Ohio State Breakdown

By Chris Loggins


Junior quarterback Cardale Jones made a name for himself in 2014, when he stepped in as starting quarterback for the Buckeyes after an ankle injury to J.T. Barrett. Up to that point, Jones had seen action in six games and thrown for only 114 yards. He started he final three games of the season and helped lead the Buckeyes to a national championship. Jones’ final numbers on the season were  impressive, finishing with 860 yards and seven touchdowns, completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing only two interceptions. Jones also rushed for nearly 300 yards on the year, pushing his combined season totals over 1000. In the championship game against Oregon, Jones completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, throwing for 242 yards and a touchdown.  

Running Back

Junior running back Ezekiel Elliott started in 14 games in 2014, rushing for 1,878 yards and 18 total touchdowns. Elliott ran for over 200 yards in three consecutive games to end the season, averaging almost seven yards-per-carry throughout the campaign. He ran for over 100 yards on nine occasions and caught a total of 28 passes. In his first two games of this season, Elliott has already racked up 223 rush yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Considered by many to be a Heisman candidate in 2015, the 6-foot, 225 pound Elliott is possibly the best running back in the nation, and will be key to the Buckeyes’ success against the Huskies.

Offensive Line

The Buckeyes’ offensive line did well against opposing teams last year. Ohio State quarterbacks were sacked a total of 28 times — 17 sacks less than the defensive line gave up to other teams. The offensive line also helped anchor a run game that ran for nearly 4,000 yards on the season and averaged almost six yards every time it rushed. The run game averaged 264 yards per game and scored 41 touchdowns. The passing game averaged 247 yards per game and put up 42 touchdowns on over 3700 yards. The Huskies will need to make valiant efforts to put pressure on the offensive line, as it may require some extra blizting. If quarterbacks and running backs are given too much time to let plays develop, they’ll run into a ton of trouble. Good offensive lines can often be the key to a dominant offense. They’ve surely been a huge help to Ohio State.


Senior linebacker Joshua Perry started 14 games in 2014, leading the Buckeyes in tackles with a total of 124. Perry also picked up three sacks, two pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble. Perry’s 2014 season led to second-team all-Big Ten conference honors after he ranked 19th in tackles nationally and second in the Big Ten. Linebackers are the second line of defense and can often make or break a play. When linebackers miss a gap or slack on a play in the secondary, many areas of the field can be affected. Perry has become a huge impact player and one of the key players anchoring the Buckeyes’ defense. How he controls his sections of the field can determine how well the defense plays. Containing him should be a top priority.


Junior safety Von Bell has made a name for himself in the Buckeyes’ secondary. In 2014, the 5-foot-11, 205 pound Bell picked up 92 tackles – good for second on the team. Bell forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and intercepted six passes on the year. His season resulted in an honorable mention for the all-Big Ten Conference team, and he became a big piece of Ohio State’s defense in his first full year as a starter. Bell broke up six passes, had two tackles for loss and also picked up a sack on the year. The team picked off 25 passes on the year versus only twelve for opponents, largely due to great playmaking skills from those in the secondary.  Bell is a ball-hawk who can make a big play at any givem

Defensive Line

The defensive line for the Buckeyes picked up 45 sacks last year, led by junior defensive end Joey Bosa who ended the season with 13.5 sacks for a loss of 96 yards. Behind him were junior safety Vonn Bell and former defensive tackle Michael Bennett who picked up seven apiece. Opposing teams rushed for just over 2000 yards and 3.9 yards per carry. Teams rushed for 24 touchdowns against Ohio State, averaging 141 yards on the ground per game. The Huskies run the ball quite a bit and will need to make big plays against the Buckeyes’ defensive line if they want to stick to their usual gameplan. Ohio State’s line usually averages almost 3 sacks per game, so junior quarterback Drew Hare may need to use his legs a litle more to escape heavy pressure in the pocket thoughout the game.