Countdown To THE GAME 2015

Friday, January 1, 2016

The 2016 Fiesta Bowl May Be A Festive & Fitting End For The 2015 Buckeyes

Happy New Year! Hopefully this article comes to you in good spirits, with no lingering after effects from your previous night’s exploits and adventures…

Many thanks to Shannon Sommers for a terrific year of managing our Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast. Our latest podcast featured Tony Gerdeman of theozone.net, discussing Tony’s latest book “The Thrillogy“, which details Ohio State’s three game victory march to the 2015 national championship over Wisconsin, Alabama, and Oregon. If you are not following Tony Gerdeman already on Twitter, do yourselves a favor and start following him @GerdOZone. In addition to discussing Tony’s book, Shannon, Tony, and I all gave our thoughts as they relate to The 2016 Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl. By the way, in case any of you were wondering what or who Battlefrog is, here is a link to help educate you before kickoff. You are all welcome.

Tony predicted an Ohio State victory, as did Shannon, and myself. Below are three critical areas I will be watching as The 2016 Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl unfolds at 1pm EST on ESPN…

1. What Will The Ohio State Offense Look Like Against Notre Dame? ~ As I have stated repeatedly heading into this bowl game, Ohio State has only truly looked dynamic on offense at Virginia Tech, portions of the Penn State game, at Rutgers, and most recently, at That Team Up North. Will J.T. Barrett get the keys to the car, entrusted to involve everyone within the offense, but not force the ball to certain people?

2. How Will Ohio State’s Secondary Handle Notre Dame’s Will Fuller? ~ Will Fuller comes into this bowl game with 56 receptions for 1145 yards, averaging 20.4 yards per reception, and 13 touchdowns. How will Ohio State’s secondary handle a gifted deep threat like Fuller? Keep an eye on if Eli Apple or Gareon Conley are matched up with Fuller, as well as how the safeties play.

3. Savor The Last Game Of Braxton Miller In An Ohio State Uniform ~ This kind of ties into the point I made up above in point 1 about the Ohio State offense “not force the ball to certain people“. Many times this season, the Ohio State coaching staff repeatedly tried to involve Braxton Miller, and sometimes it resulted in a detriment to the team. Will the coaching staff, led by Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer, make some of the same mistakes? From a selfish perspective, I am hoping to see one last moment of Braxton Miller’s magic in an Ohio State uniform, no matter if it is forced or not.

Notre Dame has a sneaky good type of offense, and Brian Kelly is certainly one of the better coaches in college football. Ohio State’s offensive line, featuring seniors Taylor Decker, Jacoby Boren, and Chase Farris, should be able to control the line of scrimmage against a decent, but not overwhelming, Notre Dame defensive line. If Ohio State can establish a strong running game with Ezekiel Elliott and Barrett, the play-action passing game should be able to thrive against a weakened Notre Dame secondary. I have it Ohio State 42, Notre Dame 31, with Ohio State running out the clock late in the second half, to send off the 2015 squad on a victorious note.

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