Green Wave, Buckeyes set to meet for first time as Urban Meyer returns to the sideline
For the first time this 2018 season, Ohio State will have its head coach on the sidelines during a game when the Buckeyes host Tulane. Having served his university-mandated suspension, Urban Meyer addressed the media on Sunday, stating, "This was the first time I’ve had a chance to visit with you since Media Day. And I want to start off by apologizing for that performance. I want to be really clear that there is zero intent to mislead. The report found that. I did not answer questions with the accuracy that I should have..."
For an hour, Meyer answered all questions regarding the circumstances that led to his suspension, clearly hoping to be return the focus to the results on the field, rather than events off of it.
Ohio State is coming off a 40-28 victory over TCU that has the Buckeyes 3-0 and ranked fourth in the country. Superstar junior defensive end Nick Bosa is battling an abdominal injury that will keep him out of Saturday's game, as the hope is to protect the remainder of Bosa's season.
Urban Meyer said he hopes to know soon how long Nick Bosa will be out for the Buckeyes. Bosa has an abodminal/groin injury that occurred during this past Saturday's win over TCU. Meyer said "further tests are being done now." https://t.co/C6nz9OoCsg— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) September 18, 2018
This will be the first time that Tulane and Ohio State have ever played. Tulane comes into this game 1-2, having lost two games by a combined 13 points. Tulane lost the season opener at home to Wake Forest in overtime 23-17, and last week on the road at UAB 31-24. In its second game, Tulane rolled FCS opponent Nicholls State 42-17, so the Buckeyes are getting a team that truly believes that it could have been undefeated coming into its first-ever game in Ohio Stadium.
Corey Dauphine tallied three rushing touchdowns and 152 total yards on the ground, while quarterback Jonathan Banks added 190 yards in the air and a touchdown of his own as @GreenWaveFB defeated Nicholls on Saturday night. #AmericanFB pic.twitter.com/qkPWi75Jfb— American Football (@American_FB) September 9, 2018
Tulane at Ohio State
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 22, 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Ohio State -36.5
Three Things To Watch
1. Ohio State's offense in Urban Meyer's return
Even in Meyer's absence, Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has had an impressive start to the 2018 season, throwing for 890 yards, 11 touchdowns, only one interception with a 72.5 percent completion rate. Co-offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day have played to Haskins' strengths, while eschewing the traditional staple of the Buckeyes' offense, the quarterback zone read. With Meyer back on the sidelines, will Haskins carry the ball more than he has in the previous three games?
2. Tulane's running game vs. Ohio State's run defense
Tulane's Corey Dauphine had a monster game in the win over Nicholls State, rushing for 152 yards on just six carries. Ohio State has been susceptible defensively to big plays, having given up long runs to Oregon State and TCU. Will Ohio State stack the box against Dauphine on Saturday afternoon in Ohio Stadium?
3. Ohio State's pass rush without Nick Bosa
The aforementioned Bosa will be missing from the game against Tulane. The Green Wave have two talented wide receivers in Darnell Mooney (18 receptions for 308 yards, three touchdowns, 17.1 yards per reception) and Terren Encalade (11 receptions for 248 yards, two touchdowns, 22.5 yards per reception). Who will step up along the Ohio State defensive line to apply pressure to Green Wave quarterback Jonathan Banks?
Tulane has played competitively in all of its games so far this season, but the talent gap between the Green Wave and Buckeyes is substantial. Even without the services of Nick Bosa, the Ohio State defensive line has talented players to make up for Bosa's absence. Urban Meyer has been itching to get back on the sidelines, and this game is going to serve as a springboard for the Buckeyes as they prepare for Big Ten conference play.
Prediction: Ohio State 56, Tulane 7