I've been enjoying the ttun jabs, the Fields discussions, and the break downs of Ohio State's and our competitors' early signing day results, but the Rose Bowl is only 10 days away and nary a mention of the Pac 12 opponent our Buckeyes will be facing, the Washington Huskies. I'm sure the team and coaches are focused on the next game, and not the last one. Having ventured over to some of the Huskies fan forums, I know Husky fans are focused on the Rose Bowl.
This is going to be a match up of a dynamic offense vs a tough defense. Based on the analytics, the teams are nearly an equal match with Ohio State at 7 and 8 in overall S&P+ and F+, respectively, while Washington is 9 in both analytical measures. On the offensive side of the ball, the Buckeyes come to Pasadena #2 in total offense, #57 in rushing offense, and #2 in passing offense, while the Huskies are 59, 55, and 63, respectively. As we know, our team loves to score at 43.5 ppg, while the Huskies put up a more modest 26.6 ppg. On the defensive side of the ball, we'll be going against a stout defense. The Huskies are ranked #12 in total defense, #15 against the run, and #21 in passing defense. The Buckeyes come in at a putrid 67, 60, and 83, respectively (ouch!).
What may work in our favor for the Buckeyes' challenged defense is Washington is not a spread team. Their base scheme seems to be 12 personnel (2 TEs, a TB, and 2 WRs), but they will run multiple sets. Sounds a bit like what we've seen from the teams in the mitten state. The key is Myles Gaskin who has rushed for over 5,000 yards in his career and four seasons of over 1,000 yards each. Jake Browning at QB seems to have regressed from his outstanding sophomore season in 2016 (43 TDs, 9 Ints, 167.5 rating). He put up modest stats in 2018 with 16 TDs, 10 ints, and a 147.2 rating. I'm not sure if that's a result of him or his receivers group or scheme, etc. But our #60 rush defense has to step up and stop the run. That's for sure. On defense, the Huskies base is an unusual (to me) 2-4-5 scheme. The two DTs are tasked with eating up blockers to allow the LBs to stay clean to take on the run. They have very talented DBs who will play a lot of man-to-man coverage.
At least in my opinion, on paper this looks like a very favorable match up for our Buckeyes. If the D can contain Gaskin, prevent the big plays, pressure Browing and force some turnovers while the Buckeyes pass game does what it's done all year and generate 125-150 yards on the ground while not turning the ball over, we can watch Urban be carried off the field with a victory in his first Rose Bowl game. I can't wait.