Location: Ohio Stadium – Columbus, OH
Date: Saturday, September 22
Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network
Records: Tulane 1-2, Ohio State 3-0
Betting Line: Ohio State -37, O/U 67.5
All-Time Series: 0-0
Last Meeting: First Meeting
Quick Hits: As Tulane enters what is undoubtedly their toughest game of the season they may be without safety Larry Bryant. Bryant is currently listed as questionable for Saturday with an undisclosed injury. So far on the season he hasn’t played a huge role on defense, only accounting for four total tackles. Besides Bryant the Green Wave are not currently expected to be without any of their regulars in Columbus which is obviously a good thing. They’ll need all the help they can get.
Ohio State took a scare last week when superstar defensive end Nick Bosa exited their game against TCU with an abdominal injury. Bosa is overall one of the most valuable pieces on not only his team but in the nation so his absence will be felt. As of Tuesday, Bosa has been ruled out for this weekend. This is a crushing blow to the Buckeye D line who will now look to Chase Young to be the anchor.
From Ohio State’s Perspective: Forgive me if I sound like Captain Obvious with any of what I say in this section but it’s difficult to outline a solid game strategy for a team who is expected to win by more than 35. On paper, the Buckeyes have this one in the bag. The biggest thing they must avoid is the cardinal sin of overlooking their opposition. If Ohio State prances in on Saturday feeling as though they already have this thing won then there could be trouble. However I don’t expect the freshly-returned Urban Meyer to allow that to happen.
On offense, the Buckeyes should lean on quarterback Dwayne Haskins to do what he has done so well and that’s… well, play quarterback. So far this season Haskins has thrown for 11 touchdowns and only one pick while piling up 890 yards. He almost has no choice but to produce those types of numbers with the supporting cast he has. Receivers K.J. Hill and Terry McLaurin have been electric on the outside for Haskins combining for 403 yards and four scores. They of course are just a few of Haskins’ options. Also making big plays for Ohio State has been Parris Campbell (152 yards and three touchdowns) along with teammate Austin Mack (173 yards on 12 catches).
It isn’t difficult to see why Ohio State’s offense is insanely productive and ranks second in the nation with 56.3 points per contest. All of the aforementioned players are a big reason why and the Buckeyes will most likely continue to spread the wealth to all of them as they have done thus far in 2018.
On the ground the Buckeyes have the talents of junior running back Mike Weber. He is currently averaging over six yards per touch and already has three touchdowns this season. Weber is joined by fellow back J.K. Dobbins, the skilled sophomore who has carried 45 times for 268 yards. OSU will undoubtedly blast the Tulane D with a heavy dose of this duo all game long.
I’ve already talked about Nick Bosa briefly but his importance to the Ohio State defensive unit can’t be overstated. Him not playing will be a big hit, even if it is “just Tulane”. Bosa spearheads a front seven that has eight sacks over their first three games. He is responsible for three of said sacks and five tackles for a loss.
The good news for the Buckeyes though is that they still will have his counterpart Chase Young who is nearly as impactful. Young has two sacks this year and four total tackles with a defended pass.
Essentially, if Ohio State sticks to the script that has been predetermined by most, then they should romp all over the Wave with ease. Nobody has to do anything special on this team in order for them to find success against Tulane. They just have to be themselves and they’ll be fine. The second-team guys could easily be taking reps by the fourth quarter.
From Tulane’s Perspective: If you’re looking for a “ra ra”, believe-in-the-little-guy speech you’re going to want to look elsewhere. No, in this section I feel as though I must be brutally honest about the Wave’s chances… they don’t look good. However, they aren’t completely nonexistent either. Here’s what the Green Wave will be bringing into Columbus that gives them the ability to at least be somewhat competitive…
Jonathan Banks has shown flashes of his versatility at the quarterback position. He knows how to make a defense pay with his arm as well as his legs and when he finds the perfect balance between the two? Man it can be fun to watch. Banks has thrown for 651 yards and five scores but has also carried it 33 times. He will be Tulane’s biggest tool in keeping the Buckeye defense guessing. The RPO offense that the Green Wave runs can be frustrating for opposing defenders. Whether it will be this week I can’t say but if it is, you can bet that Banks will be the heart and soul of it. He’ll just have to avoid those fumbles we saw at UAB.
In order for Banks to be effective the Green Wave offensive line has find a way to keep him upright and this will be perhaps their hardest task of the afternoon. Yes Bosa won’t be terrorizing the line but again I direct you to my above comments on Chase Young. Lineman John Leglue and company will have to be on their toes all game in order to give Banks and the backs breathing room.
Darius Bradwell and Corey Dauphine will need to make the most every opportunity that comes their way because shots at daylight will be few and far between. Dauphine has the ability to be a game changer. He is averaging over 12 yards per touch this season and his background in track and field gives him breakaway speed that can burn most any defender. However that speed won’t matter if he has nowhere to go. He and Bradwell enter the game as Tulane’s No. 1 and 2 rushers respectively and have combined for four touchdowns.
The Green Wave receiving corps will have to be productive in order to open up the ground game. Banks would be smart to look to Darnell Mooney often as Mooney has proven to be a reliable target over his first three games. He leads the receivers in yards (308), catches (18) and touchdowns (three). He and teammate Terren Encalade (248 yards and two touchdowns) will need to find some way to get behind a pair of dangerous junior cornerbacks in Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette Jr.
Finally, Tulane will count on Stephon Huderson to handle kickoff return duties. Odds are we’ll be seeing a lot of the sophomore who has four returns for 82 yards.
Final Thoughts: Yikes. That’s really all I can say. Top to bottom the Buckeyes have the clear advantage over Tulane. They’re bigger, faster and more talented. Hopefully the Wave can get out of Columbus with a few points on the board, no injuries and minimal damage to their pride. Is it too early to start thinking about Memphis?
Tulane 13 – Ohio State 51