Steady improvement from the receivers

Kevin Noon, Publisher
Buckeye Grove
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Scott Stuart

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Since losing to Oklahoma in week two, the Ohio State passing game has taken several steps forward. Sure, Ohio State has not played any of the nation's toughest pass defenses during that four-game stretch, in fact, going into Saturday's game the Terps had the best rated defense in Pass Efficiency Defense at 56th.

That has not stopped the Buckeyes from averaging 359 yards per game through the air and that has created a lot of opportunity for Ohio State's wide receivers who have caught 16 receptions over that stretch with 10 different players scoring at least one receiving touchdown.

Austin Mack has been one of the less talked about wideouts coming into the season but has emerged over this run as a major weapon for the Buckeyes with two receiving touchdowns over the past four games, including one against Maryland.

In typical fashion, nobody wants to speak specifically about themselves and everyone is just happy that the offense is starting to show what it is capable of.

"It all started with that we had a really good week of practice and that obviously translates to the game," Mack said. "It is getting later in the season; the small things are starting to click now and it is what we have been working on in practice."

And the Buckeyes may only be scratching the surface, if 1435 passing yards over four games is not enough for you.

"It is exciting because we have still got even more to come," Mack added.

It all starts with the quarterbacks and J.T. Barrett has looked like a new man over these past couple of games. Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow have each chipped in late in games but it has been Barrett starting to regain some of the form he had in 2014 and helping people forget about some of the lackluster offensive performances that have mired this team over the past couple of seasons.

It still will be a couple of weeks before the Buckeyes face a top-30 type of defense but it is still a step in the right direction.

"JT is a great quarterback and he can fit those passes in and it is great seeing him have that confidence, especially in us being able to make those catches and contested catches," Mack said. "Keep it coming. It is cool."

Even his teammates have seen a difference in how the offensive has looked on the field, both in practice and in games.

"Definitely confidence. We are building more game reps and are able to put what we do in practice onto the game field," Mack said. "We go against maybe against the best defense in practice every single day, there should be no reason why what we do in practice cannot translate to the game and we are finally starting to do that."

That confidence has led to a faster and more efficient offense.

"It is that chemistry that we are finally doing," Mack said. "That was our main focus, especially coming into this year, play fast and consistent, roll off the ball. It all starts with the offensive line, the offensive line gets it going, especially with the run game."

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