Early Look: The Ohio State Offense

Zach Lentz

First year head coach Ryan Day directed two of the nation’s most explosive offenses through the air since his arrival in 2017 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Under his tutelage of J.T. Barrett and Dwayne Haskins, the Buckeyes rank No. 1 nationally in touchdown passes thrown with 90. Ohio State’s 68.2 completion percentage is third-best nationally and its 313.5 yards per game ranks No. 7.

In 2019, Ohio State’s average of 534.2 yards of total offense ranks fifth in the country. The Buckeyes have ranked in the top 10 in total offense in each of Ryan Day’s three seasons in Columbus (2017 – seventh; 2018 – second; 2019 – fifth). Since Day’s arrival, only one Power 5 team (Oklahoma) has averaged more yards per game than Ohio State (524.8). Ohio State has gained at least 500 yards in 27 of 40 games since the beginning on the 2017 season (67.5 percent).

The Buckeyes have scored more touchdowns over the last eight seasons (601) than any other team in the country and 21 more than the second-highest team (Alabama).  In the Ryan Day era (2017-present), Ohio State has scored 40 or more points in 24 of 40 games (60 percent) and 30 or more points 31 times (77.5 percent). Only four teams – Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State and Alabama – have scored 30+ points in at least 70 percent of their games since 2017.

In 2019, the Buckeyes lived up to the impressive pedigree set forth by Day.

Led by transfer quarterback Justin Fields, the Buckeyes featured one of the most dynamic offenses in the nation.

The Buckeyes have scored 55 touchdowns in 65 redzone chances this season (84.6 percent), and Fields’ 37 TD passes rank second in Ohio State’s single-season record book and third in Big Ten history (Dwayne Haskins - 50; Drew Brees - 39). 

Fields owns the preposterous stat line of 37 touchdown passes versus only one interception, is one of only three 12-0 quarterbacks nationally and is fourth nationally with a 192.1 passing efficiency.  He ranks third nationally with 47 total TDs but with 98 and 91 fewer carries/passes (388) than Joe Burrow (47 TDs/486 plays) and Jalen Hurts (50 TDs/481 plays).

 J.K. Dobbins, a 26-game starter since 2017, last year became the first player in Ohio State history to record 1,000-yard rushing seasons as a freshman and sophomore. Following a freshmen campaign in 2017 that saw his set the freshmen rushing record with 1,403 yards, Dobbins followed that up with 1,053 yards as a sophomore in 2018. Thanks to his efforts – and that of the offensive line – Ohio State ranks first among Power Five schools with an average of 5.6 yards per rush over the last seven seasons.

This season, Dobbins is as dynamic a back as there is in football.

J.K. Dobbins moved into the top 20 in career rushing yards in Big Ten history last Saturday. He’s currently 19th with 4,113 yards and 65 yards shy of catching Michigan’s Tyrone Wheatley for 18th place. J.K. Dobbins has 18 career 100-yard games and the Buckeyes are 18-0 in those contests.

Dobbins ranks fourth nationally with 17 rushes of 20 or more yards this season. As a team, Ohio State has produced 34 runs of 20 or more yards, fourth most in the nation. Last year, the Buckeyes had 15 rushes of 20+ yards in 14 games. 

Perhaps influenced by the outstanding fifth-year seasons – and subsequent early round NFL Draft selections – had by receivers Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin in 2018, K.J. Hill will lead the Ohio State receiving corps as a fifth-year senior and a potential record-setting receiver. 

Hill became the ninth Buckeye to reach 2,000 career receiving yards vs. Wisconsin. He is  No. 2 all-time on Ohio State’s career list. Hill has caught a pass in 46 consecutive games. The school record is 48 by Gary Williams (1979-82)

Comments (1)
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Fields is a guy we have a good chance to handle or manage. Dobbins will pound you for first downs. We may be defending them more than we want in the red zone, but have a good shot at stalling them on 6 points. (So I hope)