5. The Buckeyes’ dual threat run game is hitting its stride.
The Bucks continue to have a potent run game just like every other year. However, this season has been a bit different. There’s space for two backs in the backfield this season as the Bucks have a dynamic duo in their arsenal.
Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins have been tearing it up on the ground this season. Weber, who was a thousand yard rusher last season, began this season in limited fashion due to injury. Dobbins has handily carried the load as he continues to average almost eight yards per carry up to this point.
Weber has picked up steam as the season has gone on and has stepped up in some of the Bucks’ biggest moments. He scored the Bucks’ only rushing touchdown in the one point win over Penn State and rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns against Michigan State last week. For reference, Michigan State was the third best rush defense in the entire nation before last weekend.
The Bucks had to make a change after their stunning loss to Iowa and that’s exactly what they did last week. The running backs had three times as many carries as J.T. Barrett. At Iowa, Barrett had more carries than both of them combined. The resulting figure was a 45 point victory after the running backs took over last weekend.
The Fighting Illini will have an especially hard time containing the Bucks on Saturday. The Illini have the second worst rush defense in the Big Ten by allowing the third most rushing touchdowns and the second most rushing yards. The Bucks utilizing the run in this match up is a given but knowing that they can utilize the run against almost any defense now will give them confidence for match ups down the road.
The duo of Dobbins and Weber are hitting their stride now when it counts most. In this case, better late than never would be a better term for it. There aren’t many teams who can say that they have two running backs who could likely start for any team in the country. All the Bucks can hope for is that they both stay in good shape and maybe even have them both play again next season as well. Expect the Bucks to run all over the Illini this weekend.