It's been well-documented this week that the Buckeyes defense needs to take a big step forward after a poor performance last week against Oregon. Tulsa's defense is the strength of its team, but they can also run the ball effectively. Could the Golden Hurricane possibly hang with the Buckeyes in their second trip to Columbus in five years?
Here's what the BuckeyesNow staff expects in a Saturday afternoon at The 'Shoe.
TULSA at OHIO STATE – Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Spread: Ohio State (-24.5)
O/U Total: 61.0
Brendan Gulick: Ohio State 49, Tulsa 20
After C.J. Stroud let it rip all over the field last weekend, Jaxon Smith-Njigba had his first career true breakout performance with a monster day. The Buckeyes are capable of doing that to just about any defense in America, but I think there will be more emphasis on running the football this week and the passing stats won't be quite as gaudy as last week.
Ohio State should roll on the scoreboard, but will the defense pass the even-more-scrutinized eye test? Time to see what Ryan Day, Kerry Coombs and staff have up their sleeve after lots of promising all week that things will be different going forward.
Andrew Lind: Ohio State 56, Tulsa 17
The Buckeyes’ defense needs to bounce back in a big way against a Golden Hurricane offense that has impressed despite the program’s 0-2 start. It will be interesting to see how the play-caller – whoever that is – responds to the challenge, especially given Tulsa will come into the game with a lot of confidence after nearly upsetting Oklahoma State one week ago.
On the other hand, I have no worries about Ohio State’s offense putting up points. If the game gets out of hand, could we get our first look of the season at Kyle McCord, Jack Miller and possibly even Quinn Ewers behind center? I’m sure head coach Ryan Day sticks with C.J. Stroud for the entire game in hopes of getting him as many reps as possible.
Brett Hiltbrand: Ohio State 56, Tulsa 21
Does anyone trust Ohio State's defense right now in spite of the changes Ryan Day was forced to make in the week leading up to this one? I don't know how to score this one other than that the Bucks will definitely win. Whether they cover is another thing entirely. I'm leaning toward a pissed off Ohio State team that cruises through the 24.5 Vegas is giving but I'm not sure anyone will feel better about the defense when this one is over.
Caleb Spinner: Ohio State 47, Tulsa 7
Ohio State is in need of a win after falling to the Oregon Ducks last weekend. This matchup against Tulsa seems to be exactly that. The Golden Hurricane by all indicators appear to be fighting out of their weight class this weekend, punching up at a Buckeyes team that may be down but not at all out. The word from the Buckeyes camp is that the defense has improved during practice, and this is where we’ll get to see it. Ohio State returns to form and pummels Tulsa, 47-7.
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