The Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2) tied for first in the Big Ten East last season with Penn State taking the division title honors. The Buckeyes were 8-1 in the conference, and despite the fact that they did not win their division nor the conference title, they were selected to play in the FBS Playoff Semifinal against Clemson. The Clemson Tigers soundly beat the Buckeyes 31-0. For Ohio State last season was a disappointment, as they fell short in their conference as well as nationally. Our 2017 Ohio State Buckeyes college football preview sees this team as getting yet one more shot at the national championship. However, that goal will in no way come easy.
The Buckeye offense averaged 39.4 PPG in 2017, which placed them second in the Big ten and 13th nationally. Senior QB J.T. Barrett (61.5 COMP%, 2,555 YDs, 24 TDs, 7 INTs) will once again lead the OSU offense. He’ll benefit from having one of the best offensive lines in the Big Ten.
The veteran quarterback will have plenty of talented receivers with which to connect. That’s despite Ohio State having lost it three top pass catchers. Senior TE Marcus Baugh, sophomore WR Binjimen Victor, and junior wideout Terry McLaurin will all be on Barrett’s radar screen. Baugh, who is the top returning receiver, had 24 catches last season and two TDs, while averaging 11.2 YPC. There’s plenty of depth backing up these starters. As a freshman, RB Mike Weber gained over 1,000 yards, while scoring nine touchdowns and averaging 6.0 YPA. Barrett ran for 845 yards and also scored nine rushing TDs. He averaged 4.1 YPA. There’s no reason that this team can’t score on average close to 40 points per game.
Seven starters come back to a defense that was ranked second in the conference and third nationally as they allowed only 15.5 PPG. The seven front men are big and skilled, while the secondary, although in many ways untested, is athletic. The starting defense ends on team are both dogged QB pursuers. Junior Sam Hubbard had 3.5 sacks and four QBH last season, as well as 46 tackles and 4.5 TFL. Senior Tyquan Lewis notched eight sacks and five QBH, while also posting 28 tackles and 2.5 TFL. In addition, backups on the front four, Jalyn Holmes and Robert Landers, each had 6.5 TFL.
Senior MLB Chris Worley (70 TCLs, 4.5 TFL, 4 PBU, 1 INT) and junior WLB Jerome Baker (83 TCKLs, 3.5 Sacks, 6 TFL, 2 INTs) are both accomplished play-stoppers. Senior Damon Webb (57 TCKLs, 2 TFL, 3 PBU, 1 INT) will anchor a fairly inexperienced secondary. This unit will miss safety Malik Hooker, who last season grabbed seven picks, as well as corner Marshon Lattimore, who grabbed four interceptions and broke up nine passes.
Freshman Drue Chrisman steps in for punter Cameron Johnston, who was one of the very best in the conference. Freshman Blake Haubeil may get the nod as placekicker. Parris Cambell, who averaged 27.8 YPA on kickoffs returns, while Dontre Wilson must be replaced on punt returns.
2017 Ohio State Buckeyes College Football Preview: Final Word
Urban Meyer (165-29 Overall, 10-3 Bowls) begins his eighth season with OSU, and once again he has put together a quality team. Since he arrived at Ohio State, the team has gone 61-6 and 3-2 in bowls. Our 2017 Ohio State Buckeyes college football preview expects that the Buckeyes will once again be a major conference and national power.
Important games include their Sep 9 meeting with Oklahoma, which the Buckeyes will host, and their Nov 14 visit to Nebraska. The Huskers will be looking to elevate themselves nationally by taking down OSU. Penn State travels to OSU for a very big contest on Oct 28. That game could be for the division title. On Nov 11, the pesky Michigan State Spartan will arrive at the Buckeye’s field to try to ruin OSU’s season. Finally, there is the classic matchup between Ohio State and Michigan on Nov 25.
Top Three Takeaways
- QB Barrett can do a lot and he has a fine O-line
- Secondary will miss major contributors
- The front seven are loaded for bear and anything else