There’s no time to dwell on past failures. All attention now shifts to the next opponent: Army. Here are six impact players to watch:
Ahmad Bradshaw, Quarterback
Army’s senior QB from Chicago is the leader of the Black Knight offense.
As a team that primarily runs the triple option, passing isn’t part of Bradshaw’s game. He’s completed two of ten passes for a grand total of 17 yards.
Where he’ll hurt opposing teams is on the ground.
Bradshaw leads the team with 324 rushing yards and three touchdowns in two games. Army ranked third in the country in time of possession last year, which was a big part of their success: keeping the ball out of the hands of opposing offenses. With Ahmad Bradshaw at the helm, expect the Black Knights to get their fair share of yardage on the ground, even against a defensive line as good as the Buckeyes’.
Tyquan Lewis, Defensive End
If a defense is going to slow down the triple option, it’s going to start with the big bodies up front. At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Tyquan Lewis fits that role.
Lewis, along with the rest of the talented Ohio State D-line, will have a tall task in front of them to slow down, not stop, the triple option rushing attack of the Black Knights. Oddly enough, if Tyquan Lewis has a good day, you likely won’t see his name too much in the box score. If he’s blowing up the offensive line and getting in the backfield, it’ll force Army to run more to the outside which will put more pressure on the linebackers and cornerbacks.
Expect Lewis to have a quietly effective game on Saturday afternoon.
Darnell Woolfolk, Running Back
As expected for a triple option team, there’s a slew of weapons in the backfield. So far in 2017, Darnell Woolfolk is making the biggest impact on the ground.
He ranks second behind only QB Ahmad Bradshaw in both rushes (31) and yards (186). He’s tied with Bradshaw in TDs with three. Last season, Woolfolk shared the majority of running duties with Andy Davidson. The pair of sophomores accounted for over 1,500 yards on the ground with 21 touchdowns. If Army’s going to upset the Buckeyes this Saturday, look for Darnell Woolfolk to find the endzone multiple times.
Mike Weber, Running Back
Is he healthy? That’s one of the biggest questions on the minds of Ohio State fans when considering running back Mike Weber.
Heading into last week’s matchup against Oklahoma, all indications were Mike Weber’s hamstring that bothered him throughout the summer was fully healed. His 9.67 yards per carry would seem to back that up. His only three carries imply that wasn’t the case.
J.K. Dobbins has showed he’s a more-than capable threat out of the backfield in two games. So too has Mike Weber. The difference is Weber showed it over the course of a full season in 2016.
With things not going to plan through two games this season, look for Weber to get the bulk of the touches on Saturday as the Buckeyes attempt to get back to the power running game this team is built for…as long as health permits.
Alex Aukerman, Linebacker
Alex Aukerman will need to make plays all over the field on defense Saturday afternoon.
Against a frustrated Ohio State offense, expect the Army defense to be put to the test. As the Buckeyes attempt to get back on track, Aukerman is a guy who can disrupt both the running and passing games. He’s got two sacks on the year for a combined loss of 21 yards. He’s the leading returning tackler from last season and has the second-highest total on the team in that category this year. He’ll have his hands full on Saturday, but the Army senior surely won’t back down from the task.
J.T. Barrett, Quarterback
After coming under intense scrutiny following the loss to Oklahoma last week, J.T. Barrett will look to get things back on track against Army.
The strength of this Ohio State football team is running the ball. It’s important, however, to not be one-dimensional. That means Barrett is going to have to throw the ball effectively, which is something he’s been unable to do thus far in 2017 as indicated by his 55.7% completion percentage. It’s clear there are issues on offense, and games like this against the Black Knights are perfect opportunities to right the ship and get back to winning football games again.