#5 Ohio State Football 2019 Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes
Overall Rank: #5
#1 Big Ten
Ohio State Logo
Ohio State finished last season with a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl victory. If it was not for a 49-20 loss at Purdue, the Buckeyes would have reached the playoffs. They will get another crack at it this year under new head coach Ryan Day. Coach Day takes over the program on a full-time basis after spending the last couple of seasons on the Buckeyes staff and it should be a very smooth transition.
2018 Record: 13-1, 8-1
2018 Bowl: Rose Bowl vs. Washington (W 28-23)
Coach: Ryan Day (3-0 at Ohio State, 3-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Wilson
Defensive Coordinator: Greg Mattison, Jeff Hafley
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: JK Dobbins, RB, 1,053 yards
Passing: None
Receiving: KJ Hill, WR, 885 yards
Tackles: Jordan Fuller, S, 81; Malik Harrison, LB, 81
Sacks: Chase Young, DE, 10.5
Interceptions: Shaun Wade, CB, 3
Other Key Returnees: WR Binjimen Victor, WR Austin Mack, LB Tuf Borland, S Brendon White, CB Damon Arnette, DE Jonathon Cooper, P Drue Chrisman
Key Losses: RB Mike Weber, QB Dwayne Haskins, WR Paris Campbell, WR Terry McLaurin, WR Johnnie Dixon, OL Michael Jordan, OL Isaiah Prince, OL Demetrius Knox, DE Nick Bosa, DT Dreā€™Mont Jones, CB Kendall Sheffield
Coach Day immediately got a new quarterback to fill the void left behind by Dwayne Haskins. Justin Fields comes from Georgia where he went 27-of-39 passing for 328 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman. Fields is a dual-threat signal caller who will put up big numbers from day one. Fields will have plenty of offensive weapons to work with too. KJ Hill, Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack and Chris Olave are superb receivers and Fields should have plenty of options. When the Buckeyes want to stay on the ground, they will rely on JK Dobbins. Last year he rushed for 1,053 yards and ten touchdowns while splitting carries with Mike Weber. With Weber gone, Dobbins will again carry the load. The lack of proven depth at running back is a potential concern, but as long as Dobbins can stay healthy, OSU will have a very potent ground game and one that can carry the offense if needed.
Despite the 13 wins, Ohio State did not play well on defense last season. They allowed 403.4 yards per game, ranking tenth in the Big Ten. Allowing Purdue to score 49 points and Maryland to score 51, even in overtime, is not acceptable for the Buckeyes. The front four will be led by Chase Young, who recorded 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles-for-loss as a sophomore. With Robert Landers, Jonathan Cooper and Jashon Cornell bringing plenty more experience to the line, the Buckeyes resurgent defense will start with the front four. The biggest problem in 2018 was at linebacker. Tuf Borland, Malik Harrison and Pete Warner are back, but they will be pushed by a handful of younger players. If the production can increase, no matter who is lining up at linebacker, the Buckeyes could have a much better 2019 campaign on that side of the ball. The secondary will be led by senior cornerback Damon Arnette, senior safety Jordan Fuller and sophomore Shaun Wade, who led the team with three interceptions as a freshman.
The Bottom Line:
Ohio State has questions to answer on both sides of the ball, but there is no lack of options for Coach Day. The pieces should all come together relatively quickly and the Buckeyes will have an explosive offense and an improved defense. The schedule works out pretty well too. Crossover games at Nebraska, at Northwestern and against Wisconsin could have been much easier. The toughest test of them all though should come, as usual, in the last week of the regular season with a trip to the Big House. That game should have Big Ten title and playoff implications.
Projected Bowl: Rose Bowl
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 171.3 (63rd in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 364.3 (2, 1)
Total Offense: 535.6 (2, 1)
Scoring Offense: 42.4 (8, 1)
Rushing Defense: 158.2 (56, 6)
Pass Defense: 245.2 (86, 11)
Total Defense: 403.4 (72, 10)
Scoring Defense: 25.5 (51, 7)
Turnover Margin: 0.43 (32, 4)
Sacks: 2.93 (15, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.64 (31, 3)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#3 Chase Young
#36 Jeff Okudah
#56 JK Dobbins
Madness 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#11 Zach Harrison
#18 Garrett Wilson
#29 Harry Miller
#81 Jameson Williams
#115 Ronnie Hickman
#129 Cade Stover
#148 Enokk Vimahi