Questions Ohio State football must answer to defeat Western Kentucky

Ohio State Football faces off against Western Kentucky this Saturday, and if you looked at the matchup on paper, the Buckeyes should cruise to an easy victory.

We all wish it was that easy, but it isn’t. Ohio State will need to accomplish more than a few things to finish their afternoon with another victory.

Now that head coach Ryan Day has named his starting quarterback, Kyle McCord, that’s one less question that needs to be answered, but with that more of them popped up.

Here are five questions that Ohio State must answer for them to finish the day 3-0 early in the 2023 season.

How does the secondary do against a team that will test it?


The Buckeyes have statistically one of the best passing defenses in the country, just 108 yards per game allowed, but we’ve seen this before. The statistics don’t always tell the whole story and Western Kentucky has a very solid passing offense. If Ohio State’s secondary is able to slow the Hilltoppers down, it will be a much easier task.

Will the offense have an identity with Kyle McCord at the helm?


The quarterback derby is over, with McCord taking the reins of the team. Now the job of offensive coordinator Brian Hartlineand Day will be to cater the offense to his strengths. They mixed up the play calling for when McCord and Devin Brown were in, but now they need to do what Kyle does best. Take advantage of his arm strength, give him easy reads to find his receivers in open space and have the backs churn out yardage. This offense needs to grow up quickly, and if it can this week, it will go a long way for this team.

Can the defensive line finally get home to the quarterback?


For the first time in three games, we know the opposition will try and predominately move the ball through the air. Western Kentucky might not abandon the run, but it’ll definitely be throwing much more. Like the secondary, the test for eh defensive line is if they can make life uneasy for WKU quarterback, Austin Reed. If the unit is able to take him down and pressure him into bad throws, the Buckeyes will be in good shape.

Has the offensive line fixed their short yardage 3rd down issues?


For a team that has Big Ten title and College Football Playoff aspirations, the line play needs to be much better. Yes, 3/5th’s of last years starters had to be replaced, but at a school like Ohio State, the drop off shouldn’t be as drastic, but as we have seen, it has been. This group needs to show that the can be dominant, protecting McCord on longer attempts and getting a good push on short ones.

What will the running back rotation look like?


Last week the distribution was pretty even, with Chip Trayanum and Miyan Williams getting six carries each, and TreVeyon Henderson receiving five. The six carries from Brown will be divided up between the backs, so someone is going to get to double-digits. It’s a bit odd that Dallan Hayden and Even Pryor haven’t gotten any carries, and Xavier Johnson just three. How will the staff divvy up the opportunities remains to be seen, but going with the hot hand isn’t a bad idea.

[lawrence-auto-related count=3]

Contact/Follow @BuckeyesWire on X (formerly Twitter), and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes, and opinion. Follow Michael Chen on X.

Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire