May 22, 2024

The Ohio State offense has what it takes to continue its dominance against Michigan State, even though it isn’t as good as its defense.

The Ohio State offensive has doubts following another subpar performance versus Rutgers, but they still have two key advantages: they are 9-0 and remain #1 in the CFP Rankings. The fact that Kyle McCord and the offense as a whole fall short of Ohio State’s success thus far in the Ryan Day era may sound like a broken record at this point. They are remain undefeated and top of the CFP Rankings even in that case.

Of course, one important element is the defense’s outstanding performance. It feels like the sky is falling, though, when you have the third-best scoring offense and the second-best yardage offense in the Big Ten. That Ohio State squad from 2002 ranked 70th in the country in yardage; the dead horse has been trotted out enough.

Still, Ohio State still has three games remaining, starting with Michigan State this Saturday. In general, the Spartans are hoping to appoint a coach and move past the Mel Tucker incident in the offseason.

 

Ryan Day Radio Show: Ryan Day Says "Nothing is Guaranteed" As Ohio State's  Season Winds Down, Expects a "Loud" Environment for Primetime Kickoff vs.  Michigan State | Eleven Warriors

 

The Ohio State offense has to maintain its dominance in the Michigan State quarterback “fights.”

The Ohio State offense has faced relatively little opposition from Michigan State during the Day era. Day’s offense has averaged close to 580 yards and scored 49, 56, 52, and 34 points in his four years. McCord and company should be alright this year even though Michigan State’s secondary is not nearly as awful as it was.

Before this game, McCord is frequently the target of a lot of annoyance. He isn’t a quarterback selected in the first round like Justin Fields or C.J. Stroud, and he will be the first quarterback selected on draft day who isn’t invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation. He has occasionally missed his marks and made some stupid throws.

In spite of this, he leads the Big Ten in passing yards and rating, is third in completion %, and leads the conference in touchdowns.

McCord is doing great and always will. As they’ve seen in the past, Ohio State needs to do a better job of game planning around him and letting him control the game. Fields and Stroud were capable of playing heroic football. McCord possesses excellent weapons, but he lacks the gene.

The Ohio State offense should be able to continue developing as the huge game in Ann Arbor in less than two weeks approaches. The Spartan secondary has allowed nearly 223 yards per game through the air this year. They have faced two offenses worth mentioning and gave up 536 yards and four touchdowns to Washington and 357 yards and four touchdowns to Michigan.

The Impact of Missing Playmakers

There were several injury-related revelations throughout the Rutgers game. To begin with, TreVeyon Henderson is an excellent football player and a clear RB1.

Once more, Henderson entered the game and demonstrated to the Ohio State offense why they should run through him. Henderson destroyed Rutgers for 12 yards and one touchdown after having a welcome-back bash at Wisconsin where he racked up 162 yards and a touchdown. Every time he touches the ball, Henderson poses a threat to score a home run, and if he were healthy, he could easily contend for the conference’s best backfield spot.

The other lesson is that it is painful to be without Cade Stover and Emeka Egbuka. At kickoff, both players were available, but none of them entered the field. It was clear.

Gee Scott, Jr. took over for Stover, and he performed passably well, even managing an outstanding touchdown. Scott, though, is simply not as athletic as Stover. Despite having fewer receptions—just three for 24 yards and that touchdown—he was given more chances to have an effect. Scott only failed to complete one pass, but it was a perfect chunk play that caused the drive to stop.

Barring injury, Stover will be expected to start again against Michigan State, with the secondary concentrating on the weapons outside.

Although Egbuka was also offered, it seemed that he was not well enough to travel. Being one of the top WR2s in the country, his absence allows defenders to focus on Marvin Harrison, Jr., who poses the most threat. As usual, there has been no kick and punt return game. But Egbuka’s absence made things worse. Once more, presuming good health, expect Egbuka to start the Spartans game quickly.

Strike the Pose

Harrison is still making a strong argument for Ohio State even if he only had four receptions for 25 yards against Rutgers, which is 16 years since the Ohio State offense last had a Heisman Trophy winner. But even though two of those catches were extremely athletic touchdowns, the excitement persisted.

The Heisman Trophy race is similar to DeVonta Smith’s from 2019, in which no quarterback won the prize for himself. Naturally, Harrison hasn’t performed as well as Smith did thus far. Harrison will need to perform exceptionally well in the final three games in order to leave his mark and have his Heisman Moment. He will need to keep seizing his opportunities in an offense with so many weapons.

Harrison has caught 52 catches for 914 yards and ten touchdowns so far. He leads the Big Ten in passing yards and touchdowns, and he ranks among the top five in both categories nationally. Harrison may be the next wide receiver in a short while to lift the trophy with important games left against Michigan State, Minnesota, and Michigan.

Sing the Song

The Buckeye fans have a song in which they declare that they could care less about Michigan as a whole. Ironically, Michigan State would come under that purview.

In their 51 meetings throughout history, Ohio State and Michigan State enjoy a commanding 36-15 advantage over the Spartans. The last time MSU won was in that game in 2015, when they won with a last-second field goal. At the time, Urban Meyer had forgotten about Ezekiel Elliott’s existence, which led the running back to later declare for the draft.

Except for the 17–16 victory in 2016, Ohio State has won seven straight and it hasn’t been especially close. Ohio State simply needs to keep doing what has been doing and not give up on

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