Ohio State Football: 5 Reasons the Buckeyes Can Take Down Wisconsin
Yeah I know, Ohio State has three losses.
What people overlook is that the team was in shambles all offseason, and players are now returning from suspensions.
This is a talented team in a transitional period that is starting to find the way.
The Buckeyes could easily be 6-1, if not for coach Luke Fickell making several horrible decisions.
The man left Joe Bauserman in those losses much too long. Joe might be a nice guy, but he is one of the worst fifth-year seniors you will ever see.
They were pounding the Nebraska Cornhuskers until Bauserman replaced injured freshman Braxton Miller. He then proceeded to throw the ball everywhere but to an OSU receiver.
As bad as the offense was against Michigan State, the Buckeyes still only lost 10-7. This group of players is resilient and is undoubtedly ready to take on the Wisconsin Badgers.
Illinois had no chance last weekend, and they were undefeated coming into the game.
Ohio State got up early and dominated that game. Controlling the time of possession and taking care of the ball is the difference between the Buckeyes being 4-3 instead of 6-1.
Read on to see why this upset wouldn't surprise me.
Ohio State Defense
While this is not the best defense Ohio State has had over the past few years, it is still tough to beat.
They give up just over 16 points per game—a misleading stat.
A lot of these points came against a worn-out defense that was on the field too long because the offense failed to move the ball.
Senior linebacker Andrew Sweat is one of the best defensive players in the country. He doesn't get much publicity because he isn't a stat hog, but he impact nearly every play he's involved in.
If you keep an eye on him during any game, you will notice that he is always doing something. Whether it be knocking back offensive linemen and blowing up a play, or dropping back into coverage and stopping screens and passes.
Freshman defensive back Bradley Roby is another gamer.
He has three interceptions and 21 tackles, leaving an impact in more ways than one. He isn't your typical freshman in that he plays like an upperclassman. You can see him pumping up other players and showing no fear in single coverage.
Now that the offense is getting it together, look for the average to drop down a couple of points.
The other linebackers are skilled, as always, and the young players in the secondary are learning on the fly.
While just a freshman, you can see Braxton Miller growing up after every game.
He looks to run a bit too fast, but the game is slowing down for him. When he stays in the pocket and sets his feet, he throws very accurately.
The third most proficient runner on the team, he gets by on natural ability. He has gained 243 yards on 61 carries, an average of four yards per carry.
He hasn't had many opportunities to throw the ball. The coaching staff has said to expect more every week as he gains full understanding of the offense.
Similar to Troy Smith, expect Miller to rely less on his legs and more on his arm as he matures within the offense.
He's capable of breaking a long run or burning deep with the play action pass. He's a very skilled athlete.
He will make everyone forget about Terrelle Pryor in a couple of years.
Running Back Trio
Ohio State has the best group of running backs in the country: Carlos Hyde, Dan Herron, and Jordan Hall are all capable starters.
Waiting in the wings are freshman Rod Smith and sophomore Jaamal Berry.
Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall, Rod Smith, and Dan Herron all average over 4 yards per carry.
Forced into the starting role due to Dan Herron being suspended, Hyde looked right at home. He has run the ball for 408 yards on 78 carries and five touchdowns. Rushing for 5.2 yards a carry is no joke, especially for a young player. If it were up to me Hyde would have remained the starter to reward him for playing so well in a tough situation.
He will certainly be the starter next season, and he has earned it.
Carlos Hyde is only a sophomore as well, and he is already a stud. The guy is 6'1" 238 pounds, and is said to run the forty-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.
He looks NFL-ready and still has two years of college ahead of him!
Senior Dan Herron just returned from suspension, so he has fresh legs. He proved it last weekend when he ran for over 100 yards in a win against Illinois.
In the absence of suspended star wide receiver Devier Posey, somebody had to step up.
Jake Stoneburner did this and more, and he has many attributes most TE's lack.
At six-foot five inches tall and 245 pounds, you wouldn't expect him to be an offensive threat. He's big, fast, and quick. The guy runs great routes and catches anything he can get his hands on. He also leads the team with six touchdowns on the season, despite only having 12 receptions.
He's a favorite target of both Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller.
On a team that doesn't throw very often at all, he is still a safety valve for his quarterbacks.
Assuming Joe Bauserman has seen the last of his days as quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes, expect Miller to target him more often.
He's often open and is a tough cover for any linebacker, which often get stuck covering him.
Wisconsin's defense has a tendency to cheat up on the line if they expect a run, and Jake will make them pay.
From the coaches all the way down to the fans, this team has pride.
There is a swagger from everybody dressed in scarlet and gray. The Buckeyes expect to win no matter who is on the field. The fans also expect a lot, which is why this young team can beat anybody.
There are still some seniors who will play with pride against the rival Badgers, it would shock me if this game got out of hand.
Even if Ohio State loses the game it won't be due to lack of effort. This team has a never say die attitude and will fight until the end. This game won't be any different in that respect, especially since it's at home.
There is always talent on the roster: They just need time to gel.
The future is as bright as ever for the Ohio State Buckeyes.