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Big Ten preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

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OSU junior running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) vaults over Virginia Tech's Desmond Frye (26) during a game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia, on Sept. 7. OSU won, 42-24. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo Editor

OSU junior running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) vaults over Virginia Tech’s Desmond Frye (26) during a game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia, on Sept. 7. OSU won, 42-24. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo Editor

Location: Columbus, Ohio

2014 record: 14-1

Head coach: Urban Meyer (fourth year, 40-3)  

2015 record so far: 4-0

What’s happened so far in 2015: The Buckeyes got revenge in their season opener when they defeated Virginia Tech — the only team to beat them in 2014 — 42-24. The following weekend at home, OSU took down the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 38-0 for the program’s nation-leading 15th consecutive win. Northern Illinois came to Columbus the following week and thrust a scare into OSU and its struggling offense, but the Buckeyes narrowly avoided an upset, winning 20-13. OSU won its next contest over Western Michigan, 38-12, in a game that saw the offense make strides while the defensive dominance remained.

Key offensive player: OSU has a lot of talent on offense, but out of all of it, junior running back Ezekiel Elliott is its key piece. He sprinted into national spotlight near the end of OSU’s 2014 campaign when he rushed for over 200 yards in the Buckeyes’ three postseason games. The Heisman-hopeful has continued his strong finish from last season, as he is off to a fast start in 2015. Through four games, the St. Louis native has ran for 455 yards and five touchdowns, including a dazzling 80-yarder against Virginia Tech. Heading into the Saturday game against Indiana, Elliott has ran for 100 yards in nine consecutive contests. He has been the most consistent part of OSU’s offense this season.

Key defensive player: Junior defensive end Joey Bosa anchors one of the country’s most feared defensive units. In 2014, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native had 21 tackles for a loss, including 13.5 sacks. He was also a unanimous All-American selection. His 2015 season got off to a delayed start because he was suspended for the opening game against VT. But now Bosa is back on the field and causing opposing offenses havoc with his elite ability to rush the passer off the edge and clog running lanes. If he decides to forgo his final year of eligibility, Bosa projects to be one of the top selections in the 2016 NFL draft.

Weaknesses: For a team loaded with talent, a true weakness is hard to find. However, the receiving corps is an area of concern. Outside of redshirt junior Michael Thomas, there is no real threat. The H-backs, such as redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall and sophomore Curtis Samuel, have been solid weapons, but they are not true receivers. Players such as redshirt senior Corey Smith or redshirt freshman Parris Campbell will need to step up and develop as second options behind Thomas.

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