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Bowling Green Falcons at Ohio State Buckeyes: Preview, Predictions and Prognostications



When: Saturday, Sept. 3; noon ET
Where: Columbus, OH; Ohio Stadium (104,944)
All-Time Series: Ohio State leads 4-0
Last Meeting: Ohio State won 35-7 (2006)
Line: Ohio State -27

Ohio State opened last season as an overwhelming favorite to repeat as national champions. The season didn’t end that way, as Urban Meyer failed to figure out a two-quarterback conundrum and the offense sputtered throughout the season as a result.

Fast forward a season and Meyer’s Buckeyes face a different set of questions thanks to one of the greatest exodus’ to the NFL in college football history. With so many parts to replace and so much youth on this team overall, Ohio State comes in to 2016 with a lot of unanswered questions.

Meyer has never been one to shy away from playing young players whom he believes are ready for the spotlight. That spotlight gets turned on for the first time for real on Saturday as the Bowling Green Falcons, where Meyer got his start as a head coach, come to Columbus, Ohio.


1 BURNING QUESTION: Can Youth Step Up at Skill Positions

Ohio State has proven it can churn out 1,000-yard backs like butter since Urban Meyer came to town. That theory will be tested in a major way with two freshman running backs — Mike Weber and Antonio Williams — but they aren’t the only raw skill position players who will see the field in a major way this season.

The Buckeyes come in to the game against Bowling Green with a wide receiver group that is listed on the depth chart having caught all of six passes last season. Five of which came from Corey Smith, who is part of a group of returning players from injury alongside sophomore Noah Brown. Those two are penciled in as starters, but both of them have experience prior to last season.

Beyond those two, Ohio State has a lot of players with potential and no real production on the field. Names like Parris Campbell Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin are all going to have to prove they can be weapons or this offense could be in some serious trouble.

Simply put, J.T. Barrett can’t carry this offense on his back and have this team survive an expectedly brutal Big Ten East division.


–123: That is the number of receiving yards returning to the Buckeyes from the 2015 team: Just to further illustrate the problem this Buckeyes team faces in the 2016 season, there are three total players returning with receiving yards on the two-deep this team. That number would be even scarier if it weren’t for the returning Marcus Baugh at tight end. Of course, if you add in the numbers from Noah Brown’s freshman season in 2014, that climbs to a whopping 132 total yards because he racked up one reception for nine yards that season. To be clear, we aren’t suggesting this group won’t be good…it’s just a major wild card heading in to the season.

32-1: That is Ohio State’s record all-time against MAC opponents: In case you were curious as to how unlikely an upset is going to be in this game, this should put a lot in to perspective. Yes, Bowling Green may come in as one of the better MAC opponents to play at Ohio State in many-a-year, but Ohio State is recruiting talent on another planet from the rest of the CFB world, let alone the MAC level. Oh, and did we mention Urban Meyer is a perfect 14-0 in home openers during his career?


Mike Weber, Ohio State RB: There were few players as dominant as Ezekiel Elliott in college football last season. Even with teams knowing what was coming, few could stop it. Those are the shoes that redshirt freshman Mike Weber, the No. 9-ranked RB in the 2015 class, will face. He is a complete unknown to most of the CFB world in terms of what he will actually be capable of on the field. Given BGSU’s inability to stop the run last season (gave up 182.8 yards per game), it could be a nice way to build up some confidence for the young and talented running back.

Fred Coppet, Bowling Green RB: Most people think of BGSU as a pass-happy bunch and they aren’t totally wrong. But, that also means opponents can sometimes sleep on the run game, and that is where the experienced Coppet could come in to the mix. Coppet was the second back last season for the Falcons, yet still managed to gain 845 yards and average 5.7 yards per carry. We’ll see if those numbers hold up against a scary OSU front seven, but if the Falcons want a chance to pull a massive upset it will likely come from the legs of Coppet.

Gaeron Conley, Ohio State CB: There is no Matt Johnson for Bowling Green, and that means a new quarterback going up against basically a new secondary. One of the most intriguing matchups of the game will come with Conley squaring up against the leading returning receiver for the Falcons, Ronnie Moore (third on the team with 72 receptions in 2015). Conley has a massive height advantage and his duel with Moore and quarterback James Knapke is going to be fascinating to watch.


J.T. Barrett won’t reach the 300-yard mark in total offense: Here’s the deal, Barrett is good…really good. However, he’ll do some damage early on in this game and with the team up 24 or so at the half I fully expect the Buckeyes to try to get some experience for Joe Burrow in the second half. That means Barrett will come up just shy of 300 yards of total offense, but look like he’s in mid-season form against a really bad BGSU defense.

James Knapke will throw for 300 yards, but also get picked off twice: Chances are that Bowling Green is going to be playing from behind a lot in this game. That means it will be forced to abandon any hope of the run game and turn on the pass attack more than usual. Don’t be surprised to see Ohio State backing off from time to time and allowing them to control the game in front of them instead of attacking all the time. If my score prediction holds correct, Knapke will likely get plenty of chances to dink-and-dunk his way to 300 yards. He’ll also throw an errant pass or two and keep his team from gaining the needed momentum.

Two OSU running backs go for 100 yards: It will be a successful debut for Mike Weber as the Buckeyes starting running back — and it should be given his talent, Ohio State’s offensive line and Bowling Green’s horrific rush defense. However, he won’t be the only one to go over the 100-yard mark on opening day. Don’t be surprised to see Meyer giving a lot of carries to Curtis Samuel, who will surprise a few people with his abilities as not only the H-back, but as a pure running back in this contest.

Ohio State will get 6 sacks: Say that one ten-times fast, right? But, here’s the reality, Bowling Green’s offensive line was offensive last season in terms of pass protection. The Falcons gave up 36 sacks to rank dead last in the MAC and 105th nationally. Even with a nice improvement for the offensive line heading in to this season, the Buckeyes possess some of the best pass rushers in the country. It could be a field day because of that combination and because of the fact that BGSU is going to be playing from behind a lot. It might be a very sore Sunday for Knapke if this prognostication holds true.


Andy: Ohio State 48-17
Dave: Ohio State 41-16
Phil H.: Ohio State 42-17
Phil P.: Ohio State 42-20
Zach: Ohio State 45-17

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

Buckeyes Football

Talking10 Podcast Episode 100: Something, something Urban Meyer



Ohio State made its decision on Urban Meyer. Andy and Phil are here to break it all down for you and give you the truth in a hazy situation. What better way to celebrate episode 100 of the podcast than to spend 50 minutes breaking down a mess of a situation in Columbus, right?

We’ll talk our reactions to the press conference, break down the actual findings of OSU’s investigative report and we’ll even talk how the media-at-large and the OSU media handled the fallout from Wednesday night’s press conference.

Don’t forget you can listen to the podcast each week via Radio Public and other podcasting apps. 

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @talkingB1G

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Buckeyes Football

Urban Meyer and OSU AD put on suspension following investigation



The media stakeout of the Ohio State Board of Trustee’s meeting can now end. It only took 12 hours or so, but answers finally came. 

According to multiple reports, including from the AP, OSU head coach Urban Meyer is suspended for the first three games of the season. In addition, athletic director Gene Smith will serve the same suspension from Aug. 31 to Sept. 16 — both will not receive pay during that time frame as well. 

Both came under fire as this story unfolded. It began just prior to the Big Ten media days in late July, the story that Zach Smith had been arrested for criminal trespassing in April of this year broke and Meyer fired Smith on Monday morning of the start of Big Ten media days.

Brett McMurphy then detailed in an exclusive report that Smith had previously been “arrested” back in 2015 for a second allegation of domestic abuse against his then-wife Courtney Smith. 

Meyer was questioned about that arrest and allegation from 2015 at media days and struck out against reporters repeated questioning. He would deny knowing of the arrest report back in 2015. 

However, further reporting by McMurphy put that denial in to further question and Ohio State decided to get to the bottom of it. 

Once Meyer was put on paid administrative leave, he would put a statement out admitting to knowing about the 2015 incident and alerting athletic administrators of the domestic abuse allegations. 

Meyer has stayed silent since that statement and awaited the outcome of the 14-day inquiry in to whom knew what and when and what action was taken. 

That investigation ended this past Sunday, with the committee verbally advising the Board of Trustees on Monday morning of its findings. Two days later, the Board of Trustees would come to meet publicly and then behind closed doors to discuss what would happen to Meyer and others involved in this situation. 

Meyer’s suspension is for the first three games, and on the field that is a big hit with three FBS games coming at the start of the season. OSU kicks off the year against Oregon State, plays a Big Ten contest against Rutgers and a massive game against TCU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 

We will have more on this situation and the reaction to what Meyer and Smith had to say on the talking10 Podcast tomorrow. 

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Buckeyes Football

Report: OSU to suspend Urban Meyer



The Ohio State University board of trustees have been verbally read in on the findings of a 14-day investigation in to the conduct of football head coach Urban Meyer. 

So, what will happen next? 

According to the Columbus Dispatch, it appears a suspension or even lighter punishment is coming for Meyer:

“Two sources connected to the investigation said the likely recommendation to university President Michael V. Drake is a suspension for Meyer. Drake and the board could also opt for a ‘time served’ punishment since Meyer has been removed from football activities for more than two weeks.”

Meyer has already been on suspension (or paid administrative leave) for the better part the month of August.

The meeting on Monday was able to take place because it was an “informational meeting” and no public business was conducted. However, there is a meeting scheduled for 9a.m. on Wednesday to discuss just what punishment would be recommended. 

Ultimately it will be the university president that makes the final decision, but the board of trustees will meet to send their recommendation to President Michael V. Drake, who is likely to adhere to the recommendation of the board. 

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Buckeyes Football

Ohio State wins Cotton Bowl Classic: The good, bad and what it means for 2018

Buckeyes defense dominates USC en route to Cotton Bowl Classic victory.



Some may say that Ohio State had a real gripe about not being selected to the College Football Playoff this season. Whether the Buckeyes believed they were snubbed or not, they certainly took out any frustration on USC in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Ohio State used a dominating night on defense and just enough offense to beat the Trojans 24-7. Four turnovers were forced by the Buckeyes defense, resulting in a pick six and a huge shift in momentum late in the game too.

The win sends quarterback J.T. Barrett out on a high note, but it wasn’t his best effort on the field. He had just 114 yards passing and no touchdowns, while also putting up a Buckeyes-best 66 yards on the ground as well.

Luckily those 66 yards were enough to find the end zone twice in the first half for OSU.

Barrett got the Buckeyes on the board on their first possession and then put the Buckeyes up 24-0 on a 28-yard run late in the second quarter. However, it appeared momentum was shifting late in the half as Ronald Jones II put the ball over the goal line with just 1:29 to play in the first half.

That was it for the scoring though and it was a massive defensive message to the critics of the Buckeyes.

It all added up to the Big Ten coming away from a loaded day of action with a 5-0 record. Not only did the Buckeyes win, but so did Northwestern to help the Big Ten continue its banner bowl game start.

The Good

J.T. Barrett Continued to be Legendary

Few players in the history of Ohio State football have had the career that quarterback J.T. Barrett has had. Yet, it feels strange to say his career has been legendary. Maybe its the fact that he missed out on a Big Ten and national championship in 2015? Maybe it’s the fact that it somehow took until his senior season to win a Big Ten title as the quarterback?

Whatever it was, Barrett’s career just seemed incomplete. But, on Friday night Barrett added to his collegiate legend, setting the Big Ten’s total yards record that was previously held by some guy named Drew Brees.

There’s little doubt that Barrett is going to be remembered in Columbus for some time. Most importantly, Barrett was able to complete a post-season with a Big Ten championship and a win in a New Year’s Six game.

Not a bad way to go out in your college career.

Defense Got Turnover Happy

Ohio State showed it had a really good defense down the stretch run of the regular season, but it seemed to finally all come together in the Cotton Bowl. The Buckeyes forced USC quarterback and talked-about No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Sam Darnold, to look rather average at best.

Part of Darnold’s issue came in the form of turnovers. Well, Darnold and USC in general, as the Trojans gave up the ball via turnover a whopping four times.

The last of which came as Darnold got hit from behind and let the ball fall right in to the waiting arms of an OSU defensive lineman.

It all added up to a USC offense that came in averaging 35 points per game being completely shutdown.

Let’s just say it was a great time for OSU to give its best defensive performance of the season too.

The Bad

Ohio State’s Offensive Performance

While a 24-7 scoreline would seem flattering, Ohio State’s offense really did minimal work on Friday night.

The Buckeyes amassed just 277 yards on 55 plays in the game, including just 114 yards in the passing game. Barrett getting a win in his final game was nice, but his passing game wasn’t. Barrett finished the game 11 of 17 passing for just 114 yards and no touchdowns.

Even more telling? The dynamic duo of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber was held to just 57 yards combined.

Given the domination of the defense all of this seems to be a bit nit-picky, but it should also be worrisome because this offense was up and down all 2017.

What it Means for 2018

It’s hard to say that this one game was make or break for any Ohio State players and their NFL draft status, but that is really the key from this game. Did Sam Hubbard’s great night make his decision easier? How many other guys will take off after this game?

Ultimately that is what is going to matter most heading in to the 2018 offseason.

However, what we can take away from the Cotton Bowl is the fact that the Buckeyes need some real work on the offensive side of the ball. Some of it is just simply growing up for young players, but we also saw what we saw most of this year in the pass game for OSU — there aren’t a lot of receiving options.

That group has got to regroup in a major way or the Buckeyes won’t be going anywhere but backwards on offense in 2018.

Dwayne Haskins is a better pure passer than J.T. Barrett, but it may not matter if no one can get open. Sure, you can give credit to the Trojans secondary, but the Buckeyes receivers did nothing to help themselves either.

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