78 Days To Football*

78 Days to Football Ohio State Football Buckeyes

This is the 23nd in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.) 

Three weeks ago when we started this countdown counting down to the end of Big Ten Football Media Days and the official unofficial start of Buckeye football, I never thought it would become the cultural phenomenon that it has turned into.

Initially, Tom and I just wanted to have something we could give you every day. We had no idea that in a span of three weeks we would have spawned seven coffee table books, 42 different t-shirt designs, and a major motion picture in the works with one of the guys from The Goonies attached to star. (No, not Sean Astin or Josh Brolin.)

But here we are. It really makes you appreciate how fortunate we are to live in a society where quality isn’t everything.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t yet, you can check out yesterday’s installment of this 100-times-in-a-lifetime event.

Now please join us as we continue our countdown of the 100 greatest Buckeyes of The Ozone era (1996-present).

We will also preview one of the 100 most exciting games on this fall’s college football schedule, and one of the 100 things we’re most looking forward to this fall.

Plus, we’ll preview one of this season’s 100 biggest personnel matchups.

Greatest Buckeyes Of The Ozone Era

#78 Jeff Heuerman, 2011-2014

Jeff Heuerman was part of Jim Tressel’s final recruiting class at Ohio State. Joining Heuerman in the 2011 class were names like Cardale Jones, Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller, Michael Bennett, Devin Smith, Nick Vannett, Evan Spencer, Curtis Grant, and Ryan Shazier.

That’s a pretty good base for Urban Meyer to work with upon his arrival.

Heuerman ended up as a three-year starter for the Buckeyes. He was mostly a blocker in two-tight end sets as a sophomore in 2012. His best season came in 2013 when he caught 26 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns. The play-action was especially deadly for the Buckeyes that year with Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde dominating on the ground.

Heuerman’s senior season saw him splitting time with Nick Vannett, but he was always a team leader and the most complete tight end that Ohio State has had in a very long time.

Best Games This Fall

#78 Ohio State at Maryland

Tom Orr said on a recent episode of Accost the Field that Maryland is going to trip somebody up, but I’m not sure if he was talking about the Buckeyes or not.

There does need to be somewhat of a concern here for Ohio State. Not only is the game on the road, but it comes between the Michigan State and Michigan games.

Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin will be breaking in a new offense with a new offensive coordinator, but since this game will take place in mid-November, there will be nothing new about it. There will also be plenty of film to help the Buckeyes out.

History is on Ohio State’s side here, as you might expect. The Buckeyes have won the four meetings between these two teams by 48, 59, 21, and 28 points, respectively. Eventually, however, there is going to be a 17-point game here somewhere.

What We Can’t Wait To See

#78 The Rushmen

It’s third-and-9, Oregon State sends in their best third-and-9 play call.

Ohio State sends in Chase Young, Jonathon Cooper, Dre’Mont Jones, and Nick Bosa.

The Beavers then punt on fourth-and-17.

You can make the argument that the Rushmen have been overrated since their inception, but that’s only because they get talked about so much.

I don’t really know how Chase Young and Jonathon Cooper are going to do — I have an idea, though. On the inside, however, Nick Bosa and Dre’Mont Jones are going to give the Rushmen an interior pass rush that they’ve never had before. In theory at least.

Matchup To Watch

#78 Juwann Bushell-Beatty MICH OT vs. Jonathon Cooper

Since we don’t yet know who the starting tackles are going to be for Michigan, I’m going with one of the guys currently projected as a starter for the Wolverines. Juwann Bushell-Beatty is a veteran, but hasn’t been very productive to this point. In fact, there have been times when he was downright very-below-average.

Jonathon Cooper is going to be in the defensive end rotation for the first time in his career, and he can’t wait to be there. A speed rusher, Cooper will provide Bushell-Beatty with a versatile test of his overall pass blocking skills.

There is no telling who Michigan will be trotting out at quarterback by the time November rolls around. If the offensive tackles don’t get better, the guy who starts in September may have no chance of being the guy in November. Ed Warinner is going to be a huge help here, but this is going to be a tough matchup for the Wolverines.