Out is Urban Meyer and in is Ryan Day. Out is QB Dwayne Haskins and in is Georgia transfer QB Justin Fields. From the coach to the QB, Ohio State will be a different football team when the season starts. Day was the Buckeye’s interim coach during Meyers suspension last year and took over operations following the win over Washington in the Rose Bowl. As always, expectations are sky high for one of the B1G best teams year in or year out.
By The Numbers
Coach: Ryan Day – Year: 0 (interim coach for 3 games in 2018), Record: 3-0, Bowl Wins: 0
2018 Record: 13-1 (12-1 Big Ten)
Key Player: QB Justin Fields, RB J.K. Dobbins
2018 Offensive Production: Rushing Offense – 63rd, Passing Offense – 2nd, 42.4 ppg – 8th
2018 Defensive Production: Rushing Defense – 59th, Passing Defense – 86th, 25.5 ppg allowed – 50th
Turnover Margin: 0.43, 23 Gained, 17 Lost
Sacks: 2.93 Sacks per game
Long Scrimmage Plays >20 yards: 83, 11th
Opponent Long Scrimmage Plays >20 yards: 67, 95th
The offense will be led by Justin Fields, the 5-star transfer QB from Georgia. Luckily, by his side, will be J.K. Dobbins who has already lit up the B1G after stepping into Ezekiel Elliot’s shoes 2 seasons ago. Fields, also with equally big shoes to fill, will replace one of the best passers in Ohio State history, Dwayne Haskins. Fields will also be throwing to a senior-led receiving core, K.J. Hill, Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, and Chris Olave, all of whom had more than 20 catches and 3 TDs in 2018. The sole downside for the Buckeyes is the offensive line which replaced 3 linemen this offseason. There are high expectations for Fields this season, as it would be for any Ohio State starting QB, and has a chance to start off his Buckeye career with an impressive season.
The Buckeyes might have won the B1G Championship and the Rose Bowl last year en route to a 13-1 season, but statistically, the defense was not a Tier 1 defense. Opponents averaged 5.77 yards a play (72nd in the country) against the Buckeyes on 979 plays (115th) and their total defense numbers also were in the middle 2 quadrants. But the B1G had a down year in 2018 and 2019 each and every team has gotten better across the board. Ohio State will need to tighten up their defense if a B1G championship, let alone a National Championship, is the goal.
Ohio State is lucky, in that they play only 3 games away from home before November, and even then, their only away games are Rutgers and Michigan, both of whom the Buckeyes have beat in the last 5 years. The Buckeyes may play sloppy but in their first 5 games, but they only play one P5 team with a chance at the CFP, Nebraska, and even that is due to media hype. Ohio State, no matter the year, is in the conversation for a National Championship, but I’d be surprised if they even make it to the B1G championship.