Why Ohio State Will Win The Rose Bowl
– Get the offense going early and make Washington try to keep up the pace. Ohio State does have some talent on defense – it’s Ohio State – but it’s the offense that got the team to Pasadena. Washington does have some talent on offense – it’s Washington – but if it’s not making this a bit of a low-scoring slugfest, there’s a big problem.
The UW pass defense might be terrific, and it might be among the most efficient and effective in college football, but it will give up yards. Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham threw for 273, Oregon’s Justin Herbert threw for over 200, and UCLA was able to bomb away, but the one dangerous passing team it played – Washington State – had to go at it in a snowstorm. Dwayne Haskins and the speed of this Buckeye air show should be able to set a high bar.
– Oh yeah, the Ohio State defense. The much-maligned group that got a bad reputation after failing to make a tackle in the blowout loss to Purdue and couldn’t slow down the Maryland running game is better than it gets credit for.
The key here is its ability to get off the field – Ohio State led the Big Ten in third down defense. The offense might have finished second in the nation, but it was the ability to come up with just enough stops to let the attack do its thing that turned out to be the difference in big situations. It’s not a brick wall of a D, but stop Washington from converting third downs, and you stop Washington. It helps to be able to …
– Make Washington go on long marches. To hammer home this point, the Huskies aren’t a high-powered flying machine on offense – field position will matter. Washington’s punters have been fine, but the coverage teams haven’t been anything special – the team was dead last in the Pac-12 and 120th in the nation in net punting. Ohio State’s Drue Crisman all but won the Michigan State game by pinning the Spartans deep time and again for a the Big Ten’s best punting game.