Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Western Michigan Broncos Week 2 Preview: Keys to the Game

The Western Michigan Broncos may learn what Big Ten football is all about when the play the Ohio State Buckeyes.
J.T. Tuimoloau has shown the country just how good the Ohio State defensive line can be.
J.T. Tuimoloau has shown the country just how good the Ohio State defensive line can be. / Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA

Despite what oddsmakers may say, a game is always 50-50.

Regardless, Ohio State is a heavy, 21.5-point favorite against Western Michigan when the Broncos and Buckeyes go at it on Sept. 7.

The Buckeyes haven't lost a non-Power 5 game since 1990… and that doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon.

How Western Michigan Wins

Although it hasn't happened in a while, the latter half of the 2010s for Ohio State football was defined by a bad loss each season that kept their championship aspirations short. In 2016, it was unranked Penn State; 2017 was Iowa; 2018 was Purdue.

Like the Buckeyes, the Broncos have a good number of returners, including their dynamic trio of quarterback Hayden Wolff, Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year running back Jalen Buckley and wide receiver Kenneth Womack.

One of Buckley or Womack is likely going to have to put a 2018 Rondale Moore-esque performance on for Western Michigan to stay remotely close on the offensive end.

Ohio State will put into position the running back tandem of TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins next season.
Ohio State will put into position the running back tandem of TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins next season. / Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch /

On the other end, the only real hope to stop 1) the best backfield in the country in TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins and 2) the remainder of the Buckeye offense is if Ohio State still doesn't have their quarterback situation figured out.

Not that the Buckeyes really struggled at all last season — when Kyle McCord and Devin Brown were competing for the starting position — but they had slow starts in each of their first three starts; ironically, the three starts McCord had before he was officially decided as the full-time starter for the rest of the season.

If Ohio State still doesn't have one of their five picked as the full-time play caller by week 2, the Broncos could pose a threat to this dynamic Buckeye offense — if a temporary QB is imposed, they may have the thought of not being the starter for the remainder of the season at the back of their mind.

How Ohio State Wins

A talented offense that competes with the likes of last season's doesn't come by all the time. Newly hired offensive coordinator Chip Kelly, a coaching veteran, has to be adjusted to Ohio State football, and Big Ten football further down the line.

Ohio State's secondary, which realistically should be one of the top in the nation again, shouldn't have a problem containing the Bronco offense. Same with the defensive line containing Wolff —  a quarterback who took more sacks than he had total rush yards — in the pocket.

As they have done with non-Power 5 teams in recent years, the Buckeyes should throttle the Broncos.


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Gaurav Law

GAURAV LAW