For me, the most difficult thing about being a professional predictor is dealing with the fame. It can be overwhelming at times. When I’ve had a long day and I’m putting gas in the car so that I don’t have to do it in the morning and then somebody comes up to me because they recognize me and they want to say hi and tell me how much I mean to them and that their life wouldn’t have the same meaning if it weren’t for me, it can be very annoying.
But I brush aside this invasion of my privacy and I go back to my training. As my Seventh-Level Predictor Professor/Shaman Gary “Neckbone” Blurgh taught me, if you pretend to be appreciative of these interactions, eventually you’ll get so good at it that you’ll be able to enter into a trance state where you are able to spiritually leave the conversation and get back to pumping gas, but your earthly body will stand and talk to the person until that person has decided to finally stop bothering you.
I have found this tool to be incredibly powerful and useful, and I’m not gonna lie, there are also times I wield this power around the house when certain people want to tell me how their day has gone.
But I would never do that to anybody here and if the rest of this piece sounds like it’s coming from somebody who has completely checked out and is in a trance state, it is definitely not coming from somebody who has completely checked out and is in a trance state.
Now let us begin the article where I predict five things that will happen in Saturday’s game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
1. Ronnie Hickman will have a career-high in tackles.
Ronnie Hickman leads the Buckeyes in tackles by a wide margin. His 44 stops are 16 more than anybody else on the team. He only had three tackles in the lopsided Akron game, but in the other four games where he actually played most of the minutes, he has had totals of 11, 10, 9, and 11 tackles. Against Maryland tomorrow, he will have his best game yet. Part of that will be because of Maryland’s short-passing game, but we know Hickman will also be involved in run support. I also think the defense as a whole will have a few more opportunities for stops because of the Terps’ ability to move the ball downfield and score. In other words, I’m not expecting a ton of three and outs. Hickman is going to have some opportunities and he’s going to capitalize on them.
2. Garrett Wilson will have a play from scrimmage of at least 41 yards.
Garrett Wilson only has two receptions of at least 40 yards this season, so it’s time for him to add to his collection. Maryland’s defense has allowed four such receptions this season through five games. This could also be a Wilson run, but I’m not expecting him to carry the ball. I could see a jet sweep push pass going a ways, but no type of rushing yardage because Ryan Day knows there’s no reason to sacrifice those cheap passing yards for your quarterback. Wilson does have a long carry in his career, however, and is averaging 26.7 yards per rush on his three career attempts. The easiest answer here is a deep post for six. But I suppose there could also be a quick screen that is actually a backwards pass that Wilson takes for at least 41 yards.
3. A Buckeye will have a rush of at least 50 yards.
This is where my weekly competition of bold predictions with Tom Orr gets in the way of my even-tempered predictions. A 50-yard rush is a lot to ask for. The Buckeyes have done it just three times this season — twice by TreVeyon Henderson and once by Miyan Williams. Still, any prediction with Henderson feels almost like a free space on a bingo card right now. If he gets 20 carries against the Terps, it’s hard for me to believe that he won’t go for 50 yards at least once. He is currently averaging a 50-yard rush every 26.5 attempts, but the reason that number isn’t lower is because he’s hitting home runs on the opponent’s side of the 50. Last week’s 44-yard touchdown is one example. That would have been good from 99 yards with the blocking the Buckeyes had. Maryland has yet to allow a 50-yard rush. They haven’t even allowed a 40-yard rush. Let’s see if those numbers are still holding after tomorrow. (Also, a 50-yard Garrett Wilson reverse would be a nice double-hammer for me.)
4. Ohio State will double Maryland’s yards per play through the first three quarters.
Again, this is where the bold predictions interfere with my leisurely walk with the dear readers. This is going to be difficult for Ohio State to accomplish and I know this because of how eagerly Tom accepted this prediction without any need for negotiation. However, I do expect the Buckeye offense to have a great game with some big plays. The real boldness of this entire prediction is the faith that I’m putting in the Ohio State defense. This will be their most significant test of the season. The Oregon game wasn’t a test the Buckeyes were equipped to take. We will now see how improved the defense actually is and what they look like against a team that can stress them. As an additional note, the only game where the Buckeyes doubled their opponent’s yard per play this year was Akron.
5. This will be the best total offense day of the year for the Buckeyes.
This ties in with my theory that the Ohio State offense is going to have a very, very good week against the Terps. CJ Stroud is healthy, the offensive line is playing well, and the Buckeyes can run or throw with equal effectiveness. Maryland can rush the passer, so that is definitely a concern, but if Stroud gets time to throw the ball, Ohio State is going to put some points on the board and you’re going to see a wide array of Buckeyes racing into the end zone. This is going to be a fun one to watch. I’d suggest watching it in person because there are only so many home games left this year. The weather is going to be great and so will the game.
Bonus: A Jesse Mirco punt will be downed somewhere between the 17-20 yard line.
This was my three-point bonus prediction. It was originally that Jesse Mirco would have a punt downed between the 17 and 21-yard line but Tom put up a fight and demanded a yard be taken off, so I did. What he doesn’t realize, however, is that I’m counting a touchback as being downed at the 20-yard line as well. (There are levels to this!)
Bonus: TreVeyon Henderson goes for 207 yards.
I have this thing right now where I kind of feel like TreVeyon Henderson can do anything if he’s given enough reps. Can he bring back the woolly mammoth? Yes, but he’ll need at least 30 carries. If he gets 25 carries this week, I think he’ll go over 200 yards. But I also think that if he gets 25 carries, that’s a sign that the Ohio State defense is having some issues stopping the Terps. It could also be a sign that he’s not hitting the home runs I expected him to hit. I guess that’s why this is a just a bonus and not one of my countable predictions.
So that’s my five (seven) predictions for Saturday’s game, what have you got?