Washington football has a tough matchup on offense, against the NFL factory that is the Ohio State defense.
Every Washington football definitely knows their names. Malik Hooker, Denzel Ward, Marshon Lattimore, Joey Bosa. Obviously, we know how good they are at the NFL level, and their connection. All of them were coached by Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Chase Young, Dre’mont Jones, Kendall Sheffield among others will be next to be selected very early in the NFL draft. The latter two will be top 50 picks this year, while Young, a sophomore, will probably be a first rounder in 2020. As good as the names sound from this OSU defense, they’re not what they have been compared to previous years, and the Huskies need to take advantage of that. Ohio State finished sixty-seventh in team defense this year, giving up just over 400 yards per game, while the Huskies finished 59th in team offense averaging 412 yards per game.
You have to work with what you’ve got, and Ohio State is playing without their best player. Edge rusher Nick Bosa, the consensus number one overall prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, has missed most of the season with a core muscle injury that is believed to be a sports hernia. He hasn’t played since Week Three of the season, and announced he would not be returning to Ohio State, and instead would work towards preparing for the NFL Draft. This should make life easier for Kaleb McGary and Trey Adams at tackle, but not by much, as OSU can easily run two full lines deep of top-flight high school recruits and NFL prospects.
One of the biggest questions facing the Huskies this year was how good can their receivers be? Aaron Fuller, Ty Jones, and Andre Baccellia have been stellar this season. Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield are both rated by Matt Miller as top 10 NFL prospects at their position (yes, Byron Murphy is ahead of them. Go Dawgs.) While they’re rated very highly, they haven’t lived up to expectations this season, and Jake Browning should have a chance to exploit that. Arnette only has one interception on the season to go with five passes defensed. Sheffield grabbed two picks this season, along with five passes defensed (yeah, Murphy also has more than both of them combined. Just saying) Browning will have to watch out for nickel back Shaun Wade, who is the team leader in interceptions with three, and second on the team with six pass deflections.
Stay Out of Third and Long
The Huskies will need to find a way to establish a running game, whether it be with Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Sean McGrew or Kamari Pleasant. Ohio State is sixty-first in the country in rushing defense, giving up 160.5 rushing yards per game. The Huskies have been excellent on the ground this season, averaging just under 180 yards per game. If the Huskies can get into third down and four or less, they’re going to be able to do whatever they want on offense. They can set up play action, continue to pound the ball down the Buckeyes’ throats or take shots down the field. If they can establish the run and not give the Buckeye pass rushers a chance to pin their ears back and come after Jake Browning, Bush Hamdan is going to be able to open up his entire playbook.
The Husky defense will also have their work cut out for them, check that out here!