How do you come up with prediction for a game that is going to have heavy rain and large amounts of disinterest?
More than any other predictions I have ever made, these are not only the most recent, but also the most dependent upon balancing the sciences of weather and Senior Day weepery.
I’m pretty sure I will nail it.
Due to time constraints — a 4:10 pm showing of Justice League — I’m not going to go through my numbers from last week. I believe I was 3-of-5. I’ll have everything tallied for my Michigan game predictions. Don’t worry.
What is going to happen this week? Scroll down for spoilers.
1. Three running backs will rush for at least 50 yards.
We know J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber are going to hit the 50-yard mark, but I’m thinking Antonio Williams will get there tomorrow as well. Williams’ career-high mark is 58 yards against UNLV this season — which I correctly predicted as you will no doubt recall. I don’t expect there to be a reason for Weber or Dobbins to carry the ball past the 4-minute mark of the third quarter, which means 8-9 carries for Williams. He averages nearly 6 yards per carry, which would put him right at that 50-yard mark.
2. The defensive line will have at least 4.5 sacks.
The Illinois offensive line has more freshmen than most schools’ recruiting classes. Three true freshmen and a redshirt freshman will have to deal with an Ohio State defensive line that can take that inexperience and make balloon animals out of it. I know I have a terrible history of predictions based on sacks — or rather, Stupid Tony does, but this seems like an opportunity to finally get one of these correct. I was originally just going to go with 1.5 sacks for Nick Bosa, but I think with possibly six defensive linemen playing their final game at Ohio Stadium this week, we might see a little bit more from them.
3. Tuf Borland will start.
I don’t know what is going to happen on the outside, but I do expect Tuf Borland to start at middle linebacker. Chris Worley performed well at the Will last week after a rough start. Does he remain there, and if so, what does that mean for Jerome Baker, Malik Harrison, and Dante Booker? If you’re making me choose, I’d probably go with Baker at the Sam, but it is a position he hasn’t played since the first week of the season last year. Fortunately for OSU, the Sam and Will are interchangeable.
4. J.K. Dobbins will have a run of at least 40 yards.
The Illinois defense has given up more rushes of at least 10 yards than anybody else in the Big Ten. Interestingly, however, they are fifth in the B1G in runs of 20+ yards (9), which is eight fewer than what the Buckeyes have given up. No team has given up more such runs than OSU in the conference. Illinois has only given up two 30-yard runs and just one 40-yard run. They have yet to give up a run of 50 yards, but I think that could fall in this game. If there is one thing that Dobbins is good at, it’s making the second level miss.
5. Ohio State will hold Illinois under 200 yards of total offense.
Illinois has only been held under 200 yards of total offense once this season, and that was 199 yards in the fourth game of the season against Nebraska. Ohio State has held two opponents under 200 yards of total offense this season — last week against Michigan State (195) and back in October against Maryland (66). I don’t know how Illinois plans on moving the ball this week, unless they are just going to wait until the backups come in so that they can put up some cheap yards that totally shouldn’t count against me.
Bonus: Somebody other than J.T. Barrett is going to throw a touchdown.
Maybe Parris Campbell on a jet sweep. Now is the time to put something cute in for Michigan to have to worry about.