It’s Deja Vu All Over Again For Ohio State

Ohio State suffers through a costly loss to an opponent, despite being heavily favored. The quarterback is under tremendous scrutiny. And Ohio State is to face an Oregon team that is supposedly too fast for Ohio State to be able to keep pace.

Yes, I know. We’re all eagerly awaiting to see how Ohio State plays against Oregon in The College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T (say that one ten times fast).

Actually, I am talking about the 2010 Rose Bowl.

A quick stroll down memory lane is in order – in 2009, Ohio State opened up against Navy, and had to escape with a close win (Ohio State 31, Navy 27). Despite a close loss to USC in week two, Ohio State fans were optimistic for the season…until losing at Purdue (Purdue 26, Ohio State 18). Ohio State won the remainder of its games to claim The Big Ten championship, only to be faced with an Oregon team that was loaded with speed in The 2010 Rose Bowl. Ohio State won, 26-17.

While impressive remembering the similarities between The 2010 Rose Bowl and this game, I believe the strategies used by Ohio State to slow down Oregon are possibly going to be used once again, this time by Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer.

Below are three critical areas I will be paying close attention to when Ohio State and Oregon kick off at 8:30pm EST on ESPN…

1. Will Ohio State Create A Collapsing Pocket Against Marcus Mariota? – Mariota is tremendously accurate as a passer and also blessed with exceptional speed. Instead of allowing Mariota to get to the outside of the pocket, will Ohio State try to contain Mariota within the pocket, and win the game as a pure pocket passer?

2. Ohio State Must Wrap Up Against Oregon – Defensively, Ohio State will be under tremendous physical scrutiny, with Oregon attempting to run plays every sixteen seconds. The defensive line and linebackers will not be able to substitute frequently, nor will the secondary players. A critical area against an Oregon team that has so much offensive speed will be to wrap up and tackle, thus negating the big plays that have been a staple of the Oregon offense.

3. Will Ohio State Control The Clock Against Oregon? – While I respect Coach Meyer’s more aggressive approach on offense, it will be so important for Ohio State to be content to use the clock fully when on offense. Running the ball with Ezekiel Elliott, Curtis Samuel, and yes, Cardale Jones, will help keep the Ohio State defense off the field, and also help to throw a wrench into Oregon’s plans to play at their typical fast-break pace.

As Yogi Berra once stated, “It’s deja vu all over again.”. At some point on Monday night, Ohio State fans will hopefully agree with Mr. Berra’s wise statement.