Ohio State’s Three Biggest Keys

    1. Pass rush, pass rush, pass rushIt’s far easier said than done against an Oregon offense that allowed just 18 sacks on the year, but Ohio State can’t

    January 5, 2015

    1. Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush

    It’s far easier said than done against an Oregon offense that allowed just 18 sacks on the year, but Ohio State can’t let Marcus Mariota roam free and be Marcus Mariota. He gets the ball out of his hands in a hurry, and the offense is designed to keep defenses on their heels and get the speedy stars in space, but Joey Bosa and the rest of the Buckeye defensive front have to at least create a presence. If Mariota is comfortable, and the Oregon offense is dictating the tempo – and everything else – it’s going to be a long night. 

    2. Attitude, attitude, attitude

    Ohio State is one of college football’s monster programs with one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport. It’s bound by absolutely nothing, and it’s right and fair to get into every season demanding national championship-or-failure expectations. However, it really has been possible to use the “no one believes in us” mantra and come in with a chip on its shoulder. The Buckeyes were on the outside of the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings all year long, they were underdogs against Wisconsin, they weren’t supposed to be on the same field as Alabama, and now they’re not expected to beat Oregon. 

    The team came into the road game against Michigan State jacked up and looking for revenge for the 2013 Big Ten championship game loss, and it got it. It came into the Wisconsin game looking to make a statement for the playoff types – and to make amends for losing the title game the previous year – and they did that and then some. Don’t discount the underdog mentality for a team with more NFL talent and skill than its opponent. 

    3. Stop the bad momentum before it starts

    There will be mistakes, there will be turnovers, and there will be times when Oregon scores a splashy, amazing touchdown off a drive that goes 81 yards in three plays and 29 seconds, but the Buckeyes can’t let the game get out of hand. They can’t let a close battle turn into a blowout – like the Rose Bowl did for Florida State – by getting flustered when things aren’t going right. Fortunately, they did just that in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama after getting down early, but they can’t afford to get down so quickly this time around, or at all. Oregon can turn 20 points on the scoreboard into 52 in a snap – OSU has to go on long, sustained scoring drives at times to keep that from happening. 


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