Ohio State Buckeyes: CFN College Football Preview 2021

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Ohio State Buckeyes: CFN College Football Preview 2021

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Ohio State Buckeyes: CFN College Football Preview 2021

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Ohio State Buckeyes College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season

Ohio State Buckeyes Biggest Key: Offense

Keep that running production going, but from the backs. It’s Ohio State, so the running game is going to average well over five yards per carry and should hit 200 yards per game when it wants to, but things might have to be reworked a bit.

As great as the 2018 Ohio State offense was, it was little bit off because Dwayne Haskins wasn’t a runner. At least over the last 15-or-so years, the attack rocked and rolled when the quarterback could take off.

Whether it was Troy Smith, or Terrelle Pryor, or Braxton Miller, or JT Barrett, or Justin Fields, the dual threat playmakers tended to make things hum better – one national championship run from Cardale Jones aside.

It’s not that CJ Stroud can’t or won’t run, but he’s a potential next-level passer with a big arm and pro-style skills who can push the ball all over the field – that’s his game. He’s not going to be Fields when it comes to making defenses worry.

That means Master Teague, TreVeyon Henderson, and Miyan Williams have to combine forces to fill the void that might be missing from under center – and from the loss of Trey Sermon.

Ohio State Buckeyes Biggest Key: Defense

The secondary has to be a whole lot stronger. It’s not that the talent isn’t there – three starters from last season are returning along with a slew of other good options to flow into the mix – but the D has to avoid getting shredded.

To be fair, there’s not a whole lot of shame in giving up 400-yard days to Trevor Lawrence or Mac Jones, but Ohio State is supposed to be good enough to hold its own against anyone – even the elite of the all-time elite college passers.

Throw in the close call against Indiana – when Michael Penix went off for 491 yards and five scores – and sprinkle in some decent passing days from Penn State, Rutgers, and Northwestern, and there’s tightening to do.

Also – to be fair – teams have to throw and keep throwing to keep up the pace. However, the 2019 defense allowed teams to hit just 50% of their throws, and 2013 was the last time the Buckeyes finished the year allowing more than 60% passing.

The 2020 D allowed teams to connect on 66% of their passes and the 7.7 yards per attempt were the worst by a mile in well over a decade.

Ohio State Buckeyes Key Player To A Successful Season

RB Master Teague, Jr.
He’s been good. Ohio State might need him to be fantastic.

The quarterback play might take a little while to get going. It’s asking a ton for CJ Stroud – or Quinn Ewers or Jack Miller or Kyle McCord – to be Justin Fields-elite right out of the gate, but everything will be fine. The passing game will work, but the more help coming from the ground attack and the running backs, the better.

The offensive line will be terrific and the receiving corps is outstanding, so can Master Teague rise up and be a star who can carry the workload? He had a few massive games last season – running for 169 yards and two scores and hitting Penn State for 110 yards – but can he do it on a consistent basis?

It would be a huge help against Minnesota and Oregon in the first two games if he can be fantastic.

Ohio State Buckeyes Key Game To The 2021 Season

Oregon, Sept. 11
The 2017 Ohio State team was fantastic. It slipped against Iowa, but it rolled through everyone else in the Big Ten on the way to the conference title and a Rose Bowl win over USC. But it wasn’t a College Football Playoff season because of an early home loss to Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma.

The 2021 Ohio State team will be fantastic, and it should be able to get through a not-that-bad Big Ten season without having to play Wisconsin, Iowa or Northwestern.

But there might – and probably will be – one hiccup along the way. Lose to a loaded Oregon team early on, and forget the CFP. Beat the Ducks, and it’s Game On for a possible third-straight trip to the tournament.

Ohio State Buckeyes Football Schedule

2020 Ohio State Buckeyes Fun Stats

– 1st Half Scoring: Ohio State 194 – Opponents 89
– Time of Possession: Ohio State 32:19 – Opponents 27:36
– Fumbles: Opponents 16 (lost 12) – Ohio State 9 (lost 3)

NEXT: Ohio State Buckeyes College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction

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