A primetime game with huge college football playoffs implications. Games with this much magnitude normally happen during January but we get to enjoy the Oklahoma Sooners travel to Columbus to battle the Ohio State Buckeyes in early September. Games like this are reasons why I love working on Saturdays. These teams have played three times before with the Buckeyes winning two of the three matchups. The last and only time Oklahoma beat the Buckeyes was in 1979. Will that change tonight at 7:30 pm ET?
Here at Chat Sports, we made our Staff Predictions for the College Football Playoffs. I encourage everyone to read all the predictions but both Oklahoma and Ohio State made the list for me. I believe both of these teams are good enough to be in the final four at the end of the season despite one team losing tonight.
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3 Keys to Watch for:
1. Baker Mayfield vs Ohio State Secondary
The Buckeyes entered the 2017 season with question marks surrounding their secondary after losing a ton of talent in the draft. Some of these questions became screaming exclamation marks from Ohio State fans as the Indiana passing game proved to be a handful for the secondary. The Buckeyes did buckle down in the second half but will really be tested against the Sooners and Baker Mayfield.
Oklahoma has great wide receivers and even if the Ohio State offensive line makes Mayfield leave the pocket he will find his receivers. Mayfield looked great last week against UTEP completing 19 of 20 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns. I'm not comparing the UTEP defense to Ohio State but I expect the Sooners offense to give the Buckeye defense fits.
Winner: Baker Mayfield
2. Ohio State Running Game vs Oklahoma Defense
Dobbins was extremely touted prospect coming out of high school. Dobbins had a great game against the Indiana Hoosiers rushing for 181 yards. I would expect Mike Weber to work into the running game as well to get Dobbins fresh. When talking about the running game we can't forget about quarterback JT Barrett who has the ability to take off and showcase his running.
The Sooners front seven struggles getting pressure on quarterbacks and really struggle filling up running lanes for running backs. The linebackers will need to show that they are meshing with the rest of the team. If the struggles with the front seven continue for Oklahoma it could be a long day on the defensive side of the ball. The Ohio State offensive line and all their offensive running weapons will be too much for the Sooners defense.
Winner: Ohio State Running Game
3. Ohio State Defensive Line vs Oklahoma Offensive Line
This Ohio State defensive line is no joke and stocked like a fish farm with NFL prospects and have a deep line to keep everyone fresh. Some of these players such as Nick Bosa will be future first round draft picks. I will go on record saying that Ohio State has the best defensive front in all college football.
This is a great matchup in the trenches considering Oklahoma has one of the best offensive lines in the country. Even though the Sooners have a great offensive line they will have their hands more than full against the Buckeyes. The game will come down to this battle in the trenches. The depth of the Buckeyes defensive line will be too much for the Sooners to handle.
Winner: Ohio State Defensive Line
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Obviously, the Sooners want to revenge their 45-24 butt whooping last year but I don't see that happening. Ohio State will win the battle in the trenches and control the game with their defense. The Sooners will hang with the Buckeyes for the first three quarters but after four quarters the Buckeyes will flex their muscles and start to wear down the Sooners defense especially that front seven. If this game wasn't in Columbus I might pick the Sooners but the Buckeyes winning the battle in the trenches and at home will lead to a double digit victory.
Oklahoma 28 - Ohio State 38
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