Ohio State vs. Western Michigan Week 2 Preview: Offensive Players to Watch

The Ohio State Buckeyes will look to stop the Western Michigan electric offense.
Sep 9, 2023; Syracuse, New York, USA; Western Michigan Broncos quarterback Hayden Wolff (11) passes the ball against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at the JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 9, 2023; Syracuse, New York, USA; Western Michigan Broncos quarterback Hayden Wolff (11) passes the ball against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at the JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports / Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Year-three Jim Knowles stands at the helm of the Ohio State Buckeyes defense and returns several key pieces for next season.

Junior defensive ends Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau are both coming back for their senior years and will be joined by cornerbacks Denzel Burke and Jordan Hancock, defensive tackles Ty Hamilton and Tyleik Williams, and linebacker Cody Simon. Perhaps most notably, Knowles went out and got Alabama safety Caleb Downs from the transfer portal, a 2023 Associated Press Second-Team All-American.

Regardless, when Western Michigan visits Columbus Sept. 7, they may pose a challenge to this hungry defense. With three of their top offensive players returning, week 2 will be a battle of veterans.

QB Hayden Wolff

A two-year starter for Old Dominion, Wolff went to Western Michigan with aspirations to perform better than he did in Norfolk, Virginia. This may have been a difficult task, as he threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his two years.

Although he didn't start immediately in Kalamazoo, Michigan, he eventually took the helm and threw for 1,505 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with two on the ground.

Wolff might not be the best play caller the Buckeyes face all season, but the redshirt senior has picked up a Power 5 win over Virginia Tech in his experience career in 2022.

RB Jalen Buckley

The reigning Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year will try to attack this defensive line which struggled to stop the run early last season. Buckley recorded six games over 100 all-purpose yards, including rushing for nearly 200 on two separate occasions.

His 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground was good for top 50 in the country and a spot on the All-Mac Third Team last season.

Coming into his second year, Buckley may have something more to prove against non-Mid Major opponents.

WR Kenneth Womack

Womack returns to the Broncos for his second year and fifth year in college football after spending his first three years at Sacred Heart University. There is no doubt in their one year together that Womack was Wolff's favorite target, being the only receiver to haul in more than 40 receptions and 400 yards.

Womack destroyed the baseline, posting 76 receptions for 691 yards and a touchdown on his way to a First-Team all-conference honor. With an experienced secondary returning for the Buckeyes, both sides will have their work cut out for them.


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Gaurav Law

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