With the 2020 season less than a month away, we are previewing each opponent for Rutgers this fall. SB Nation sites for every Big Ten school have provided a detailed overview of what to expect from their respective team heading into this season. We continue our opponent preview series with week 3 foe Ohio State.
The Buckeyes will host Rutgers on November 7 in Columbus. OSU is a legitimate national title contender once again, even despite the last start and shortened season. The Scarlet Knights have lost all six meetings since joining the Big Ten by a combined score of 55-8. While this year’s meeting will mark the return of Greg Schiano against the program he served as co-defensive coordinator from 2016 to 2018, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where this game is close. Hopefully, Rutgers can produce it’s most competitive effort against the Buckeyes since joining the conference, which would signal a step in the right direction.
Tia Johnston is the managing editor of Land Grant Holy Land and here is her in-depth look at the current state of Ohio State football entering the 2020 season.
List your team’s key departures:
Chase Young(DE), Jeff Okudah (CB), JK Dobbins (RB), Damon Arnette (CB), Jordan Fuller (S)
List your team’s key returnees:
Justin Fields (QB), Shaun Wade (CB), Wyatt Davis (G,) Chris Olave (WR), Zach Harrison (DE)
List a few true freshmen or transfers that will make an instant impact:
Trey Sermon (RB), Julian Fleming (WR), Gee Scott Jr. (WR), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR) — obviously all three WRs won’t make an “instant” impact but the hype surrounding them is pretty much equal.
Brief overview of 2020 team:
This team is expected to be just as good if not better than last year’s, especially with the chip on their shoulder from the Clemson loss. Justin Fields has “improved” and his offensive line is the best Ohio State has ever seen. His receiving unit is also stacked. Trey Sermon will likely not replicate Dobbins’ output, but he’s expected to be a productive back. Shaun Wade’s return is a massive plus for an otherwise pretty inexperienced secondary group. There’s a room of veteran defensive ends who they’ll count on to collectively replace the production they lost with Chase Young’s departure. Expectations: incredibly high.
What’s your team’s biggest strength?
Offensive line, QB, schedule (lol).
What’s your team’s biggest weakness?
Secondary - young, inexperienced (aside from Wade).
Injury - prone running back group- Master Teague is coming off an achilles injury that he endured during the team’s first spring practice. Coaches have said he is more or less back to 100% headed into Game 1. Just hoping he doesn’t tweak anything during the season.
How does your fanbase feel about your coach and his staff?
I have yet to hear or read a single negative tweet, article, comment about Ryan Day or anyone on his coaching staff. He has proved to be just as good (if not better) of a coach than Urban Meyer and I’m not just basing that on production. The culture and brotherhood he’s managed to build in the just under 2 years he’s been Ohio State’s head coach, and the fact that players like Justin Fields, Shaun Wade, Wyatt Davis (who could all opt out right now and be round 1 draft picks) are staying back for one more year as Buckeyes, tells you the kind of coach Ryan Day is.
Who is your team’s MVP this season and why?
Justin Fields - Heisman candidate and incredible team leader.
Predict your team’s record, its best win, and a potential surprise loss:
9-0, Best win— Penn State/Michigan, potential surprise loss— Michigan State.
Thanks to Tia for taking the time to give such great insight on Ohio State ahead of the season opener. You can follow her on Twitter here and make sure to visit Land Grant Holy Land for complete coverage of the Buckeyes.
2020 Opponent Season Preview Series