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2020 Big Ten Opponent Preview: Ohio State

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Michigan State-Ohio State is set for Spartan Stadium Dec. 5. Here is what to know about the Buckeyes.

Michigan State v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

As the 2020 Big Ten football season gets closer and closer, we continue our Michigan State Spartans’ opponent previews with the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Spartans and Buckeyes battle in East Lansing on Dec. 5, in what would be considered Week Seven of the conference schedule.

To help paint the picture of what Ohio State looks like heading into the regular season, Tia Johnston of Land-Grant Holy Land — the quintessential site for all things Buckeye — gives great insights and analysis into the Big Ten foe.

Here is what we need to know about Ohio State:

List your team’s key departures:

  • Chase Young(DE)
  • Jeff Okudah (CB)
  • JK Dobbins (RB)
  • Damon Arnette (CB)
  • Jordan Fuller (S)

List your team’s key returnees:

  • Justin Fields (QB)
  • Shaun Wade (CB)
  • Wyatt Davis (G)
  • Chris Olave (WR)
  • Zach Harrison (DE)

List a few true freshmen or transfers that will make an instant impact:

  • Trey Sermon (RB)
  • Julian Fleming (WR)
  • Gee Scott Jr. (WR)
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR)— obviously all three WRs won’t make an “instant” impact but the hype surrounding them is pretty much equal

Brief overview of 2020 team:

This team is expected to be just as good if not better than last year’s, especially with the chip on their shoulder from the Clemson loss. Justin Fields has “improved” and his offensive line is the best Ohio State has ever seen. His receiving unit is also stacked. Trey Sermon will likely not replicate Dobbins’ output, but he’s expected to be a productive back. Shaun Wade’s return is a massive plus for an otherwise pretty inexperienced secondary group. There’s a room of veteran defensive ends who they’ll count on to collectively replace the production they lost with Chase Young’s departure. Expectations: incredibly high.

What’s your team’s biggest strength?

Offensive line, QB, schedule (lol)

What’s your team’s biggest weakness?

Secondary- young, inexperienced (aside from Wade)

Injury-prone running back group- Master Teague is coming off an achilles injury that he endured during the team’s first spring practice. Coaches have said he is more or less back to 100% headed into Game 1. Just hoping he doesn’t tweak anything during the season.

How does your fanbase feel about your coach and his staff?

I have yet to hear or read a single negative tweet, article, comment about Ryan Day or anyone on his coaching staff. He has proved to be just as good (if not better) of a coach than Urban Meyer and I’m not just basing that on production. The culture and brotherhood he’s managed to build in the just under 2 years he’s been Ohio State’s head coach, and the fact that players like Justin Fields, Shaun Wade, Wyatt Davis (who could all opt out right now and be round 1 draft picks) are staying back for one more year as Buckeyes, tells you the kind of coach Ryan Day is.

Who is your team’s MVP this season and why?

Justin Fields - Heisman candidate and incredible team leader

Predict your team’s record, its best win, and a potential surprise loss:

9-0; Best win— Penn State/Michigan; Potential Surprise Loss— Michigan State


Thank you to Tia for the in-depth analysis regarding Ohio State. You can catch Tia on Twitter, and to keep up with news about the Buckeyes, definitely follow Land-Grant Holy Land as well.