Ohio State was expected to go through a few growing pains this season, as the team returned only six starters – the fewest in the BCS. Yet after two impressive wins, the expectations are sky high as the fourth-ranked Buckeyes travel to No. 14 Oklahoma for a Saturday showdown.
Ohio State is coming off a 48-3 rout of Tulsa in which Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore each returned an interception for a touchdown to complement four rushing scores by the Buckeyes. “We still have to go a little bit,” Lattimore said, “but we’re ready. I told the guys we’ve got the talent. If we perfect the schemes, we can come out with the win at Oklahoma.” The Sooners followed up a disappointing loss to Houston in their season opener by topping ULM 59-17 last week despite the obvious temptation to look ahead to the matchup with Ohio State. “They’re obviously a good program,” Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield said of the Buckeyes. “Everybody knows that. I feel confident in what we’re doing right now, and I think we’re going to keep progressing. I think it’ll be a good matchup.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FOX.
LINE HISTORY: Ohio State opened the betting week as 2.5-point road faves against the powerful Oklahoma Sooners. The line has been wobbly for most of the week; dropping to 1.5 before jumping back up to 2, dropping all of the way down to a Pick before recovering up to 1.5, and finally settling down at Buckeyes -1 by Friday. The total hasn’t been anywhere near as exciting, opening at 64.5 before dropping down to the current number of 63. View complete line history here.
Ohio State – LB D. Booker (Probable Saturday, knee), WR D. Wilson (Probable Saturday, foot), K S. Nuernberger (Questionable Saturday, groin), WR A. Stump (Questionable Saturday, undisclosed), OL K. Feder (Questionable Saturday, undisclosed), DL T. Sprinkle (Questionable Saturday, leg), DT M. Barrow (Questionable Saturday, illness).
Oklahoma – WR D. Green (Questionable Saturday, concussion), DL C. Walker (Questionable Saturday, undisclosed), DE D. Ward (Questionable Saturday, neck), RB D. Brooks (Questionable Saturday, undisclosed), LB T. Evans (Questionable Saturday, hip), DT D. Lampkin (Out Saturday, suspension), OL D. Orso-Bacchus (Out Saturday, suspension).
ABOUT OHIO STATE (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS, 1-1 O/U): The Buckeyes proved that their offense can be centered on the passing game in Week 1, when J.T. Barrett threw for six touchdowns as part of a 349-yard performance against Bowling Green. Then last week they showed off their rushing attack as Mike Weber rushed for 92 yards and a score, Curtis Samuel added 78 yards on eight carries and Barrett rushed for a pair of scores. As for the defense, which allowed 188 total yards and forced six turnovers, coach Urban Meyer said: “Our defense is playing so well right now. Obviously, the challenge will come (Saturday) against a very good team, and we’re going to jump on that one early and get ready to go.”
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS, 1-1 O/U): The Sooners only needed Mayfield for a half against ULM their last time out, as the junior passed for three touchdowns before sitting out the rest of a contest that saw his team finish with 640 total yards. Joe Mixon paced the Oklahoma rushing attack with 117 yards on 13 attempts while Semaje Perine added a pair of rushing scores. Jordan Evans and Neville Gallimore combined for 18 tackles versus ULM and will have their work cut out for them against Ohio State’s dynamic attack.
* Buckeyes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
* Sooners are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
* Over is 6-0 in Buckeyes last 6 games on grass.
* Over is 5-1 in Sooners last 6 home games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The Covers public is strongly favoring the road favorites in this matchup with 66 percent of the wagers on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Over is seeing the majority of the totals picks at 58 percent. View full consensus data here.