Offensive Confidence Level – 4
Two of the biggest concerns coming into this season were the development of new starting quarterback Kyle McCord and the offensive line. Over the past month, both have had moments where it appeared they had turned the corner and were going to take the next step. And then there were moments when you thought maybe they weren’t quite where they would need to be in order to feel confident heading into this game.
Whether they are ready or not, that final game is upon us. McCord’s numbers this season have been pretty good. He is 211-315 for 2,899 yards with 2 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. If you couple that production along with the fact that running back TreVeyon Henderson has gone for over 100 yards rushing in three of the last four games since returning from injury, it’s hard to complain about this offense.
Doing that against Minnesota and Michigan State is one thing, but doing that against the number one ranked defense in the nation in the form of Michigan is a completely different level altogether. The Wolverine defense is giving up only 90 rushing yards and 144 yards passing per game for a total of 234 yards per game.
The success or lack thereof for the Ohio State offense is going to boil down to the offensive line and how well they can perform against this Michigan defensive front seven. If they can protect McCord, the Ohio State quarterback has shown he can more than manage football games. If they are overmatched, then McCord will become uncomfortable in the pocket. He has proven on multiple occasions that when he has been rushed, his mechanics break down quickly, especially his footwork.
Not to put the entire burden of offensive success on the offensive line, but when it comes to the running game, it will once again come down to them. Henderson has been running with a determination we haven’t seen from him before. If the offensive line is getting a good push, and he is able to get four or five yards a pop from the opening whistle, then it is a very good sign that Ohio State’s running game could be a major factor.
On most occasions, when it comes to this game, the team that controls the line of scrimmage and rushes the football for more yards wins. I understand that the Ohio State football team has the game’s most dynamic player in the form of wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., but as we have witnessed in the past, a great wide receiver can be wildly ineffective if they can’t get the football. This is why my confidence level for this category is the lowest it has been all season. I am only at a confidence level of four this week for the offense.