The best offensive players Ohio State will face in 2020

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson #1 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs against the Northwestern Wildcats at Memorial Stadium on October 5, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson #1 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs against the Northwestern Wildcats at Memorial Stadium on October 5, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

Ohio State will be on the field soon enough, and their schedule pits them against a lot of offensive talent. These are the best players they will see from opposing teams.

T-minus 29 days until we see the Scarlet & Gray take the field vs Nebraska to kick off their shortened 2020 season. Thinking about Justin Fields taking the first snap of the game gives me goosebumps as I write this considering just a few weeks ago, we weren’t sure if Fields was ever going to suit up for the Buckeyes again.

While the Buckeyes’ offense really might go and hang 100 on everyone, their defense is still going to have to shut down quite a few notable ballplayers this year. These are the best offensive players they’ll face on each game on their schedule.

Oct. 24th vs. Nebraska

Wan’dale Robinson, WR

QB Taylor Martinez seems like the obvious choice here, but with his injury history and inconsistencies so far for the Huskers, I’m going with Robinson. Just a true freshman a year ago, Robinson showed plenty of potential and reminds me a lot of Purdue standout Rondale Moore.

That comparison alone should be enough for Buckeye fans’ palms to get a little sweaty.  He didn’t put up record-breaking stats last year, but in an offense without a lot of weapons, Robinson is going to be the featured star for Scott Frost.

I imagine Robinson is going to be getting plenty of carries in addition to being targeted as a receiver, so it’ll be a challenge for Ohio State in the first game of the year to keep this guy contained.

Oct. 31st @ Penn State

Journey Brown, RB

After the Buckeyes inevitably molly whop Nebraska in the season opener, defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs won’t have much time to rest knowing he needs to stop Penn State running back Journey Brown the following week.

I’m not too worried about the Penn State passing game, because Sean Clifford being back at QB means you’ll see more floating ducks than you would at the Chicago Ducky Derby. If you recall when he left the game last year with an injury, the Nittany Lion offense got better when backup Will Levis subbed in.

Brown is arguably the best running back Ohio State will face all season. Last year in Penn State’s bowl game against Memphis, Brown rushed for 202 yards, and if he’s able to repeat that performance on October 31st, the Bucks could be in trouble.

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Nov. 7th vs. Rutgers

Noah Vedral, QB OR Arthur Sitkowski, QB

Greg Schiano’s first season as Rutgers Head Coach comes with a lot of questions, including who their starting QB will be, will they wear their sweet all-black uniforms at all, and whether or not Schiano will just quit football again in the middle of the season. Sitkowski started as a freshman two years ago before redshirting last year, and Noah Vedral is a transfer coming in from Nebraska.

Schiano’s new Offensive Coordinator, Sean Glesson, loves the no-huddle, pass-heavy offense. Whoever wins the competition to be the Scarlet Knights’ signal-caller is going to be put in a good situation to compile plenty of statistics, I just don’t think it will be reflected in the win column in Schiano’s first year back at the helm in Piscataway.

Nov. 14th @ Maryland

Taulia Tagovailoa, QB

Tagavailoa, younger brother of Tua, transferred to Maryland from Alabama and was deemed eligible to play immediately. With Josh Jackson opting out of this season, it looks as if this offense will go as Tagovailoa goes.

There’s probably going to be a few growing pains here for Mike Locksley’s Terrapins, but he’s got a good, young QB to build around going forward. It’s unknown how good this QB can actually be, but if he’s anything like his older brother, he will be a treat to watch.

Nov. 21st vs. Indiana

Whop Philyor, WR

With a name like Whop, I’ve got to assume this guy’s parents must’ve been big fans of Chris Berman on NFL Primetime. And it’s only fitting he’s turned into the athlete he is because Berman would have a heyday yelling “WHOP!” at all of his highlights, of which there are many.

Philyor can do it all for the Hoosiers football team, and that’s why he’s been named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list. It’s a good thing Shaun Wade opted back into the season because Ohio State’s young secondary will have their hands full with Philyor.

I don’t see a wideout on our schedule that will give us more fits than Whop will. I mean, this guy’s so good Cardi B and Megan thee Stallion named their latest song after him!

Nov. 28th @ Illinois

Brandon Peters, QB

If we weren’t going to have a season this fall, Illinois QB Brandon Peters would probably go undrafted next spring. But with one last season to prove himself, he has a chance to make a bigger name for himself.

The former Michigan QB played against Ohio State back in 2017 & 2018, but as a backup. He’s got a big arm and has a great football IQ.

His play this year will largely determine whether or not the Illini can finish above .500 and thus letting Lovie Smith keep his job.  Which now that that’s been mentioned, should the Illini faithful really be rooting for Peters then?

Dec. 5th @ Michigan State

Rocky Lombardi, QB

It’s honestly a crapshoot who’s going to step up for the Spartans on offense this year. 44-year-starter Brian Lewerke is finally gone, and the only reason I’m picking Rocky Lombardi is because he has the coolest name in the Big Ten.

There’s a ton of new faces on the offensive side of the ball for Michigan State, so we could just put all the stater’s names in a hat and draw for who we think will be their best offensive player. I swear that’s not what I did.

Dec. 12th vs. Michigan

Joe Milton, QB

Nothing says Big Ten football is back like Michigan fans saying their QB has a real shot to win the Heisman. Ahhh, my favorite time of the year.

Milton is entering his first year as a starter, and while some Wolverine fans wanted to see Dylan McCaffrey get the nod, it became clear Milton’s athletic ability as a dual-threat QB gave him the edge.

Normally, I would’ve put WR Nico Collins here, as he would be a huge matchup for Shaun Wade in December, but Collins opted out and signed with an agent to prepare for the draft so he no longer seems to be a factor. That just makes Milton’s job a bit tougher, as Ronnie Bell is the only returning receiver with real, consistent experience for Michigan.

Next. Who will step up for Ohio State's defense. dark

Milton’s flamethrower appendage he calls his arm will be put on display in just a few short weeks, so only time will tell if Michigan fan’s Heisman campaign for Milton will get any legs. Although I feel like I can already see how this will end.