Ohio State proved plenty in its dominating 62-39 victory against Michigan, including the ability to play consistently well on both sides of the ball against a team ranked in the top 25 in scoring offense and defense.
For the offense, it wasn’t the usual successful game. It wasn’t just redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins throwing the lights out on his own.
Against Michigan, and Maryland the week prior, the Buckeyes found a more complete offense, allowing Haskins to continue to put up big numbers while the run game gained the consistency it lacked in the first half of the season.
The new and improved offense starts with the new and improved play on the offensive line.
“I have seen the consistency,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “We’ve all seen consistency start — I can’t give you the exact time, but they’re playing very well right now.”
Haskins has thrown for more than 395 yards and the team has run for at least 170 yards and 4.8 yards per carry, allowing only a single sack in the past two games combined.
Both Maryland and Michigan ranked in the top 20 in passing defense coming into the matchup, and the Wolverines had the No. 1 defense in the NCAA.
Meyer said the offensive line’s performance against Michigan “was one of the best” he has seen from the group all season.
After giving up zero sacks to Michigan and becoming a key contributor to the statement win the Buckeyes needed, they lost a key member late in the fourth quarter when the game was all but over.
Redshirt senior guard Demetrius Knox went down with a foot injury that Meyer described as a “Lisfranc issue.” Knox announced Monday on Twitter that his Ohio State career was over after starting 20 total games for the Buckeyes.
“He’s done so much for this team in his career here, so it’s a tough loss for us,” Meyer said. “We’ve got to regroup and put together that position.”
Taking Knox’s place will be redshirt freshman guard Wyatt Davis, Meyer said. Davis, a former five-star recruit, has appeared in five games this season.
Meyer said Davis’ recruitment was “one of the most enjoyable recruiting experiences” he’s ever had, and the redshirt freshman has been close to getting his chance for weeks.
“He’s a rugged guy, and he’s been scratching and clawing for playing time ever since probably five, six weeks ago, and has been close,” Meyer said. “We didn’t want to disrupt the flow of the five guys in there.”
Davis no longer needs to scratch and claw his way to the job. He has it.
But he gets the starting job following the offensive line’s best performance yet and Ohio State’s most consistently impressive game in every facet of the field.
Davis enters as the player disrupting the consistency — a change in the depth chart that could disrupt an Ohio State team finally looking like one that can make a run for the College Football Playoff.
Meyer said all five starting members of the offensive line were champions against the Wolverines.
Against No. 19 Northwestern, which has another top 30 scoring defense, Davis will need to prove himself able of taking over the spot Knox leaves behind, right at the time Ohio State’s offensive line finally turned the corner it had been searching for.