After a disappointing game the week before, the Buckeyes bounced back in a BIG way against the Michigan State Spartans this past Saturday. Ohio State dominated on both sides of the ball from the very first snap. Ohio State was able to control both sides of the ball, with the Buckeyes out gaining the Spartans 335 yards on the ground to 64 yards on the ground. The number 12th ranked team was no match for this highly talented and motivated Buckeye team.
After the play calling debacle against Iowa, Ohio State got back to their normal smash mouth football Buckeye fans are accustomed to. The standouts for this game have to be the entire offensive line and the two-headed monster in backfield with Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins.
Weber finally looks to be healthy and fast, he was excellent gaining 162 on just 9 carries, including a 82 yard run where no one on the field could catch him. As we near the end of the season, Weber will have a difficult decision to stay in school or to enter the draft. If his health and play continue to improve he could start moving up many draft boards again.
The O-line was again led by senior leader Billy Price, whose stock continues to stay steady as his play has been rock solid all season. JaMarco Jones’ stock has risen, he could be selected in one of the earlier rounds, Jones has a pass blocking percentage of 99% according to the advanced stats by CFBfilmroom.com. When the line is as dominant as it was against Michigan State, the Buckeyes’ offense is a tough one to stop.
Against Iowa, the entire defense was a complete disaster except for maybe Denzel Ward. This week was a completely different story as the silver bullets were just 3 points away from a shutout. Many will contribute the success to the improved play of the linebacking unit this week, reality is – it was a much better match-up for the Buckeyes than it was against Iowa.
Although the play by the linebackers was much better, the real contributing factor was the defense line. Their explosion off the line was the best it has been all season, which forced the Spartans to double team and scramble while getting pushed into the back field.
This chaos is what caused the linebackers to shine, Tuf Borland and Malik Harrison stepped up well, and both are likely to see more playing time going further. Jerome Baker and Dante Booker both sat out this game and few believe their absence helped Ohio State. Baker’s play has taken a dip since last year and Booker has been playing up and down all year, but both are elite talents and make this football team better.
With plenty of potential chaos to happen in college football the Buckeyes are not quite out of the playoff conversation just yet. With 2 more games and a potential B1G championship win, the Buckeyes just might have a chance to squeeze in again this year.
Stock Up – These players played well enough to improve their NFL Draft stock:
Mike Weber, Billy Price, JaMarco Jones
Stock Down – No players played poorly enough throughout the game to hurt their NFL Draft stock.