The Running Game
- Curtis Samuel -- 27 carries, 171 yards, 6.33 per carry, 2 TD's
- Ezekiel Elliot -- 27 carries, 141 yards, 5.22 per carry 2 TD's
- J.T. Barrett -- 41 carries, 126 yards, 3.07 per carry, 1 TD
Just looking at things stereotypically you always expect the Buckeyes to have a strong running game. Historically the play of their quarterbacks waxes and wanes, but the running game is always there. That is the case this year as well, but they don't have the dominating back that they had last year in Carlos Hyde. This year the running game is more dispersed. The three above get the lions share of the carries, but Urban Meyer and his staff make no bones about wanting to spread the ball around. Dontre Wilson is nominally a running back, but what he really plays is the percy position, a running back/slot receiver hybrid. Wilson won't often line up in the backfield, but he spends a lot of his time there. This is the deepest group of running backs the Bearcats will see in 2014, though Duke Johnson is better than all of them.
The Passing Game
- J.T. Barrett -- 59.5 percent completion rate, 757 yards, 10.2 yards per attempt, 9 TD's, 5 INT's, 172.01 QB rating
- Cardale Jones -- 50 percent completion rate, 32 yards, 8 yards per attempt, 117.20 QB rating
You never really know what you are going to get from the passing game of an Urban Meyer led team because so much of the passing game is derived from being able to run the football. The stats say that Ohio State can run the ball, but most of those stats were compiled against Navy and Kent State, teams that the Buckeyes were able to simply overpower at the point of attack, bad offensive line and all. The Virginia Tech game was a different story. Even taking out the sack yardage the Buckeyes were under 5 yards per carry. Its not a huge surprise that the VaTech game was also the one where Barrett had his worst outing, completing just 31 percent of his passes for 1 touchdown and 3 INT's. This isn't an offense that is built to thrive on straight drop back passing, the play action has to work.
- Michael Thomas - 11 catches, 214 yards, 4 TD's
- Devin Smith -- 5 catches, 211 yards, 2 TD's
- Dontre Wilson -- 5 catches, 108 yards
If you are looking for a metaphor for the Buckeye's passing game think of basketball. The two best shots are layups and corner threes. One has the highest completion percentage in the game, the other rewards the offense enough to offset the lower rate at which they are made. The same holds true for OSU. They have a robust screen game using their backs, receivers and even their tight ends those are short easy to complete throws that keep the offense in rhythm. Then they are complemented with fair share of deep shots if they can get one on one looks from the defense with their wide receivers.
Offensive Line Stats
- 195.33 rushing yards per game
- 4.41 yards per carry
- 18 tackles for loss allowed
- 8 sacks allowed
- 9% sack rate
- 12% pressure rate
Way back in late July when I did my preview of the Buckeyes it seemed that the only real question was going to be the offensive line. Two months later that is still a big question and Meyer doesn't seem to be quite sure who his five best up front are.
"Jacoby Boren had a high ankle sprain, but should be full go today. Pat Elflein was dealing with some feet issues ... but he's fine, he's 100%. The guy that's improved a little bit is Chase Farris. He's the backup right tackle, but if he's one of the five best, he should be [a starter]"
If Buckeye fans are looking for the source of their relative problems are looking up front is the place to start.
- Joshua Perry -- 14 solo, 12 assisted, 26 total
- Tyvis Powell -- 13 solo, 10 assisted, 23 total
- Curtis Grant -- 9 solo, 13 assisted, 22 total
When you watch the Buckeye defense it's hard not to be a bit underwhelmed by their linebackers. With their defensive line the linebackers get the benefit of running free on most downs. They make plenty of tackles as a group, but the sense of being underwhelmed is hard to get rid of.
- Joey Bosa -- 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 hurry, 2 fumbles forced
- Raekwon McMillan -- 3.5 tackles for loss,2 sacks
- Darron Lee -- 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack
Simply listing the Buckeye's leaders in these categories doesn't quite have the effect of watching them. The Bearcats will not play a more talented defensive line this year, and that is taking into account Noah Spence not playing at all this season. The Bearcats cleaned up some of their blocking issues from the Toledo game against Miami. They will need to be at the top of their game against Bosa, Adolphus Washington and Michael Bennett.
Pass Defense Stats
- Eli Apple -- 1 INT, 3 pass breakups
- Joshua Perry -- 1 INT, 1 pass breakups
- Doran Grant -- 3 pass breakups
A stat that you have probably heard, or will hear 100 times between now and Saturday is that the Buckeye's have yet to allow a pass of more than 18 yards in three games. They are the only team in all of college football that has yet to allow an offense to complete a pass of greater than 20 yards, and no one can tell you with any certainty whether they are even good at defending the pass. Who they have played plays some part in that number. Navy doesn't even pretend to care about the forward pass as a thing; Virginia Tech isn't a team that is about that vertical passing life; and Kent State...well this is emblematic of the Kent State passing game. The Buckeyes have good numbers against the pass, but they have yet to be tested in a meaningful way.