Well, Ohio State football fans, we’re on the eve of a pretty big matchup with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. You only need to know that the Buckeyes have never opened up a season with both teams being ranked in the top five to know just how massive this game is out of the gate.
Forget easing into the season by kicking the tires of both sides of the ball with a warmup game. It’s off and running against a quality opponent that could ruin the home opener for an Ohio State team many are picking to not only make the College Football Playoff but to win the whole thing.
And there are reasons to believe that too. OSU returns a Heisman frontrunner in C.J. Stroud as well as two other guys that are considered the best at their position by a lot of folks, running back TreVeyon Henderson and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. That in combination with a retooled and revamped defense has a lot of folks drinking the scarlet and gray Kool-Aid.
But is it for real? We’ll have to see it all on the field Saturday against a Fighting Irish team that is a talented bunch that has their own aspirations. However, we do indeed like Ohio State’s chances in this one, and that’s why we are giving you five reasons why the Buckeyes will take care of business against the Golden Domers Saturday night.
Too much offensive firepower
Jan 1, 2022; Pasadena, CA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) celebrates with wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) after making a catch for a touchdown against the Utah Utes in the fourth quarter during the 2022 Rose Bowl college football game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame has a physical front that will give a lot of offenses a problem this year, including at times, the Ohio State offense. But there’s no way the Fighting Irish is going to bet the best of what might be the best offense in the country. OSU is going to score points and I’m not sure the Irish can trade blows with the Buckeyes.
The retooled defense
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Jim Knowles motions to players during the spring football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on April 16, 2022. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network
The word out of fall camp is that this Ohio State defense is going to cause issues for teams. No longer will it sit back and try to be assignment sound. Instead, it will be a varied and attacking bunch that will try to dictate the pace of the game. Notre Dame will have some success on offense, but look for the silver bullets to announce their arrival in primetime.
Ohio State Buckeyes fans cheer during the fourth quarter of the NCAA football game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network
There are times when Ohio Stadium could use an injection of momentum, most notably against a lesser opponent in the middle of the day. That’s not what we’re talking about here. The night crowd will be whipped into a frenzy and give the Buckeyes a boost in the first game of the year. The atmosphere will be off the hook and provide a big boost for the home team.
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud throws a pass during the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl against the Utah Utes in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1, 2022. Syndication The Columbus Dispatch
Sometimes you just have the dude that’s better than anyone else on the field. That’s what Ohio State will be playing with almost every game this year, and his name is C.J. Stroud. Forget the arguments that he’s a system quarterback and all. Stroud is accurate, poised, and ready to improve on a freshman season that was already stellar. He’s going to make plays when they need to be made on Saturday and it’ll be completely demoralizing at times for the Notre Dame side.
Too many unknowns for Notre Dame
Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman stands on the sideline during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
There’s a good chance that Notre Dame is a much better team midway through the year than what’s coming out of the wrap on Saturday. A new head coach and staff, a new quarterback, several unknowns at the skill position, and all that comes with the first game of the season. It all seems like a lot of uncertainty and a lot of questions that need answers in Week 1. It’s hard to imagine all of those things are going to be positive in Columbus on Saturday night. Meanwhile, there’s a lot more known and expected of Ohio State and you feel pretty good about the Buckeyes performing at a high level across the board. Big advantage scarlet and gray.
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