It’s Tuesday of #BeatOSU Week, and the question for the day is whether the Bearcats will be able to throw the ball against Urban Meyer’s defense. In order to answer this question, a little history is helpful.
Last season, the Buckeyes ranked 11th out of the 12 teams in the B1G in passing defense. They allowed opposing offenses to pass for 268 yards per game. As you probably know, the B1G is not the most pass-happy conference in America. Identifying that to be a problem, Urban Meyer hired Chris Ash to serve as his co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach. The Buckeyes also installed a new defensive scheme, which is aimed at playing more aggressively. In their first three games, however, the Buckeyes have not been tested that much. Against Navy, they faced a triple-option offense. Against Virginia Tech, they encountered a young team that has proven not to have the best passing attack in the ACC. Since the Ohio State game, the Hokies have thrown only three touchdowns with five interceptions. Against Kent State, they faced…Kent State. So, how they match up against the Bearcats?
It’s difficult to forecast the match up because it depends on which Bearcats passing attack shows up. Against Toledo, Gunner Kiel was a machine. He only missed a few targets, he threw the ball around the field to all of his receivers, and he had nice touch. Conversely, Kiel was so-so against Miami. Presently, the Bearcats rank ninth in the nation when it comes to passing yards per game (353.5 yds.). Kiel has thrown for 10 touchdowns in just two games. He has completed 65% of his passes.
But, Kiel has never played Ohio State.
So, Saturday’s outcome depends largely upon two things. First, the game will turn on whether Ohio State’s adjustments to their defensive scheme have made a difference. Second, the game will be impacted by how accurately the Bearcats throw the ball. As has been observed in prior articles, I suspect the Ohio State defensive line may play a significant role in affecting Kiel’s accuracy. My fingers are crossed in anticipation, hoping desperately that the O line protects Kiel, and Kiel makes good decisions.