The Perfect Game
The Buckeyes are on pace to set a school record for total offense per game this season. The current record is 511.9 yards per game by the 2013 team, but the 2017 team is currently averaging 523.6 yards per game. Their 42.5 points per game is tied for third-highest in school history as well.
Despite those lofty numbers, things haven’t always been peachy for the Scarlet and Gray offense. There have been some struggles along the way, most notably in their two losses.
But when things are going well, they are going very well. And when the offense put everything together, there was no stopping them.
How many times did that happen this season?
“To me, there’s a couple of them. They’re kind of different,” said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.
“I thought at Nebraska on the road the way J.T. [Barrett] executed, and we threw the ball and still had a good running game. We had a strong outing on the road. But that was an impressive offensive outing. The finish of the Penn State game was impressive. The way we came out against a great Michigan State team and ran the ball was unusual because people don’t do that. And those guys came in playing really strong.
“I think those three games were different. That Michigan State game got into a strong running game. And to me, when you’re a really good offense, talk about balance, I think balance is when you have the ability to run or pass, not that you’re 50/50.”
Third Time Not the Charm
One of the topics of conversation in Dallas is whether or not this season was a success for the Buckeyes.
On the one hand, they are the Big Ten Champs, they had wins over two top four teams, and they beat Michigan. On the other hand, for the second year in a row, a 31-point loss effectively killed their national title hopes.
The season didn’t go as hoped for the Buckeyes, but most of it did. On Friday, they’re going to try to continue the positives by attempting to avoid the first three-loss season in Urban Meyer’s tenure at Ohio State.
“Well, we want to go win because 12-2 isn’t bad. Isn’t a bad season, you know? It’s not what’s expected in Columbus, Ohio, but it’s a great season,” said freshman running back J.K. Dobbins. “And this will be one of the best teams that we’ve had. That’s what we’re trying to do. Me, personally, I wouldn’t want to let Coach Meyer down and give him his first three-game loss season.
On any given day you could go to a football game between Ohio State and USC and see one heck of a track meet.
There are outstanding athletes everywhere, and what the Trojans have at the skill positions on offense can keep a defense up at night.
Some defenders, however, enjoy watching USC because of the familiarity.
“They have some great skill players. It’s kind of fun just watching them sling the ball everywhere,” said OSU linebacker Jerome Baker. “Their running back is blazing fast. USC is USC. They’re supposed to be fast and physical and have great athletes. The main thing when I pop in the tape is that wow factor. They’re just fast and can move. And it kind of works to my benefit because I’m just like that, so this will definitely be a test for me personally.”
You Had One Job
Some say it takes a village to raise a child.
Those villagers obviously never had to play a team sport like football.
In football, everybody has a job or an assignment to do on every play, and the success of that play can hinge on whether or not your job is done properly. They can’t be worrying about raising somebody else’s kid, just like every single Buckeye who takes the field on Friday can’t be worrying about doing somebody else’s job.
There is an accountability at play on each snap, and a distinct desire not to let any teammates down.
“You want to make sure you focus on doing your job,” said left tackle Jamarco Jones. “You have to try to understand the player next to you is going to do his job, so make sure you focus on executing your job. If everyone executes on a play, usually good things happen. That’s one thing you can’t do, once those things happen, is worry about everybody’s job. Just think about your job. Communicate as fast as you can before the ball is snapped and roll with it. Good and bad is going to happen, but you have to move on to the next play.”