Underwhelming Buckeyes Offense
The Buckeyes offense has underwhelmed through its first two games. The Ohio State offense has outscored their opponents 58-10. Still, their quarterback controversy hasn’t been solved, and the Buckeyes offense will likely under-perform until Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day settles on a quarterback.
Ohio State currently ranks 58th in total yards, scoring an 80th-best 23 points per game. Buckeyes junior QB Kyle McCord has completed 64% of his passes for 497 yards with three scoring strikes and one interception. McCord played a bit better in the Buckeyes win over Youngstown State, but reserve QB Devin Brown played more snaps. McCord had this to say to reporters about his performance against the Penguins;
“The one thing that I did a good job today of was getting the ball out on time to the playmakers,” McCord said. “Getting it to them in open space and allowing them to work. Good things happened with that, for sure.”
Getting the ball out to his playmakers was something McCord struggled with in the season opener against Indiana. All-American wideout Marvin Harrison is one of those playmakers, and the future 1st-round NFL Draft choice has just nine catches and two TDs on the season, with seven catches and a pair of TDs in Week 2. McCord discussed what he needs to improve on with Harrison;
“One thing I wish I had back was probably that pass in the third quarter on that first drive I missed it to Marvin,”McCord said.“I’ve just gotta sit on that a little bit more. Let him work.
“Definitely some good, some bad. The same as last week. Take the good and build from it, then take the negatives and realize what you need to work on and continue to grow.”
Buckeyes Defense Progressing
The Ohio State defense has allowed 10 points thus far but hasn’t really been tested. The Buckeyes defense has three sacks while allowing a second-best 153 yards per game.
The rushing defense ranks 19th, while the passing defense ranks 3rd in the country, allowing a third-best 82 yards per game. Junior cornerback Denzel Burke has recorded Ohio State’s lone interception and had this to say about the goals for the 2023 Buckeye’s defense;
“We want to be in the top three; number one obviously. We just have to do the little things right and take care of the little details and just do our job as a whole.”
Hilltoppers Come to Town
Burke and his Buckeyes defense will get their first real test in the Big House on Saturday. Western Kentucky senior quarterback Austin Reed leads the 14th-best passing offense in the country for 2-0 Western Kentucky.
Burke is looking forward to the challenge and said so to reporters:
“We play the best offense in the country every single day and just try to go out there and be ourselves. I’m looking forward to playing them.”
Reed has thrown for over 5,000 yards and 46 TDs during his two seasons with the Hilltoppers. He hasn’t thrown an interception, nor has he been sacked in the Hilltoppers’ first two games this season.
The Hilltoppers’ defense has allowed 453 yards of offense per game. The Western Kentucky rushing defense allows the bulk of those yards, while the passing defense is surrendering 189.5 yards per game this season.
Western Kentucky vs. Ohio State Best Bet
Neither defense has performed as well as the respective offenses have, and my best bet is Western Kentucky Over 64 points (-110) at Bet365 Ohio.
Western Kentucky provides a real test for the suspect Buckeyes’ defensive secondary. Reed puts up huge numbers and has a solid offensive line to work behind with a pair of wideouts with over 100 receiving yards in limited play. The first-team offense will get more reps Saturday, and I expect Reed and his group to score against the Buckeyes defense.
McCord looked much better last Saturday, and he has so many weapons at his disposal. The Hilltoppers defense is leaky, and the Buckeyes are going to chew them up on the ground and through the air. On Saturday, McCord and the Buckeyes will finally light up the scoreboard, and this game exceeds the bookmakers’ total of 64 points.
Best Bet: Western Kentucky Over 64 (-110) at Bet365.
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