Offensive Confidence Level – 9.5
Ohio State had it’s best offensive first half this season when they defeated Michigan State by a score of 38-3, with 35 of those points appearing on the scoreboard in the first 30 minutes of play. The second half felt more like an exhibition with many of the everyday starters not suiting up. This was good for two reasons. First, it made sure no more starters would suffer injuries. Second, it allowed for some of the younger players and backups to get valuable game experience which hasn’t happened a lot this season.
We are hoping for more of the same this week against Minnesota, which means the offense needs to come out hot again this week. Jumping out to a lead and then adding to it throughout the first half could set up a repeat scenario of last week’s results for the Buckeyes, which is exactly what we need heading into the biggest game of the season.
Making sure this offense is clicking at the end of the year has been paramount for Ryan Day and offensive coordinator Brian Hartline. Last week was the first time this season that it looked like the offense was ready from the opening whistle and didn’t need the entire first half of play to warm up. Quarterback Kyle McCord looked comfortable in the pocket and was even improvising at times.
The return of tight-end Cade Stover to the lineup also regenerated the offense. McCord getting his big safety valve of a target back was another feather in the cap for Day and McCord, opening up more of the playbook for the Buckeyes. Stover’s seven receptions for 79 yards and a score showed just how valuable he could be to the offense if a defense is going to take away Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka.
Minnesota was severely gashed by Purdue last week to the tune of 49 points. If the Gophers had that much trouble stopping the Boilers, I imagine the Ohio State defense is going to feel like an NFL roster to the Minnesota defenders. This is the highest my confidence in this offense has been all season as I am at a 9.5 this week.