Ohio State’s inconsistency on offense after the bye week was a warning sign of underperformance against Michigan

Ohio State’s offense has never been the same since Bye Week.

Certainly, the Buckeyes showed glimpses of Death Star-level destruction that struck fear into the hearts of opposing defensive coordinators during the final six games of the regular season. But not for as long from week to week as I did at the start of the 2022 campaign.

Throw away any analyzes and an eye exam will reflect that feeling. But I’m not here to discuss what that is seemed Like the difference in Ohio State’s offensive performance. If you’re looking for stats to confirm the Buckeyes’ decline over the past half year, look no further.

Ohio State has scored 25.2% fewer touchdowns on its offensive possessions in the last six games than in the first six. Despite having nine more drives after their bye week, the Buckeyes still scored 15 more touchdowns in the first six contests. Ahead of Iowa, Ohio State in the endzone took 41 of its 71 offensive possessions, with a conversion rate of 57.7%. Iowa and beyond, that number shrank to 26 touchdowns on 80 drives, down from just 32.5%.

OSU offense before and after the bye week


The first 6 matches

The last 6 matches

TD/Drives (%)

41/71 (57.7%)

26/80 (32.5%)

Total YPG



Pass the YPG



TD pass



Acceleration of the People’s Protection Units



TD rush



When Ohio State hit its stride in the first half of the season, it felt like it was crashing every time the ball touched the ball. This is because, for long periods of time in many games, it has been. Ohio State had a six stretch where it scored touchdowns on at least three consecutive possessions in its first six games.

The Buckeyes scored seven consecutive touchdown runs to open the game for Toledo. Then, after a penalty kick, he scored four more points in a row. Well, well, this was Toledo. But what about the very next week against Wisconsin, when Ohio State opened the game with four straight hits? Against Rutgers, the Buckeyes scored three consecutive touchdowns on two different stretches, and Ohio State would have had eight consecutive points against Michigan if not for CJ Stroud’s interception on the second drive.

In the last six games, Ohio State has only had three stretches of three or more consecutive touchdown runs, and only one in the last four games. In the loss to Michigan, the Buckeyes couldn’t even put two straight goals together and ultimately only scored three points in the second half.

The Buckeyes’ slow start against Iowa State was the first warning sign. In that contest, Ohio State scored only 1 touchdown on a first 10 drive. Given the week leading up to the game and the fact that the Buckeyes still finished with 54 points, it was easy to overlook the performance. Especially when combined with the fact that Iowa’s defense was the best Ohio State had seen up to that point.

But it wasn’t much better to start against Penn State. At Happy Valley, the Buckeyes scored just one touchdown on their first nine drives. Ohio State bounced back to score three consecutive offensive touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, and ended up beating the No. 10 team in the country. Once again, Ohio State got a pass.

Their worst showing ever came the following week, when the Buckeyes mustered just 21 points in a 14-point win over Northwestern. Ohio State went six consecutive drives without touchdowns to open the game, and even fell to the worst team in the conference at the end of the first half. This time the weather was the Buckeyes’ predominant alibi. It was fair enough, given the gusts of 40 mph and the rain in Evanston.

Ohio State was somewhat similar to its previous form a week earlier against Indiana and pulled together enough offense to put up 44 in a hard-fought road win at Maryland. But when the Buckeyes faced the No. 1 total defense in the nation in the most important game of the season, they couldn’t turn back on a lethal unit that ran ruthlessly down opponents drive after drive.

Far from being unstoppable by the end of the game, Ohio State didn’t inspire much confidence in their ability to come back from an eight-point deficit with 7:23 on the clock. It didn’t happen, of course, and the Buckeyes failed to score a touchdown at all in the second half. The big plays from Michigan’s offense might have killed it anyway, but the Ohio State offense should have been its calling card. Instead, he only racked up three points in the final 30 minutes before the Wolverines put their flag down at the 50-yard line.

There are many reasons for the general trend, other than the ones I gave for each game separately. First, Ohio State faced higher-caliber defenses in the second half of the season than they did in the first. Only two of the Buckeyes’ top six opponents have top 50 defenses after 12 games (Notre Dame and Wisconsin), with the Badgers ranking highest at #25. Ohio State faced three top 10 defenses in the second half of the season alone, as did Michigan ( No. 3), Iowa (No. 6) and Penn State (No. 10) all held opponents to 18 points or less on average in 2022.

Still, Indiana (No. 120) and Northwestern (No. 84) are two of the four worst scoring defensemen Ohio State has played all season, and both games have come in the last six regular season contests.

The injury mishap hit Ohio State after the bye week, too, and we probably won’t know the full extent to which it affected the Buckeyes until after the season is over — if at all. What we do know is that Ohio State’s running back room has been held with Scotch tape for the last six games, with Travion Henderson and Mayann Williams quite trading ailments.

The best RB players before and after the byes (rushing)


The first 6 matches

The last 6 matches

Trevion Henderson

69 ATTs, 436 YDs, 4 TDs

61 ATT, 320 yards, 5 TDs

Williams soup

64 ATTs, 497 YDs, 8 TDs

38 ATTs, 135 YDs, 2 TDs

Ohio State’s two seniors made 133 consecutive attempts for 933 yards and 12 rushing scores in the first six games. In the last six, they’ve had 99 carries for 455 yards and seven scores. With Williams out against Maryland and Henderson sidelined last weekend, the pair had just 19 carries for 53 yards and no total touchdowns in their last two games.

What about the passing game? The decline was evident in this department as well. Of his 37 goals passed this season, Stroud has thrown just 13 in his last six games. Stroud also averaged 22.3 fewer yards per game after the byes and completed 8% fewer pass attempts.

On the whole, Ohio State’s offense averaged 100 fewer yards per game after the byes (441.7) than it did before (543.7).

It all led to just one loss for Ohio State, but it was one that would haunt the program for the foreseeable future. And if you’ve heeded the warning signs along the way, Saturday’s scant efforts on the attack may not have been a complete surprise after all.

#Ohio #States #inconsistency #offense #bye #week #warning #sign #underperformance #Michigan

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