Will Ohio State’s improved offensive line be enough to help them defeat Michigan?

WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA - OCTOBER 14: Josh Fryar #70 and Jayden Fielding #38 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate an extra point in the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on October 14, 2023 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The run game was arguably Ohio State’s biggest vulnerability during the team’s first seven games of the season.

TreVeyon Henderson’s 61-yard touchdown run during the Notre Dame game was the first time in that timeframe that a Buckeye had carried for 100 yards or more; the rest of the game, he had only 43 yards on 13 carries.

However, Ohio State’s run game has exploded since Henderson, who had been out for a month, returned to the starting lineup against Wisconsin. And that begins up front with the offensive line, which could be sufficient to defeat Michigan in the regular season finale.

According to right tackle Josh Fryar, “We’re taking the necessary steps to be a really good offensive line,” on Wednesday night.

Henderson has gained 162 and 128 yards in the last two weeks, respectively, with rushes. Including receivers and running backs, Ohio State’s total rushing yards have been 204 and 143. The run game has grown and given the Buckeye offense—which has sorely needed another boost—an additional component.

Regarding the improvement in the offensive line, Fryar stated, “I think just the communication.” “And then feeling at ease with the way you know the man will speak with you while you’re on the field during the game and double team with him. Similar things that are required to win football matches.

With an average of 3.79 yards allowed per run, Wisconsin and Rutgers are tied for 49th and 40th place, respectively, in the nation. Although the run defense the Buckeyes will encounter at Ann Arbor isn’t quite like the one they have encountered, those run defenses are still quite formidable.

The offensive line has made even basic plays conceivable, such as a dump-off to Henderson in the pass game. Early in the fourth quarter, Rutgers blitzed four on a play that crippled its defensive line. The outcome was Ohio State’s most exciting play of the day, a 65-yard catch-and-run from Henderson.

Blitzes are difficult to take up, according to Fryar. It’s obviously simple if they’re calling it out and you already know what the problem is. I’m on my guy, so I don’t get to watch it, but it’s good to see that we pick up a blitz. The following day, I’m watching a movie and thinking, “Wow, that was really awesome.”

Even so, it’s still unclear if it will be sufficient to defeat Michigan in just over two weeks.

Although an answer to that issue is now unavailable, the upcoming two weeks against Michigan State and Minnesota will provide insight into what could be feasible when Michigan visits the team on November 25.

“What we’re doing now, and clearly improve it,” Fryar remarked. You’re going to regress if you don’t improve it. However, I believe that when you’re communicating, running the ball, and staying on the same page, you want more of that. It is comparable to a drug. You’re craving more of it. You want to watch Tre sprint for thirty or forty yards down the sideline.


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