Five Predictions: Ohio State at Minnesota

The college football season is here — and more importantly, so are the Buckeyes.

Ohio State kicks off Thursday night for a very anticipated road matchup with one of the top teams in the Big Ten West.

There are questions upon questions for the Buckeyes, so I hope to answer a few of them with these five predictions.

In the past, I have kept track of the results of my predictions to see how often I was right or wrong. I’m not planning on doing that this year because it always feels like bragging and that’s not who I am as a person.

I don’t need to tell people that over the course of the last decade or so of doing this that I’ve hit on 84% of my predictions. It’s unnecessary. Besides, you probably already knew that. Or, at the very least, you should’ve known it.

I don’t want this predictions piece to be about me and my 100% prediction rate on 91% of these pieces. It’s never been about that for me, but it felt like it had gotten to be like that because of how much people respect my thoughts on stuff.

I’m done making these predictions about me. It’s time to make them about others.

Up first, it’s the Buckeyes vs. the Minnesota Golden Gophers and their 20-odd returning starters and their 1-odd returning head coach.

1. TreVeyon Henderson will have a play of over 20 yards.

An Ohio State freshman running back hasn’t been hyped like this since JK Dobbins in 2017. And an Ohio State running back hadn’t been hyped like him since Dontre Wilson in 2013. So consider TreVeyon Henderson the rubber match. I don’t know how many touches Henderson is going to get. It will probably be under 10, so I’m largely banking this on him returning kicks. And largely banking that on Ohio State actually choosing to return kicks this year. If he does get 10 touches though, I do like my chances. Or just return one kickoff please.

2. Both Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson will score.

If I really wanted a free space on this board, I could have said “either Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson will score,” but I do want to actually make this feel like an accomplishment for all of us when I get these right. Even with a quarterback who has never thrown a collegiate pass, it’s still difficult for me to leave one of these guys out in a touchdown prediction. The bolder prediction is that neither Olave or Wilson will score in this game.

3. Tanner Morgan will be held under 100 yards passing in the first half.

This is me putting faith in the Ohio State pass defense for the first 30 minutes. This is also me believing the Gophers are going to try to establish the run for at least a quarter. This is me also realizing that passing yards in the second half should never be wagered upon. I am expecting the defensive line to create some issues for Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan and I’m also expecting the coverage to be there. Will the rain help my prediction here? It was never once a consideration and frankly I don’t know why anybody needed to bring it up now.

4. Tyreke Smith and Zach Harrison will combine for at least 2.5 tackles for loss.

The talk during the offseason is how much the pass rush has worked on gaining that extra split second needed to get to the quarterback, so let’s see it. In fact, let’s also see some run stopping in the process. I don’t think 2.5 tackles for loss between Tyreke Smith and Zach Harrison is too much to ask, but almost any time I ask anything of a defensive end here, I’m let down. Is it my fault for expecting too much? Maybe, but probably not. I’m not the one failing to live up to my expectations.

5. Miyan Williams will rush for at least 82 yards.

We started this out by talking about TreVeyon Henderson, but the running game in this one will likely come down to Miyan Williams and Master Teague for the Buckeyes. Everybody wants to see what Williams looks like with 12-15 carries, so let’s find out. Heck, let’s see 20 carries. He has been outstanding in camp and the coaches couldn’t have asked for more during the summer. Now reward him with enough carries to get a sweat going. #LetChopShop

Bonus: A freshman will take part in a turnover.
That might be Lejond Cavazos getting an interception or Jack Sawyer forcing a fumble. (It could also be CJ Stroud throwing a pick.)

Bonus: Teradja Mitchell will lead the Buckeyes in tackles.
The Will linebacker is the designated tackler in this defense and there will be plenty of opportunities for him to designatedly tackle running back Mohamed Ibrahim.

Bonus: Jesse Mirco will put at least one punt inside the 7-yard line.
This could be either 7-yard line, but I don’t know how it would be Ohio State’s. Still, I want to cover my bases.