Ohio State Football: Buckeye State of the Union Week 9

Marvin Harrison Jr. vs Wisconsin | Image Credit: The Ohio State University Department of Athletics
Marvin Harrison Jr. vs Wisconsin | Image Credit: The Ohio State University Department of Athletics

President Blake Biscardi addresses Buckeye Nation following Ohio State’s win over Wisconsin and starts campaigning for the Heisman Trophy for Marvin Harrison Jr.

Dear fellow Buckeyes,

For the first time since 2000, Ohio State left Madison, Wisconsin, with a double-digit victory. Camp Randall is a well-known, challenging place to play. Coming off an emotional and physical win over Penn State, Saturday’s win is even more significant. The Buckeyes typically struggle the week following the Nittany Lions. While that was the case again in Madison, Jim Knowles’ defense was lights out and the difference in the game. 

As I shared on Twitter/X after the game, there are three main takeaways from Ohio State vs. Wisconsin. I will center this address around those conclusions as we enter the final month of the regular season. I say it every year: the games you remember are played in November. The Ohio State Buckeyes are getting healthy and improving every week. This upcoming stretch is where they need to start peaking, heading into The Game. 

  1. Marvin Harrison Jr. should be the Heisman Trophy front-runner.

Ohio State has the best player in college football, and his name is Marvin Harrison Jr. His impact on the Buckeye offense can be likened to Lebron James — with him on the field, there’s a clear advantage and difference-maker. However, if he were not in the offense, it would only be slightly above average. 

Affectionately called Marvelous Marv and Maserati Marv, No. 18 is an otherworldly talent who reminds the world of his abilities every Saturday. Harrison Jr. is developing into everything his Dad, Marvin Harrison Sr. — NFL Hall of Fame WR, was as a player but with a 6’4 frame. He has elite body control, top-tier ball skills, precise route running abilities, great burst, and is a technician near the boundary. 

Here are his stats from the last four games: 

  • Maryland: 8 rec 163 yards TD
  • Purdue: 6 rec 105 yards TD
  • Penn State: 11 rec 162 yards 2TD
  • Wisconsin: 6 rec 123 yards 2TD

Season totals: 48 rec 889 yards 8TD (18.5 avg/rec) 

Ryan Day knows he has the best player in the country on his team and is featuring Harrison as the go-to target for QB Kyle McCord. His numbers are off the charts, as Harrison is definitively the difference maker in recent defensive battle games. No. 18 is Ohio State’s advantage in matchup games and why he should be the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. 

2. Jim Knowles is coaching an elite unit. The DC has been SPECIAL this year.

Praising Jim Knowles and the Silver Bullets has been a weekly staple of my coverage. The country keeps waiting on Ohio State to give up the big play or a team to score at least 21, but Knowles and the defense won’t allow it. The Buckeye defense is as well-coached as any in college football. They play violent, physical, and disciplined football. Everyone does their job, and the unit has great chemistry as they suffocate opponents. Ohio State is the only defense allowing less than four yards per play this season. 

Ohio State now has the No. 2 scoring defense in college football, giving up an average of 10 points per game. The Buckeyes only surrender 160 yards through the air and 99 yards on the ground per game, too—stout numbers for the Scarlet and Gray in Jim Knowles’ second season. Ohio State also has the No. 4 total defense, behind Michigan, Penn State, and Air Force. 

Ohio State only surrendered its averages to Wisconsin on Saturday night. The Badgers scored 10 points and mustered up 259 total yards (165 passing, 94 rushing). Wisconsin was 6/16 (37.5%) on third down and 0/2 on fourth down conversions, as the Silver Bullets continue to find ways to get off the field. 

This defense is one of the best overall units in the nation, as it makes a statement every Saturday. All three levels play sound football for the Buckeyes. Ohio State has a championship-level defense, and when the offense is back and at full strength, the top-end potential of this team gets unlocked. 

3. TreVeyon Henderson makes the offense so much better. He is electric in all phases.

One of the struggle points for Ohio State this season has been injuries on offense in the running back room and Emeka Egbuka. The Buckeyes got TreVeyon Henderson back for the first time since Notre Dame, and what a return performance. Henderson totaled 207 yards and a touchdown in Madison. He had 24 carries for 162 yards (6.8 avg) and the game-icing 33-yard touchdown. No. 32 was also a threat through the air, catching four passes for 45 yards. 

Henderson is undoubtedly an impact player. His vision, speed, and agility create a whole different dynamic for the offense, which has yet to reach its potential. The Buckeyes took a big step forward in doing so and will look to take another against Rutgers next week. Ideally, Egbuka will be 100%, which gives us our first look at a fully healthy offense in over a month. 

College football is about staying healthy and playing your best football at the right time. Both of those things are beginning to happen for the Buckeyes. With a defense this elite and the star power on offense, Ohio State is becoming a dangerous team after passing its third of four regular season tests. The final, toughest, and most important remains in less than a month in Ann Arbor.