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Week 3: Ohio State vs. Oklahoma Preview

Notes:

Ohio State has won 18 straight regular season road games (not including bowls) by an average margin of victory of 17.1 points per game. The Buckeyes last regular season road loss came in 2011 to the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor (40-34).

 

Ohio State:

The Buckeyes have shown offensive balance in the first two games of the season rolling in back to back wins against Bowling Green and Tulsa. The offense is averaging 313 rushing yards per game and passing for 283 yards through the air.

Quarterback J.T Barrett has taken control of the offense and looks very comfortable in the system. On the year, Barrett has completed 66% of his passes for 498 yards with 6 touchdowns and one interception. Barrett has also made plays in the running game and has added 3 rushing touchdowns through the first two games.

In order to get the win on the road, the Buckeyes must be able to run the football between the tackles and allow Barrett to work off of play action. The Buckeyes offensive line has done a fantastic job in run blocking as well as protecting Barrett in pass protection. On the year, they have allowed only one sack through the first two games.

Running back Mike Weber leads the team with 228 rushing yards with one touchdown. Weber has shown great vision in finding holes and be able to pound the rock against opposing defenses.

Curtis Samuel has emerged as  Barrett’s main target in the passing game and leads the team with 14 receptions for 239 yards with one touchdown. The wide receivers will be a factor on the road on Saturday night. Ohio State lost its top three leading wide receivers from 2015 (Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller and Jalen Marshall) and will need better output from this group as a whole too pull out the win.

Defensively, the Buckeyes have been stellar in run support giving up 65 yards per game. The secondary has surrendered 151 passing yards per game and must force Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield into slowly working down the field on Saturday night.

Ohio State enters this game +7 in turnover margin and has held opposing offenses to 21% on third down conversions. The front seven has recorded 4 sacks on the season and must collapse the pocket against a suspect Oklahoma offensive line.

 

Oklahoma:

The Sooners have averaged 179 rushing yards per game and have passed for 337 yards through the air this season. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has completed 71% of his passes for 567 yards with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. Mayfield must be able to start fast at home this weekend to force Ohio State into an uptempo game that will favor their offense. The Sooners will want to score first and put the pressure on Ohio State’s offense to match them score for score.

Running back Joe Mixon leads the team with 157 rushing yards with one touchdown. Mixon is an athletic running back that can catch the ball out of the backfield. Mixon can be utilized in the short to intermediate passing game which can create mismatches on nickel backs or linebackers.

Wide receiver Dede Westbrook leads the team with 12 receptions for 103 yards and must be able to stretch Ohio State’s secondary vertically to take the pressure off of the offensive line.

Oklahoma has allowed 8 sacks through the first two games and was a problem last season when they allowed 41 sacks as a unit.

Defensively, the Sooners have been solid in run support in giving up 83 rushing yards per game. Oklahoma will need to duplicate that effort on Saturday night against J.T Barrett. Oklahoma’s last three losses have all come to mobile quarterbacks (Greg Ward Jr, DeShaun Watson and Jerrod Heard). They must keep Barrett in the pocket and force him to read coverage.

Oklahoma has recorded 4 sacks this season and must be able to generate a pass rush to collapse the pocket against Barrett.

Oklahoma is -1 in turnover margin entering this game.

 

 

About Joseph Lisi

Joseph Lisi is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America), the Maxwell Football Club and the National Football Foundation. He is the owner of the website: www.goforthe2.com and hosts a weekly college football radio show on SB Nation Radio and FNSTY Sports Radio from 10-12pm EST every Saturday morning. Listen live at: www.sbnationradio.com or www.fntsy.com/radio. Joseph is a former college football researcher for ABC Sports and has been featured on: SportsXRadio with Ken Thomson, ESPN Radio, Sirius XM Radio, FNTSY Sports Network, the Sid Rosenberg Show (640 AM Sports-South Florida), 1560 AM CBS Sports Melbourne, FL and multiple media outlets throughout the nation. Joe appears every Friday with Ken Thomson on SportsXRadio for the Football Fiasco in which every game on the college board is broken down during the show. Follow Joe on Twitter: @goforthe2

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