Saturday, September 3rd, 2016 @ 12 pm on Big Ten Network
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
It is finally that time of the year again, Ohio State football is back! Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes open up at Ohio Stadium against newly appointed head coach Mike Jinks and the BGSU Falcons. Mike Jinks takes over a program that was Mid-American Conference champions a year ago and has not lost a MAC East game in the last 17 matchups. Jinks hopes to continue the Falcons’ success and lead his up tempo offense behind newly appointed senior quarterback James Knapke. For the Buckeyes, Meyer takes on a school that offered him his first head coaching job back in 2001. Although not shy about reminiscing on his experience at Bowling Green in a press conference earlier this week, Urban is eager to see his young team take the field for the first time on Saturday.
The Ohio State Buckeyes offense will take the field on Saturday replacing eight starters from a year ago. Junior quarterback, and Heisman candidate, J.T. Barrett looks to get off to a fast start and regain his confidence from his freshman year. Look for the Buckeyes to come out and throw the ball early to establish some chemistry between J.T. and his new receivers (all three starting receivers from last year left for the NFL). Noah Brown will be the veteran of the receiving core and looks to get early targets from his quarterback. Look for young receivers, such as Austin Mack, to get a lot of snaps Saturday as well. On the ground, red-shirt freshman Mike Weber has a lot to prove due to the shear fact that he is replacing a No. 4 overall draft pick in Zeke Elliott. Ohio State’s offense must gain a sense of balance to their offense early in the season if they have any hopes of reaching this year’s college football playoff.
The Bowling Green State Falcons hope to build off of a school record setting offensive campaign last year. The Falcons offense fired passes at will last year under quarterback Matt Johnson, who set multiple school passing records and was the MAC Offensive Player of the Year. With Johnson graduating, the Falcons hope senior quarterback James Knapke can step in and have similar success to what he had while filling in for an injured Johnson in 2014. The Falcons also are looking to replace their top three targets at receiver and will need someone to step up alongside Ronnie Moore. At running back, Fred Coppet looks to step into the feature back role and should find success, building off of last year’s campaign. Bowling Green has a lot of questions to answer on the offensive side of the ball, but still have many weapons that the Buckeyes should not take lightly.
Similar to the offense, the Ohio State Buckeyes are replacing eight starters including All-American Joey Bosa. The Buckeye defense, backed by linebacker Raekwon McMillan, do have a lot of new faces on their side of the ball but are filled with athleticism at every position and should be just as good if not better than last year. Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis look to get pressure from the edges and look for Nick Bosa, brother of Joey Bosa, to get some clean looks on the defensive line as well.
Another key player to look for on the Buckeye’s defense is junior linebacker Dante Booker. Ohio State hopes that his athleticism can mask something similar to the production of Darron Lee last year. The Buckeye’s secondary, led by their only returning starter Gareon Conley, have three new faces but the Buckeye’s coaching staff seem to have a lot of confidence in their young secondary. Look for the Buckeyes to try and pressure James Knapke early and get their offense back on the field.
"I will finish what you started"— Nick Bosa (@nbsmallerbear) January 1, 2016
There is no question that the defense of Bowling Green is not as dominant as their lethal offense. Led by linebacker Austin Valdez, the Falcons hope to improve from last year and help their rebuilding offense out. The Falcons play a ‘bend but don’t break defense’, and if they struggle to get off the field like last year, the Falcons could be in trouble against an athletic array of talent on Ohio State’s offense. However, the Falcons’ secondary, backed by Alfonso Mack and Clint Stephens, have all the experience that a team could ask for and hope to get some early turnovers to keep Bowling Green in the game.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are coming into the year with a lot of questions that regard replacing such a talented 2015 roster, but should have no problem finding answers for those questions against the Bowling Green State Falcons this Saturday.
Ohio State – 42 Bowling Green – 14