“For now though it seems better to appreciate how good the two guys competing for Ohio State’s starting job this spring were, and enjoy watching both of them.”
-Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
When Dwayne Haskins lit up the field against Oregon State Saturday, it certainly seemed as though the coaching staff made the right call in naming the sophomore to the starting role. The next day, former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow put together a win against No. 8 ranked Miami in his first game with LSU after transferring over the summer.
Burrow completed 11-of-24 passes for 140 yards against the Hurricanes. While not flashy, he set his team up for a 33-17 win against a formidable defense. He threw no interceptions and his offense gave up no fumbles, leaving the Hurricanes yearning for the turnover chain. The graduate transfer managed to remain poised in his first-ever start in a nationally televised game on college football’s opening weekend. No other games were being played at the time, and all eyes were on him. That’s a lot of pressure, but Burrow has had years of practice in Columbus to hone his skills.
Many current Ohio State players, several of whom spent more than three seasons with Burrow in the locker room, were excited to see their former teammate doing so well in his first start, even if it was with another team. Defensive end Nick Bosa, defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and fellow quarterback Tate Martell all had words for Burrow on Twitter.
In an unexpected way, things managed to work out for both Burrow and Haskins, and it will be exciting to watch both this season as they work through their initial games as new starting quarterbacks. With the win against Miami Sunday, Burrow is now in a position to lead an LSU team which has a lot of potential this season. Haskins, meanwhile, can continue to grow as a quarterback, and will have his moment in the spotlight when the Buckeyes face TCU on Sept. 15.
“After a 24-17 loss to Notre Dame in which it failed to score an offensive touchdown for nearly 58 minutes, Michigan is still searching for a spark.”
-Adam Rittenberg, ESPN
Jim Harbaugh was unusually quiet this past offseason, keeping his antics to a minimum while building an empire of seemingly powerful coaching and offensive weapons to supplement what has become a lackluster area in his regime at Michigan. In particular, quarterback Shea Patterson, who transferred from Ole Miss this offseason, was immediately eligible to play and was named the starter. Ed Warinner, formerly of Ohio State, joined Harbaugh’s staff as the offensive line coach, and ex-Florida coach Jim McElwain was brought on to coach wide receivers.
Though the first game gives little credence to how the rest of the season will play out, Michigan’s seven-point loss to Notre Dame showed just how far the Wolverines still have to go to generate consistent and competitive offense. That is, they have a tall order of finding an identity on offense by the time they face a harrowing conference schedule which includes a three-game stand against Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State, all before the season finale against Ohio State. Against Notre Dame, the offensive line in particular faltered, as the Wolverines accrued just 58 yards on the ground. If these struggles continue, it would seem that, by the time Harbaugh and company come to Columbus Nov. 24, they will have a tough time against a formidable defensive line.
Again, it is too early to tell how things will play out throughout the season. Patterson may simply need more time on the field to settle down. The line may just need a few games to gel together. By the time Michigan faces Wisconsin Oct. 13, the offense may be humming. But it is clear that, despite all the changes on the coaching staff, Harbaugh did not enter the season with his team where he wanted it to be on the offensive side of the ball.
“Rutgers has dropped its last two games against the Buckeyes by scores of 56-0 and 58-0. It has been outscored 219-24 since joining the Big Ten. It’s the Scarlet Knights’ most lopsided conference series by far.”
-James Kratch, NJ Advance Media
Once again, the world seems to be against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights as they prepare to head to Ohio State for game two of the young 2018 season. The Buckeyes are coming off a dominant win against Oregon State which, for the time being, has silenced questions about Dwayne Haskins’ ability as a starter and Ryan Day’s capacity to coach.
Though Rutgers managed to put together a solid, 35-7 victory over Texas State, the Scarlet Knights will have a long way to go this week if they hope to have a chance against the reigning Big Ten champions. One area which might favor Rutgers, however, is the big play--if they are able to execute. Oregon State, who finished No. 112 in the NCAA in total offense last season, managed to put together 316 yards and three touchdowns on just seven plays Saturday against Ohio State. The defense, which happened to be missing safety Jordan Fuller and linebacker Tuf Borland for most of Saturday, will likely shore up and eliminate many of these big plays, but it is an area which the Scarlet Knights may be able to exploit heading into Saturday.
Still, while the learning curve favors Rutgers, Ohio State’s overall ability on the field means an overmatched opponent. An even matchup seems unlikely, but the gap will probably be smaller than the blowouts the Buckeyes have handed over for the past two seasons. Ohio State opened as a 33-point favorite over Rutgers, giving an indication of the narrower expected margin of victory.
Chris Ash, in his third season with Rutgers, has managed to improve an abysmal record into an at least respectable one. After going 2-10 in his first season, Ash double Rutgers’ win total to bring the Scarlet Knights to 4-8 last year. Now, they’ve opened at 1-0, marking the first time they’ve won their opener since Kyle Flood’s last season at the helm in 2015. While 2-0 seems like a longshot, it is very possible that Rutgers could put points on the board against the Buckeyes--something the team has also not accomplished since 2015.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Hangover Easy is opening a second location in Columbus.
- Brent Musburger is still in love with AJ McCarron’s wife.
- These awesome working animals will make you feel better about it.
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