Ohio State Football: Two Buckeye offenses employed in ‘The Game’

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 14: Running back J.K. Dobbins
LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 14: Running back J.K. Dobbins /

Putting the ball in the running backs hands proved to be a winning formula.

During Saturday’s game versus Michigan, Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson employed two different offensive attacks. The latter featuring the Buckeye running backs proved to be the more successful of the two.

The first offensive scheme relied on the side to side attack once again, along with the zone read option where JT Barrett carries the ball often. The second one gave the Wolverines a steady diet of running backs JK Dobbins and Mike Weber when after QB Dwayne Haskins entered the game.

With the original game plan, the Buckeyes ended up with negative yardage in the first quarter and fell behind 14-0 after the first play of the second quarter. Only after Barrett put the team on his back did the offense get on a roll. His 21 yard run for a score and 25 yard touchdown pass to Marcus Baugh tied the game before halftime.

During the first half, Ohio State running backs carried the ball four times between the tackles and only twice on first down.

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It was more of the same in the third quarter until JT went out with a knee injury. Because Haskins isn’t very adept at running the option, the rushing game was primarily left up to the running backs. Haskins only carried the ball three times for 24 yards and 22 of those came on a scramble.

It was a good mixture in the rushing game as Dobbins and Weber ran the ball between the tackles as well as on sweeps. And in an unusual twist, sometimes the two were lined up in the backfield together.

Dobbins finished the game with 101 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Weber’s totals were 12-57-1 and his 25 yard touchdown run sealed the victory for the Buckeyes.

With the running game picking up it also allowed for opportunities in the passing game. Haskins was 6-7 for 94 yards while Barrett was 3-8 with only 30 yards through the air.

Ohio State also came back from a 20-14 deficit scoring the final 17 points in the game.

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With the success Dobbins and Weber had against Michigan State and Illinois I was surprised they weren’t utilized more often against Michigan until late in the game. It will be interesting to see if coach Wilson waits that long to use the two backs in the Big Ten Championship Game versus Wisconsin, or if they will carry the ball early and often.