Ohio State's offensive line has officially been recognized as one of the best in the country.
The Buckeyes' front five was named Tuesday as a finalist for the Joe Moore Award, which honors college football's best offensive line. Alabama, LSU and Oregon are the other finalists.
Ohio State's offensive line has been noticeably improved this year, particularly in the running game, to lead the way for the Buckeyes to a 13-0 season so far in which Ohio State leads the nation in points per game (48.7) and ranks fifth nationally with 531 total yards per game.
With a starting five of left tackle Thayer Munford, left guard Jonah Jackson, center Josh Myers, right guard Wyatt Davis and right tackle Branden Bowen leading the way, Ohio State ranks fifth nationally in rushing yards per game (272.2) and sixth in yards per carry (5.67). Jackson and Davis both earned first-team All-Big Ten recognition while Munford, Myers and Bowen were each honored as second-team All-Big Ten selections.
The Buckeyes have had some issues in pass protection, allowing 31 sacks in 13 games, but their power and dominance in the run game – including 339 knockdown blocks – and leading Ohio State's offense as a whole was enough to earn recognition from the Joe Moore Award committee as one of college football's top four offensive lines this year.
“Ohio State has always had talented players up front, but this year that talent was matched by a desire to bury their opponent on each and every play,” one committee member said. “An incredibly athletic group who imposed its will while leading one of the nation's top rushing attacks.”
Another committee member said: “They are asked to be athletic and powerful in their scheme and don't have the luxury of just being a downhill group like some of the other Joe Moore Award winners we've had in the past. Their running backs have some massive holes blown open on stretch plays thanks to the hustle and talent up front.”
The winner of the Joe Moore Award will be announced later this month in a surprise visit to the winning team's campus.