Ohio State vs. Western Michigan

The Ohio State Buckeyes are set to take on the Western Michigan Broncos on Sept. 7 in Columbus, and they will once again be heavy favorites.

The Buckeyes are returning a good portion of their members on both ends of the field and have put on a show in the transfer portal. Some names head coach Ryan Day brought in this offseason include Alabama’s Caleb Downs and Seth McLaughlin, Kansas State’s Will Howard, and Mississippi’s Quinshon Judkins.

There’s not really much doubt that a team that finished in the top 10 a season ago will have much trouble contending for a title — especially in the new 12-team playoff format — but perhaps the most pressing matter the Buckeyes face now is finding their quarterback.

Last season, Ohio State didn’t name a full-time starter until week 3 — with five players still competing for that role, it may be a tougher decision for Day and Chip Kelly.

Air Noland showed out in the Ohio State Spring Game despite not playing in the first half.

Air Noland showed out in the Ohio State Spring Game despite not playing in the first half. / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

Regardless of who is starting week 2, they shouldn’t have too much trouble against a Western Michigan squad that won just four games last season.

The Broncos are 8-50 all-time against Big Ten teams; however, their last [former] Power 5 win was against Pittsburgh just three seasons ago. Still, this shouldn’t scare the Buckeyes, who own a 1-0 lead all time against Western Michigan.

Unfortunately for Lance Taylor, who will enter his second season as full-time head coach, the Broncos open their season on the road against Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Despite returning Hayden Wolff — who threw for 1,505 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions in seven starts last season — the Bronco quarterback had trouble extending plays, taking 4.5 sacks per game in his last two starts.

Taylor is also returning his top pass catcher in graduate Kenneth Womack, who, despite catching just one touchdown, had 76 receptions for 691 yards.

The boys from Kalamazoo also return leading rusher and Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year Jalen Buckley, who posted 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground last season. The Buckeyes struggled early on to stop the run — with leading ends Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau returning, Buckley may have his work cut out for him.

Not only will Western Michigan face a tough Ohio State squad, but they will surely hear it from the fans on Alumni Band Day.

Anna Harden

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