Ohio State-Western Michigan matchups


OSU #92 Adolphus Washington celebrates after a quaterback sack on Northern Illinois #12 (left) Drew Hare in the fourth quarter at Ohio Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University September 19,2015


QUARTERBACKS

The biggest surprise about Ohio State’s quarterbacks is that neither Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett has looked good. A year ago, they combined to complete 64 percent of their passes. This year, it’s down to 57 percent.

Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell (947 yards, 8 TDs, 5 interceptions) is completing 70 percent of his passes after throwing for 3,443 yards last year.

Advantage: Ohio State

RUNNING BACKS

Some people say Ohio State isn’t giving Ezekiel Elliott the ball enough. But his 27 carries against Northern Illinois were more than all but two games in his career and his 23 against Hawaii were more than in all but three games. He has 331 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

Broncos sophomore Jarvion Franklin gained 163 yards in a 52-20 win over Murray State last week to more than double the 79 total yards he had in a 37-24 loss to No. 2 Michigan State and a 43-17 loss to Sun Belt Conference favorite Georgia Southern.

Advantage: Ohio State

RECEIVERS

Michael Thomas (10 catches, 158 yards) is clearly Ohio State’s No. 1 receiver but it’s hard to say who is No. 2 and No. 3. Big plays have been scarce, with only one catch of more than 26 yards.

Western Michigan’s Daniel Braverman (40 catches, 398 yards, 3 TDs) leads the country in receptions by a wide margin. Corey Davis, who caught 78 passes last year, including 15 for touchdowns, has 18 catches.

Advantage: Western Michigan

OFFENSIVE LINE

With four returning starters, Ohio State’s offensive line was expected to dominate, but it hasn’t happened, other than in the opener at Virginia Tech.

For Western Michigan, left tackle Willie Beavers, left guard Jimmy Kristof and right guard Taylor Moton all are three-year starters. The Broncos have given up 10 sacks in three games.

Advantage: Ohio State

DEFENSIVE LINE

Ohio State knew what it had in Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington but Sam Hubbard (2.5 sacks), Tyquan Lewis (2.5 sacks) and Tommy Schutt have emerged to provide depth.

Applying pressure on quarterbacks has not been a strength for Western Michigan, which has only one sack this season. It has three defensive line starters who weigh between 216 and 233 pounds.

Advantage: Ohio State

LINEBACKERS

Joshua Perry leads OSU in tackles (25) and Darron Lee (3.5 tackles for losses) is always a threat to make a big play. Raekwon McMillan is validating his lofty recruiting rating.

Western Michigan’s Robert Spillane (21 tackles) and Austin Lewis (19 tackles) rank No. 2 and No. 3 on the team in tackles.

Advantage: Ohio State

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Vonn Bell, Tyvis Powell, Eli Apple and Gareon Conley could be the strongest defensive backfield at Ohio State in many years. Opposing teams have completed only 45 percent of their passes against the Buckeyes, who have five interceptions.

Cornerback Darius Phillips has Western Michigan’s only interception and has returned a punt for a touchdown. Safety Asantay Brown leads the team with 24 tackles.

Advantage: Ohio State

SPECIAL TEAMS

Ohio State kicker Jack Willoughby is 3 of 4 this season and for his career. His longest kick has been 31 yards. Punter Cameron Johnston averages 46.2 yards per kick.

Western Michigan kicker Andrew Halderman is 3 of 4 on field goals with a long kick of 34 yards. Punter J. Schroeder, who uses an initial for a first name, averages 39.3 yards a kick.

Advantage: Ohio State

OSU #92 Adolphus Washington celebrates after a quaterback sack on Northern Illinois #12 (left) Drew Hare in the fourth quarter at Ohio Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University September 19,2015
http://galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_Dolph2.jpgOSU #92 Adolphus Washington celebrates after a quaterback sack on Northern Illinois #12 (left) Drew Hare in the fourth quarter at Ohio Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University September 19,2015

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