Ohio State got back on track on Wednesday, though not in the decisive way the fan base hoped.
The Cornhuskers stayed close to the Buckeyes before falling behind in the end for a five-point loss. Ohio State improved the red-zone offense and the rushing attack looked as good as it has in months, but the game wasn’t a blowout. With a matchup versus Michigan State looming and Michigan coming to Columbus in just a few weeks, there’s not nearly as much confidence about the Buckeyes as there was in the first month of the season.
Here is the stock report for the week.
Ohio State’s run game
Just like that, Ohio State figured out how to run. It took major changes to the types of plays, but it worked, and that’s what matters.
J.K. Dobbins had his second 100-plus-yard rushing game of the season, and Mike Weber averaged more than 10 yards per carry. Dwayne Haskins largely stayed out of the run game, as he should, with three rushes for negative-11 yards. The Buckeyes had been searching long and hard for a semblance of a consistent rushing attack, and they might have finally found that on Saturday. Now comes the test. It’s time to face the nation’s top-ranked run defense: Michigan State.
Why wasn’t Brendon White playing sooner? It’s easy to wonder that after his magnificent performance on Saturday against Nebraska. It couldn’t have come at a better time for Ohio State, which desperately needed a defensive player – specifically a safety – to step up. White tied for the team lead with 13 tackles, including two for losses.
On Monday, Urban Meyer didn’t commit to starting him beside Jordan Fuller, but it’s hard tom imagine him going back to Isaiah Pryor, who has had an up-and-down sophomore season as a starter. It’s White’s time, so it’s the coaching staff’s time to make the correct call.
For the first time in years, the Wolverines will likely enter Ohio Stadium as the favorite against the Buckeyes. Who would’ve guessed that just a few weeks into the season?
While the Buckeyes started the season strong but have slipped up in the past month, the Wolverines have only gained steam lately after dropping the season opener to Notre Dame. Now, Michigan’s loss doesn’t look bad at all, and it won back-to-back-to-back games against Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State.
With games against Rutgers and Indiana being the only things in the way of the regular season-closing matchup against the Buckeyes, Michigan will likely enter the rivalry game on a 10-game winning streak.
Uh, yeah. Not sure how any team can beat the Crimson Tide the way they’re rolling.
Though nine games, Alabama has beat its opponents by a combined 335 points. Let me say that again in a different way. Alabama is averaging a 37.2-point margin of victory. Have the Crimson Tide played the best schedule in the country? No. No one will try to convince you of that. But, they’re unquestionably the best team in the country. Things can change, but that fact almost certainly won’t.
Ohio State’s pass game
It’s probably just a blip, but Ohio State hasn’t had the passing game at the level it was early in the season for a few weeks. On Saturday, Dwayne Haskins missed a couple receivers and didn’t get into a rhythm. Against Purdue, he set single-game program records for completions and yards, but needed more than 70 attempts to do so.
With a run game that might have finally found a scheme that’ll give it success, Ohio State must pair it with a consistent aerial attack. It’s been a while since the Buckeyes have been able to pair threatening run and pass games. In order to beat Michigan and Michigan State, that will, of course, be pertinent.
Obviously it’s not all on him that LSU couldn’t do much of anything against Alabama. That’s just what happens to teams taking on the Crimson Tide. But, it seems that Burrow’s honeymoon period has concluded.
The Ohio State transfer hasn’t thrown a touchdown or thrown for more than 200 yards in a game in over a month, and he has three interceptions during the stretch. Burrow has gained just one yard on 21 rushes in the past two games, as well. He’s a solid quarterback, and given Ohio State’s inability to get the passing attack going on Saturday, some people surely still wish he were the Buckeyes’ quarterback instead of Dwayne Haskins to allow Urban Meyer to use a quarterback who runs, but those who still hold that belief must be re-thinking their positions.
Sure, this is a football website, but the Cavaliers’ start to the season should be mentioned. Cleveland had some of the most remarkable luck in the history of the NBA. It began when one of the best two players in NBA history was born down the road in Akron and continued all the way until Lebron James decided to rejoin the hometown team that he spurned to spend four years in the sun of South Beach. In his second stint in Cleveland, James won the Cavaliers a championship.
Now that he’s gone, Cleveland has begun to pay for the lucky breaks it got over the past two decades that led them to get 11 seasons from one of the greatest to ever play the sport. The Cavaliers are 1-9 and are on the fast track to the top of the NBA draft lottery. And given how often the ping pong balls landed in their favor since 2003, they’ll be repaying their luck in the lottery for the next century.