This Saturday, the Buckeyes will be looking to redeem themselves against the heavy underdogs from Army. Last week we witnessed Oklahoma wipe the floor with Ohio State and put a bleak cloud over their playoff hopes, but the journey to redemption starts this week. This will actually be the first meeting between the historic programs and the first time Urban Meyer has faced Army. Meyer has only played against option based offenses three previous time, while he defeated Air Force twice at Utah and beat Navy while at Ohio State.
Army is no joke and they have started off hot, currently undefeated at 2-0 and are even receiving votes for top 25 consideration. A big reason for their success is the play of third-year starting quarterback, Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw has helped guide Army to their current five game winning streak and he is continuing to run the show primarily as an elite runner. Bradshaw is currently the leading rusher for the Black Knights and he will likely receive a bulk of the carries on Saturday.
As with most non-power five schools, Army lacks the size up front to compete with the size and strength of the outrageously talented Ohio State defensive line. The Black Knights have experience with four of their starters returning from last season and the fifth starter being a senior, but great technique can only take you so far. The option offense doesn’t rely on holding blocks for too long, but I would expect the Buckeyes to bulldoze through on a consistent basis.
Army West Point Black Knights Defense:
The Black Knights have been stifling so far this season and that maybe due to the strength on their defensive line. Army runs the 3-4 primarily and much like their offensive line they lack size, but they make up for it with their athleticism. John Voit is their star at defensive end and 2017 is his third year starting on edge. This unit is not going to accumulate tons of sacks, but they are quick enough to split the gap. The Ohio State offensive line should have no issue with this unit, but their skill should be noted.
The Army defense was at its finest last season and they look to be on that same track this season, but losing Jeremy Timpf and Andrew King hurts. Those two were standouts last season and their lack of experience will be sorely missed in such a big game environment. Alex Aukerman and Kenneth Brinson are tasked with being the leaders of this unit, but they have some large shoes to fill.