COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer loves the spread offense.
He loves winning with a robust running game even more.
In that regard, he’s far closer to Woody Hayes than he is to, oh, Chip Kelly.
”We like to pride ourselves on being balanced,” Meyer said Tuesday. ”However, (our spread) is very physical – it’s not the chuck ‘n’ duck, basketball-on-grass type of offense at all. It’s a power-oriented run game.”
So in other words, when No. 23 Wisconsin comes to Ohio Stadium on Saturday night to face the fourth-ranked Buckeyes, both sides want to throw the ball, but their first priority is jamming it down the opposing defense’s throat.
Even though most Ohio State fans think of Meyer’s spread as a cutting-edge offense with multiple receivers, backs getting the ball out wide, quick snaps, no huddles and lots of passes, in many ways it’s back to the future for the Buckeyes.
Make no mistake about it: The Buckeyes like to run the ball. And they like to run it straight at you, if at all possible.
Wisconsin first-year coach Gary Andersen, a former Meyer lieutenant who remains a close friend, isn’t misled.
”They’re going to do what they do. They want to run the ball first,” he said. ”They want to be very effective in the play-action run game. You’ll see the football go out sideways to get you to run, get the defense tired, and they’ll come back at you and start running the ball and trying to be physical with you.”
Both Ohio State and Wisconsin are best when running. Wisconsin is third in the nation in rushing, averaging 350 yards. Ohio State is sixth at 311.
In the first half alone of last week’s 76-0 shellacking of overmatched Florida A&M, an FCS team, the Buckeyes passed 34 times. But that was an anomaly.
Wisconsin would like nothing better than for its big guys up front and in the offensive backfield to decide the game.
The Buckeyes swear that regardless of how people define the spread, they remain a power team.
Continue Reading: Badgers, Buckeyes each want to overpower the other