#2 Ohio State Football 2020 Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes
Overall Rank: #2
#1 Big Ten
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In his first full season leading Ohio State, Coach Ryan Day led his team to a perfect record in Big Ten play and reached the College Football Playoff. What’s next? Winning it all of course. After cruising through their first 13 games, the Buckeyes fell to Clemson 29-23 in the playoffs. Navigating the Big Ten is never easy, but OSU should get another shot at a national title in 2020.
2019 Record: 13-1, 9-0
2019 Bowl: Fiesta Bowl vs. Clemson (L 29-23)
Coach: Ryan Day (18-20 at Indiana, 18-20 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Wilson
Defensive Coordinator: Kerry Coombs, Greg Mattison
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Master Teague III, RB, 789 yards
Passing: Justin Fields, QB, 3,273 yards
Receiving: Chris Olave, WR, 849 yards
Tackles: Pete Werner, LB, 64
Sacks: Baron Browning, LB, 5.0
Interceptions: K’Vaughan Pope, LB, 2
Other Key Returnees: WR Garrett Wilson, OL Josh Myers, OL Thayer Munford, LB Tuf Borland, CB Shaun Wade, K Blake Haubell
Key Losses: RB J.K. Dobbins, WR K.J. Hill, WR Victor Binjimen, WR Austin Mack, OL Wyatt Davis, OL Jonah Jackson, OL Branden Bowen, DB Jeff Okudah, LB Malik Harrison, DL Chase Young, DL Davon Hamilton, DB Jordan Fuller, DB Damon Arnette Jr
Justin Fields transferred in from Georgia and immediately turned into one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Last season he threw for 3,272 yards with 41 touchdowns and a mere three interceptions. As if those 41 passing touchdowns were not enough, Fields also ran for ten scores. Fields does lose some of his favorite wide receivers, but there is some younger talent ready to step into those main receiver roles. Chris Olave caught 49 passes for 849 yards and a team high 12 touchdowns. Garrett Wilson managed to crack the regular rotation as a freshman, which was no easy task considering the talent at wide receiver, and caught 30 passes for 432 yards and five scores. The biggest concern could be at running back. J.K. Dobbins is gone after rushing for 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns. Master Teague has potential, but did not take full advantage of his opportunities behind Dobbins last season. The addition of Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon, who rushed for over 2,000 yards during his three seasons with the Sooners, will give Ohio State a more proven option.
Ohio State is used to losing talent to the NFL and reloading. They will do it again, but even for the Buckeyes, there is a lot of talent to replace. If the line can rebuild effectively, the defense will be fine. That will mean finding a way to replace Chase Young and his 16.5 sacks. Tyreke Smith, Zach Harrison and Jonathan Cooper should be able to provide a consistent and solid pass rush. Tuf Borland, Pete Werner and Baron Browning are experienced linebackers and there is emerging talent behind them as well. The secondary has a lot of work to do. Shaun Wade is back to man one of the corner spots, but there are questions everywhere else and it seems unlikely that Ohio State will again boast the nation’s best pass defense.
The Bottom Line:
The Buckeyes will get a stiff early test this season when they head to Eugene to take on Oregon. The toughest Big Ten games will come at Penn State on October 24th and at home against Michigan to end the regular season. On paper, those are the only three games that should really test this team, although the Buckeyes do have a habit of occasionally getting crushed by other teams, like Purdue in 2018 and Iowa in 2017. The Buckeyes managed to avoid all those upsets last season with no trouble at all since every win was by at least 11 points. They may not dominate quite as much this season, but Ohio State has the pieces to not only return to the playoffs, but make a serious push for a national title.
Projected Bowl: Rose Bowl
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 266.8 (5th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 263.1 (36, 3)
Total Offense: 529.9 (4, 1)
Scoring Offense: 46.9 (3, 1)
Rushing Defense: 103.7 (9, 3)
Pass Defense: 156.0 (1, 1)
Total Defense: 259.7 (1, 1)
Scoring Defense: 13.7 (4, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.64 (17, 3)
Sacks: 3.86 (3, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (99, 12)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#7 Justin Fields
#15 Shaun Wade
#51 Thayer Munford
#55 Wyatt Davis
#75 Tuf Borland