All the hype and lead-up to the game between Ohio State and Oregon is almost over. The game is all set for a Noon kick on Saturday, and both teams look to improve on some inconsistent play and build momentum towards bigger and better things.
Games often ebb and flow and turn on performances of units and individuals, and it’ll be no different in this one. The Buckeyes are the more talented team on paper, but have to get it done on the field against a squad that is very athletic and capable.
We don’t know what the headlines will be come Saturday evening and Sunday morning, but we’re doing our best to shake it up and give you five bold predictions for the game.
Remember, these are bold, so pardon us while we step out on the limb.
NEXT … C.J. Stroud throws for over 300 yards
Quarterback C.J. Stroud goes for over 300 yards in the air
Highest passer rating under pressure in Week 1
1. Desmond Ridder, Cincy – 149.3
2. Chase Garbers, Cal – 132.7
3. Bryce Young, Bama – 131.6
4. C.J. Stroud, Ohio St – 129.5 pic.twitter.com/92EfdFN5v4
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 5, 2021
This might not be a bold prediction if Ohio State were playing another team, and maybe it’s not a spicy type of bold you’ll find on the top shelf of the college football aisle, but Oregon’s defense is more athletic than what we saw from Minnesota. That means having a freshman throw for over 300 yards is going to mean something in this game.
Thibodeaux or no Thibodeaux, the coaching staff is going to let Stroud be a distributor like he was in the second half against the Minnesota Gophers. There won’t be a ton of shots down the field, but you’ll see plenty of screens, crossing routes, and other opportunities to get OSU’s playmakers in space. We all saw what can happen after the catch last week, and the same will happen against Oregon.
NEXT … Ohio State will run for over 250 yards on the ground
The Buckeyes surpass 250 yards running
MIYAN WILLIAMS TO THE CRIB 🏠
OSU with it's first TD of the year
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 3, 2021
If you watched Ohio State last week, you know the offensive line had itself a day. It didn’t allow one sack, changed the line of scrimmage, and blew open holes for the running game, and that was without starting center Harry Miller.
This is one of the best offensive lines in the country, and I don’t know how the Oregon defense can stop the Buckeye tailbacks from scooting for a ton of yards on the ground. Though the carries and personnel might tighten up a bit in this game, I still see a committee approach that gets OSU over the magical 250 yards rushing for the ballgame.
NEXT … Ohio State will intercept two passes
The OSU secondary gets two takeaways
Josh Proctor was practicing yesterday 🌰🌰🌰 via Tom Orr pic.twitter.com/h8JdXuSJat
— BuckeyeUpdates🌰👀 (@Buckeyeslife247) September 9, 2021
Yeah, yeah, the weak link of this team looks like the secondary again, but that was one game without two starters. All indications point to Ohio State being better in the health department with the DBs this Saturday, so look for improved play. Cameron Brown and Josh Proctor are most likely available, and Sevyn Banks is a game-time decision.
Also, when rewatching the film, the youngsters back there actually played halfway decent. Not great, but not as bad as I originally thought. I like Ohio State’s ability to bottle up the running game a bit and make Oregon beat the Buckeyes through the air. A green quarterback and some pressure from the defensive line will result in a couple of picks later in the game.
NEXT … Jaxon Smith-Njigba will breakout
Jaxon Smith-Njigba has a breakout game
Put a linebacker or safety on Jaxon Smith-Njigba and he will go DeVonta Smith on someone. Good luck with that… https://t.co/b5U0DI6y7q
— Anand Nanduri ↗️ (@NanduriNFL) September 7, 2021
When you have two guys named Olave and Wilson on the team, touches as a wide receiver can be hard to come by. But this week, slot receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba is going to be a big part of the game plan. The Ducks will try to take away both future potential NFL first-round options, leaving Njigba with some nice matchups to go to work.
He’ll shake open on linebackers and slower safeties and slot personnel and get targeted a lot more than last week. It’ll all add up at least four catches, 75 yards or more, and a touchdown.
NEXT … TreVeyon Henderson gets the second-most carries
Running back TreVeyon Henderson becomes a factor
OHIO STATE SPEED
Freshman TreVeyon Henderson 💨
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 3, 2021
It’s only a matter of time. You can’t keep freshman sensation TreVeyon Henderson off the field too long because he adds a dimension to the running game that Miyan Williams and Master Teague just don’t have. He’s fast, but he’s also allusive out in space, and that makes Ohio State a more dangerous squad to gameplan against for opposing defenses.
We’ll still see all three backs, but look for Henderson to cut in on Williams and Teague’s carries and actually have the second most opportunities in this one. That’s what will be needed to create more explosive plays out of the backfield.