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How prepared are Buckeyes when — or if — streak of blowouts ends?

Garrett Wilson-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson caught another touchdown for the Buckeyes in the rout of Maryland. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Question Of The Day

How prepared are Buckeyes when — or if — streak of blowouts ends?

The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics about the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about the Ohio State and signs it can handle adversity? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

Ryan Day has a strong hunch about how his team would respond if Ohio State ever finds itself with the back against the wall in a four-quarter game.

But if the Buckeyes coach never has to find out for sure, that would obviously be his preference.

After nine straight blowouts and with No. 10 almost certainly on the way on Saturday at Rutgers, the question has started popping up more frequently for the Buckeyes: How will they respond in moments of adversity if they haven’t had to do it in games yet?

That’s certainly a valid topic of conversation. But it does tend to overlook the fact that the Buckeyes have done a remarkable job of focusing on the details every week, executing essentially from start to finish no matter who the opponent might be and consistently putting itself in position so it doesn’t need to have its mettle tested in the second half on Saturdays.

Just because the tough spots aren’t showing up in the Horseshoe or stadiums around the Big Ten doesn’t mean Ohio State isn’t learning to deal with challenges. And the serious, extremely competitive nature of practices on Tuesday and Wednesday are forging some truly steel-willed athletes, because simply cracking the lineup on arguably the most talented roster in the country is often a bigger test than the games.

Antwaun Jackson-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State has been able to get plenty of guys like Antwuan Jackson involved in blowout wins. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State has also had to deal with long-term injuries for a pair of captains. The defensive line has been short-handed in essentially every game this season. The pile of distractions gets larger with every passing week, right along with the temptation to get complacent after everything the Buckeyes have already accomplished.

So, in some ways Day might have to get creative at times to dial up pressure situations and see how the Buckeyes respond — like they did last week by pulling off an onside kick out of seemingly nowhere early in the game. But every game kicks off with an even score, and while that might not be perceived as the same as a tight battle in the final few minutes, starting games the way Ohio State does still reveals plenty about it.

“Our team hasn’t really been in the fourth quarter of a dogfight yet,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “One of the things we have to do is we have to hold ourselves to a certain standard. We cannot at any point lose our discipline, lose our focus because we had 13 penalties in a game [against Maryland]. That’s unacceptable. That’s going to hurt us in a close game. Execution level has to be at an all-time high, effort. All those things, taking care of the ball, ball security, decision making, communication.

“Those are the things we’re really focusing on right now. All of those things have got to be really good if we’re going to win close games.”

At the rate the Buckeyes are going, though, maybe they still won’t have to do it for a while.

Miss any previous editions of Question of the Day? Catch up right here.

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HominidJimmy VespeBuckeyzfan1Bob Gustinallinosu Recent comment authors
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allinosu
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allinosu

LSU doesn’t have the defense to beat OSU. Vandy put 39 on them and I doubt they can score that much against OSU.

Bob Gustin
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Bob Gustin

LSU has given up 28 points 4 times – 38 twice, including Friggin’ VANDY!!!

dan lucas
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dan lucas

so, armando thinks blowing out every team is a weakness and he has LSU at #1 because they’ve played close games?? i’ll take the blowouts all the way to a national title armando.

Jimmy Vespe
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Jimmy Vespe

I’m not in agreement at all that because LSU has been in closer games and weathered the storm they deserve to be number one. There is ZERO logic to that. OSU has routed everyone, and comparing that to last year’s team which was very close to a playoff team there is not doubt that OSU should be number one. I’m sorry but Florida and Texas aren’t that good, and neither is Bama this year. OSU is going 15-0 barring injury etc

Buckeyzfan1
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Buckeyzfan1

Jimmy what does the “etc” include? Is it a player doing something stupid off the field which causes the team to focus on that incident. Coaches and team leaders have to keep cool heads moving forward. Go Buckeyes!

Jimmy Vespe
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Jimmy Vespe

Exactly, something like that! Loss of focus hasn’t been a problem this year, and the team is very deep talent wise.

Hominid
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Hominid

Not only have they blown out every team – they’ve done it playing about two quarters or less per game. Keep in mind that they’ve set top four stats on both D and O without playing more than half of each game game. Imagine Dobbins numbers if carried 36 times a game instead of 18. How many more sacks would Chase have if he didn’t sit out half of every game? Fields passing yardage would be an NCAA all-time record.

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Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.

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