COLUMBUS — For the first time this season, something will not go Ohio State’s way.
After three blowout wins — including an eye-opening rout at Oklahoma last week — the Buckeyes will have to do the one thing they don’t want to do: take a break.
OSU’s open date is Saturday, making the Buckeyes one of two Big Ten teams who will not play this week.
The No. 2 Buckeyes have had very little trouble so far — they have outscored opponents 167-37 — but now they’ll wait until Oct. 1 to play again.
“I’m one of those guys, I wish we could keep going,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday.
The Buckeyes (3-0) have mostly avoided injuries during the season. Aside from defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle, who is out for the season with a patellar tendon injury, the Buckeyes figure to have the rest of their opening-day starters ready for their next contest, against Rutgers in Ohio State’s homecoming game.
Ohio State has found a rhythm in the early season: The Buckeyes rank third in the country in scoring offense, first in turnovers gained, eighth in turnovers allowed, and 11th in points allowed.
Meyer was adamant the Buckeyes have plenty to correct, but they’ll wait for their next chance.
“We were in a routine,” Meyer said. “The first week you’re a little bit out of routine because you come out of camp, so I wish [the bye week] was a little bit later in the year, but I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it.”
There is a silver lining to the bye week’s timing. Because the Buckeyes have a bye and their first two Big Ten games are in Columbus, they returned from Oklahoma early Sunday morning and won’t leave home again for 26 days.
Ohio State took Sunday and Monday off this week, and will be off from practice again Saturday. OSU will begin a normal week of practice Sunday for the Rutgers game.
While the Buckeyes aren’t hampered by injury, they plan to use their relatively light week to recoup physically.
“I always want to play, but I’ll always take a bye week,” defensive end Jayln Holmes said. “A bye week gives you time to rest your body, and we got some guys that are dinged up. Football takes a toll on your body, and you get a chance to step back from it for a little bit, so it was cool either way.”
After reviewing the Oklahoma game, Meyer said he and his staff felt the same way he did: The Buckeyes still have room to grow.
Ohio State is not yet where it needs to be, Meyer said.
“I was hoping everyone would see it the same way I saw it, and they did — and that’s that we have so much more room to improve on,” Meyer said. “I’m very pleased with their growth, their development, the play[ing] hard. Those are all things that are demanded around here, but there’s still far too many mistakes.”
After returning to regularly scheduled games next week, the Buckeyes play all nine Big Ten games in nine straight weeks. If OSU wins the East Division and qualifies for the Big Ten championship game, it will play 10 weeks in a row.
But while most of the league is worrying about a game Saturday, the Buckeyes have a chance for some self-evaluation, which they aim to use wisely.
“It’s tough, especially having it so early,” left tackle Jamarco Jones said. “But it’s a just a chance for us to review what we’ve been doing these first couple games and clean some stuff up before we get into Big Ten play, which will be very helpful.”
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