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Behind Enemy Lines: Preseason preview of the Ohio State Buckeyes

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Land-Grant Holy Land managing editor Tia Johnston takes a look at what to expect from Ohio State football in 2020.

Maryland football vs Ohio State 2019 Sarah Sopher / Testudo Times

With Big Ten football set to return to play on the weekend of Oct. 24, each conference member’s SB Nation site came together to preview their own program heading into the 2020 season. Each blog filled out a questionnaire to give insight, and Testudo Times will go through each game on Maryland football’s schedule.

Today, we take a look at the Terrapins’ week four opponent, the Ohio State Buckeyes, with the help of Land-Grant Holy Land managing editor Tia Johnston.


Key departures

Chase Young (DE) Jeff Okudah (CB) JK Dobbins (RB) Damon Arnette (CB) Jordan Fuller (S)

Key returnees

Justin Fields (QB) Shaun Wade (CB) Wyatt Davis (G) Chris Olave (WR) Zach Harrison (DE)

Freshmen or transfers that will make an instant impact

Trey Sermon (RB) Julian Fleming (WR) Gee Scott Jr. (WR) Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR) — obviously all three WRs won’t make an “instant” impact but the hype surrounding them is pretty much equal.

Brief overview of 2020 team

This team is expected to be just as good if not better than last year’s, especially with the chip on their shoulder from the Clemson loss. Justin Fields has “improved” and his offensive line is the best Ohio State has ever seen. His receiving unit is also stacked. Trey Sermon will likely not replicate Dobbins’ output, but he’s expected to be a productive back. Shaun Wade’s return is a massive plus for an otherwise pretty inexperienced secondary group. There’s a room of veteran defensive ends who they’ll count on to collectively replace the production they lost with Chase Young’s departure. Expectations: incredibly high.

Team’s biggest strength?

Offensive line, QB, schedule

Team’s biggest weakness?

Secondary - young, inexperienced (aside from Wade)

Injury-prone running back group- Master Teague is coming off an achilles injury that he endured during the team’s first spring practice. Coaches have said he is more or less back to 100% headed into Game 1. Just hoping he doesn’t tweak anything during the season.

How does your fanbase feel about your coach and his staff?

I have yet to hear or read a single negative tweet, article, comment about Ryan Day or anyone on his coaching staff. He has proved to be just as good (if not better) of a coach than Urban Meyer and I’m not just basing that on production. The culture and brotherhood he’s managed to build in the just under 2 years he’s been Ohio State’s head coach, and the fact that players like Justin Fields, Shaun Wade, Wyatt Davis (who could all opt out right now and be round 1 draft picks) are staying back for one more year as Buckeyes, tells you the kind of coach Ryan Day is.

Who is your team’s MVP this season and why?

Justin Fields - Heisman candidate and incredible team leader

Predict your team’s record, its best win, and a potential surprise loss

9-0, Best win— Penn State/Michigan, potential surprise loss— Michigan State