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How you doing...Ohio State (part deux)

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Wait, Ohio State is still good?

Wisconsin v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0 overall, 9-0 B1G) enter Saturday nights conference title matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers (10-2 overall, 7-2 B1G) with a blemish free record and the number one ranking in the updated College Football Playoff standings.

In a rematch game, Wisconsin hopes to flip the script against the Buckeyes, who have been one of the most complete teams in the country.

The overall body of work for Ohio State this season is as follows:

  • 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
  • Win vs. Wisconsin 38-7
  • Win vs. Maryland 73-14
  • Win at Rutgers 56-21
  • Win vs. Penn State 28-17
  • Win at Michigan 56-27

In this edition of B5Q’s upcoming “opponent at a glance,” we take a deeper look at how Ohio State has looked leading up to the Big Ten Conference Championship Game.

Offense

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 has elevated the Ohio State offense to an even higher level.

Fields is a dynamic quarterback that can hurt teams through the air and on the ground. While he is currently nursing a knee injury, he has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country all season long. In the regular season Fields has amassed 2,654 yards passing and another 470 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on the ground. While those gaudy statistics stand out, the most impressive aspect of his game has been his decision making. On the year he has thrown for 37 touchdowns, and an astounding ONE interception.

His running mate is J.K. Dobbins. The junior tailback is a three year starter, and is having his best season yet. Dobbins has 1,657 yards rushing with 19 touchdowns. Ohio State averages 280 yards per game on the ground, good for No. 4 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 780 yards as well 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. Something the Badgers struggled immensely with last time these two teams met up.

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 Minnesota had last week, the Buckeyes have a bevy of weapons to turn to. Eight different players have caught two touchdowns for the team, including six players with over 200 yards receiving.

K.J. Hill, Chris Olave, Binjimen Victor and true freshman Garrett Wilson are the top four targets, and each of them have accumulated over 250 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. Chris Olave has been the most consistent pass-catcher of the group with 705 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he was a menace to the Badgers in the first meeting with 93 yards and two touchdowns.

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 hurt the Badgers with in the last meeting. 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.

Defense

The defense starts with Chase Young. The edge rusher is a potential top three pick in the upcoming NFL draft, and is an absolute freak at getting to the quarterback. In the regular season he accounted for 16.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and a blocked kick in only ten games played. Young may be the household name after his four sack performance against the Badgers in round one of this matchup, but there are plenty of other future professionals roaming a Buckeye defense that ranks No. 1 in the nation in every major defensive category.

Safety Jordan Fuller is a playmaker, and is one of three consensus first-team All-Big Ten Defense team representatives. 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 (also a consensus first-teamer) 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.

Given the Buckeyes crazy defensive statistical monopoly there aren’t many weaknesses for the Badgers to exploit.

Overall

Ohio State is by far the most talented team in the Big Ten this season. 81% of Ryan Day’s team is comprised of four and five star recruits, tops in the nation.

The Badgers will need to play a near perfect game to have a chance to knock of Ohio State come Saturday.

Slowing the two-headed monster of Justin Fields and JK Dobbins offensively, and actually blocking Chase Young will be key in contending with a team that seems to be National Championship level good this year.