COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 129th season of football at Ohio State opens on Saturday with a match-up against Oregon State from the Pac-12 Conference.
The Buckeyes welcome back 49 letterwinners from the 2017 Big Ten and Cotton Bowl champions. Included in that number are six starters on offense and four on defense.
Among the 11 returning starters is returning first-team All-American Nick Bosa, who was also the 2017 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, and sophomore RB J.K. Dobbins, who set a freshmen record with 1,403 yards rushing last season.
The wide receiver unit returns all seven lettermen, including a trio of fifth-year senior captains in Terry McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon and Parris Campbell. The leading receiver, fourth-year junior K.J. Hill (56 receptions) is also back this year.
Running back is a position of strength that boasts two 1,000-yard rushers: Dobbins and fourth-year junior Mike Weber. Weber was the 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year when he rushed for 1,096 yards.
Along the defensive line, Bosa and fourth-year junior Dre’Mont Jones have combined for 43 career tackles for loss and will be bolstered by the emergence of sophomore Chase Young, junior Robert Landers and junior Jonathan Cooper.
Saturday marks the third meeting between Ohio State and Oregon State.
In the 1984 season opener, the Buckeyes overcame a 14-3 halftime deﬁcit and outscored the Beavers 19-0 in the second half to earn a 22-14 victory. Keith Byars and John Wooldridge ran for TDs in the third quarter and Byers added another touchdown run in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring. Byers ﬁnished with 182 yards on 34 carries.
In 1974, RB Archie Griffin ran 16 times for 134 yards and scored one TD as Ohio State opened up a 23-3 halftime lead and defeated Oregon State 51-10 in its home-opener at Ohio Stadium.
Under ﬁrst-year head coach Jonathan Smith, Oregon State enters the 2018 season with 49 returning letterwinners (22 on offense, 23 on defense and four specialists) and 17 returning starters (eight on offense, eight on defense and one specialist).
Smith, who was hired in November, comes to Oregon State after a successful tenue as the off ensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Washington from 2014-17. During his tenure, the Huskies won the Pac-12 title in 2016 and earned a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Smith’s Oregon State roots run deep, as he was a four-year letterman quarterback from 1998 through 2001. A walk-on, he started 39 consecutive games and left as the school’s all-time leader is passing yards, touchdown passes, single-game passing (469 yards vs. Washington) and single-season passing (3,053 yards).
Jake Luton, a senior from Marysville, Wash., is the most experienced quarterback on the roster. He completed nearly 62 percent of his passes in 2017, throwing for 853 yards and four touchdowns. Conor Blount, a sophomore, also lettered last year as a true freshman.
Artavis Pierce is a true junior who has seen playing time the last two seasons and he enters 2018 as the team’s most experienced running back. Pierce started two games last fall – against Minnesota and Arizona – carrying the ball a total of 68 times for 323 yards while also catching 15 passes for 128 yards.
Among the eight returning starters on defense is sophomore safety David Morris, who was second on the team with 75 tackles last season. Morris added four tackles-for-loss and three pass breakups.
No. 5 Ohio State vs. Oregon State
September 1, 2018 | Noon ET | Columbus, Ohio | Ohio Stadium
|Sideline Reporter:||Tom Luginbill|
|Radio:||Ohio State IMG Sports Network|
|Sideline Reporter:||Matt Andrews|