One week in, and I’m feeling pretty good about this stat projection thing. Sure, I was 21 points shy on my OSU score. That minor oversight obviously skewed my touchdown tallies, making them quite a bit shy of what played out.
On the other hand, I was only one yard off of my passing yardage prediction, had Haskins tossing one INT, got TDs for Campbell, Weber and McLaurin (though not the correct numbers for the latter two), almost hit Master Teague’s numbers, and accounted for Jeremy Ruckert’s first collegiate catch. I also had Pete Werner getting a sack and a few other tackle totals in the ballpark.
While it’s not easy projecting a full game’s worth of stats, I think we did a decent job in week one and hope to improve upon that in week two against Rutgers.
September 8 – Ohio State vs. Rutgers
The Ohio State/Rutgers rivalry goes all the way back to 2014. The good ol’ days. Oh, to be young again. In its storied four-year history, the Buckeyes have never scored less than 49 points and never allowed more than 17. In the last two meetings, Rutgers has avoided the end zone like the plague, generously giving up 114 points while scoring zero.
I don’t anticipate Saturday’s game being much different than what we’ve come to expect from Ohio State and Rutgers matchups. I do, however, think that the Scarlet Knights will take advantage of some gaps in our defense that were apparent in the Oregon State game. Until our linebackers and secondary can let the defensive line dominate and better manage their assignments, this team will have some struggles. Don’t get me wrong, this still has the potential to be a great defense, but they found themselves out of position and were burned several times.
Rutgers put up a decent performance, from a final score standpoint, against Texas State last week. However, they threw three interceptions and didn’t show much improvement from Rutgers teams we’ve seen of late. I think OSU has a similar game plan offensively to what we saw in The Shoe against the Beavers, utilizing lots of intermediate passing routes and a steady stream of the two-headed running back monster.
Five passing touchdowns, over three hundred yards passing, and a completion percentage in the 70s. That’s how Dwayne Haskins said hello to the football world on Saturday. We got a glimpse of what he could do last year on one of the biggest stages imaginable, and his first game as a starter didn’t disappoint.
The confident, improved leaders at wide receiver helped make the transition to a starting QB a seamless one. Haskins led his receivers, threw them open, and generally put the ball almost exactly where you’d want him to. I don’t see that natural instinct changing this week against Rutgers. In fact, I think we see a similar performance, albeit with slightly less production than against the Beavers.
Haskins throws for just under 300 this week and adds three more TD passes to his name. In addition, Martell sees more time on the field and tosses a few short passes, but misses out on his first TD pass for another week.
Running Back Projections
We all knew that we had a dangerous one-two punch in the backfield in Columbus this year. But, I think many people, myself included, thought that the more dangerous half might be the younger one. Mike Weber had other ideas in mind. He nearly ran for 10 yards per carry and reached the end zone thrice on the ground and once more through a 3-yard receiving TD last weekend.
I’m going to switch it up a bit from last week, stick with the hot hand, and say that Weber is again the leading rusher. I’ll predict a much closer breakdown this time, with Dobbins nearing the 100-yard mark. I also have the pair crossing the goal line three times. Once more, Teague and Snead will see carries (although we only had Snead getting seven touches on the year and he’s already matched that number).
Pass Catcher Projections
Last week, I wrote that I thought McLaurin would connect on a deep ball. What I didn’t get close on was his yardage, as his home run went for far more than I had guessed.
Against the Scarlet Knights, I have Campbell scoring on a run play, and Hill, Victor and Dixon scoring on passes from Haskins. Of the three, Dixon’s will be the highlight, as he separates and makes a nice grab on a laser from the new QB. I also think that McCall gets into the game and flashes his agility on a couple of nice receptions.
Not giving up on my overall total, I think Harrison leads the pack in tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage. I also see no reason this team won’t continue its demolition of opposing QBs, grabbing another five sacks. On one of those, I think Dre’Mont Jones knocks the ball loose and Jonathon Cooper falls on it.
I also think Kendall Sheffield starts pushing for first-round draft pick status by snagging a pick and returning it to the house.
Eight more TDs for the Buckeye offense and an early (second quarter) field goal gives Sean Nuernberger another 11 points on the year, pushing him even closer to the all-time leading scorer mark at OSU.
OSU settles down on defense, continues thriving on offense, and rolls to another victory.
Final Score Prediction
Ohio State 59 – Rutgers 14
63 – 14 final score in favor of the good guys.
QB’s finish with 275 yards passing
The “backfield” finishes with 380 yards on the ground.
Rutgers is about a 20 – 25 percent upgrade in competition compared to Oregon State. The biggest problem for Rutgers is going to be a pissed off defense who will be dialed in to not making stupid mistakes and embarrassed by a really bad program in Oregon State shredding them. Chris Ash had better figure out how to get some NFL players to man his offensive line or the chances are high that there really is a serious concern their QB gets mauled violently. Chase Young will have his eye sight clear and won’t be making the same mistakes from game 1. The linebackers won’t be caught out of position 2 straight weeks so the defensive front is going to mangle Rutgers. Their 14 points won’t come against the starters or when the game is in question.
JK Dobbins looked like a back up last week. He won’t look the same this week and he’ll explode Both starters JK and Mike will finish at around 140 yards each, and there’s just not a thing in the world Rutgers can do to prevent it.
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