9 Ohio State - Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com
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9 Ohio State

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

The program is in turmoil entering the season because it's unclear whether Urban Meyer will remain as coach, but talentwise, this team is stacked.... The biggest question is at quarterback, where they have to replace J.T. Barrett. In relief last year, Dwayne Haskins made some good throws, and he was athletic getting out of the pocket. He's not as good as Barrett, but he's not going to hurt the team.... He will have some big-time weapons. J.K. Dobbins is one of the best running backs in the country, and they're loaded at wideout. Austin Mack was Ohio State's best offensive player against USC in the Cotton Bowl, and he has the physical ability to win one-on-one battles. Johnnie Dixon isn't a high volume guy, but he has big-play potential.... There are blue-chippers everywhere on this defense. Safety JORDAN FULLER emerged as a star last year. He anchors what should be a shutdown secondary.... You could make an argument that this defensive line is just as good as Clemson's. Nick Bosa and Chase Young are headed for the NFL.... I have some concern because of inexperience at linebacker, but otherwise the defense is one of the best in the country.

BY THE NUMBERS

114

Tackles for a loss by the Buckeyes' defenders last year, most in the nation.

17

Combined rushing TDs from J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, most of any returning RB duo.

5-YEAR TREND

WINS

This Ohio State team is as talented and deep as any in the country, but inexperience at quarterback could keep them from a Big 10 title.

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

15

12

9

6

3

14-1

12-1

11-2

12-2

11-1

YEAR

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018*

* SI PROJECTION

X-FACTOR

After four years of (mostly) J.T. Barrett at quarterback, Ohio State is set for a change. DWAYNE HASKINS, a 6'3" redshirt sophomore, has a big arm and has shown that he's mobile as well. In eight games last season, he passed for 565 yards, completing 70.2% of his passes, throwing four TDs and just one interception. Haskins, who won the job after junior Joe Burrow transferred to LSU in the spring, will take over an offense with plenty of other weapons on the ground, so it's hard to imagine the Buckeyes will rely on their QB to run the ball. If Haskins is allowed to be a pocket passer, the offense will be even scarier than it was with Barrett.

2018 SCHEDULE

SEPT. 1

OREGON STATE

SEPT. 8

RUTGERS

SEPT. 15

@ TCU (14) [SI RANKINGS]

SEPT. 22

TULANE

SEPT. 29

@ PENN STATE (7) [BIGGEST GAME][SI RANKINGS]

OCT. 6

INDIANA

OCT. 13

MINNESOTA

OCT. 20

@ PURDUE

NOV. 3

NEBRASKA

NOV. 10

@ MICHIGAN STATE (11) [KEY MATCHUP][SI RANKINGS]

NOV. 17

@ MARYLAND

NOV. 24

MICHIGAN (15) [KEY MATCHUP][SI RANKINGS]

KEY MATCHUP

BIGGEST GAME

SI RANKINGS