Ohio State Football, Sports

Ohio State/Washington Preview

09.12.07 | Comment?

UDub’s QB: Jake Locker
University of Washington's quarterback, Jake Locker

It’s Wednesday, that must mean it’s time for the weekly game preview as the Ohio State University Buckeyes travel to Seattle to play the University of Washington Huskies on Saturday. A technical breakdown of the game with players, venue, records etc. is available in this excellent article at Bucknuts.

Well, what is there to say about this match up? At the beginning of the year based on recent historical performance, this looked like an easy win for the Buckeyes. But this season’s performance changes that. Washington thumped a pitiful Syracuse team, on the road, at night for their first victory – an impressive showing even if the opposition left something to be desired. Last week the Huskies stopped the longest win streak in the land with a convincing victory over Boise St at home. Thus, UDub comes in at 2-0 with a boatload of confidence and has become a trendy pick for an upset this week.

What’s causing the resurgence? Well, there is exciting new quarterback Jake Locker directing the offense. He’s a dual-threat athlete with a ton of upside. But I think the key is the defense. Washington’s defense has been, shall we say, porous over the last few seasons and that trend, at least in the first two games, has been reversed with the Huskies allowing only 22 points. The Washington defense is much improved, applying pressure to the quarterback and forcing turnovers. That being said, Boise State’s offense this year is not comparable to last year and Syracuse scored its only points this season against the Huskies.

Ohio State’s first two games have been covered in detail already (Youngstown State recap and Akron recap.) What have we discovered about the Buckeyes? Well, the answer is, not much. Washington represents a step up in competition and I think we’ll really learn more about the team this week. What we suspect is that the defense is pretty good, allowing 8 points across two games (6 points really, the offense contributed those points last week.) We suspect that the offense will be efficient, but plagued by turnovers (see the 5 turnovers last week for example.)

On defense, expect the Buckeyes to attack, attack fast and attack often, working to get hits on the Husky quarterback. Pressure defense all the way. On offense, I think we’ll see a little more of the playbook this weekend. Expect the offense to come out passing against a largely untested Husky secondary, you’ll see some misdirection, more tightend involvement, and a steady helping of Beanie Wells as the game wears on.

What will happen? It’ll be close through halftime, then the Bucks will pull away due to depth and fatigue issues. While many expect Washington to pull the upset and the spread is at 4 points, I expect we’ll see a solid Buckeye victory that easily covers the spread – let’s call it, 27-10. That being said, I do think Washington will make a game of it, early on in particular. And if we see more than 2 Buckeye turnovers, this could easily become a loss. But the odds are against that outcome. We’ll revisit this after the game to see just how wrong this prediction was. Meanwhile, enjoy the week and GO BUCKS!

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