2015 Season Preview: Under Urban Meyer, Ohio State Regularly Breaks Records. Which Ones Will Fall In 2015?

By Kevin Harrish on August 19, 2015 at 2:48 pm
Record will fall
Ohio State Football 2015 Season Preview

Last season's Ohio State team broke or tied 74 different records. This season, they boast a more veteran, and arguably even more talented squad. Records will be broken, it's just a matter of which ones and how many.

Earlier this off-season, our own Chris Lauderback did a wonderful job compiling a list of individual and team records that could be in jeopardy this upcoming season, and went in depth on each one. In case you missed it, or needed a reminder right before the start of the season, here's a summary of the individual and team records that could be broken this season (aside from the obvious back-to-back champion one). 

Team records

Passing Touchdowns (Season)

  • Current Record: 2014 Team - 42 touchdowns
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the offense this upcoming season is the number of passing threats on the roster. Of course, there is the unprecedented quarterback battle between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, but the situation is even more unique than just that. It's likely that on virtually every play this season, Ohio State will have at two or three players on the field with experience at quarterback. Braxton Miller, Torrance Gibson, and Jalin Marshall are all capable quarterbacks who will be primarily used elsewhere in the offense. The starting quarterback could break this alone, but between all of these athletes there could be touchdown passes galore in 2015.

Passing Yards (Season)

  • Current Record: 2014 Team - 3,707 yards
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Ohio State will have arguably the best starting quarterback in the country in 2015, regardless of if it ends up being J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones. They will send out a Heisman contender at quarterback behind a veteran offensive line, and have him throw to enormously talented receivers like Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall. The team will also have arguably the best running back in the country in the backfield, which will open up space for the passing game. With two quarterbacks deserving of playing time and the backup being just as good as the starter, there won't be much "garbage" time this season — the ball will be thrown a lot. Top all that off with the fact that Ohio State essentially has three quarterbacks playing wide receiver who could also throw for plenty of yards and you get a very dangerous passing offense that will likely shatter this record.

Rushing Touchdowns (Season)

  • Current Record: 1974 Team - 48 touchdowns
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Last season, the Buckeyes totaled 41 rushing touchdowns as a team. Ohio Sate will have no shortage of talented ball-carriers this season. The featured running back will of course be Heisman hopeful Ezekiel Elliott, who accounted for 18 touchdowns last season. In addition, the offense will feature rushes from the winner of the quarterback battle, Braxton Miller, Curtis Samuel, Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson, Mike Weber, Torrance Gibson, Bri'onte Dunn, Warren Ball, and more. With this talent, combined with the fact that this team will play three more games than the 1974 team, it seems more unlikely that this record won't be broken this season.

Rushing Yards (Season)

  • Current Record: 1974 Team - 4,199 yards
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: The Buckeyes came close to breaking this record last season, finishing with 3,967 team rushing yards. Again, with the surplus of talented ball carriers, a veteran offensive line, and three additional games, it's likely this record will fall.

Rushing Yards Per Attempt (Season)

  • Current Record: 2013 Team - 6.8 yards per carry
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Last season, the team averaged 5.7 yards per carry with a new starters at tailback, quarterback, and 4/5ths of the offensive line. Now all of those positions are a strength instead of a question mark and the offense adds another rushing threat in Braxton Miller to boost the average. Additionally, Ezekiel Elliott is more of a home-run threat than Carlos Hyde was (evident in his big runs towards the end of the season). His long rushes will boost the team average quite a bit.

Total Offense (Season)

  • Current Record: 2014 Team - 7,674
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: If the 2015 team eclipses 7,674 yards, it will be the third consecutive season this record has been broken. This will likely be the case. The team returns two experienced and elite quarterbacks, the best running back in the country, a veteran offensive line, and a group of talented receivers that now features the best athlete in college football. Ohio State will almost certainly break the team record. They will even have a chance to break the NCAA record of 8,205 yards, held by Oregon.

Points Per Game (Season)

  • Current Record: 2013 Team - 45.5 points per game
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Last season, with new starters at quarterback, running back, and virtually the entire offensive line, the team still came close to this mark with 44.8 points per game. This season, with all their offensive talent and their relatively weak schedule, Ohio State should break the 2013 school record and maybe even come close to the all time FBS record of 56 points per game, held by Army's 1944 team. (Note: points per game is a more intriguing stat than total points as it allows us to compare team scoring across teams that didn't play the same number of games. Ohio State will likely break the total points record as well.)

Tackles For Loss (Season)

  • Current Record: 2000 Team - 117 tackles for loss
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Last season, the defense totaled 110 tackles for a loss, which is good for fifth all time. However, this season they will be without defensive tackle Michael Bennett who had 14 tackles for loss in 2014, and will be without Joey Bosa for the first game of the season. However, it's hard to count out a defense that features Joey Bosa, Darron Lee, Raekwon McMillan, Joshua Perry, and Adolphus Washington — especially given that they have three more games to do it than the 2000 team did.

Sacks (Season)

  • Current Record: 1998/2000 Teams - 47 sacks
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Of all the records listed here, this one might be perhaps the most unlikely to be broken this season. In 2014, the team came close to mark with 45 sacks (they almost surely would have broken it had Noah Spence been opposite of Joey Bosa, but that's just a game of "what-ifs"). However, the departed Michael Bennett had seven of those, and he will not be easily replaced. In addition, as stated previously, Joey Bosa will miss the first game of the season. It's entirely possible this record falls this season, but it will take help from guys like Tommy Schutt and Tyquan Lewis.

Individual records

J.T. Barrett

300 Yard Passing Games (Career)
  • Current Record: Joe Jermaine - 8 games
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: After just his freshman season, J.T. Barrett has already eclipsed 300 yards passing in a game four times. If he does that four times again this season, he will tie the record. He will almost certainly break this record at some point in his Buckeye career, but it may not happen this season. For one thing, he would have to win the starting job to even have a chance at this record, and even if he does win the job, Cardale Jones will likely get plenty of reps. 

Joey Bosa

Sacks (Season)
  • Current Record: Vernon Gholston - 14 Sacks
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Joey Bosa finished just a half a sack shy of the record last season with 13.5 sacks. The record is certainly not out of the question, but being suspended for the opener against Virginia Tech certainly hurts his chances.
Sacks (Career)
  • Current Record: Mike Vrabel - 36
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Joey Bosa currently has 21 career sacks. It's a long shot, especially given that he's going to be double teamed almost every play, but if he finished the 2015 season with 15 sacks, he would tie the career record and break the single season record. Of course, he would almost certainly shatter this record if he elected to return for his senior season, but that realistically isn't happening.
Tackles  For Loss (Season)
  • Current Record: Mike Vrabel - 26 tackles for loss
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Joey Bosa finished last season with 21 tackles for loss. He certainly has the talent to break the single season record this year, but his dominance may work to his disadvantage again, as his opponents will likely scheme around him, run away from him and double team him as much as possible. This helps the team, the it doesn't do much for individual numbers. 

Ezekiel Elliott

Rushing Yards (Season)
  • Current Record: Eddie George - 1,927
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Last season, Ezekiel Elliott totaled 1,878 yards behind an inexperienced offensive line that struggled early in the season and on 55 fewer carries than Eddie George. This season, he will be running behind a talented and veteran offensive line, but the number of carries remains a question. It's possible Urban Meyer will help Elliott's Heisman campaign by giving him more carries after his performance last season, but it's also possible he will see even less of the ball with the amount of talent on offense. The quarterback battle also plays a significant factor as Elliott saw many more carries with Cardale Jones at the helm than he did with J.T. Barrett.
Rushing Yards Per Carry Among 1,000 Yard Rushers (Season)
  • Current Record: Carlos Hyde - 7.3 yards per carry
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Ezekiel Elliott's 6.9 yards per carry last season is good for second on the all-time list. Given the strength of the offensive line this season, he should improve upon this and likely pass Carlos Hyde's 2013 average. It is also to Elliott's benefit that he is much more of a home-run threat than Carlos Hyde was. He has the speed to finish runs that Hyde lacked. An 85-yard rush to the house definitely helps boost your rushing average.
200+ Rushing Games (Career)
  • Current Record: Archie Griffin - 5 Games
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for over 200 yards in his past three games. He needs to do that just three more times in a minimum of 12 games this upcoming season to hold this record by himself. An interesting thing of note from Chris's article: "Before last year, no other Buckeye had posted more than two career games of 200+ rushing yards then Zeke came along and posted three straight games of over 200 yards on the ground to close out the season."

Braxton Miller

Touchdown Passes (Career)
  • Current Record: Bobby Hoying - 57 Touchdown Passes
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Braxton Miller currently has 52 career touchdown passes. Although he will not be the primary quarterback and will spend most of his time at receiver and running back, he can still throw a football. By mid-season, he will even be healthy enough to take reps from under center. With Urban Meyer's loyalty to Braxton Miller, I believe he'll do everything he can to put him in a position to break this record. Of course, this record isn't going to stand for very long. J.T. Barrett already has 34 touchdown passes after just one season — and he was injured for the final three games. Still, that does not take away from what Braxton Miller did. If he was healthy last season, he would have obliterated Hoying's record.
Total Offense (Career)
  • Current Record: Art Schlichter - 8,850 yards
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Braxton Miller currently has 8,346 yards of total offense. Regardless of his position, he will break this record. He is still one of, if not the best athlete in college football. The team is still going to find a way to get the ball in his hands, and he is still going to make plays. He will break this record with ease.
Touchdowns Responsible For (Career)
  • Current Record: Art Schlichter - 85 touchdowns
  • Why It's In Jeopardy: Braxton Miller enters the season with 84 touchdowns responsible for. Even with a position change, he could realistically break 100 touchdowns this season. This is a record he will surely break, it's just a matter of by how much.

Sean Nuernberger

Sean Nuernberger will hold basically every PAT record by the time he graduates. He already holds the team and Big Ten record for most extra points in a season with 89 — which he will likely eclipse this season. He also holds the team and Big Ten record for most total kicking points in a season with 128, and holds the school record for most consecutive extra points made at 89 (which is an active record).

Something worth noting is how close Braxton Miller was to breaking a number of different records. Had he been healthy last season, Braxton Miller would almost certainly have owned the following school records (in addition to the ones he already holds) via Ohio State Athletics:

  • Wins by starting QB (needs 11)
  • Passing yards (needs 2,256)
  • Pass attempts (needs 286)
  • Pass completions (needs 104)
  • Touchdown passes (needs six)
  • 200-yard passing games (needs seven)
  • Total offense (needs 505)
  • TDs responsible for (needs two)

Regardless, he will go down as one of the best, and most decorated players in Ohio State history. Now he has a chance to prove what he can do at another position.

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