It’s time for another scarlet and gray Saturday and it’s a game Ohio State is not expected to win handily. Results don’t happen on paper however, and the two teams have to step off the bus and play a real, live American football game.
All of that being said, the Buckeyes should still take care of business against an in-state MAC opponent when Toledo runs out of the tunnel in the grand ‘ole Horseshoe for a Saturday night affair.
We’re confident Ohio State won’t have too much of a problem with the Rockets and we are here to give you five reasons OSU will more than take care of buisness when all is said and done before you lay your head on the pillow tonight.
Ohio State vs. Toledo Buckeyes Wire staff predictions https://t.co/EVZ0AD0Kez
— Phil Harrison (@PhilHarrisonBW) September 17, 2022
There’s no other way to look at this game other than a David vs. Goliath type of matchup. Toledo has a ton of kids that would have loved to be recruited by Ohio State. The MAC is a solid conference but it’s built upon a bunch of players that weren’t your four and five-star kids. And while there are clearly plenty of kids that get overlooked as a diamond in the rough, that’s not a hit most of the time. When the Buckeyes line up, it’ll be better athletes against athletes with something to prove. Advantage Ohio State.
The return of Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming
I’m told #OhioState will determine whether wide receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming play during pregame warmups before facing Toledo. Both went through some light warmups last week — Fleming longer than Smith-Njigba — but did not play.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) September 17, 2022
Though there is a bit of gamesmanship out there, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said earlier in the week that he expects receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming to be back in the lineup against Toledo. The Buckeye offense hasn’t shown the same explosiveness as it did last season as of yet, but look for things to get cranked up against Toledo and a bushel of yards and points to be put on the board. The Rockets will have a hard time keeping up.
The Ohio State defense
Tanner McCalister said the coaches and players "want to change the narrative of the Ohio State defense."
McCalister said defensive improvement is the biggest priority for Jim Knowles and the staff he brought with him from various coaching stops.
— Chase Brown (@chaseabrown__) September 14, 2022
What was a weakness last season now appears to be a strength. The numbers are skewed when you look across the landscape right now because of the level of competition others have and haven’t played, but there’s no doubt the Ohio State defense is a much more aggressive unit that can cause issues for opposing offenses. Toledo has moved the ball very well in the two games it has played so far, but things aren’t going to go as smoothly against the Jim Knowles-led defense.
This is the first time Ohio State has ever played 3 night home games in the first 4 weeks.
All three games are nationally televised. pic.twitter.com/WAkY9AWT6f
— Mr. Ohio (@MrOH1O) September 12, 2022
It would be one thing if Ohio State had to travel on the road to try and knock off an opponent that doesn’t have as much talent. To host that team though is an even bigger obstacle towards an upset. And while a mid-afternoon crowd in Ohio Stadium can sometimes get stale vs. an under-the-radar opponent, that shouldn’t be the case with a night game. Look for the crowd to be engaged in this one, giving the team wearing scarlet and gray a boost.
Ohio State's line play on both ends
Quarterback C.J. Stroud said “time is a virtue” and it allows him to be patient in the pocket, crediting the Ohio State offensive line for protecting him after the ball is snapped.#Buckeyes
— Lantern Sports (@LanternSports) September 13, 2022
Ohio State is bigger and stronger on both sides of the line. The defensive line is one of the deepest and most talented in the country and the offensive line is a veteran bunch with the ability to push some of the best defensive units around. Toledo will be undersized and outmanned in the trenches, and the Buckeyes should be able to lean on those front lines and wear the Rockets out.