Local Football: 2019 Outlook after 3 Weeks

Ohio State (4-0)

Ohio State has come out looking strong as usual opening with wins against Florida Atlantic, UC, Indiana and Miami University.

The offense has looked solid, but not quite as explosive as last year, putting up 45, 42, 51, and then 76 points. Fields has played extremely consistent and looks to be a serious contender for the Heisman early in the year. He has the highest adjusted QBR in all of the NCAA (93.6 QBR). He has thrown for 880 yards and 13 touchdowns with no interceptions through 4 games. He has also rushed for 150 yards and 6 touchdowns on 34 carries.

Fields had the most impressive opening day for a starting quarterback in Ohio State history based on the numbers against FAU. The former number 1 overall recruit has proved himself to be elite early on. Fields has plenty of help with an offensive line that is experienced and a back as good as J.K. Dobbins to help with the run game. Fields has a great supporting staff with many talented wide receivers.  Benjamin Victor, Chris Olave, KJ Hill, and Austin Mack are returning from last year to lead the receiving corps. Another key guy to watch out for is Garret Wilson (Freshman). He is a former five star recruit from Texas who has already caught 2 touchdowns.

The defense has come out looking a lot better than last year. With 9 returning starters, the defense should be looking good this year. Possible number 1 draft pick, Chase Young has been a problem for offenses so far. He has recorded 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 14 tackles in four games.

The D-line was not the problem on defense last year. It was the back 7 that struggled late in the year. This year, they look to have a much better season with all 7 of them being returning starters from last year. Team captain Tuf Borland (MLB) returned from injury after missing the majority of last season with a broken foot and has looked really good. Obviously the shut out against UC was a great accomplishment because UC has developed themselves into a really good team under Coach Fickell. Ohio State looks to continue their hot start as they take on Nebraska in Lincoln.

The rest of the Buckeyes schedule is tough as they start to get into big ten play. The biggest tests they will face is going to be #8 Wisconsin , #25 Michigan State , and #12 Penn State all at home. They also will face #20 Michigan in Ann Arbor which will be a very tough test. If the Buckeyes continue on their path they should be able to win out. If they don’t win out they still could be in contention for making the CFB Playoffs as long as they win the Big 10.

 

Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1)

The Bearcats came out week 1 and got what seemed like a big win against UCLA (1-3). They won 24-14 in the season opener against what many believed was a solid opponent in UCLA. However, after the (1-3) start for UCLA, the win seems a little less significant.

In week two they hit a brick wall in Ohio State, whom they haven’t won a game against since the 1800’s. They lost 42-0 in Columbus against the number 5 Buckeyes.

In week 3 they bounced back with a big win against Miami (Ohio) 35-13. The offense hasn’t looked as good as it did last year. Desmond Ridder hasn’t looked like himself to start the year having thrown only 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in just three games.

Michael Warren II has looked solid to start the season, rushing for 220 yards and 4 touchdown along with 78 yards receiving and a touchdown. With a solid run game, UC looks to make it easier on Desmond Ridder a the season progresses. Ridder had a great season last year throwing for 2,445 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions as a Freshman. With the backfield returning for the Bearcats they are very hopeful that this offense I going to explode into a real force in the next couple weeks.

The defense for the Bearcats has been exceptional throughout the fist three games. Holding UCLA to only 14 points was very impressive. Against Ohio State they struggled, giving up 42 points, however they did show some flashes of good team defense as they played against a top 5 team in Columbus.

The next week against Miami they held them to just 13 points and looked good. The defense is lead by Darrick Forrest with 25 total tackles already. Michael Pitts has also been a force this year recording 3 sacks and 14 tackles.  The Bearcats have an experienced defense who has the potential to be the best in the American this year. They look to take the next step as they take on Marshall this Saturday at 5:00 PM.

The rest of the Bearcats scheduled looks very manageable. The biggest test for the Bearcats is #22 UCF, whom they haven’t beaten since 2015. If they can get past UCF there is no doubt that they will be able to win the AAC and get a spot in a solid bowl game.

Michael Leonard