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Improvement Time - #5 Ohio State vs FCS #25 Youngstown State Game Preview


2023 Ohio State University


Background


This coming weekend the Ohio State Buckeyes will play in their season opener against in-state opponent Youngstown State. This will be their third meeting all-time with the Buckeyes having won both games and have out scored the Penguins 81-6 between both of those meetings. Ohio State dropped to fifth in the national AP polls after a lackluster 23-3 victory over Big Ten opponent Indiana on the road in week one of the season. Youngstown State had a dominant week one victory over Valparaiso winning their matchup 52-10 and ran for over 300 yards.


Ohio State will once again look to their defense to lead the way against the Penguins after their suffocating performance in week one. The improved play at the line of scrimmage will be tested by one of the top rushing teams in the entire country. The Penguins had five running backs with double digit run yards and were led by Tyshon King who had 111 on just 11 carries.


On the Offensive side of things for the Buckeyes there's not much to worry about as the Penguins defense is not terribly overwhelming in any area. They rely on having a solid team game and going up against the arsenal of weapons Ohio State features will strain the Penguins across the board. Kyle McCord should have plenty of chances to build on the struggles of his week one performance this Saturday.


This weeks noon matchup between Jim Tressel's former teams will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network and does not currently have a betting line.


Game Preview


Youngstown State can run the football and that will be their primary source of attack. Expect a heavy dosage of Tyshon King and a strong rushing attack early and often in this weekends game. Do to the nature of the Penguins offense, Ohio State likely won't see the ball nearly as much on offense as fans would like due to rule changes to the clock this past offseason. YSU will run down the clock and look to keep this game low scoring for as long as possible. But with such few possessions the Buckeyes are going to look to stay aggressive and target the deep part of the field to test the YSU safeties against the likes of Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka. After the first quarter the Buckeyes should lead 14-0.


With the Penguins continuing to run the football throughout this game it will force Jim Knowles to make more rotations defensively than he has said he would like to this season. This goes one of two ways, the new guys who come onto the field show no struggles and continue the strong effort we saw a week ago, or they come onto the field and give the Penguins a long touchdown drive. After last weeks showing against Indiana, the Buckeyes look like a team that should be able to stop the run here in week two. Devin Brown is expected to play a larger role in the Buckeyes offense in week two so expect him to get in at some point in the second quarter to lead a drive. Hopefully, he lives up to the hype that we have heard this offseason and gives Buckeye fans something to look forward to in the future. The Buckeyes secondary looked good against Indiana, but didn't take the ball away at all. They will change that here in week two with a pick six to send the Buckeyes to the half leading 28-0.


After the break the Buckeyes should come up fired up after such a strong first half against the Penguins. Expect the offense to be running in high gear and find some ways to get on the board multiple times here in the third quarter. That should be the story so long as the defense can limit the length of YSU's drive and force them not to use up to much of the clock. At the end of the third quarter the Buckeyes should be sitting with a comfortable 42-0 lead and will be sending in the second unit to finish this one out.


With Devin Brown getting the entire fourth quarter to run the offense, unless Ryan Day gives the game to third string QB Tristan Gebbia, then we should get a good look at what the young kid can do running what is likely to be a conservative offense based on the run. But don't be surprised if Day lets Brown sling the rock to some of their young stars in the wide receiver room to get what remains of the home crowd excited in the final minutes of this game.


Score Prediction: Ohio State wins 49-0


While this is the hopeful scoreline for Buckeye fans this Saturday. Everyone must stay cautious and not get their expectations to high. YSU has a legitimate rushing attack that would have cause a lot of troubles in years past for this defensive unit. Week one looked promising for the Buckeyes and their ability to stop the big play, but week two brings them a team that is experienced and knows what they are doing offensively unlike Indiana who was trying to figure out their starting QB situation. This prediction also relies on the fact that Kyle McCord looks like the QB we saw two years ago when the Buckeyes played another in-state opponent in Akron. The new running clock rules also have a big impact on the scoreline. In years past it was easy for the Buckeyes to hit the plus side of forty points. But in week one they had the football just 10 times despite having possession for nearly 30 minutes. They will need to find their quick strike ability once again if they are going to hit 49.


How to Watch


  • TV: 12:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

- Cory Provus (play-by-play), Jake Butt (analysis), Brooke Fletcher (sideline)

  • Radio: 97.1 (The Fan) FM/1460 AM

- Paul Keels (play-by-play), Jim Lachey (analysis), Matt Andrews (sideline)

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