Gameday+ | Keys to the Ohio State-Tulane game

Bill Rabinowitz

Integrate Meyer back into the routine

Urban Meyer returns to the sideline after his three-game suspension, and his first charge should be to not fix what isn’t broken. The offense hummed in his absence, with Ryan Day calling the shots along with Kevin Wilson. The Buckeyes wisely relied on Dwayne Haskins Jr.’s arm, not his legs. The quarterback run has been a staple of Meyer’s offense, which was smart when Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett were behind center. It’ll be interesting to see if there are many designed QB runs for Haskins now that Meyer is back.

Figure out defensive line rotation

With end Nick Bosa injured and tackle Robert Landers also possibly out, Ohio State’s deep defensive line will be tested. Larry Johnson has recruited and developed a line that goes double-digit deep. But Landers and especially Bosa are uniquely skilled and players like Davon Hamilton, Haskell Garrett and Jashon Cornell must fill the void. Several other newcomers are likely to get extended playing time as well.

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Eliminate big plays on defense

The Buckeyes defense was mostly solid against TCU — with one glaring exception. After giving up touchdown runs of 78 and 80 yards against Oregon State, they allowed TCU’s Darius Anderson to run for a 93-yard score last week, the longest ever against an Ohio State defense. Buckeyes linebackers appear to be the major culprits on the long runs, and inexperience can be used as an excuse for only so long. It’s worth noting that Tulane’s Corey Dauphine averages 12.4 yards in 19 carries. Ohio State has also given up some big plays in the passing game even when it looked like the play was well-covered.

Get some players on track

The Buckeyes have spread the wealth offensively, with 12 players on that side of the ball having scored touchdowns. But there are some players who haven’t gotten as involved as Ohio State would like. Foremost among them on offense is wide receiver Binjimen Victor, who has only three catches. A would-be touchdown to him was underthrown last week. Tight end Rashod Berry and receiver C.J. Saunders (only two catches) are others who can become bigger factors.

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