Darkness Falls: Big Ten Clash


It is game day folks! Today, we will see our undefeated Buckeyes square off against a 2-1 Wisconsin team in a “Black Out” game.

Badger Challenges
Wisconsin with QB Graham Mertz and RB Brealon Allen will go into the game as the impact players on offense. Mertz has been inconsistent in his play. Without an established or “go-to” WR/TE on their roster look for Allen to test the Buckeyes on the ground.

The defense will surely be tested and this is a welcomed challenge for this team who struggled against a dual-threat QB. They were torched by one man and even gave up a few splash plays. Will they be up for a challenge with Mertz leaning on his bruiser back?

The Badgers will also filed another formidable defense that has accumulated 7 sacks, 7 interceptions and 1 forced fumble/fumble recovery through three contests. Their main focus is to prevent balance and limit CJ Stroud to check-downs and stop the run.

The game in the trenches is what will determine the winner. This is the best Offensive Line the Buckeyes have had and I’d imagine they’re going to try and dominate in such an electric environment.

Can they dominate against a conference foe, in prime time? Or will they start slow like they did against Norte Dame and then dominate in the second half? Will the rumored injuries or actual injuries play a part in a Badger upset?

Offensive Injury Bug Woes

The injury bug has taken a few playmakers, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. We saw JSN fall to injury for about a week and last week he was overshadowed by the stellar play of MHJ, Egbuka and Fleming.

There was also another notable player to go down in star RB Henderson. He limped off but his injury remains a mystery in the upcoming contest with Wisconsin. With only two scholarship RB’s on the roster without Henderson, can they adapt and overcome?

Will The Streak Continue?

Out of 84 contests, Ohio State has defeated Wisconsin 61 times. There have been 18 defeats and 5 ties. The Buckeyes have also won 8 straight.

This matchup will pit Ryan Day’s high flying offense against Jim Leonhard’s stingy defense. Which one will win out in the end?

This is what makes this matchup intriguing. The in-game chess match between a dynamic offense and a pesky defense. These two teams play every two years or so, but when they collide it’s an old school Big Ten game for sure.

The Buckeyes’ last defeat came in 2010 at Madison. Will this be the year Coach Chryst and Coach Leonhard pull of the upset and in Columbus?

The game will be one to watch especially in a Black Out environment. We will see if the Buckeyes come in prepared to play with their hairs on fire. Or if it’s another flashy game where they come out flat and unmotivated.

Prime Time Recruiting Destination

What better atmosphere to reload than this one in the Shoe?! Black Out condition with a lot of committed and uncommitted talent will food the stadium. Ohio State will look to these recruits as they face them in prime time.

Sure, it would be great to sign everyone but not everyone is destined to don the Scarlet and Gray, but those who Are right for the program will. And those who aren’t won’t. Let’s not get tied up on the semantics, but let’s hope the Buckeye come to play and dominate to sway them in our favor.

Game Predictions:

Final Score: 38-20

The Wisconsin D is disruptive in the beginning stages but a poised CJ Stroud finds a way to beat the Leonhard defense.

Impact Players:

  1. Henderson (if healthy)/Williams/Hayden: If Henderson cannot go, look for these two to feast and batter the defensive front seven in his absence.
  2. Stover: He has been getting at least three catches per game. Look for him to finally get a TD.
  3. Hall/Williams/Sawyer/Tuimoloau: Disruption in the trenches. I think a big game from at least one of these four is likely. My bet is on Hall.
  4. Eichenberg: He will lead the team in tackles and make key stops.
  5. Burke: Has been beat a lot lately, but he will build positive momentum during the game.

#GoBucks

Wolves At The Shoe

This week, the #3 Ohio State Buckeyes will face an unranked Arkansas State team for the first time. Butch Jones will lead his team into The Shoe in a bid to upset the Buckeyes. Ryan Day will look to defend their home field and stay undefeated.

Both teams are coming off of wins. The Buckeyes downed the then #5 Norte Dame 21-10 to start the season off on a good note. The Red Wolves obliterated Grambling State with a final score of 58-3.

Offensive Woes

One of the best offenses in the nation was held to 21-points in the season opener and they will look to improve and regain their identity this week. With JSN and Fleming likely to sit out due to injuries, look for Stroud and his receivers to step up.

Enter Egbuka, MHJ, Ballard, and Johnson to be the next men up. Egbuka and Johnson were the only two receivers to catch passes for scores. With Johnson being an unknown.

To compliment the passing attack, look for Ohio State to establish the run early and often with Henderson and Williams. I think Hayden will see some time late, but not until late.

Can Stroud build rapport without JSN? Or will we see another week of out of sync offense? The O-Line played great and will also look to keep Stroud upright.

Defensive Momentum

The Silver Bullets might be back, but an old face will be on the other sideline again in RB Brian Snead. A former back from Florida, Snead left after an investigation and now he finds himself back in the Shoe.

The Buckeyes played lights out and will look to continue improvements on that side of the ball. The trenches can use added confidence, but it’ll be tricky against Blackman (former FSU QB).

It’ll be another test against a former D1 starter, but it’ll be another day at the office for all players in the trenches. Hall and friends will likely wreak havoc against an inferior team. Eichenberg will lead and make players at the second level.

This should be a decent test but look for the Buckeyes to put it away early and put in backups to keep their stars healthy on both sides of the ball.

Predictions:

  1. The Buckeyes put it away early and starters sit at halftime.
  2. The defense continues to improve with 3+ sacks and a pick or fumble recovery
  3. There’s a Special Team and a defensive TD
  4. McCord and Brown showcase their skills
  5. Egbuka and MHJ combine for 100+ yards and two scores
  6. Henderson and Williams combine for 160 yards and 3 scores
  7. Stroud passes for 250 yards and 4 scores

Final: Ohio State defeats Arkansas State 42-13

Battleground Columbus: Clash of The Blue Blood Programs

Welcome Home, but

As another offseason draws to a close, we are three days away from the start of the 2022 CFB season. Excitement is definitely in the air and this year will feature a pair of Buckeye great for a homecoming of sorts against Notre Dame.

Former Buckeye stars Coach Freeman and Coach Laurinaitus will return home donning the Irish green and gold. They will also be looking to upset the Buckeyes in each of their debuts.

Coach Freeman coming off of a successful year got the head coaching job after Coach Kelly departed for LSU. He then hired his old teammate Laurinaitus as a Graduate Assistant for the defense.

The Goal is Disruption

This will be a big test for the Buckeyes, who suffered two losses last year to stout defenses with talent on the edge. This time around they face the All-American, Isaiah Foskey.

Aside from Foskey, the front seven is solid and they will look to disrupt Coach Day’s offense. On the backend, there might be a few question marks, but we shall see how they fare.

Stroud has JSN and friends on the perimeter, the chimera of RB’s and a mystery at TE. If they can stop the run and make the new starters on the perimeter outside of JSN make plays, there is a chance.

Offensive Adversity?

ND just named Tyler Buchner the starter at Quarterback. He will lead this years offense and is a bit of a mystery.

Joining him in the backfield are Chris Tyree and Logan Diggs. They will be leaned on to change things up and to lessen the offensive burden on Buchner.

The reason? The injury bug has taken away two of his veteran options at WR after losing Avery Davis (ACL) and Joe Wilkins Jr. (foot). Luckily they have Michale Mayer at TE to help lift the offense.

Buckeye Defensive Resurgence?

After a disastrous defensive showing in 2021, there is a ton of anticipation for the 2022 version. Resurgence or Regression? Feast or famine?

With an embarrassment of talent and a new defensive coach, they made the necessary changes to repair a struggling defense that often underperformed.

With a young team with a new QB, WR’s and RB’s they should be able to contain things, but the risk of the unknown is something to keep an eye on. The Irish have a star TE in Mayer, so things will get interesting.

This is a certain group, but there will be a few new faces that will find ways into the game. This will be the test to hopefully set the tone on this side of the ball for the entire year.

Offensive Firepower

The offense will be deadly again with the return of CJ Stroud at QB. The trio of Henderson, Williams and Hayden will be a threat and JSN returns to lead his Zone 6 brethren to another stellar year.

You would think losing Wilson and Olave in the first round in last years draft would hurt, but Zone 6 has stockpiled a nice group of players to take over for instances like this.

Enter MHJ, Fleming and Egbuka. This is going to be a make or break year for those just mentioned. There were reports of a six-man rotation, but until I see it I’ll reserve judgment.

Cade Stover and Gee Scott Jr. are the two TE’s to keep an eye out for. Stover was voted captain and Scott will be a matchup nightmare in the seams.

Definitely excited and could go on and on but I’ll cut it short. I can talk about the obvious, but the unknowns are what intrigues me. Breakout candidates galore.

Finally, this O-Line will have to be aggressive and consistent to have any succes at crating balance with play calling. They will be raked to stop the All-American and his fiends from harassing Stroud and his teammates.

Predictions:

  1. The defense shows dramatic improvement under Knowles (at least 1 INT and 1 sack; 4 TFL’s)
  2. The offensive line dominates the LOS (at least 100 yards rushing & 280 yards passing)
  3. A few players breakout and/or show flashes (Egbuka/Fleming/Scott on offense & JTT/Sawyer/Hancock on defense)

Final Score:

42-20 Ohio State Buckeyes defeat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Recruiting Spotlight: Tayvion Galloway

For my first bit of content in a while, I want to re-introduce Tayvion Galloway. Tayvion is a four star Tight End prospect out of Chillicothe, Ohio. He is 6’6 and around 230 pounds and he refers to himself as the “Black Sheep”. Tayvion has 18 total Division 1 offers and is looking around to find the best fit for him. Here was a Q&A between the two of us.

RT: Which schools are standing out to you at this moment?

TG: Still building connections with coaches and really just getting to know them. I do believe LSU, Michigan, and Kentucky are definitely recruiting me the hardest.

RT: Which offer(s) are you working on earning at the moment?

TG: Not working on earning any offers. I’m just going to keep grinding and whoever takes their change on me is who I’m going to be looking to build a connection with.

RT: What is your “dream school”?

TG: One of my favorite teams growing up was the Miami Hurricanes.

RT: Which school(s) had/have the best developmental plan for you if/when you commit?

TG: Any school who produces NFL guys regularly.

RT: When do you think you’ll be narrowing your list of top schools?

TG: I will never make an official announcement of who I’ll narrow it down, but all the ones in my corner will know.

RT: When do you think you’ll complete your recruiting process?

TG: Whenever the time is right.

RT: Once committed, give me three players in your class who you want to join you?

TG: My cousin Quinlan Netter & close friend Zechariah Owens.

RT: As a Tight End, what are your strengths, your weaknesses and what are you striving to improve in your overall game?

TG: I believed my key strengths are my versatility and my athletic ability to allow me to make big plays along with not being scared to get dirty in the blocking game. I am trying to improve my strength and explosiveness.

RT: As a player, would you rather be developed (strength, conditioning, life after football, etc.) or would you rather get stats?

TG: I would definitely rather the development at the end of the day. I’m trying to be the best I can be, but I think both is possible.

RT: Can you explain what you bring to the table as a recruit and player?

TG: I believe I’m a leader and I always show better than I can tell. As a player, I believe I’m the guy that can make game winning type of plays.

My Impression: Tayvion Galloway is a born leader, who shows others with actions as opposed to using words. Scrappy and determined to get after it on plays, who isn’t afraid of crucial moments in the game. Galloway is not focused on the glamor of the recruiting game and whoever joins him along his journey does. Whoever doesn’t misses out on a special kid and player with unlimited potential. In an effort to be the best he can be, he remains confident yet humble as he builds relationships with coaches that see the potential in him. I honestly see the “black sheep” mantra as his strength. A lone wolf mentality that once introduced into the fold, has the ability to become the alpha on offense. You want a player like this on your roster and I hope he finds success wherever he goes.

For The Roses

Photo Credit: Ohiostatebuckeyes.com

Keanu Reeves played a role as a former Ohio State Quarterback in The Replacements. In Shane Falco’s words: Pain heals. Chicks dog scars. Glory lasts forever. After being on the rare receiving end of a trashing from their arch rival Michigan, the Buckeyes find themselves outside of the big dance, without a conference title and wounded in the aftermath.

The wounds are still fresh but they’ve scabbed over. Now, in the form of a New Years Six bid, the Buckeyes will represent the BIG 10 in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl and they will square off against a gritty PAC 12 champ Utah team that had obliterated Oregon twice this season.

As it stands, the intentions of both Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are unknown. If they play, it would most likely be their last appearance in the scarlet and gray. Although it is a huge “if”, I’ll keep hope that they’ll suit up one more time for their brothers to wash away the salt from a let down in Ann Arbor.

Currently, the Buckeyes are the slight favorites to win in what should be a great, competitive game. The Utes have their stout, stingy defense and the Buckeyes have their dynamic, explosive offense. These two teams combine the right ingredients to create an everlasting, memorable game for all the Roses.

According to the most reviewed sportsbooks at SportsBettingDime.com, the Buckeyes are 6.5 point favorites in this game. If they beat the Utes, the damage will likely be dealt with their passing prowess. With their trio of the nations best wideouts in Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba look to finish the season with a win.

This will be a stiff test, but the Buckeyes seem angry. They are sure talking like they’re taking this seriously as well but we will see. Again, this is a battle of wills, in the trenches. Utah has a similar play style to TTUN and they are also just as physical.

All in all, I am rolling with the Buckeyes in a close one. I am predicting Stroud to play out of his mind with or without Olave and Wilson. I am also predicting Henderson to make a splash with the O-Line reverting back to their early season form. As much as I love predicting blowout, I’ll predict a closer than expected score.

Prediction: Buckeyes over Utes 42-31

Buckeyes Humbled In Ann Arbor

Credit: ESPN.com

Shudder. Gag. The Wolverines finally broke two prominent streaks and they did it in dominating fashion. Ryan Day’s undefeated regular season conference streak and the 2nd longest win streak against TTUN are up in smoke.

Like a nightmare, the Buckeyes folded in what was essentially a playoff play-in game within The Game. All they had to do was win, but the Wolverines game plan was too sound and the Buckeyes let them play their brand of football.

With parallels and shades of the early season loss to Oregon, the Buckeyes were exposed once again on the big stage. Poor/questionable offensive play-calling, poor defensive effort, getting mauled at the line of scrimmage, settling for field goals in the red zone, and penalties ultimately killed any playoff and conference game hopes. Those all died in Ann Arbor.

At best, a New Years Six Game is in the cards. At worst a non-New Years Six game where every draft eligible player probably sits out. It is also very doubtful that sure-fire first rounders stay for another shot at revenge. I am crushed. The pipe dream is effectively snuffed out.

What could’ve been done better? Be better with play-calling on offense. They were playing too cautiously on both sides of the ball. They couldn’t do anything on offense and they couldn’t stop the run to save their lives. Discipline. It was not there either cause the penalties killed them.

One team did not come to have a war. The other one did. They executed and won. Simple. I cannot express the disgust right now, but I won’t compound things with more negatives. I have no other way to spin this disaster of a game plan, but what are the positives?

Stroud showed flashes but he still has room to grow. Henderson will build as well. Despite the looming losses of Olave and Wilson, Smith-Njigba will be very good for the Buckeyes. The offensive and defensive lines will have to retool, but they also have young talent inbound.

I will not congratulate them, but they earned it. They seized the moment and snatched everything away from us. This will sting for a year but we will be back. Always, Go Bucks.

The Game, For The Big 10 East Division Crown

The 2021 installment of The Game is just a few days away and like a child waiting patiently to open up his or her presents on Christmas Day—the anticipation and the suspense is killing me! Let me set the stage.

Here are two rivals pitted against each other, filled with hatred for one another, for a division crown and a trip to Indy. It doesn’t get any better than that during rivalry week. Yes, you still have The Iron Bowl, but the stakes aren’t as hazardous as The Game—especially this years.

This year will likely pit two top 5 teams against each other. In a battle against #7 team in the nation, the Buckeyes trampled the visiting Spartans to the tune 56-7. The Buckeyes held Heisman candidate Kenneth Walker III to a paltry 25 yard total with a 4.2 average per rush. The #6 Wolverines thrashed the Terrapins in a lopsided 59-18 victory—effectively setting the stage for this high stakes war of attrition.

This could be a mini preview of how well Ohio State’s explosive offense against a stout, active defense that features two book ends in Hutchinson and Ojabo and athletes at just about every position on defense. Must. See. TV.

Rolling into the game, Ohio State brought it this past Saturday and won convincingly and they did it by scoring at will to put the game out of reach by halftime. They come in with the best offense in the nation and a test is on the horizon against TTUN. They easily defeated Maryland and it should be interesting once the game begins as both teams try to establish their game plans. Here’s my things to watch for.

Battle Of The Trenches

The trench game will be a game within a game. Ohio State and their offensive line versus the TTUN front seven. Gone are the days where TTUN plays their defensive ends with their hand in the dirt as they usher in a new stand up pass rush that could give the Buckeyes fits.

NPF and Jones versus Hutchinson and Ojabo will all be fighting for pride and auditioning for their NFL futures. The TTUN duo accounts for 19 total sacks and 7 forced fumbles. According to NCAA.com, The Buckeyes are tied for 13th in the nation in sacks allowed and they give up 1.18 per game. TTUN is tied for 5th least giving up .82 per game, but they stick to the ground game and they don’t air it out as much as the Buckeyes do, so take that however you want.

The trench game will ultimately decide the contest. Can the Buckeyes offensive line give CJ Stroud enough time in the pocket? Will the Wolverine front seven be a disruptive force?

The Offensive Talent Clashes

The wideouts and the defensive backs in this contest will duel each other and it’s going to be a hell of a show. On one side you have Olave, Wilson, Smith-Njigba at wideout and Ruckert at Tight End. On the other, Johnson, Sainristil, Baldwin, Wilson and All at Tight End.

You have Henderson, Williams and Teague for the Buckeyes and Haskins, Corum and Edwards at Running Back for Ohio State and TTUN respectively. This will be a battle of wills with the talent on the field.

A vertical passing game will go against a power running game—and each side will try to stop the other from scoring points. Who will establish their game plan first? And who will weather the initial flurry at the early stages of the game?

Diamonds On Defense

Will the Buckeye defense continue to improve and can they make the Wolverines a one-dimensional team? I think they can and here’s why. After suffering a home loss to Oregon, it took a couple weeks to regain confidence and play with that swagger at every level.

Gone are the days where the Linebackers get lost behind screens. Gone are the days where they don’t stick their noses into gaps on defense. And gone are the days where they give up untimely splash plays. They are the most imported units and I know they’ll be ready to go this week.

The lure of Gold Pants, a trip to Indianapolis and a CFB Playoff berth is obtainable—and I know they’ll be ready for war. I have a feeling that this game will be a grinder and the Buckeye defense will continue to show the nation that they are big time!

Breakout Star(s) Alert

It always seems like every year of The Game, someone breaks out and becomes legendary. Chris Olave did it in 2018 scoring twice and in 2019, reaching the end zone once. Garrett Wilson had 118 yards in 2019 and a score. So who will be next?

I have seven in mind. CJ Stroud, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Treveyon Henderson and Miyan Williams on offense. Steele Chambers, Denzel Burke and Ronnie Hickman on defense.

Technically Stroud is a rising star, but he hasn’t formally introduced himself to the Wolverines—and what better time than now with all that’s at stake? He should be routinely target his receivers and tight ends, while simultaneously leaning on the running game to keep the defense honest and control the flow of the game. It will turn into a “pick your offensive poison” type of game for the Wolverine defense.

For the defense, I’m picking the trio of Chambers, Burke and Hickman. With the dark horses being Tyliek Williams, JT Tuimoloao and Jack Sawyer. Stuffing the run and coverage will be the name of the game and each player mentioned could ultimately break out.

There are so many to choose from but final answer from breakout stars? On offense it’ll be Henderson and Steele Chambers on defense. Think Zach Boren photo. Someone will make a play and shine among the chaos. So many possibilities but let’s see who seizes the opportunity.

My Prediction: 59-28 Buckeyes

#GoBucks

For The East: Sparty vs Brutus

This weekend will signal the final home game for our Ohio State Buckeyes and Senior day for our seniors and the players that are draft eligible. The Buckeyes will be tested as they face another dynamic offense at homecoming because the #7 Michigan State Spartans will be rolling into town to rumble.

This contest has all the makings of a barnburner and I’d like to thing that my article will be the tinder to light the fire for fans just like me. Both teams are poised for a shootout and the anticipation is spiraling out of control, but this is why we all love CFB!

Let’s Get Offensive
Offense, offense, offense! The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans possess two of the most prolific offenses and boast playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. This will likely be a high scoring game, a barnburner, a shootout, or whatever you call it—the anticipation off that alone, is enough.

The Buckeyes operate like one of the best offenses in the nation and average the most points per game to boot. They’re are equipped with a standout at quarterback in CJ Stroud that is paired with a talented group of wideouts in Olave, Wilson and Smith-Njigba. Oh, and a pair of beasts at running back in Henderson and Williams in the backfield.

On the other hand, the Spartans have a beast of a Heisman hopeful Kenneth Walker III and a pair of wideouts in Reed and Nailor that tend to give opposing defenses fits. They also have a sneaky good quarterback in Thorne to lead the team.

Expect fireworks and a lot of chunky plays. This game will be wild, they’ll be points, it’ll be a rollercoaster of emotions on every play.

Stonewall Time?

The defense has been performing better as of late, but these next two weeks is go time. The defense has made timely plays on defense, but more consistency and poise will be needed against Michigan State.

Having a leaky defense can be frustrating, but I believe the defense will play lights out from here on out. No sacks were had against Purdue, but the turnover battle was won. I feel like the Buckeyes will open up the playbook a bit and get some pressure on Thorne.

They won’t completely shut down this offense, but if they get enough pressure, sacks and interceptions will come—and I’m certain that is the game plan this week. Play soundly in the gaps and cover on the boundaries is the name of the game this week. Can the defense play that way the full 60 minutes? Stay tuned!

Chess Match

Coach Day versus Coach Tucker will be interesting. An offensive minded coach versus a defensive minded one will be fun to see and I think it’ll be a chess match for both coaches.

Will Coach Day give fans and get their teams a sneak peek of his full playbook? Will he dazzle you with perfectly called chunk plays? Or will he conceal everything and just run a vanilla offense to keep TTUN guessing? Will his defense step up and turn it up a notch?

Will Coach Tucker bring the heat? Will his offense light up the scoreboard? Can he bring kicker air guitars back into style with a signature win against a team that he used to coach at?

The game within the game will be interesting and fun to watch!

Prediction: 48-35 Buckeyes

#GoBucks

Stroud Leads Offensive Onslaught, Defensive Identity Crisis Continues

Credit: msn.com

The Buckeyes ousted the Purdue Boilermakers at home and it’s awesome seeing the offense operate at a high level for an entire game. The last two games definitely left more to be desired offensively and this game had a lot riding on it looking ahead to, but now it’s time to prepare for Michigan State.

The impressive part was the near perfect execution and balance of the offense and play-calling. The offensive line also came to play and showed why they are considered one of the best groups—if not the best in the nation in 2021. They did not allow a sack or get flagged for a penalty, so it was a good day for them.

Stroud was equally as impressive, slinging it for 361 yards and 5 scores, but his receivers—namely Garrett Wilson stole the show in his return after missing last weeks contest against Nebraska. He tallied 10 grabs for 126 yards and 3 scores. He also took an end around for 51 yards and a TD. Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba also had 9 grabs and a score a piece.

The ground game came back to focus as Henderson and Williams rumbled through some tiny holes to rush for 215 yards combined and 2 scores. Williams went over 100 yards in garbage time, and as much as I wanted him to score—he looked good.

Defensively, it was another strong start but weak finish type of game. Despite the two turnovers, there was little to no pressure on O’Connell and they were nickeled and dimed the entire game with curls and swing passes along the perimeter. Yes, Bell was held to zero score but he went over 100 yards, but they need to generate more pressure along the edges and they need to stop biting on play action passes at safety.

Special teams wise, they balled out despite the limited amount of opportunities given. One FG and one punt inside of the 20 is plenty good enough for Ruggles and Mirco. The offensive game plan just flourished. But don’t discount the skills of these two specialists because when they’re needed, they’ll come through.

All in all, good performance from the Buckeyes. A well needed rekindling of our offensive potential, but an underwhelming performance from the defense for the third straight week. Coverage and block shedding should be worked on this week because Michigan State is another potent team offensively. Onto Beat Sparty week!

MOTSAG Game Grades:

  • QB: A (Efficient and on target with throws)
  • RB: A (Both hit the holes with reckless intent)
  • WR: A+ (YAC/CIT all game. Cerberus of WR’s)
  • TE: B (Blocked well despite bogus holding call)
  • OL: A- (Executed well and we’re not penalized)
  • DL: C (No block shedding/pressure/sacks)
  • LB: C (No block shedding on swing passes)
  • CB: C (Nickeled and dimed all game)
  • S: C- (Bit too much on backend coverage)
  • K: B (Limited but did not miss)
  • P: B (Limited but the offense didn’t get stalled)

#GoBucks

Clash in Columbus!

There aren’t that many Saturday’s left for us to enjoy, but despite being late to the party (from a creative and mental hiatus), I am back for the rest of the season. That isn’t to say that I haven’t been paying attention, but this year work has been keeping me busy and on my toes!

To kick things off, this is a trap game! This weeks contest is slotted prior games with a pair of division foes from up north, so this game definitely has me on high alert. This late into the season, you have to bring your “A” game every week but as we have witnessed over the last two contests, there is a lot left to improve with so little time left.

Purdue The Giant Slayer

When it comes down to it in 2021, Purdue is a monster in underdog games. The de facto agent of chaos, Purdue has two chaos-inducing upsets against #2 Iowa in Kinnick Stadium and #3 Michigan State in West Lafayette. This weeks contest is located in Columbus, but Iowa lost big at home.

To put this into perspective, they are really good on offense and they trail Ohio State in passing yards/TD total by 183 yards and 8 TD’s. Ohio State is ranked 6th in the nation according to NCAA.com and Purdue sits at 8th. Ohio State is averaging 352.8 yards per game and Purdue is averaging 332.4 (20.4 yard difference), but Purdue has been surgical with a .705 completion percentage which is good for 5th in the nation, while the Buckeyes sit at 22nd with .666.

If the Buckeyes can make them one-dimensional and neutralize the passing game, they will surely win. On the ground, Purdue is 128th out of 130 FBS teams in rushing yards. In 9 games, they have rushed for 694 yards and 5 scores, with a 2.40 yards per rush attempt. They are also averaging 77.1 yards per contest. It is just a matter of playing sound defense.

Now defensively, this is a stout and active defense. They are ranked 28th in 3rd down defensive percentage (.347%), passing yards allowed (185.3), and a red zone defense (.724%). The only weakness is their run defense (60th, 144.4 yards per game), and what a perfect opportunity to correct errors from the last two weeks?

Jekyll and Hyde

It is no secret that this team has gutted it out in close contests against and they have depended heavily on the foot of Noah Ruggles. The heavy passing attack has lost some explosiveness and the running game hasn’t been what it was earlier in the season—the Buckeyes have to get it together.

The offensive line has to revert to what they were earlier on and the running game needs to be executed properly to balance out and keep their opponents on their heels. The line play has been atrocious and a lot of penalties and bad execution have stunted this offensive attack. Injuries have also been a factor, but on offense, they should get Wilson back this week.

On defense, it’s been rough. Besides the pressure (and constant holds) the Buckeyes are tied for first in sacks with 34 and in defensive TD’s with 6. So there is potential, but with the constant moving parts on defense, it is nearly impossible to know what actual defense this team possesses. They were carved up by Penn State and and Nebraska, but I have faith that they’ll right the ship.

The pieces are there but to win, they need a complete team effort. Stroud cannot stare down his intended receivers and he cannot take pot shots into tight windows. He’s been a treat to watch but he needs to protect the ball. The run blocking also needs a tweak. Those massive holes from before aren’t there and the execution is suspect.

Prediction: 34-24 Buckeyes