbled but was able to recover before punting the ball.

Illinois score with a younger QB after Crouch went down with an injury and he made the most of his shot because, on the first play, he rushed for a 9-yard score.  The backups got a lot of work, but they showed a lot of promise.

With the Buckeyes rolling, the game ended with a 52-14 victory as they have retained the trophy for another year.  Another bit of good news is with TTUN losing to Wisconsin, Ohio State have secured the BIG 10 East division spot for the Conference Championship Game, but the next opponent on the docket is TTUN, which should be interesting, to say the least.  For now, enjoy the win.  Go Bucks.

Battleground Columbus: The Battle for Illibuck

This matchup pits #9 Ohio State and Illinois on Senior Day, which will obviously be their last game at the Shoe and it has the makings of another emotional game.  Ohio State will be facing a team that is struggling to find their identity and also a team that still has not gotten a conference win this season, that is sitting at 2-8 overall.  The Buckeyes will not overlook this Illini team because besides this being their last home game, the Illibuck trophy is up for grabs again.

Since 2001, Illibuck has been stashed away at Ohio State, but a baller named Juice Williams upset the Buckeyes and took it away for a short vacation to Champagne.  There are many players that will ensure that chaos does not happen.  From J.T. Barrett to Damon Webb, each Senior will play their hearts out.  The underclassmen and potential early entries for the draft will also ensure that their Seniors are not disappointed in their last game at home, especially before the Game.

Ball Security Dilemma:

One thing of concern will be J.T. Barrett and turnovers.  In the last two games, he has thrown 6, yes 6 interceptions.  He has difficulties with accuracy and ball placement, but this game will present an opportunity to fix and adjust prior to traveling to Ann Arbor for the Game.

Last week, Barrett was all over the place in the passing attack, but he rarely needed to air it out because the run game was unstoppable against a normally stout Spartan defense.  The Buckeyes beat the snot out of them and routed them, and with their playoff hopes on life support, they cannot afford any more hiccups and they must win out and win the conference, but that is not what is important.  The important thing for them is staying focused and taking care of the ball, and that starts with Barrett at the helm.

This Lovie Smith led defense is surrendering 204.1 passing yards and 198.9 rushing yards per game, but they have not faced the caliber and types of athletes that the Buckeyes have on their roster.  Look for Meyer to establish the run early and often to soften the coverage for play action passes.  This will be a confidence booster and they will need all they can get.

Defenses Last Stand:

The question on everyone’s mind, and mine especially, is who will get a targeting penalty this time?  Ward, Bosa, Jones, and Arnette have been ejected for targeting and it has been a trend for this team this year.  The Buckeyes cannot afford any stupid targeting penalties, especially in the second half because another pair of gold pants will be on the line against the TTUN.

Jaylin Holmes, Tracy Sprinkle, Dante Booker, Chris Worley, Tyquan Lewis, Michael Hill, and Erick Smith will play their last game and they would love to finish the season with a conference championship, their only goal right now.  There are others like Bosa, Baker, Ward, Arnette, and Hubbard, who may leave after this season, but a lot is on the line in this game, even with an overmatched team in your way.

Illinois will have a new QB after Dudek went down with an injury, and may not be back next year. George has thrown 10 INT’s so far during his time in the fire and I am sure that the defense will force a few due to his inexperience.

Ground and Pound:

The duo of Weber and Dobbins will be featured in this contest a lot.  They ran all over Michigan State and will look to add to their momentum just in time for the game.  They all do not want to let their Seniors down in their last game at the Shoe, especially when Weber might potentially leave after this season.

Billy Price and Jamarco Jones, along with Barrett will fight alongside both RB’s for Illibuck and for bragging rights and Zone 6 will also try to explode onto the scene to put the game away early to rest for the Game.  This game is their last chance to correct any and all quirks on the offensive side of the ball to walk into Ann Arbor with added momentum and focus because the Game is always exciting and unpredictable.


Ohio State picks up where they left off in the running game and finely tunes the passing attack to prepare for TTUN.  Barrett throws at least one pick in the game, but has 3 TD’s to Zone 6 and a rushing TD.  The RB’s run wild and salt the game away and combine for 180 yards and 4 scores en route to a 56-6 thrashing of Illinois.

Ohio State defeats Illinois 56-6.

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:


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.


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.


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


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.  


Preview: Ohio State vs Indiana


When:  Thursday, August 31st @ 6:00 PM on ESPN

Where:  The Rock, Bloomington, Indiana

With the 2017 College Football season fast approaching, I could not help but preview opening day of the upcoming season.  After my brief break due to my move back to the states, I am proud to say that I am back MOTSAG faithful!

To open the 2017 season, Ohio State will collide with a seasoned Indiana team that is capable of putting up huge numbers on opposing defenses, but that was under former Head Coach Kevin Wilson, who coincidentally was dismissed by Indiana and is now the Offensive Coordinator at Ohio State.
In an unusual turn of events and because of some luck, Coach Meyer jumped at the chance to improve their offensive deficiencies by employing Wilson.  Wilson has a proven track record of reinventing offenses under his watch with stints at Miami (OH), at Northwestern and at Oklahoma. He will bring a quick tempo attack to Ohio State, and it is what the Buckeyes lacked after Texas Coach Tom Herman left.
The search for improvements did not stop there, as Coach Meyer plucked another young coach from the NFL ranks to bolster their staff in Quarterback Coach Ryan Day.  Day, a Chip Kelly disciple, will be tasked to improve the QB play.  Day and Wilson will work side by side to resurrect an anemic Buckeye offense that was shut out in last years CFB Playoffs.
J.T. Barrett will lead the team for his last season donning the Scarlet and Gray for a Thursday game at Bloomington, Indiana.  With him, he has 4 returning starters along the O-Line, but a new RG that has yet to be announced.  Bruising RB Mike Weber returns and TE Marcus Baugh is back as well.
Ohio State will break in many first year starters at WR, with Dixon, Campbell, and McLaurin leading the way.  Ohio State also has a mix of older and younger players at the position vying for playing time in Hill, Mack, Victor, Harris, and Grimes, so we will have to see how the offense adapts to their newer, faster system.
The defense returns the majority of the front seven and their backups.  The biggest question would be the secondary, which lost 3 first rounders to the NFL Draft.  The projected starters at CB will likely be Arnette, Sheffield, and Ward with Okudah as the fourth man up.  While Wade, Williamson and Riep will be looking for playing time in during garbage time.
At the Safety spots, Webb is the only returning starter, while the other spot is up for grabs between Erick Smith and Jordan Fuller, who no matter who wins, both will play this season.  Both bring different playing styles, but both would do well when called upon.
Indiana has a bit of a QB battle going as Richard Lagow is trying to fight off a Redshirt FR Peyton Ramsey, who did well during the spring game.  They will have 5 returning starters on offense and a BIG leading 9 on defense led by Tegray Scales.  Scales will attempt to stymie his former Head Coaches new team in the season opener.
Prediction:  44-20 (Ohio State)
The Barrett led offense will shine in the opener, with obvious improvements across the board.  It will be a balanced attack with 200+ yards passing and at least 100 on the ground.  The WR’s will be the biggest improvement and the TE will be featured more frequently than the previous seasons.  O-Line will improve as well with Prince and the new RG being the key players, but also the key matchup.  
The defense will be stout, but the secondary with the new starters will give up a few huge chunk plays before the lock in.  The Rushmen package will be lethal the LB’s will give Indiana fits.  I look for them to have a least 2 sacks and a forced fumble, while the secondary snags 2 interceptions. Scales will lead the defensive charge and he will be a problem.  He will be near the ball the entire game.  

Post Spring Game Depth Chart: Defensive Line

The biggest strength of the Ohio State defense, the Rushmen, will wreak havoc this season.  After losing multiple starters to the NFL Draft over the past two years, Ohio State managed to return their key D-Linemen for at least one more season in the Scarlet and Gray.

At Defensive End, both starters from last year, Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis have returned and the will lock down the two starting positions for the Buckeyes.  Behind them, Nick Bosa, Jalyn Holmes and Dre’Mont Jones wait patiently to spell the aforementioned starters or during the Rushmen Package.

Defensive Tackle is the most open out of all the positions with Dre’Mont Jones returning and Tracy Sprinkle returning from injury from a season ago.  Michael Hill also has spent some time as a starter, and he will look to build further because his eligibility is running out.  Sprinkle was supposed to be the starter coming into last season, but an injury prevented him from starting.

Jones, Sprinkle and Hill will be fighting for the starting spot, while trying to stave off Landers who shined during spot duty.  Davon Hamilton will be nursing his broken foot and is this years Sprinkle, with an unfortunate injury.

The depth at Defensive Linemen is similar to what Coach Meyer had at Florida and the talent is in place.  Year after year, they team adds a couple of highly touted and quality recruits, and all of them train to make each other better.

A few names to watch for are Robert Landers, Jashon Cornell, Haskell Garrett, Jerron Cage and Chase Young.  They add to the depth of the team and they all will be looking for a more permanent role on the team.  The biggest advantage is that they could all play and most of the DL are versatile and could play multiple positions.  It will be up to Coach Johnson to decide, but this will be an exciting group of players to watch for years to come.