Over the relief he felt after his program took care of business in The Game, Day has moved on to the challenge of getting his team ready to take on a Wisconsin squad it handled 38-7 back in late October.
His Buckeyes ran for 264 yards and three touchdowns in the first matchup and Day would love to see another solid performance on the ground keyed by his offensive line.
In particular, Day is more than pleased with the interior of that group featuring Jonah Jackson at left guard, center Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis at right guard.
Q. You said on the conference call on Sunday about your three interior offensive linemen, you thought those three guys were maybe the best in the country. Josh, Jonah and (indiscernible), what makes you say something like that?
RYAN DAY: I just think first off their approach to the game is off the charts. They understand stuff. They communicate. They’re tough. They’re good in the run game, pass game. They finish guys.
If you follow them around during the game, just amazing the stuff that they do, the finishes and the knock-downs they get during the game.
They’re the tip of the spear on our offense. Everything goes through those guys. Their approach has been off the charts.
Q. You talk a lot about run game diversity. How much does the skill set, silly question, of your offensive line impact that? You have three interior guys who appear to be very athletic on top of all the other things, how much does that do for your offense?
RYAN DAY: It’s huge. It’s huge. It allows you to do so many things. Their ability, a lot of those guys last year spent a lot of time in pass protection because that’s what we did last year really. Now to see the transition to the run game, the ability to do both, that goes to speak to Coach Stud, what they’re doing in that offensive line room.
With the Jackson, Myers and Davis trio punishing Michigan's undersized defensive tackles, Ohio State ran through, around and over the Wolverines to the tune of 264 yards on 5.3 per carry.
J.K. Dobbins highlighted the attack with a career-high 211 yards and four touchdowns on 6.8 per attempt. Wide running lanes helped him break off runs of 33, 34 and 41 yards.
Through 12 games, the anchors in the middle of Ohio State's offensive line, joined by Thayer Munford and Branden Bowen at the tackle spots, are keying a rushing attack that stacks up nicely against other OSU squads since Urban Meyer's arrival.
|SEASON||ATTEMPTS||RUSH YDS||RUSH YDS/G||NATL RANK||RUSH YPC||NATL RANK|
If you cut the season-to-date in half, Ohio State averaged 288.5 rushing yards per game on 6.18 yards per carry through the first six games.
Adding in the last six contests, the Buckeyes now average 280.6 yards per game on the ground on 5.82 a pop which represents a slight decrease of 7.9 total yards per game and 0.36 yards per carry.
|OPPONENT||YPC ALLOWED||NATL RANK|
The level of competition is certainly a factor in the minor dip in yards per carry.
Over the first six games, Ohio State faced just one defense currently ranked in the top 20 in yards per carry average allowed and just two teams currently in the top 35. Michigan State slots No. 15 allowing 3.27 yards per carry while Cincinnati clocks in at No. 28 allowing 3.93 yards per try.
Spanning the last six games however, the Buckeyes took on three teams currently ranked in the top 20 in yards per carry average allowed and four teams in the top 35.
Penn State is currently No. 4 (2.50 ypc), Michigan sits at No. 11 (3.03), Wisconsin stands at No. 16 (3.33) and Northwestern checks in at No. 35 (3.77).
Day's Buckeyes ran for 5.3 yards a pop in that first contest with Wisconsin. A sore spot from that game however is the fact Justin Fields was sacked a season-high five times. No other opponent so far this season was able to register more than three sacks.
How well the offensive line plays on Saturday will go a long way in determining if the Buckeyes capture a third-straight Big Ten title and maintain their No. 1 spot heading into the College Football Playoff.