When: Saturday, November 18th, 2017
Where: Ohio Stadium | Columbus, Ohio
Time: 3:30pm ET
Ohio State looked like the team we have been waiting to see all year as they handled a talented Michigan State team 48-3 in The Shoe. the running game was executed flawlessly with Mike Weber leading the way on nine carries for 162 yards and a pair of long touchdown runs of 47 and 82 respectively. JK Dobbins and JT Barrett also contributed to the ground game as Dobbins also eclipsed the century mark. The Buckeyes’ tandem of running backs looks fully healthy and hungry for more in the coming weeks as they try to finish their run at another College Football Playoff berth.
The next assignment for the Bucks is the Fighting Illini as they battle for the coveted IlliBuck Trophy. Ohio State welcomes Illinois to Columbus on its Senior Day where they will honor the careers of seventeen Buckeyes. Most notably, JT Barrett, Billy Price, Ty’quan Lewis, Chris Worley, Damon Webb, Jalyn, Holmes, and Marcus Baugh. Ohio State is the overwhelming favorite and look to pick up right where they left off last week against Michigan State.
Running game efficiency has been a crucial part of Ohio State’s success in the past couple years and it appears as if the staff has finally realized it is the key to the offense and will open up the pass. Ohio State has an illustrious and talented history at the Running Back position which is why its identity is circled around the power run game. When the Buckeyes’ running offense is humming all other facets of the game begin to click and makes them extremely tough to defend.
The defense, on the other hand, bounced back after a stunning loss against Iowa with a suffocating performance against the Spartans. Brian Lewerke was held to a mere 131 yards and two interceptions while only allowing 64 rushing yards. With that being said, the Illini give up just shy of 200 yards per game on the ground which plays right into the hands of the Buckeyes’ three-headed monster in the backfield. Expect Ohio State to heavily turn to the run game to polish it up for the coming games. Their outstanding offensive line play last week played a huge part in the success and will hope to mimic it again this Saturday.
It is the final go-around for the seniors in The Shoe this weekend. Emotions will be flaring on the turf, sidelines, and all the way into the stands and television sets as this chapter of Buckeye Lore comes to a close in Columbus. The bright side is being more games to play after this one, they will just be away from home. however , the possibility of returning with a trophy of two and maybe three still loom large for this group of accomplished Ohio State players. Be sure to tune into ABC at 3:30pm this Saturday to catch the Senior Day action in Columbus as these two conference foes square off.
Image Credit: Samuel Silverman | Graphic Designer for The Ohio State University