Ohio State has 49 wins, no losses, and one tie — a 7-7 game versus Wooster. Since the 7-6 loss to Oberlin in 1921, the Buckeyes have not lost to an in-state opponent. That’s not to say that Toledo has not done their best to make history against the Buckeyes. In 2011, Ohio State was able to hold off Toledo, 27-22, and keep their in-state win streak intact.
I can already hear you guys. “Minnich, that was a different Ohio State team, dealing with the aftermath of Tressel’s forced resignation and Tatgate. Ohio State is not going to lose to Toledo.”. Fair points.
I will merely say that Toledo is 1) better than Arkansas State, and we all saw that Ohio State did not truly put away the Red Wolves until very late, and 2) Ohio-based MAC teams usually have their share of players who play with a little more intensity when playing the Buckeyes, as if this is an opportunity to show Ohio State that the Buckeyes made a mistake by not offering them a scholarship.
As Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has pointed out, Toledo gave Notre Dame all that they could handle in South Bend in 2021. Toledo has a history of playing well, and often defeating, high-profile teams. The Buckeyes cannot afford to look past the Rockets, and I do not believe that they will.
Below are Three Things To Watch from Toledo as this game kicks off at 7pm EST on FOX.
- Ohio State’s Passing Game Versus The Toledo Secondary
Ohio State may be welcoming back Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming to the wide receiver rotation, depending on their health status. Both would be welcomed back by quarterback C.J. Stroud, who has been developing a solid rapport with Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, and Xavier Johnson in the first two games of the 2022 season.
The Toledo secondary has only given up an average of 58 yards per game through the air in their first two games of the 2022 season. Granted, Toledo has not yet played a team that has the type of quarterback or wide receivers that Ohio State has, but look for Toledo to employ the same type of deep coverage that both Notre Dame and Arkansas State used against the Buckeyes to try to minimize the potential big-play damage the Ohio State passing game could inflict upon the Rockets.
2. Toledo Quarterback Dequan Finn Versus The Ohio State Defense
Finn is a true dual-threat as both a passer and runner, as Finn has passed for three touchdowns while also rushing for three. Toledo uses a running back by committee approach, but Finn is their leading rusher with 19 carries for 138 yards (69 yards per game in 2022).
The Ohio State defense has played tremendously well so far in 2022, only giving up 1 touchdown in their first two games. The Ohio State linebackers will need to focus on shutting down Finn, especially on the perimeter, as he is the key to the Toledo offense.
3. Will Ohio State’s Defense Create Some Turnovers?
This last area is something that has provoked some angst from Ohio State fans. While the defense is playing better, Ohio State is yet to cause any turnovers from their opponents. Toledo’s Dequan Finn has only thrown one interception so far this season, so it will be interesting to see if the Buckeyes are able to generate any turnovers against the team many are projecting to win the Mid-American Conference in 2022.
On our latest Silver Bullets Podcast, Michael Citro and I discussed this game with Steve Helwick of Hustle Belt. Steve gave Michael and I a great deal to contemplate about how talented Toledo is, and that is why I am predicting it to be Ohio State 38, Toledo 14.