Following back-to-back weeks in which the Ohio State football team amassed 710 and 533 yards on offense, respectively, it might face its biggest challenge yet — another bye week.
Just as it seemed the Buckeyes were starting to gain momentum both offensively and defensively, they will now face their second bye week in a month.
Coach Urban Meyer said during Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference that the bye week comes at an unfortunate time for the Buckeyes.
“I wish we were still playing,” Meyer said. “This is one of those weeks that there’s some momentum, guys are feeling good, so I need to keep that momentum, keep getting better, and get out of this week healthy.”
Meyer added that he is treating this bye week slightly different than he normally would, taking practice one day at a time.
“I just did a very unique thing. I just did today’s practice and I am going to wait until tomorrow to do tomorrow’s,” Meyer said. “I am going to see how we go today. We do have a little more dings — not injuries but just guys are beat up a little bit.”
The bye week comes after sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott posted his best two games of the season — and of his career — as he rushed for back-to-back 100-plus-yard games for the first time since he arrived at OSU.
Elliott said he agreed with Meyer about the off week.
“I do wish we were playing this week,” Elliott said following the 52-24 win over Maryland on Saturday. “But we will take another week to get it all together, keep it rolling and get better.”
Not only was Elliott starting to hit his stride, but redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett was beginning to impress as he totaled eight touchdown passes compared to zero interceptions in his last two games against Cincinnati and Maryland.
Barrett said following the win against the Terrapins that he, along with the entire offense, is gaining confidence each week.
“I feel like with the things that the defense present to us, we just take advantage of that. We just try to be prepared for anything and everything and so we just have to do a good job of executing,” Barrett said. “As far as myself, I’m just trying to get better during the week and not wait until gameday to just react to everything. I learn the defense on Tuesday and Wednesday so come Saturday I can have that confidence and go out and play.”
Meyer said after the win against Maryland that he has been impressed with not only Barrett, but multiple players on the offensive side of the ball.
“J.T. Barrett is playing very well and the big thing is we can still get better. The guys playing around him are pretty good too,” Meyer said. “There’s a lot of confidence when you start rotating six receivers in there and they are all quality guys.
Meyer added that moving forward, his Buckeyes will have to keep up their intensity, especially during the bye week.
“The road is just getting tougher and tougher. We are just worried about getting better this week,” he said after defeating the Terrapins. “It’s a bye week, I wish we were playing another one next week, our whole team wishes we (were) playing. I’m going to just give them as many game reps as I can to show maturity.”
Following the bye week, the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Rutgers on Oct. 18 at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.