Head Coach Ryan Day’s Ohio State is 3-0. 11-2 a year ago, they lost to eventual national champion Georgia in the CFP semifinal, 42-41 losing on near miss field goal attempt as time expired. This season the Buckeyes have defeated Indiana and Youngstown State in week’s one and two and last week they blasted Western Kentucky, 63-10.
Last year in Marcus Freeman’s regular season debut, Ohio State defeated the Irish in Columbus 21-10.
Gone to the NFL as the #2 overall pick, is quarterback CJ Stroud. The Buckeyes have taken their time about and have played two quarterbacks this season, but they appear to have settled on 6-3, 215 lb. junior, Kyle McCord. So far, McCord has completed a shade under 70% of his passes for 815 yards, 6 TDs and 1 interception.
He has a stable of outstanding receivers including Marvin Harrison Jr. who has totaled 304 yards on 14 catches and 3 TDs. Opposite Harrison is Emeka Egbuka who has also caught 3 TDs. TE Cade Stover is also a big threat, he has 10 catches so far in 2023. In 2022 Stover had 36 catches and five TDs.
McCord is not much of a run threat, but doesn’t need to be. He has a stable of talented and physical running backs in Treveyon Henderson , Chip Trayanum and Miyan Williams. They have combined to pace a running attack that averages 5.2 yards per carry. Henderson looks to be the lead back with 30 carries and 4 scores, but all three have been involved.
Defensively the Buckeyes are loaded. A stout front and outstanding secondary, they are second nationally in scoring defense allowing 6.7 points per game and 3rd in total defense at 223.7 yards per game. Like the Irish, they also, rank high in pass efficiency defense at #8. In three games the Buckeyes have given up paltry totals of just 71, 99 and 80 yards rushing.
Linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, kid brother of former ND offensive tackle standout Liam Eichenberg, leads the Buckeyes in tackles with 20, he also has notched a sack and a forced a fumble.
Coaching experience looks to favor the Buckeyes in this one. Now in his 5th full season Ryan Day has notched an impressive 48-6 record. In contrast Marcus Freeman is 13-5 in a little over a year. On the other hand Ohio State’s QB has limited experience and just 4 starts to his name and Sam Hartman has now played in over 50 collegiate games.
In just about every metric the Irish have the look of matching up pretty well with the Buckeyes. Home field advantage, and experience at quarterback though favor the Irish and will be ND’s aces in the hole.
Ohio State is a 3-point favorite and the over/under is 54.5
The Fighting Irish Preview Pick: ND 31 Ohio State 30