Three games into the 2018 season, Ohio State has played three games and won them all.
Winning is the bottom line in sports (between the lines, anyway), but not all 3-0 starts are created equally.
Here’s a closer look at the team Urban Meyer is inheriting this week after a three-game suspension.
Ohio State is third the nation in total offense (608.7 yards per game) and second in scoring (56.3 points per game).
The Buckeyes have displayed balance, averaging 348 yards through the air and 260.7 yards on the ground.
That is thanks to the contributions of a handful of receivers, a two-headed running back monster of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, a solid offensive line and…
The quarterbacks have been spectacular.
Ohio State is third in the country in completion percentage (75.2).
First-year starter Dwayne Haskins is 66 for 91 for 890 yards with 11 touchdown passes and an interception.
Backup Tate Martell has been impressive, too, completing 13 of 14 passes for 154 yards with a touchdown.
Ohio State is ninth in the country in turnover margin.
The Buckeyes could be forcing more (they have seven takeaways), but they have only given the ball away twice.
Turnovers were a huge factor in their win against TCU as OSU not only won the battle 3-0 but scored on an interception and a fumble recovery.
Special teams have been strong.
So far the kickoff coverage issues that plagued Ohio State last season have not been present.
The Buckeyes have already blocked a punt, rank 18th in the country in net punting (42.1 yards per kick) and haven’t allowed a punt return yard yet, though new return men have produced some anxious moments early on.
The defense is allowing 20.7 points per game, tied for 45th in the country, and 345.7 yards per game (51st).
Those numbers are a little bit above average, but that’s not the standard set by Ohio State.
The Silver Bullets expect to be among the nation’s leaders, and so far a tendency to give up big plays has held them back.
Dropped passes and low snaps.
These errors held the Ohio State offense back last Saturday night in Texas.
The 40-28 win over TCU might have been more comfortable if not for a handful of dropped passes that cost the Buckeyes a touchdown in the first quarter and notable gains several times throughout the game.
Haskins often had to adjust to catching snaps from Michael Jordan that were off-target, too, though that would seem to be correctable for a player in his first year at that all-important position.
Nothing can derail a season faster than injuries.
Ohio State has been fairly healthy so far this season with one major exception: Nick Bosa, arguably the team’s best player and one of the best in the nation, went down last week with a groin injury.
He is out this week and still getting tests to determine when he might be back.
On the bright side: Ohio State is deep on the defensive line.
Ohio State has also been penalty-prone through the first three games.
The Buckeyes are tied for 85th in the nation in penalties accepted against them and tied for 98th in yards marked off against them. Unlike the stats above, that really should not have much to do with the level of competition, so it speaks to a potential discipline problem Meyer will want to head off before the schedule gets tougher.
On the bright side: Ohio State was flagged only once in the second half against TCU, and that was a delay of game taken as the Buckeyes were running out the clock.
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