Coming off a huge comeback win against Northwestern, the Ohio State Buckeyes are undefeated at 6-0 going into a much needed bye week. With some position groups excelling, and some struggling, lets go through the team’s report card and see which units grade out the best.
When healthy, Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller has been as good as advertised. A proven runner, Braxton has taken the next step and improved his in the pocket passing. While still at his best scrambling and making plays, Miller sports a completion percentage of 65% and a 6:2 touchdown-interception ratio. While he only averages 4.1 yards per carry and has no rushing TDs, his running presence is clearly a positive. When hurt, Miller’s replacement, Kenny Guiton, was arguably better. With a 13 passing TDs and a 7.4 yards per carry, Guiton made the absence of Miller nearly invisible. Whether Miller vs. Wisconsin or Guiton vs. Cal, the Quarterback has been the star of this team.
Running Backs: A
The two main bell cows of the offense, Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde, have been nothing short of excellent. Combining for 11 rushing TDs and over 6 yards per carry, they have been just as important as the QBs in this high octane offense. The Buckeyes would not have made it out of Northwestern with a win if it wasn’t for Hyde’s 26 carries for 168 yards and 3 TDs. Ezekiel Elliot and Dontre Wilson have also added a nice change of pace each averaging over 9 yards per carry, even with only a few touches a game.
Offensive Line: A+
Led by seniors Corey Linsley and Jack Mewhort, this group is the secret star of the offense. Always paving huge running lanes and giving the QB time to go through progressions and throw, this elite unit is one of the best in the country and without it, the offense would struggle more than most would think.
Recievers and Tight Ends: B
While not a being a unit full of play-making studs, this is a group of pass catchers that do whats needed for offensive success. Corey “Philly” Brown and Devin Smith lead the team with each having over 5 TDs and over 350 receiving yards. While the tight end is not a featured weapon in this offense, Jeff Heuerman does have a respectable 10 receptions for over 100 yards. With 4 out of 7 of his receptions being touchdowns, Senior Chris Fields has been a valuable contributor.
Defensive Line: B+
Stud sophmore defensive ends Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington have been as good as advertised. Spence consistently getting pressure on the opposing QB all year and Washington being a force when he is healthy. While going into the season as a perceived weak spot, the interior line has been stout, stifling the impressive running attacks of Wisconsin and Northwestern. Micheal Bennett has been a pleasant surprise, showing spurts of play that show he can be a difference maker.
Strong and Middle LB’s Joshua Perry and Curtis Grant have been solid in defending the run and in coverage against RB’s and TE’s but the star of this unit is junior Weak-side Linebacker Ryan Shazier. Shazier is looking like a future NFL first rounder as he is constantly attacking the ball and coming up with huge tackles and stops time and time again.
Not originally thought to be a huge weakness with star corner Bradley Roby and senior safeties C.J. Barenett and Christian Bryant returning, but they have struggled mightily at times this year. Roby has not lived up to his first round projection, being mainly responsible for big games from Jared Abbrederis and Rashad Lawrence in consecutive weeks. The unit as a whole also allowed a big day to Cal earlier this season. Now with Bryant out for the rest of the season, the secondary is really going to have to step up its play.
Despite an average ticket price decline of 6% in the past week, the Ohio State football tickets hold steady to the #2 spot in the TiqIQ Top 25 with an average ticket of $235 dollars. Following a real nail biter at Northwestern this week, Ohio State remains undefeated and faces some easier competition in the coming weeks before wrapping up the regular season at Michigan on November 30. The Michigan game has been and remains one of the most sought after tickets in college football this season. With an average ticket price of $464 dollars, the Ohio State vs. Michigan showdown is the single biggest reason why these two teams have remained amongst the top 3 spots in the TiqIQ Top 25 all season long.