Welcome to I Got Five on it, the Ohio State game preview column where I’m doubling down on my wrong opinion that no one but Demario McCall should be allowed to return punts for Ohio State the rest of the season.
With the Oregon State and Rutgers games mercifully behind us, it’s time for the first true test of the season, as the No. 4 Buckeyes take on No. 15 TCU in Arlington. It’s the ABC night game, and the first time that the schools have played since 1973 (!), and one of the more unique Ohio State non-con matchups in recent memory.
TCU is very TCU this year, as in they aren’t getting a ton of love nationally, but are an upset away from having the biggest win of the season and jumping right into the conversation. It’s hard to know what to take away from their game last week versus SMU— given that it was played after like 30 hours of continuous rainfall in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro— but here are some fun things they did:
Their sloppy play against the Mustangs aside, this game will be an excellent early-season test for Ohio State, and a showcase for Ryan Day’s future abilities as a full-time head coach. With that said, here are the five things I’m watching for tomorrow night:
Take a sip
Did you know that Ohio State played in AT&T Stadium when they beat Oregon to win the first College Football Playoff? If not, I commend you for staying away from literally every article written about this game on the internet all week.
It’s a great memory, and you can count on ESPN having more than a few clips from that game ready to play throughout the broadcast. If you’re looking for a fun drinking game, those references are a good start. But in true I Got Five on It fashion, let’s take it several steps further than it needs to go:
- Take two sips anytime Kirk Herbstreit says Ryan Day/Dwayne Haskins want the offense to “go vertical.”
- One sip every time J.K. Dobbins or Mike Weber get a carry; because handing off to your running backs in a big game is actually a thing you’re allowed to do, amazingly.
- Three sips if the 2014 Virginia Tech game is mentioned.
- Finish your drink if they show a photo of Urban Meyer holding the CFP trophy and use the word “embattled.”
- Two sips when Herbsteit talks about J.T. Barrett’s leadership.
- One sip for every Ohio State tackle for loss; two for every sack. (lowkey the most dangeous item on this list)
- Finish drink if Tate Martell is brought in for a gadget play that goes totally wrong.
(For the record, the official beer of this column is Busch Light.)
7’s big stage
One of my favorite things in college football is the, “Oh shit, he’s a dude™” moment. It’s not a Heisman Moment, but just the first time it really becomes apparent to you that a player is ridiculous. Some of my favorite, “Oh shit, he’s a dude™” moments:
- Reggie Bush vs. UCLA, 2004
- Tyrod Taylor vs. Nebraska, 2009
- Alshon Jeffery vs. Alabama, 2010
- Tyrann Mathieu vs. Oregon, 2011
- Khalil Mack vs. Ohio State, 2013
- Kyle Van Noy vs. Texas, 2013
- Laviska Shenault vs. Nebraska, last week
This game is Dwayne Haskins’ “Oh shit, he’s a dude™” moment for the rest of college football. (You already know he’s one.)
TCU’s defense is a several story escalator ride up from Oregon State and Rutgers’, but I’m all in on Haskins being the type of quarterback talent we’ve never seen in Columbus, and tomorrow’s really his first chance to showcase that on a national stage.
Dobbins gets loose
How quiet has J.K. Dobbins been? Despite only one less rushing attempt than Mike Weber, Dobbins has 70 fewer yards. His explosiveness has been zapped, with only two of carries of ten-plus yards so far, after he put up 38 last year. Expect that to change tomorrow.
Dobbins’ skill-set will pay off against a TCU defense that clogs the middle, and forces teams to get to the edges. Despite Weber’s renewed explosiveness, he’s still much more suited as a North-South runner, and I don’t think that works as well against this defense. Dobbins has more wiggle, can get to the outside, and shake TCU defenders that showed less than ideal tackling ability last week:
Shaun Wade will never not start another game at Ohio State
It was merely two weeks ago that I publicly announced in this here column my self-appointment to the Presidency of Shaun Wade Hive:
Wade has followed through on that promise, picking up his first career interception last week, while notching some impressive accolades in the process. In short, he’s been great the first two games. It looks like the coaches have taken notice:
Schiano said the other safety spot is still up for grab. But said Isaiah Pryor made strides in week 2 in consistency. Said competition may go on for a bit with Pryor, Jahsen Wint, Brendon White and Shaun Wade. Wade is a CB who has impressed enough that coaches want to see more.— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) September 13, 2018
While it’s still — * Stephen A. Smith voice *— completely, and utterly baffling, TO ME, that Wade isn’t just starting at corner, it looks like he’s going to see plenty of action in the nickel, and possibly at safety. TCU uses four-and-five wide sets often, so he’s going to get even more opportunities to make plays. Odds are strong that he makes the most of that playing time, and forces the staff to make him a permanent fixture going forward.
On our Hangout in the Holy-Land TCU preview, I mentioned that this game reminds me a lot of the 2016 Oklahoma game. While it’s a bit less hyped, I think we’re going to end up with the same result. I’m not the only one confident in a comfortable Ohio State win, but it’s worth noting that a certified coaching legend will be opposite Ryan Day.
Even if Ohio State’s offense cruises, you just know that Gary Patterson is going to break out some exotic looks (Herbstreit™) early that will force Day and the rest of the offensive staff to adjust. In-game adjustments haven’t necessarily been a strong suit in the Meyer-era, but I doubt Day will be as stubborn as Meyer tends to be when it comes to executing the style of play he wants. (Also, having a real wide receivers coach will help.)
The Buckeyes already have a sizable talent advantage, and if they are able to handle the different looks TCU shows early, they shouldn’t have a ton of trouble moving the ball with their usual efficiency, while also sprinkling in a few of the big plays TCU is prone to giving up.
That’s it for this week’s I Got Five on it. Please feel free to add to the drinking game, and come back next week for my 1,000 word column lamenting Urban Meyer taking back the reigns and running Dwayne Haskins 18 times against Tulane.