Ohio State Football: Rushing attack needs to be present in Cotton Bowl


Ohio State running game the key to victory.

Ohio State has rushed for 3,284 yards as a team this season, and could very well be over 3,500 after the Cotton Bowl game with USC on Friday.

The Buckeyes have weapons at all of the skill positions with players who can run with the ball as well as catch it.

Players such as J.T. Barrett, J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber and Parris Campbell have all had explosive plays for the Bucks this season. That should carry over to the Cotton Bowl if Ohio State closely watched film of USC’s game versus Notre Dame, and schematically runs the ball the way the Buckeyes did in the BIG Ten Championship Game.

Although the defense will be responsible for securing a win, the rushing attack for Ohio State will have to gain momentum early in order to set up the rest of the offense.

USC generally lines up in a 3-4 defense and sometimes stacks six at the line if a team is in a two-tight-end-set, which is a positive for Ohio State.

When USC played Notre Dame earlier this season, the safety was coming down to the line of scrimmage for run support which sets up the deep ball; when they went back to stacking five at the line, Notre Dame pounded the ball.

If you look back at the Big Ten Championship Game, Ohio State spread Wisconsin’s 3-4 defense out with trips to the left and a strong-side tight end on the line.

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This formation forced the Badgers’ weak-side defensive end to bump out a couple of yards from his normal position. This set up a dive to J.K. Dobbins that went for 77 yards because LT Jamarco Jones was able to kick-out that end and part the Red Sea.

The 77-yard run for Dobbins should be a sign for things to come against USC because their worst rushing defense performance came against Notre Dame. The Irish ran dives and sweeps similar to what Ohio State likes to do which sets up play-action passes.

And since Ohio State is ranked No. 15 in rushing offense, and USC is ranked No. 56 in rushing defense according to NCAA.com, why wouldn’t the Buckeyes pound the rock?

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Expect Urban Meyer and Kevin Wilson to exploit this weakness in the USC defense, and for a lot of points to be scored by the Buckeyes as a result.