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It’s game day and this time the Ohio State football team hits the road to start the meat of the Big Ten season. So far, we’ve seen some up and down performances but there are some signs that the Buckeyes are beginning to get something of an identity. We’ll see how it all goes against a Rutgers team that has been very good defensively and gave Michigan all it could handle last weekend.
Each week, we provide some final thoughts and a stream of conscious ideas to get you ready for the game. And with a road trip against a Scarlet Knights team that seems to be a program on the rise, there’s a lot we want to see from OSU heading into this one.
Here are our final thoughts on the day Ohio State travels to Piscataway, New Jersey, to take on the Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights.
NEXT … Final thoughts before Ohio State and Rutgers
Final thoughts before Ohio State vs. Rutgers
OK. How good is Rutgers really? Was last week’s second half against Michigan for real? How does Ohio State stack up against a Wolverine squad that’s looked very physical so far this year? This is at least somewhat of a measuring stick.
In case you didn’t know, Kyle McCord’s dad, Derek, played quarterback for Rutgers in the late eighties and early nineties (you can read about it all here). Wouldn’t it be cool if he got in the game and threw a touchdown pass against his dad’s former team and alma mater? Near his home in fact?
Speaking of McCord, will he get some time in this game? Everyone is saying that the week off really helped C.J. Stroud’s shoulder, but what’s really going on there? There were signs that the shoulder had been hampering him for more than a couple of weeks.
Speaking of which, if Stroud really was playing a bit banged up, could that explain some of the overthrows we saw? Will he be that much better if that shoulder is on the mend?
Either way, look for a steady diet of TreVeyon Henderson today. Rutgers is a physical ball club and Ohio State is going to want to loosen them up a bit on the ground and take advantage of the depth advantage.
But Ryan Day will never completely put the passing game on the shelf. Yes, he’s a quarterback play guy, and OSU has the best wide receiving group in the country. It’s all about balance.
Part of that passing game is supposed to include the tight end. When will Ohio State finally utilize Jeremy Ruckert more? He’s too good to just be running pass routes and blocking without the ball coming his way. Especially with a young quarterback who can use him as a safety valve.
We saw a more aggressive defense last week against Akron, and it seemed to help a young unit not have to sit back and think. Look for more of that, but with an uptick in the compete level, we’ll see how effective that mindset is.
Secretly, I kind of root for Rutgers (but not today). I’m a fan of Greg Schiano and think he got a raw deal with the whole Tennessee fiasco. I’m hoping he continues to turn the program around to stick it to the social media mob that came after him down where sweet tea and grits are grown on trees (I joke because I too have southern roots).
Speaking of that, I’d love to finally hear from Schiano on that whole thing. He took the high road when it all went down, but said there would be a time and place for it. Will we ever get his take on that?
Over/Under on how many carries Master Teague gets today? He seems to have been a little buried at times with the emergence of Henderson. You have to wonder if he’s not very happy with his role right now.
Is this the week we see Chris Olave burst back on the scene? He had a touchdown last week, but not a whole lot of action. That was after he was held without a catch the week prior. He’s too talented to keep down right?
Can the defensive line continue to show signs of life and get to the quarterback? It’ll need to in order for this defense to continue to improve and get better. It’ll be a good test Saturday.
Speaking of which, where has Jack Sawyer been? He tore it up in the spring game, and we heard rave reviews about the freshman from Pickerington from both coaches and players, yet he’s not getting many snaps. In fact, J.T. Tuimoloau is getting more despite coming to the program in the summer.
Another couple of guys I’d like to see breakout: Marvin Harrison, Jr. and Julian Fleming. They are too talented to not show up at some point right? I know the wide receiver room is embarrassingly talented, but man, both have the skillset to be special.
Don’t let anyone tell you that winning this game is “just a win over Rutgers.” This team is a very competitive one and has already shown that you’ve got to bring your lunch pail. A win here is something to build on despite the national narrative that will come forth.