With Michigan State standing in the way of Ohio State’s game against Michigan, the Buckeyes struggled to get past the Spartans on the road. Urban Meyer’s squad eventually pulled out a 17-16 win, setting up an epic showdown with Ohio State’s arch-rival in the Wolverines that could potentially be the last game for the Buckeyes before the bowl game season is upon them if Penn State wins out and takes the Big Ten championship game spot from the East division. Let’s see how the depth chart is looking this week.
J.T. Barrett is the starting quarterback and will be for the entirety of the season, barring injury. Barrett was struggling with inconsistent throws against the Spartans, throwing for just 86 yards and one touchdowns on 10-of-22 passing. Weather might have played a factor, though he also rushed for 105 yards on 24 carries. Joe Burrow remains the backup.
At running back, Mike Weber remains the starter with OR in between he and Samuel. Despite a lingering shoulder injury, Weber eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the season as he rushed for 111 yards on only 14 carries with an average of 7.9 yards per carry and added a touchdown. Samuel added four carries on the ground and amassed 13 yards. Both of them will have to be at their best against Michigan if the Buckeyes are to be successful.
The starters are the same as in previous weeks, as the receiving core continues its growth. Noah Brown starts at X, K.J Hill OR Corey Smith OR Johnnie Dixon all slotted for the third wide receiver spot, and Terry McLaurin OR James Clark at Z. Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor are the third-string options. Only five different players caught passes on Saturday, with Parris Campbell having perhaps the biggest day among the receivers, with only two receptions for 12 yards. No receiver caught a touchdown against the Spartans.
The H-back spot remains with Curtis Samuel OR Dontre Wilson. Samuel continues to be one of the more electrifying players in the country, but wasn’t quite as explosive against Michigan State. Samuel rushed for 13 yards on four carries and also hauled in four receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown. Wilson surprisingly didn’t touch the ball against the Spartans on Saturday.
The tight end spot is firmly locked down by Marcus Baugh with A.J. Alexander listed as the backup. Baugh caught two passes on Saturday for 20 yards but was mostly quiet beyond that.
The offensive line starters are listed as Jamarco Jones, Michael Jordan, Pat Elflein, Billy Price, and Isaiah Prince (from left to right). The offensive line continues their improvement with several good games coming from them in a row. If there was ever a time to be at the top of their game, this next game would be perfect timing.
On the defensive side of the ball, Sam Hubbard OR Jayln Holmes and Tyquan Lewis remain listed as the defensive end starters. The backups at defensive end are Nick Bosa OR Jonathon Cooper. In the middle, Michael Hill anchors the defensive line alongside Dre’Mont Jones who replaced Tracy Sprinkle and Davon Hamilton is listed as the co-starter with Jones.
The linebacking core continues to be a strong unit. Raekwon McMillan is still slotted in at middle linebacker. Surrounding him are outside linebackers Chris Worley and Dante Booker OR Jerome Baker. Booker suffered a slight MCL sprain early on against Bowling Green and a combination of Joe Burger and Jerome Baker have stepped in very well in his place. Rashod Berry, Joe Burger, and Craig Fada are your backups. Baker has been the one to fill in for Booker most of all season, and has played well.
At cornerback, Gareon Conley is the starter on one end and Marshon Lattimore OR Denzel Ward on the other for the second corner spot. For safeties, Damon Webb slides over this season with Malik Hooker getting the other safety spot. Erick Smith is listed as the backup to Hooker, while Jordan Fuller is the backup to Webb. The secondary had another solid defensive performance stepping up in clutch moments. Gareon Conley had the game sealing interception at the end of the game.
For special teams, sophomore walk-on Tyler Durbin continues to be the starter at kicker for both kickoffs and field goals as Sean Nuernberger recovers from a groin injury that forced him to miss most of camp. Durbin connected on both of his extra points against Michigan State, and knocked in a field goal from 39 yards out.
Senior Cameron Johnston remains as the punter, and that’s no surprise considering he’s been a mainstay since his freshman season and has done a tremendous job. Johnston had seven punts for an average of 41.6 yards.
At punt return, Curtis Samuel OR K.J. Hill take over after Dontre Wilson’s struggles. Handling kickoff returns will be Parris Campbell OR Dontre Wilson. The long-snapping duties are given to Liam McCollough, and holding for kicks is Cameron Johnston.