Ohio State Cover Is Just An Urban Legend In Rose Bowl Against Washington

Rainman M.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 8:11 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 8:11 PM UTC

Get the latest Rose Bowl college football picks on Washington vs. Ohio State. The game from Pasadena, California is Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN. Bet confidently with tips from SBRpicks.com.

Rose Bowl: Washington (10-3 SU, 4-9 ATS) vs Ohio State (12-1 SU, 6-7 ATS)Tuesday, Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, CaliforniaFree NCAAF Pick: Huskies ATSBest Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer is retiring after this game after seven years at OSU. Urban is an extremely accomplished coach who has led OSU to a New Year’s Six/BCS Bowl in each of his six years there when OSU was bowl-eligible. His players will want to send him off with a win. Meyer’s counterpart is Chris Petersen. He has led UW to three-straight double-digit winning seasons, each one culminating in a New Year’s six bowl. Petersen is hungry for that one big bowl victory.

How They Got Here

For the second straight year, a big loss to an average conference opponent kept Ohio State from the playoffs. The Buckeyes lost only one game, but still finished ranked sixth after demolishing rival Michigan and winning the Big 10 title game against Northwestern. Washington is ranked ninth after upsetting eighth-ranked Washington State on the road and winning the Pac 12 title. Urban is 11-3 in bowls, 4-2 in bowls with Ohio State. Petersen is 1-3 in bowls with UW.

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Why Ohio State Can Win/Cover

Many experts argued that Michigan held the nation’s best defense and yet Ohio State put up 62 on them. The Buckeyes’ offense is stacked. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins is a Heisman finalist with 4,500 yards, a 70 percent completion rate, and 47 touchdowns to eight interceptions. J.K Dobbins has run for 1,000 yards and fellow running back Mike Weber isn’t far behind. Four receivers have over 600 yards. Parris Campbell leads them with 79 receptions, 992 yards, and the speed to create big plays. The o-line ranks 17th in sack rate. The Buckeyes have the second-best offense in yards per game whereas UW’s best opponent, Washington State, ranks 24th. OSU has scored 107 points in its last two games, covering each.

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Why Washington Can Win/Cover

Ohio State’s run defense is porous thanks to a front seven that returned only one starter in the linebacking crew and misses star defensive end Nick Bosa. It ranks 81st in allowing 4.6 YPC. This weakness plays into UW’s hands. UW ranks 25th in run play frequency. Myles Gaskin has run for 1147 yards on 4.9 YPC and 10 touchdowns. Salvon Ahmed is a reliable backup who averages 6.9 YPC while carrying it between five and 11 times in every game since October. Its o-line, with All-American left tackle Trey Adams back, is healthier than OSU’s and more geared toward run-blocking, It ranks 22nd in short-yardage situations. The Huskies have covered their last two games when running for over 100 yards.

Common Opponent/Series History

UW and OSU have both faced two top-10 teams. UW failed to cover or win against Auburn, but easily handled Washington State as underdogs, because the Cougars were a much more propitious match-up. Ohio State failed to cover against Penn State on the road, but managed to win straight-up thanks to moronic game-managing from the opposing coach. OSU then walloped Michigan at home by exploiting some big match-up advantages.

The Verdict

In Washington’s last two big bowl games, it had the misfortune of facing Alabama’s ferocious defense and of facing a Penn State team that matched-up solidly with it. PSU’s elite running back absorbed UW’s concentration, allowing for its well-sized wide receivers to exploit one-on-one situations and for its quarterback to scramble at will. Ohio State, with its relatively immobile quarterback, inconsistent running game, and less physical receivers, lacks those tools.

OSU destroyed Michigan by learning from Indiana and from watching opposing offenses expose its own similarly built defense that crossing routes work beautifully against Michigan. It exploited Michigan’s lack of depth in the secondary and used its speed to torch Michigan underneath and across the middle.

Whereas Michigan is more built to demolish physical Big 10 offenses like Wisconsin and Michigan State, Washington runs a base nickel concept, meaning that is more built to handle offenses like OSU’s that want to spread out a defense and rely on its own speed. UW enjoys unparalleled depth in the secondary and versatile linebackers like Ben Burr-Kirven with six passes defensed who excel at pass coverage. Its stats are misleading because of earlier injuries. Now healthy, the Huskies’ opposing passer rating in their last three games would place them sixth nationally. The return of cornerback Jordan Miller is a big reason for that improvement. Last year, he ranked sixth in opposing passer rating when targeted.

Last year’s nail-biting loss against Penn State showed how resilient UW is and how seriously it takes big bowl games. It will match OSU’s motivation and keep this game tight.

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