Generally, in this weekly article I examine the highs and lows of a team’s season to this point. Well, for Ohio State there has not been a low point. The Buckeyes enter Saturday’s contest with Wisconsin riding high after another beat down, this time of Northwestern. Yes, the same Northwestern team that gave Wisconsin an actual football game.
A quick synopsis of Ohio State’s games at this juncture show a team that is one of the best teams in the country. The only “L” the football team has received this year was at the hands of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when Ohio State was denied the trademark of “the” Ohio State University.
But I digress, here are the results from the first six games:
- Win vs. Florida Atlantic 45-21
- Win vs. Cincinnati 42-0
- Win at Indiana 51-10
- Win vs. Miami (Ohio) 76-0
- Win at Nebraska 48-7
- Win vs. Michigan State 34-10
- Win at Northwestern 52-3
In this edition of B5Q’s upcoming “opponent at a glance,” we take a deeper look at how Ohio State has looked so far this year.
Most media members were intrigued to see transfer quarterback Justin Fields under the tutelage of head coach Ryan Day. The former five-star quarterback spent only one season at Georgia prior to taking over the reigns of the Buckeye offense this season. He has not only matched the offensive impact that Dwayne Haskins had last year, but may have Ohio State playing at an even higher level.
Fields is a dynamic quarterback that can hurt teams through the air and on the ground. So far this season the sophomore has thrown for just under 1,500 yards with 22 touchdowns, and has amassed an additional 291 yards on the ground with eight touchdowns. Justin Fields has looked great this year, and is one of the top Heisman Trophy contenders at the midway mark of the season.
TOTAL TDS 2019 SEASON— Husky Buck (@HuskyJamm) October 23, 2019
Justin Fields/JK Dobbins - 31
Jack Coan/Jonathan Taylor -30
His running mate is J.K. Dobbins. The junior tailback is a three year starter, and is having his best season yet. Dobbins has 947 yards rushing with seven touchdowns. Ohio State averages 287 yards per game on the ground, good for No. 6 in the nation in the category. Dobbins gets the bulk of the workload, but Master Teague is also a capable runner. The redshirt freshman is the future at the position, and has run for over 500 yards already this season with four touchdowns. If Wisconsin is to win they will need to slow down one of the best rushing attacks in the country.
Can we just take a moment to talk about Master Teague?— Jeremiah (@SYRmotsag) October 21, 2019
He is 5th in the B1G and 64th in the entire country in rushing yards with 512 yards.
He is 3rd in the B1G and 27th in the country in YPA.
All of this while being OSUs BACKUP Running Back.
Wide receiver is a position that Ohio State has done extremely well with on the recruiting front over the past decade. While Ohio State does not have a primary guy to keep an eye on like Michigan State had, the Buckeyes have a bevy of weapons to turn to. Seven different players have already caught two touchdowns for the team.
K.J. Hill, Chris Olave, Binjimen Victor and Austin Mack are the top four targets, and each of them have accumulated over 200 yards on the season, and are averaging over 10 yards per reception. What sets the receiving group apart is their ability to make plays after the catch. Ohio State is very good at finding ways to get the ball into their skill players’ hands and letting them create.
Garrett Wilson has also made some tremendous plays. The five-star freshman already has three touchdowns, and provides a big target in the red zone. Either way, Ohio State has the ability to spread the ball around to a wealth of options.
Offensive line has been one area that Ohio State has struggled at times. While there are certainly talented players along the line, defenses have been able to get to Justin Fields. Ohio State’s offense is predicated on big plays, something that the Buckeyes have done extremely well. Wisconsin will need to mitigate the big plays in order to hold down the Ohio State defense as much as possible, because the talent on the offensive side of the ball for OSU is second to none.
The defense starts with Chase Young. The edge rusher is a potential top five pick in the upcoming NFL draft, and is an absolute freak at getting to the quarterback. He already has 9.5 sacks on the season, and has also forced three fumbles and blocked a kick. Young may be the household name, but there are plenty of other future professionals roaming a Buckeye defense that ranks second in the nation in total defense and scoring defense.
Heisman rankings after Week 8:— Cam Mellor (@PFF_Cam) October 22, 2019
1⃣ Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
2⃣ Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
3⃣ Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
The full top 10:https://t.co/oZvdpUFJMq
Safety Jordan Fuller leads the team in tackles and has two interceptions. The senior out of New Jersey has been playing at an All-American level, and is one of the key leaders for the defense. Ohio State has stockpiled talented players in the secondary, and Fuller is just another stud in the back end. Jeff Okudah is one of the better cover corners in the nation. He has tremendous length at 6-foot-1, and he leads the team with three interceptions. He was once thought to be too big by many schools to play cornerback, but he is a potential first round pick in this year’s draft as well.
Along the front seven Ohio State has a lot of tremendous athletes, and is able to rotate players in and out with ease. The depth that OSU possesses has paid tremendous dividends across one of the best defenses in the country. No matter the position, the Buckeyes have four-star prospects in the wings, and the defense plays very fast and aggressive.
Ohio State is.....— Tyler L. Hunt (@TylerLHunt) October 22, 2019
1st in S&P+
1st in team efficency
1st in FPI
1st in Defensive Havoc Rating
1st in Average Marin of Victory
Rank top five in Total Offense (5) and Total Defense (2)
The Badgers will be taking on the best team of 2019 on Saturday. Gunna need the A game.
If there is one place where the Ohio State “struggles” it is in run defense, a stat that the team ranks No. 9 in the nation at. So yes, the defense has been great to this point.
Ohio State is by far the most talented team Wisconsin will have seen this year. 81% of Ryan Day’s team is comprised of four and five star recruits, tops in the nation. Through seven games, the talent has balled out for OSU, and has the team looking like one of the best teams in the country.
2019 Ohio State:— Collin Ginnan (@GinnanCollin) August 9, 2019
A. Highest blue chip ratio of any team in CFP era
B. IIRC, this doesn't even include Justin Fields — the highest-rated player in OSU history
C. 2019 is probably the most talented OSU team ever https://t.co/eGkz96tCWM
Ohio State has faltered in the past against the Big Ten West division foes, notably against Iowa and Purdue the past two seasons. Wisconsin will look to play the underdog role and find a way to dismantle the phenomenal success that Ohio State has had thus far.
There does not appear to be any glaring spots of weakness for OSU. The Buckeye faithful have to be nuts (Editor’s note: dammit, Belz) about the start they are off to in 2019.