Hero Kanu Ohio State Buckeyes Defensive Tackle

50 For 50: Buckeyes Looking For A Hero

Welcome to our daily feature that I am calling “50 for 50” where I attempt to get us to Big Ten Media Days — which are 21 days away — with a daily sampling of what we can look forward to this upcoming college football season.

We will do this via the following categories: the 50 biggest individual matchups for the Buckeyes this season, the 50 most important college football games this season, 50 Buckeye things to look forward to this season, 50 national predictions, 50 Big Ten predictions, and 50 predictions involving the Buckeyes.

Previous: Day 29 |

Biggest Buckeye Matchups

Ohio State DT Hero Kanu vs. Penn State C Nick Dawkins

Ohio State starting defensive tackles Ty Hamilton and Tyleik Williams are going to need help on the interior this year, especially against opponents like Penn State. Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Hero Kanu will be one of those depth players who will be counted upon, and this is one of those games in which he will need to be a presence. Penn State center Nick Dawkins is a senior veteran but he has not started before. This will be an interesting matchup to watch as the Nittany Lions attempt to lean on their running game when the Buckeyes come to town. If the Ohio State defense struggles when the starters are getting a breather, the starters will have to play more and more, which then further stresses them over the course of a long season.

Most Important Games

Auburn Tigers at Alabama Crimson Tide, November 30

This is finally a new era in the Iron Bowl. Nick Saban is gone, but not even Saban could keep this rivalry from having some memorable War Eagle moments. New Tide coach Kalen DeBoer will want to avoid disaster in his first outing against Auburn. Beating a rival is something DeBoer has experience doing. He is 7-0 against his rivals as a head coach, going 3-0 against Oregon and 2-0 against Washington State at Washington, and 2-0 against San Jose State and San Diego State in his two seasons at Fresno State. Meanwhile, Hugh Freeze’s biggest rival is the NCAA and he is now 1-1 against them. He may have had 33 wins vacated as the head coach at Ole Miss but he rose from the NCAA’s ash pit and is now back at a major college football program making over six million dollars per year.

Things To Look Forward To

Nebraska quarterback Dylan Raiola coming to town.

The expectations are that Dylan Raiola is going to win the starting quarterback job at Nebraska this year. Despite being a true freshman, the Huskers are going to have trouble finding another quarterback that can compete with his overall potential. Before Raiola was a Cornhusker, he was an Ohio State commit. Raiola committed to the Buckeyes in May of 2022 and decommitted later that December. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day then had to scramble to find a quarterback for OSU’s 2024 recruiting class. He ended up landing a pair of five stars in Air Noland and Julian Sayin. Despite never suiting up for the Buckeyes, Dylan Raiola has played a part in the lives and stress levels of many Ohio State fans. When he and the Huskers come to town on October 26, those same fans will have an opportunity to welcome him to Ohio Stadium and wish him well in his present endeavors.

Ryan Day watching Dylan Raiola at an OSU camp.

National College Football Predictions

Georgia will give up over 30 points in a game this year.

Georgia has allowed an opponent to score over 30 points in a game just twice in their past 48 outings. One of those opponents was Ohio State in 2022. The Bulldogs have road games at Alabama and Texas this year. They also open the season against Clemson in Atlanta, but I’m not sure people take the Tigers seriously any longer. Georgia returns seven starters on defense but they will be tested a couple of times in the regular season and then again in the postseason. Somebody is going to score four touchdowns and kick a field goal against them. It can’t be that difficult, right?

Big Ten Football Predictions

Michigan will not have a 1,000-yard receiver.

This certainly isn’t a bold prediction considering the last 1,000-yard receiver for the Michigan Wolverines was Jeremy Gallon in 2013. Gallon caught 89 passes for 1,373 yards, including nine catches for 175 yards in a loss to Ohio State. He is the lone 1,000-yard receiver for Michigan over the past 16 years. This year the Wolverines are replacing their top two wideouts and quarterback JJ McCarthy. Michigan’s offense has been run-heavy under Jim Harbaugh and that doesn’t appear to be changing under new head coach Sherrone Moore. The current Wolverine wide receivers have combined for 475 career yards receiving.

Ohio State Football Predictions

Three Buckeyes will have 100-yard rushing games.

The Buckeyes have had three players rush for 100 yards in a game in the same season four times over the past decade. Three of those seasons involved a quarterback hitting the century mark and three of those seasons involved a true freshman running back meeting the milestone. If the Buckeyes are going to have three players rush for 100 yards this year, they’ll need either a true freshman like James Peoples or Sam Williams-Dixon to do it, or a quarterback like Will Howard or Devin Brown. Howard does have two career 100-yard games to his credit. The last time the Buckeyes had four players with 100 yards rushing in a game in the same season was 2013 (Carlos Hyde, Braxton Miller, Jordan Hall, Ezekiel Elliott).

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