The Ohio State football program has a chance to make a statement on Saturday afternoon. They have been holding onto bad feelings for the last year, waiting to get revenge on TTUN. Now, they have the opportunity to do so and tell the rest of the College Football world that they are the best team in the country.
This is the only matchup of undefeated teams this week. It’s the greatest rivalry in sports and it’s the first time these two teams have faced each other while undefeated since the epic 2006 showdown. It’s #2 vs. #3 on Saturday and the winner will win the Big Ten and make the College Football Playoff.
There are three specific keys that I believe the Buckeyes must hit in order to win this game and complete the first of their goals. If they are able to do these things on Saturday, they should be walking out of the Shoe undefeated in the regular season. If they don’t they might be in trouble.
The first thing they have to do has to deal with the defense.
1. The Ohio State football team has to stop the run
Failing to stop the run is the biggest reason why the Buckeyes lost last year. Michigan was able to control the line of scrimmage and bully the Buckeyes every time down the field. Michigan didn’t punt a single time in the second half because to their ability to run the ball.
If the Buckeyes want to avoid a repeat of that scenario, they have to stop the run. No matter who is in the backfield for TTUN, it’s imperative that Ohio State wins the line of scrimmage on defense. Make TTUN throw the ball and be one-dimensional as an offense.
JJ McCarthy simply can’t throw the ball downfield. If he has to throw in 3rd-and-long situations, he is not going to be able to do it. Make McCarthy beat you and dare him to do it with his arm. Ohio State would be wise to keep a spy on McCarthy to avoid big gains from scrambles too.
The second key has to deal with Ohio State’s own abilities on offense.