Publish date:

9 OHIO STATE

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

"This is going to sound weird because they finished No. 2 in scoring defense, but new co-coordinator Greg Schiano will make them better. His specialty at Rutgers was third-down pressure packages—finding creative ways to get to the quarterback. Ohio State will force more turnovers because of what he'll do on third down.

Last year you strategized around neutralizing Darron Lee at linebacker and keeping Joey Bosa from wrecking the game. I thought Gareon Conley, who returns at corner, and Eli Apple [the No. 10 pick in the draft] were similar talents. One way teams took advantage of them was by having the slot receiver run 10 or 12 yards downfield then cut to the sideline; the safeties struggled to cover that. They don't bring back any guys on the defensive line who are first-rounders like Bosa, so they'll have to make an adjustment there.

With J.T. Barrett entrenched as the starter at quarterback, Urban Meyer can get back in his comfort zone. As he did with Alex Smith at Utah and Tim Tebow at Florida, Meyer's going to challenge teams by forcing them to defend the quarterback run. They're really going to miss the experience of running back Ezekiel Elliott, especially in pass protection. I wonder how talented their offensive line will be. Last year left tackle Taylor Decker was the guy our staff really liked; no one else scared you. They'll miss Mike Thomas at receiver, but they have quality depth. That group is raw and young, but they can play."

FAST FACTS

4

Rank of the Buckeyes' recruiting class. Coach Urban Meyer hopes 18 members will play as freshmen.

215

Weight, in pounds, of 5'10" freshman running back Mike Weber, who will have to replace Ezekiel Elliott as a runner and blocker.

67

Total touchdowns, in 17 starts, by junior quarterback J.T. Barrett.

766

Combined receiving yards of Curtis Samuel and Jalin Marshall as sophomores. Players who accounted for 80.0% of OSU's catches last year are no longer on the team.

49

Tackles by corner Gareon Conley, one of three returning starters from the FBS's second-ranked scoring defense.

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

5 YEAR TREND

WINS

15

12

9

6

3

6--7

12--0

12--2

14--1 (NATL. CHAMPS)

12--1

YEAR

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

IMPACT FRESHMAN

Joey Bosa came to Columbus in 2013 as the country's top defensive end recruit from St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, then was drafted No. 3 in April. Can his not-so-little brother, 6'3", 265-pound NICK BOSA, follow suit? This year's top end recruit, Nick brings refined technique, an explosive first step and powerful hands.

2016 SCHEDULE

SATURDAY 9/3

BOWLING GREEN

SATURDAY 9/10

TULSA

SATURDAY 9/17

AT OKLAHOMA [KEY MATCHUP]

BYE

SATURDAY 10/1

RUTGERS

SATURDAY 10/8

INDIANA

SATURDAY 10/15

AT WISCONSIN

SATURDAY 10/22

AT PENN STATE

SATURDAY 10/29

NORTHWESTERN

SATURDAY 11/5

NEBRASKA

SATURDAY 11/12

AT MARYLAND

SATURDAY 11/19

AT MICHIGAN STATE [KEY MATCHUP]

SATURDAY 11/26

MICHIGAN [BIGGEST GAME]

KEY MATCHUP

BIGGEST GAME