It's Michigan week. Ohio State is coming off an ugly loss to Michigan State, and the Buckeyes look to rebound against the arch rival Wolverines in Ann Arbor. Here's how the depth chart looks heading into Saturday:
J.T. Barrett remains the starter after going 9-of-16 passing for 46 yards and a touchdown through the air against Michigan State. Barrett also rushed for 44 yards on 15 carries. Barrett missed badly on a couple of key throws, but there were plenty of issues all night against the Spartans, including receivers dropping passes and the offensive line struggling to hold off the Michigan State blitzing. Cardale Jones is the backup and will be ready at a moment's notice after having to come in last season against Michigan when Barrett went down to injury.
Ezekiel Elliott enters his final Michigan game as the starter at running back. Elliott rushed for just 33 yards on 12 carries last Saturday and also added a touchdown. He got more coverage for his comments after the game than what he accomplished on the field against a stiff Michigan State defense, drawing criticism from many media outlets. He later apologized and vowed to be ready for the Michigan game. Bri'onte Dunn and Warren Ball back up Elliott as usual.
Curtis Samuel, Jalin Marshall, and Michael Thomas are your starters at wide receiver. Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, and James Clark are your backups to the starters. Campbell is listed as OR with Jeff Greene. It was a brutal night for the wide receivers as well against Michigan State, with Jalin Marshall hauling in two receptions, the highest among the receiving core. He did add the only other touchdown for Ohio State.
Braxton Miller remains the starter at H-back. Miller was mostly a non-factor against Michigan State, though I'm unsure how much was his fault alone. Miller was wide open on a route during the game that would have likely gone for a touchdown had Barrett not had a poorly overthrown ball. Still, Miller hasn't had the kind of season people might have expected, given his hot start against Virginia Tech. Curtis Samuel remains the backup.
The tight end spot is firmly locked down by Nick Vannett, with Marcus Baugh listed as the backup once again. No changes here, as has been the case all season. Vannett had a game-high three receptions, leading all Ohio State receivers, but only amounted to nine yards total.
The offensive line stays the same up front, with Taylor Decker, Billy Price, Jacoby Boren, Pat Elflein, and Chase Farris (from left to right). The play from the line this season has been downright baffling, particularly in pass protection. They'll have a chance to at least try and go out with a bang against Michigan.
Switching to defense, from one end to the other, the starters on the defensive line are listed as Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington, and Tyquan Lewis. Sam Hubbard is the backup to Bosa, while Donovan Munger OR Tracy Sprinkle backs up Washington. Tommy Schutt OR Joel Hale OR Michael Hill are listed at starting defensive tackle, while Jayln Holmes backs up Lewis with Darius Slade closing that side of the line out. Hubbard forced and recovered a huge fumble on Saturday and the defensive line played pretty well for the majority of the game, though Joey Bosa was called for three offside penalties, one of which allowed the Spartans convert a fourth down.
The linebackers remain the same with Joshua Perry at weak outside linebacker, Raekwon McMillan in at middle linebacker, and Darron Lee finishing at strong outside linebacker. It was an oddly quiet game for the linebacking core against Michigan State. Joshua Perry was the lone standout in this group, with a couple of fantastic tackles.
At cornerback, not much has changed. Gareon Conley and Eli Apple man the outside edges. Damon Webb is the backup alongside Marshon Lattimore. For safeties, the starters are still Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell. Jarrod Barnes remains Bell's backup, while Malik Hooker remains Powell's backup.
Jalin Marshall remains the starter at punt returner and has no listed backup.
Sean Nuernberger remains the starter. Nuernberger connected on both of his extra points, while Jack Willoughby was only on the field for kickoffs. Johnston is still the starting punter and that won't change for the foreseeable future. Curtis Samuel and Warren Ball are the starters at kick return.