On Saturday Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska to take on Mike Riley’s Cornhuskers. The Buckeyes are 24 point favorites and are given a 95.4% chance to win by ESPN’s Football Power Index. But, why is this? Yes, the Buckeyes have been more dominate on the gridiron this season. However, when it comes to football, everything starts with recruiting. That’s why, starting this week, I will be doing a series of “three reasons why” Ohio State will win each game. This will be based purely on recruiting, and nothing else. No off-the-field factors, no coaching analyzation, and no gut feelings. This is simply recruiting.
Before we get started, a disclaimer: This series will not be about predicting Ohio State to win every game. It will simply be analyzing certain recruiting advantages in each game, and why that could propel them to victory.
Ohio State’s defensive line has been repeatedly dubbed the best line in football. With every starter being a likely first-rounder, opposing offenses despise lining up against the Scarlet and Gray.
When we compare the two teams, let’s keep in mind that Ohio State generally lists numerous starters versus one per position.
Starters: Freedom Akinmoladun, Mick Stoltenberg and Carlos Davis.
Average star ranking: 3.0
Average rating: 0.8642
Ohio State has a clear advantage when it comes to pure ratings, and that advantage has shown on the field. The Buckeyes have twice the sacks that Nebraska does this year, at eighteen to nine. The Huskers’ offensive line will have a tough task ahead of them this weekend.
While Zach Smith’s receiving core has struggled in Columbus, it has gotten better as the season has progressed. Nebraska’s receiving core has been decent this year, but the offense has relied almost twice as much on the rushing game.
On 142 receptions this season, Ohio State has averaged 0.9 more yards per catch and have caught eight more touchdowns than the Cornhuskers.
Through the first two weeks of the season, the Buckeyes were ranked dead last in the nation in passing defense. Since then they have improved to 31st, though Nebraska will be their first test against stronger competition.
On the season, the Buckeye secondary has allowed a 56.1% completion rate, 6.0 yards per attempt and 170.2 yards per game. Nebraska has allowed a 64.5% completion rate, 6.7 yards per attempt, and 208.8 yards per game.
Saturday’s game will likely come down to these three units. With a low of 38° and thunderstorms in the forecast, this will be a battle in the trenches. However, the team that is able to make a big play or two through the air will have a major advantage.