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Today is Monday, October 10, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
Slow starts have defined offensive attack
So far in 2016, Ohio State has had a consistent offense. The Buckeyes have averaged 53.2 points per game and have generated an average of more than 500 total yards per game.
However, the Buckeyes have had trouble getting started offensively. Ohio State has averaged only 9.4 points per game in the first quarter alone, and that number is skewed because of the 21 points it put up in the first quarter against Oklahoma. In its first two Big Ten games this season, Ohio State has generated only nine points total in the first quarter.
The offense had a lot of trouble early against Indiana’s defense in its 38-17 win on Saturday. In the first quarter, the offense only accumulated 91 yards in three drives that ended in a fumble, a field goal and a punt.
Redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber had some strong words about the slow starts the offense has gone through this season in his postgame press conference.
— Lantern TV (@LanternTV) October 9, 2016
“We come in with a certain game plan and we try to execute that game plan coming in,” Weber said. “When we realize it doesn’t work, we go back to our normal tricks. I feel like we should do that from the start, but a win’s a win. That’s all I go for.”
For a redshirt freshman getting his first taste of action at running back, this is a controversial statement, possibly calling out the Ohio State offensive play-callers. No matter what his intent may have been with a comment like that, the Buckeyes will have to get their act together more quickly.
It should be an immediate concern, considering that the Wisconsin Badgers, Saturday night’s opponent in Madison, are third in the Big Ten in total defense.
Is the Ohio State offense one-dimensional?
If there is one thing you should notice from the stat sheet of Saturday’s 38-17 win over Indiana, it’s the massive difference between Ohio State’s offensive passing yards and rushing yards.
In the rushing game, the Buckeyes had a field day. The Buckeyes had 290 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the ground. Quarterback J.T. Barrett led the team with 137 yards and a touchdown on a whopping 26 carries.
The passing game, however, was a different story. Barrett was only 9 of 21 passing for 93 yards, throwing a touchdown and an interception.
— Ohio State Daily (@OhioStateDaily) October 8, 2016
With the win, this differentiation between the yardage total should not seem like much of an issue. Like Weber said, a win is a win right? Yes, but going into the game against Wisconsin, there should be concern.
The Badgers lead the Big Ten in rush defense, giving up only 90.4 rushing yards per contest. The rushing attack is Ohio State’s bread and butter, leading the Big Ten in rushing offense with an average of 293 rushing yards per game.
Ohio State is going to have to rely on its passing game much more against Wisconsin than they have been. The Buckeyes are seventh in the Big Ten averaging only 214 passing yards per game. The good thing about their passing offense is that they lead the Big Ten in touchdowns and completion percentage with 16 and 64.5 percent respectively.
Indiana showed Saturday that the Ohio State passing offense can be stopped. With their 10th-ranked pass defense keeping the receivers in check for most of the game, Barrett was forced to run a lot more than Urban Meyer and the rest of the coaching staff wanted him to.
“We were having trouble executing the pass game, and they were plus-oneing us in the box,” Meyer said in his postgame press conference. “We had to win the damn game, and he’s one of our best players. And some of the things they were forcing to do on the perimeter run game, they were giving us the look to have him run it instead of hand it off all the time, which ideally where they’re handing it off.
“So once again, we were well-defended, and I think we would all feel much better about ourselves if we hit three of those passes downfield because that’s the kind of game it was.”
With a passing offense that relies on the big play, Barrett will have to convert on those huge game-changing throws.
“It was one of those games where we’re one of those teams that we have to, as you saw that last year, a big part of our passing game is execution of the deep ball,” Meyer said.
It remains to be seen how this passing offense will respond after a rough performance against Indiana.
Smaller Bear and Big Bear make some noise
In their respective leagues, both Nick and Joey Bosa were very good this week.
True freshman Nick Bosa was a dominant force on the defensive line for the Buckeyes this week. He had four tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss including this key fourth down stop late in the game Saturday.
— Lantern TV (@LanternTV) October 8, 2016
In his NFL debut for the San Diego Chargers, first-round pick Joey Bosa made his presence known. He had five tackles, three of them for loss, and two sacks.
Joey Bosa’s been playing really well in his first game. Absolute handful to deal with, even for an elite OL.
— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) October 9, 2016
For Charger fans, it looks like he was worth the wait. Look at this sack of Derek Carr!
— NFL Canada (@NFLCanada) October 9, 2016
The Bosa family name has been restored both at the college level and in the NFL. We will be constantly hearing both names in both leagues for awhile.
GameDay is going to Camp Randall
There will be a little more attention on Madison this weekend. ESPN’s College GameDay will be attendance for the No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 11 Wisconsin game Saturday night.
Hey Madison! We're headed your way next week for Ohio State-Wisconsin. pic.twitter.com/tWEdmGoD49
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 9, 2016
Even though this is the first time in 2016 that Ohio State has had GameDay at their game, the Badgers had GameDay come for their Week 1 matchup against the LSU Tigers.
We will see which mascot head Lee Corso will pick Saturday morning.
— Brutus Buckeye (@Brutus_Buckeye) October 9, 2016