Fresh off a bye week and looking to generate some momentum heading into Big Ten action, these Ohio State players could be in line for big outings on Saturday night against Cincinnati.
QB J.T. Barrett
The redshirt freshman made the most of a confidence-building blowout over Kent State before the off date, showing off his accuracy, leading the offense with poise and tying the school mark for touchdown passes along the way. The Bearcats rank just No. 106 in the country in total defense early in the season, and there should be opportunities for the Buckeyes to rack up yardage and put up points if the offensive line gives him time to throw. With just three starts under his belt, Barrett is far from a finished product at this early stage, but that experience and the extra time to prepare should work in his favor against Cincinnati.
CB Doran Grant
It's no secret the Bearcats will come out firing the football all over the field, and Gunner Kiel has given them no reason not to with 10 touchdown passes in just two starts. Ohio State's revamped secondary has shown signs of improvement, but this will be the measuring stick to see just how far it has come since last season's embarrassing work defending the pass left it ranked No. 110 in the nation. Grant has been widely praised for his leadership in the rebuilding project, and he will no doubt be busy against a talented set of Cincinnati receivers. But considering the volume of passes that will be coming his way and some interception issues popping up for Kiel last week, Grant should break through with his first pick of the season.
The sophomore looks explosive as ever when he gets the ball in his hands, but it likely hasn't been there as much as Ohio State would like so far this season. The versatile weapon has just eight carries and five receptions through three games, and while the Buckeyes have plans to spread the opportunities around the roster, Wilson probably needs a bigger share since he's averaging nearly 12 yards per touch. It seems like a safe bet Ohio State will start making a more concerted effort to get him involved against the Bearcats.