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You’re Nuts: Which Ohio State player has a big game in Saturday’s opener against Indiana?

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Arkansas State at Ohio State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We did it! We made it to the first game week of Ohio State’s 2023 season. On Saturday the Buckeyes kick off their season in Bloomington against Indiana. Even though the opener isn’t quite as high-profile for Ohio State as last year’s first game against Notre Dame, it is still an important game for the Buckeyes since it’s a Big Ten game on the road.

There are plenty of questions that still surround Ohio State. Who will Ryan Day pick to start at quarterback in the game? How will an offensive line with three new starters work? What will the defensive look like? All those questions and more are on the minds of Buckeye fans, especially with a tough trip to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish at the end of the month in a game that looks even tougher now after seeing how Notre Dame dismantled Navy over in Ireland over the weekend.

While there are some unknowns heading into the game against the Hoosiers, today we are going to focus on what we know and have a good feel for. What we are asking today is which Buckeye you think is going to have a big game on Saturday. Maybe Marvin Harrison Jr. kicks off his Heisman campaign by overwhelming Indiana. Or maybe you think J.T. Tuimoloau will channel his performance against Penn State. There’s no wrong answer here.

Today’s question: Which Ohio State player has a big game in the season opener against Indiana?

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

Brett’s answer: TreVeyon Henderson

Last year on a cold, snowy November day in Columbus, Ohio State ran for 340 yards against Indiana in a 56-14 win. The Buckeye rushing attack did all that without TreVeyon Henderson, who was limited last season with injury issues. Both Miyan Williams and Dallan Hayden rushed for over 100 yards in the blowout victory.

After running for 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns as a freshman, Henderson only carried the football 107 times, finishing the season with 571 yards rushing and six scores. It was hard for Henderson to get any momentum last season, as he only played in eight games as a sophomore, carrying the football more than 20 times in just one of those games. Who knows how the season could have gone for the Buckeyes had Henderson been able to suit up against Michigan and Georgia late in the season?

Remember when Ohio State opened up the season a few years ago against Indiana and J.K. Dobbins ran wild on the Hoosiers? The situation isn’t the same since Dobbins was a true freshman stepping in for an injured Mike Weber, but I think we could see the same type of performance from Henderson on Saturday. Indiana will likely be focused more on slowing down Harrison and Egbuka, which could open some holes on the ground for the junior running back.

Also, with there being some uncertainty about who is going to be starting at quarterback for Ohio State, it would be smart to try and establish the running game to take some of the pressure off either Kyle McCord or Devin Brown. If the Buckeyes can find some success on the ground, it could open up the passing game to make some easy throws. Henderson makes up for some of his lost time from last year’s season and finishes the game with at least 150 yards on the ground in Bloomington.

Matt’s answer: Josh Fryar

I know this is going to be a tough one to gauge, but I think that Ohio State’s right tackle Josh Fryar is going to quiet some doubters in his first game as a full-time starter. Because he was essentially the next offensive lineman up coming out of the 2022 season for the Buckeyes, the assumption was that Fryar would move from right tackle to the traditionally more important blindside left tackle, and that is how things appeared to be coming out of the first day of fall camp.

However, that’s not how things have shaken out heading into Week 1. Instead, Fryar has moved back to the right side and San Diego State transfer Josh Simmons has taken over as the left tackle. Because of this, it seems like a lot of fans and media members have assumed that this means that Fryar isn’t cut out to be a starter at this level, and I just have a sneaking suspicion that the reason that he was moved back to the right side is that he is actually because he has the ability to be an excellent right tackle.

Neither Fryar nor Simmons had ever played left tackle before, so one of them was going to be making a move this fall, so who do you move? While the conventional wisdom is that you want your better tackle on the left to protect a right-handed quarterback’s blindside, that way of thinking has typically been rendered old-fashioned in recent years as the best pass-rushers have moved to the left side of defensive lines to take advantage of the presumed lesser talent across from them.

So these days, in a game that has become increasingly matchup-based, there is little distinction between right and left tackles from a strategic standpoint. Therefore, if you know who your two starters are going to be and you just need to figure out which side they should play on, letting the guy who has the most potential to be dominant in one of the spots stick there makes sense.

That was essentially what former Notre Dame offensive lineman Mike Golic Jr. told me last week when breaking down Ohio State’s tackle situation. If Fryar is comfortable on the right side and the difference between him and Simmons is negligible, let him stay there.

Now, I have no real way of knowing if Fryar and Simmons are both going to be All-Americans or if both are going to be horrendous. Likely they will fall somewhere in the middle, but as it sits now, it seems like they are fairly comparable players and Fryar is in a spot that he feels more comfortable in, so I’m going to bank on him taking a huge step forward and using the negativity to have a great game against Tom Allen’s presumably blitz and stunt-heavy defense on Saturday.