'Hmmm': One aspect of Ohio State's offense did not impress Kirk Herbstreit
It’s easy to look at the final score of Ohio State’s win over Nebraska on Saturday and assume all is well with the Buckeyes. A 52-17 victory is pretty convincing, after all.
But one thing has ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit scratching his chin.
Ohio State’s running game struggled against Nebraska on Saturday, though the statistics may not completely reflect that. The Buckeyes piled up 215 yards on the ground, but quarterback Justin Fields was responsible for a large chunk of those, totaling 54 yards on 15 carries.
Trey Sermon was held to 48 yards on 11 carries and Master Teague III had 41 yards on 12 touches. It’s not exactly a promising statistic in Herbstreit’s eyes.
“Five of the last six years they’ve either had Ezekiel Elliott or J.K. Dobbins running the ball at Ohio State. You’re talking about game-changer NFL players in Dobbins and Elliott,” Herbstreit said on the CFB Podcast With Herbie, Pollack & Negandhi. “I know it’s one game, and I’m not saying they don’t have it, but what I saw from Master Teague and Trey Sermon made me say ‘Hmm.’ The offensive line wasn’t dominant at the line of scrimmage, so give Nebraska credit for their plan. But Justin Fields can’t carry this team throwing the ball and running the ball every week.”
It is just the first week of the season, and the Buckeyes are trying to replace J.K. Dobbins, a 2,000-yard rusher a year ago. So OSU’s run game may not be quite as explosive as a year ago.
But one week into the season, that’s the one concern Herbie has for the Buckeyes. We’ll see if they can move the ball on the ground against Penn State on Saturday.