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Bold Predictions: Defense and special teams win the day for Ohio State over Rutgers

Plus, more bold predictions for this afternoon’s matchup against Rutgers.

Syndication: Asbury Park Press Michael Karas/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

Before each Ohio State game this year, LGHL is going to bring you some “bold predictions”. This will include somewhere a few hot takes for the game, whether it be passing yards, points scored, sacks, or some other things that we could see happening during the game.

We’d love to hear your bold predictions. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your bold predictions in the comments.

No 100-yard rushers - on either side

Both Ohio State and Rutgers have been successful at running the ball this season. Ohio State is averaging 220 yards per game on the ground, while the Scarlet Knights are putting up 186. Through four games, the Buckeyes have had just three, hundred-yard rushers (Dallan Hayden, Toledo; TreVeyon Henderson, Wisconsin; Miyan Williams, Wisconsin). Rutgers has had none all season, though the Scarlet Knights’ running back-by-committee approach has been working.

The balance here is that, while it would seem Ohio State is on a roll to have a rusher cross the century mark this week, Rutgers is second in the nation in rushing defense, giving up just 56.5 yards per game. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, are allowing 100+ rushing yards defensively. As a result, look for both teams to struggle finding a 100-yard rusher.

Sacks, lots of them! - at least five

The Buckeyes and Scarlet Knights have amassed nine sacks apiece this season. Rutgers, at least, will be facing off against a less permeable offensive line. Rutgers has allowed eight sacks compared to just two for Ohio State.

The Ohio State offensive line will have a tall task to fend off the Scarlet Knights and their leading sacker, Wesley Bailey, who’s had 2.5 sacks through four games. On the opposite sideline, Mike Hall Jr., with two sacks on the season, might be able to notch a couple more this afternoon on behalf of Ohio State.

Defensive touchdowns - Ohio State’s first pick-six of the season

Ohio State has been deficient when it comes to interceptions this season, having hauled in just two with neither going for a score. Last year, the Buckeyes had six defensive touchdowns, including two interceptions and two fumbles returned for scores.

Back to 2022, it doesn’t help that the Buckeyes’ secondary has been pretty banged up in the early going of the season. Denzel Burke, a leader in the defensive secondary, is expected to be back against the Scarlet Knights after missing the Wisconsin game with a right-hand injury.

Rutgers allowed two defensive touchdowns against Iowa last week, so perhaps this will be the time for Ohio State to break one out this season.

No touchbacks - zero!

One area that’s remarkably consistent for both Ohio State and Rutgers has been punting. While the Scarlet Knights have utilized Adam Korsak far more than the Buckeyes have Jesse Mirco, both Aussie punters are averaging more than 42 yards per punt.

Most impressively about Korsak, though, is that he’s had 140-straight punts without a touchback. He’s down 7-of-16 punts inside the 20 this season. For Ohio State, Mirco has had a single touchback all season, and 8-of-13 punts were downed inside the 20.

So, this prediction probably isn’t that bold, but we sure do love to see good punting in the Big Ten!

Bonus: Less than five completed passes in Air Force vs. Navy

In a battle of the triple-option, passing is never the first priority. Expect this game to be over in about an hour with little to no passing offense.

Go Air Force!