Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: What was the biggest positive to come out of the Northwestern game?
Jami’s Take: Miyan Williams Can Shoulder the Load
There was ugly weather and an even uglier win in Evanston last Saturday, but hey guys — it’s not all bad. Adversity is good — it builds character (or so I hear).
But this game was a good opportunity for the Buckeyes to work out some kinks and to really hone in on our weak spots just weeks before the Michigan game. Because if we play the way we played Saturday against the Wolverines? It’s goodbye, Big Ten Championship.
But one positive takeaway from Saturday’s game was the knowledge that even a banged-up Miyan Williams is a good Miyan Williams.
With TreVeyon Henderson out with a foot injury, Williams, a junior running back, has done the bulk of the leg work for this year’s running game (and to that end, he couldn’t have chosen a better time to have a breakout season).
However, he left the Penn State game in the first half with a right hand/arm injury and did not return, so Saturday gave us a chance to see how well he has recovered since he left the field.
And it was particularly good to see that even coming off an injury, Williams is still capable of putting up 100+ yards and two touchdowns.
Given how critical the run game is likely going to be against Michigan, it was good to see Williams put up some decent numbers in a game where very few Buckeyes did. And while it was nice to see CJ Stroud run the ball, it will likely be Williams doing the heavy lifting against TTUN.
We already know he’s good – he’s put up insane numbers including one game with five touchdowns (against Rutgers, who led Michigan at the half before being blown out this past week), so in many ways, Saturday might have felt like an underwhelming performance. And by no means will Saturday’s numbers be good enough against Michigan.
But we can also hope that OSU won’t be facing winds so bad they had to ground planes at the nearest airport when the Wolverines come to the ‘Shoe, and Williams still has a few more weeks to get back to tip-top shape. At least we know there will be some semblance of a run game as long as he’s on the field.
Matt’s Take: C.J. Stroud ready, willing, and able to run the ball
Despite the fact that C.J. Stroud’s first career touchdown was a 48-yard touchdown run, fans have been clamoring for the Buckeye quarterback to run the ball more ever since. However, given the elite wide receiving corps that he has had at his disposal since becoming Ohio State’s starter, running the ball hasn’t really been necessary for him.
Granted, I will admit that there are generally a handful of times each game that Stroud could probably have scampered for first downs rather than sitting in the pocket and waiting for WRs to get open. However, I have never been too worried about Stroud’s lack of rushes — either designed or via scramble — mainly because they are rarely necessary with all of the other playmaking talent that he has around him.
But, given how awful the weather was last week, it was obvious that the passing game wasn’t going to be effective, so the Buckeyes needed to focus on the ground game. However, much like we have seen in recent weeks, for a large portion of the game, the rushing attack was pretty bland and uncreative, so the threat of a Stroud run was effective.
On the day, he ran the ball six times for 79 yards — with the help of a 44-yard, fourth-quarter rush. Of course, I don’t expect the Buckeyes to play in weather like that again this season (or likely even this decade), but knowing that Stroud is still capable of making a difference with his legs is incredibly valuable. The Mitten Men’s defense leads the country in rushing yards allowed per game giving up only 72.44. So, if Ohio State wants to have anything resembling a balanced offensive attack in The Game, it would certainly be aided by the possibility of a Stroud keeper here and there.
Just the fact that the Buckeyes got that on film means that the Harboys will have to account for it in some form or fashion on Nov. 26. On Saturday, Ryan Day called more designed QB runs than he probably has since his first season in Columbus working with J.T. Barrett, so his willingness to open the playbook and throw in that wrinkle shows that the option is on the table when things aren’t going according to plan offensively.
Ohio State will undoubtedly need to be at least semi-efficient both running and passing to beat TTUN and to potentially win a national title, so when opposing defenses get better, having the threat of Stroud running the ball will be very valuable. While I still don’t want to see him running it 12 time per game or being a human battering ram, keeping those calls in the rotation and Stroud being more willing to take off could pay major dividends down the road.
Who has the right answer to today’s question?
This poll is closed
Jami: Miyan Williams carrying the load
Matt: C.J. Stroud running the ball