For the first time in program history, the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes will face the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Former Cincinnati and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones brings his squad to Columbus after they beat FCS opponent Grambling State 58-3.
Though the Wolves had an impressive Week 1 outing, in 2021, they were one of the worst defenses in all of FBS; ranking last in rushing defense and second to last in total defense. Those stats stand in stark contrast to Ohio State’s top-ranked offense from a season ago.
While the Buckeyes did not get off to the prolific start of the season that many — including me — predicted, today’s game should be an opportunity for them to put up some gaudy numbers while also getting some valuable game reps in for a large portion of the roster.
The Red Wolves are led by former Florida State quarterback James Blackman and their offense features Brian Snead, who was dismissed from the Ohio State team in 2018 following a rape accusation, not the running back’s first run-in with the law during his time as a Buckeye. Arkansas State is the fourth school in Snead’s collegiate career joining OSU, Iowa Western Community College, and Austin Peay.
Ohio State will likely take this opportunity to rest a few players who have been dealing with injuries. Wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba tweaked his hamstring against Notre Dame and even if healthy enough to go, it would be prudent to let the best wide receiver in the country rest at least another week.
Cornerback Jordan Hancock was technically active in Week 1, but was not in uniform, while WR Julian Fleming was a game-time decision, but was unable to give it a go. This game would be a good opportunity to get both some action, but head coach Ryan Day has not indicated whether either will be able to play against Arkansas State.
However, the coach has said that starting center Luke Wypler is not dealing with a major injury, despite being seen wearing a walking boot following the win over the Irish. So, expect Wypler to play, even if he gives way to Matthew Jones fairly early in the contest.
No matter who goes out there for OSU, this will likely be one of the biggest wins of the season in terms of point differential, so enjoy the scoring, Buckeye Nation!
When is the game and how can I watch?
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 12 noon ET
Location: Columbus, Ohio
TV: Big Ten Network
Online: Fox Sports Live
Radio: 97.1 FM/1460 AM
DraftKings Sportsbook line: Ohio State -44.5 | o/u 69
Official LGHL Prediction: Ohio State 59, Arkansas St. 10
Matt’s Prediction: Ohio State 60, Arkansas St. 6
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Below is your Ohio State vs. Arkansas State GameThread. Be respectful, be kind and — as always — keep it classy, BuckeyeNation. If you like GIFs, lay ‘em on us. In all, be good fans, cheer for your teams, be cool to each other (even if somebody else isn’t) and everyone wins. Let’s finish the season strong!