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The Sports Daily > The Buckeye Battlecry
A Black Friday Wish List For THE GAME

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Belated best wishes to you and your loved ones for a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.  I sincerely hope you all enjoyed the holiday, and were able to celebrate in a manner that rivaled these fine folks.

Black Friday is one of those unofficial events during Thanksgiving weekend that I have never found a desire or need to participate in, as my beautiful wife, Mom, and sisters do, year after year.  In the vein of Black Friday, I am going to propose a wish list for THE GAME…

For those of you who actually have tickets to THE GAME, best wishes that you have actual tickets.  Better safe than sorry…

For Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer, a wish list to not become predictable and overly conservative on offense.

For all of the talented recruits who are scheduled to attend THE GAME, a wish list that this weekend will conclude with several of these young men deciding to become Buckeyes, beginning in 2017…

Here’s my Black Friday wish list, in the form of what I hope to see during THE GAME…

  1. Ohio State throwing deep against TTUN’s secondary ~ This sounds like a broken record, but Ohio State needs to throw deep in order to open up the intermediate passing game.  Even if the pass is not completed, this will force the vaunted TTUN secondary to quit crowding the line of scrimmage, and that leads me to…
  2. Run the ball with Mike Weber early and often ~ It has become so predictable whenever J.T. Barrett is going to keep the ball on the zone read plays that Ohio State has within its playbook.  Weber will find the interior of the TTUN defense tough to run against, but Ohio State’s offensive coaches need to be patient.  Weber will be able to gain positive yardage, especially in the critical second half.
  3. Tight coverage on TTUN’s Jake Butt ~ TTUN has talented wideouts in Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson, but I have confidence that the Buckeye secondary will be able to match up with them throughout the course of the game.  Considering John O’Korn is likely to start, and Wilton Speight is less than 100% healthy, it would make sense for Butt to be the primary focus of the short to intermediate passing game against Ohio State.  Regardless of whether Ohio State uses a linebacker, or spies on Butt with Malik Hooker, Butt will be the player to watch whenever it gets to third down against Ohio State.

Prediction:  Maybe it’s because the scars of the 1990s run long and deep, but I have learned to never overlook TTUN, no matter their record.  This game is going to be tough, physical, and hard-hitting on both sides.  Whichever team makes a mistake, the other team will likely be able to capitalize to their advantage.  Special teams will be crucial, as they often are in games of this magnitude.  I look for Ohio State to be able to ride the positive momentum within Ohio Stadium to a win, and probable berth in the College Football Playoff.  Look for it to be close throughout, with the Buckeyes pulling away with a late touchdown in the fourth quarter.  I have it Ohio State 28, That Team Up North 17.