Ohio State vs. Bowling Green Prediction, Game Preview

Ohio State vs. Bowling Green prediction and game preview for the opening contest of the 2016 season. Find out who’s projected to win the matchup between the Buckeyes and Falcons.

Ohio State vs. Bowling Green Game Preview

Game Details

Saturday, Sept. 3 – Noon ET

Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

Matchup to Watch

Ohio State reloading vs. rebuilding

Urban Meyer is replacing eight starters on each side of the ball, including 12 NFL draft picks. The Buckeyes never are short on four- and five-star recruits, as they continue to build a juggernaut under Meyer. Still, replacing that kind of talent still is difficult.

J.T. Barrett, who started most of Ohio State’s 2014 national title season before being injured, is the unquestioned leader at quarterback and a Heisman Trophy contender. It’ll be up to him to get the Buckeyes off to a good start with all the new faces.

Offensive Edge

Behind Barrett is running back Curtis Samuel, who has the tall task of replacing Ezekiel Elliott. Meyer is confident in Samuel’s playmaking abilities despite an inexperienced offensive line – true freshman Michael Jordan is slated to start at right guard – providing the primary blocking.

Bowling Green averaged over 500 yards of total offense per game last season on its way to a MAC title. The doesn’t mean much for 2016 with most of the top contributors not around anymore. Matt Johnson and his 46 touchdown passes are gone, as are leading rusher Travis Greene and receivers Roger Lewis and Gehrig Dieter, who left for Alabama as a graduate transfer.

Ohio State

Defensive Edge

Chris Ash left as the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator to be the head coach at Rutgers, and Joey Bosa and Eli Apple, among others, are gone. Regardless, there’s still talent around. Coincidently, former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano steps in as the new DC, and linebacker Raekwon McMillan has the potential to be an All-American.

The Falcons are likely in for a rough afternoon defensively. They do have a good amount of lettermen returning, but they finished 10th in the MAC with an average of 418.4 yards allowed per game last season.

Advantage: Ohio State

Edge in Special Teams

There’s nowhere to go but up for Bowling Green’s coverage. It ranked 127th national in opponents’ punt-return average and 62nd in kick-return average.

Ohio State

Coaching Edge

On one side is Meyer with his three national championships. On the other is Mike Jinks, who’s in his first collegiate head coaching job after Dino Barbers left for Syracuse. Jinks was still high school football in 2012 before Texas Tech hired him as running backs coach.

Ohio State


Remember when Meyer coached Bowling Green for two seasons – his first two as a collegiate head coach – before moving on to Utah? He definitely was successful for the Falcons, and it’s safe to say he’s working with considerably more talent nowadays.

Ohio State

Ohio State vs. Bowling Green Prediction

The Buckeyes shake off some early rust then win running away.

Final Score: Ohio State 42, Bowling Green 10

MORE: 2016 College Football Bowl Projections