Written by Lloyd Ribner III (@Ribner3)
This Years Record: 10-0 (6-0 1st in Big Ten Leaders)
Head Coach: Urban Meyer
Overall: 127-23 (.847)
At Ohio State: 22-0 (14-0)
Last Years Record: 12-0 (8-0) Ineligible for Postseason Play
Bowls Since 2000: 12 Appearances, 3 in National Title Game (6-6 Record)
Mascot: Brutus Buckeye
Colors: Scarlet and Grey
National Titles: 7 (1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002)
Conference Titles: 36
Heisman Winners: 7
Fun Fact: Ohio State’s famed “Script Ohio” was actually first performed by Michigan’s marching band.
This season has flown by, as I can already smell the Thanksgiving turkey, and the newfangled rivalry weekend that goes along with that. However, before all that the Hoosiers have to take a trip to the banks of the Olentangy River and face the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Horseshoe. While this is never an easy feat, and it’s even more difficult this year as Ohio State is the third ranked team in the nation. They have not lost since Luke Fickle led the team to a loss against the Gators in the Gator Bowl. So what are the men in cream and crimson up for when they face the men of scarlet and grey? Here is a little insight into the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes.
1. Braxton Miller is Gooooood
Alright, we all know this. Miller finished in the top-five in Heisman voting last year. He has been an SI cover boy multiple times, in addition to winning the Chicago Tribune Silver Football. While he has always been a physical freak, displaying his athleticism while demolishing opponents throughout the Big Ten, the junior has finally become a quarterback. His footwork is improved, he has become patient in the pocket, and most importantly he has nipped his accuracy issues in the butt. In his first two seasons Miller completed just 56.6% of his attempted passes. That number has not just increased, but skyrocketed this season, all the way up to 68%. In addition Miller is doing this all while throwing more touchdowns, less interceptions and being sacked less than his previous two years as a starter in Columbus. What might be the scariest part of the whole equation is that even with all the adjustments he is actually running for more yards per carry than he has in either of his first two years. Miller is now a true dual threat that the Hoosiers will have their hands full with, they hope, this Saturday.
2. Carlos Hyde might be better
As if Braxton Miller wasn’t enough to handle out of the backfield, the Buckeyes sport one of the nations most dominant rushers right beside him in Carlos Hyde. While his numbers might not look supremely gaudy, much of that is due to playing time. Hyde was suspended for the first three games of the season, in addition to being pulled early in games due to the Buckeyes domination of lesser opponents. In his seven games played, Hyde has rushed for an outstanding 7.9 yards per rush, totaling 947 yards on the season. The powerful back has been able to reach the end zone 11 different times. In addition Hyde has put up five consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, including a career best 246 yards just last week.
3. Oh yea, they have a pair of pretty good receivers too
While no Buckeye wideout ranks in the top-5 in the Big Ten in receiving yards, both Philly Brown and Devin Smith sit within the top-10. Philly Brown leads the way with 48 receptions, for 596 yards. He also has 9 receiving touchdowns on the year, the most in the conference. Opposite him is Junior Devin Smith who has 552 receiving yards of his own this season, averaging 14.2 yards per reception. Smith has also shown a penchant for getting in the paint, as he has 6 receiving touchdowns of his own on the season. These two targets along with the emergence of tight end Jeff Heuerman makes for a deadly arsenal that Braxton Miller has at his disposal.
4. Noah Spence, and the rest of the young dynamic defensive front
Listen, I know I am obligated to discuss Ryan Shazier here, but lets be real, nothing I say about the junior linebacker will be telling you anymore than you already know about the future first round pick. Instead I wanted to focus my attention on Ohio State’s young blossoming defensive ends. Any discussion of them must start with Noah Spence. The Pennsylvania native was a the number one defensive tackle in the nation coming out of high school and a top-five player overall. While he has a bit of a slow start to the season, he has broken out of late to the tune of 12 tackles for loss this season, 7.5 of which were sacks. While Spence was expected to step up in 2013, true freshman Joey Bosa was not. While he was extremely talented, he was also behind an even more hyped player in Adolphus Washington, who came in alongside Spence as a 5-star defensive end. However, an injury to Washington allowed Bosa the opportunity he needed to flourish. In his first season of college ball the Florida native has racked up 7.5 tackles for loss with 4.5 of them coming by the way of a quarterback sack. Add to that the return of the aforementioned Washington who has 3.5 TFLs of his own, and that is one heck of a young pass rushing unit.
5. The Meyer Mentality
Urban Meyer has been the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes for 22 games entering this Saturday. Under his guidance the Bucks have 22 wins. In Meyer’s 22 games as the head coach at Ohio State, they have nine 50-point performances. During his predecessor Jim Tressel’s 128 games the Buckeyes had just six such games. Meyer has brought an SEC mentality to the Big Ten. From game day, to training camps, to the recruiting trail, everyone must step up their game to match what he and his staff are doing in Columbus. Meyer would rather win 63-14 than 49-14. We have seen him challenge calls when games were over and call timeouts to make sure he takes a 42-7 lead into the half. While he has many enemies nationwide, what he does in regards to coaching a football team clearly works. Just take a look at the statistics above. Hoosier fans have to hope that Kevin Wilson and his staff can match what the Buckeyes have on their sidelines.