With the Ohio State offense, let's say, stagnant over the past few games, maybe it's time to let the best running back in america take over.
Current stat line: 61 carries, 331 yards, 4 TD, 5 rec, 22 yards
The game situation
At this point last year, Elliott had only 27 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns, so it's safe to say his production this year hasn't been a concern. And while other Ohio State skill players have struggled to find a rhythm in the early season, Elliott seems poised to pick up right where he left off in the 2014 playoff.
As vital and dangerous as Elliott is with the ball in his hands, he may have even a greater impact as a blocker. Urban Meyer has called him the best running back he has ever had without the ball in his hands, and with perimeter blocking being an issue for the Buckeyes this year, Elliott can certainly be used to spring a run by Braxton Miller, Jalin Marshall, etc.
Western Michigan is likely a top-tier MAC team with improved talent, but they have struggled against the run this year. Currently the Broncos' rank 108th in FBS rushing defense, giving up a robust 224 yards per game. That number is elevated by their week two loss to Georgia Southern during which they were gashed for 413 yards on the ground.
What to watch for
Think Urban Meyer was happy with the performance on offense last week? Expect to see the ball in 'Zeke's hands early and often on Saturday. While Meyer avoided directly calling out the offensive line in his weekly presser, the consensus is the group is not playing to their potential. If they show up motivated and angry, as they did so often in 2014, they should be able to open up some big running lanes that Buckeye fans sometimes take for granted.
Talent is definitely not the reason for the offense's struggles this year, so it may just be an issue of energy and motivation. This is an area where Elliott, as an upperclassmen and leader, can step up. As the saying going, execution eats strategy for breakfast. And with the quarterback situation in somewhat flux, Elliott can absolutely take over.
A wrist injury prevented Elliott from playing at 100% to start the 2014 year, but we were told he was completely healthy to start 2015. With no backup running back emerging, it's key that Elliot protects his body -- a task difficult with his physical running style.
When all else fails, give the ball to 'Zeke. Elliott should be looking at another 20+ carry day on Saturday and will have the opportunity to put up some big yardage totals.
The Heisman talk? It's safe to say he is still in the conversation and Saturday's game should help pad some stats, but if the Ohio State team is going to hit their full potential this year, they'll need to find some rhythm on offense. Elliott will be a big part of that.
As we saw against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon last season -- when 'Zeke gets going, he's hard to stop.