Justin Fields calls signals.JPG

Justin Fields calls the signals against Cincinnati in 2019 at Ohio Stadium.

COLUMBUS -- Ohio State has won three consecutive Big Ten championships and last year reached the Final Four of college football.

The Buckeyes have a loaded and experienced roster which makes them heavy favorites to repeat both achievements in 2020.

BIG TEN BREAKDOWN: OHIO STATE

COACH: Ryan Day, 16-1 entering second full season at Ohio State and overall

2019 RECORD: 13-1, 9-0 Big Ten (first, East)

OFFENSIVE STARTERS RETURNING (6): RG Wyatt Davis, TE Luke Farrell, QB Justin Fields, C Josh Myers, LT Thayer Munford, WR Chris Olave

DEFENSIVE STARTERS RETURNING (3): LB Tuf Borland, CB Shaun Wade, LB Pete Werner

SPECIALISTS RETURNING (2): PK Blake Haubeil, P Drue Chrisman

RETURNING STATISTICAL LEADERS: Rushing, Master Teague 135-789; Passing, Justin Fields 238-354-3-3,273-41; Receiving, Chris Olave 49-849; Tackles, Peter Werner 64; Interceptions, K’Vaughan Pope 2

KEEP AN EYE ON…

QB JUSTIN FIELDS: A Heisman finalist a year ago, the 6-foot-3, 228-pound junior completed 67.2 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,273 yards last season after transferring from Georgia. Intercepted just three times while throwing 41 touchdown passes, Fields has no shortage of potential targets. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, who combined to catch 79 passes covering 1,281 yards a year ago, return to lead a solid group of receivers.

CB: SHAUN WADE: The 6-1, 195-pound junior bypassed an early exit for the NFL, flirted with opting out of the current season and ultimately decided to return to help lead a Buckeye defense which has eight starting spots to fill after dominating the Big Ten a year ago. Wade broke up a team-leading eight passes and picked off one last season and will anchor the back of a defense that returns a pair of linebackers in Peter Werner and Tuf Borland who combined for 119 tackles a year ago.

RB TREY SERMON: J.K. who? With J.K. Dobbins taking his game to the next level, the Buckeyes brought in Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon. The 6-0, 220-pound Georgia native arrives at Ohio State ready-made to step into the starting lineup after rushing for more than 2,000 yards over the past three seasons for the Sooners. He’ll work behind an offensive line which returns three starters from a year ago, including one of the best guards in college football in junior Wyatt Davis.

YOU NEED TO KNOW…

Coach Ryan Day says that quarterback Justin Fields has embraced a vegan diet that has helped the junior quarterback get in shape for the upcoming season. During his radio show last week, Day said Fields has been working an Ohio State nutritionist to help put him the best possible physical condition to perform during the upcoming season. He said Fields has transformed his body, slimming down in part because he understands how important diet is to health and longevity in athletics.

THE BIG NUMBER

21

Number of projected Ohio State starters out of the 22 positions on the field who were rated as either a four- or five-star prospect during the recruiting process, illustrating the type of depth that has allowed the Buckeyes to thrive.

2020 SCHEDULE

Oct. 24 – Nebraska

Oct. 31 – at Penn State

Nov. 7 – Rutgers

Nov. 14 – at Maryland

Nov. 21 – Indiana

Nov. 28 – at Illinois

Dec. 5 – at Michigan State

Dec. 12 -- Michigan

NUMEROLOGY

Where Ohio State ranked in the Big Ten in 2019:

Scoring offense: 46.9 (First)

Rushing offense: 266.8 (First)

Passing offense: 263.1 (Third)

Total offense: 529.9 (First)

Scoring defense: 13.7 (First)

Rushing defense: 103.7 (Third)

Passing defense: 156.0 (First)

Totals defense: 259.7 (First)

TRENDS

The Buckeyes’ record over the last five seasons:

2015: 12-1

2016: 11-2

2017: 12-2

2018: 13-1

2019: 13-1

EYE ON IOWA:

Record in the last five games vs. the Hawkeyes:

2006: Ohio State 38, Iowa 17

2009: Ohio State 27, Iowa 24 (OT)

2010: Ohio State 20, Iowa 17

2013: Ohio State 34, Iowa 21

2017: Iowa 55, Ohio State 24

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