Ohio State's Justin Fields Makes Heisman Statement
The Buckeye QB carved up Florida Atlantic in the first half and showed off his explosiveness
- Ohio State’s schedule sets up for "Heisman Moments" late in the year
- Fields’ unique dual-threat ability lends itself to big numbers in head coach Ryan Day’s scheme
An Instant Opportunity
Justin Fields’ Ohio State debut was well worth the wait. The former 5-star quarterback recruit found his way to Columbus after departing The University of Georgia shortly after the end of 2018, due to Jake Fromm being firmly entrenched as the Bulldogs quarterback. A month later, Fields was granted a waiver in February that would allow him to play immediately.
There were no more quarterback controversies to surround Fields as he emerged as the clear cut guy for Buckeyes coach Ryan Day as soon as he hit campus. The 6’3, 223-pound dual-threat quarterback can get it done with his arm or legs and is a natural fit to engineer Day’s evolving offense.
Last season at Georgia, Fields showed glimpses of what made him such a highly-touted recruit. Fields completed 27-of-39 passes for four touchdowns and zero interceptions in limited action and also ran the ball 42 times for 266 yards and four scores. Fields opened the 2019 season with a 51 yard touchdown run, showcasing his dual-threat ability.
A QB-Friendly Scheme
As evidenced in Week 1, Day will ask Fields to hang in the pocket this season, as he has incorporated elements of the Air Raid offense to what Ohio State has traditionally shown with a spread offense under Meyer.
The scheme could lead to huge numbers for Fields through the air and that was showcased in his debut vs Florida Atlantic. Fields completed 18-25 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns, doing most of his work in the first half. With surrounding talent in wide-receivers KJ Hill, Binjimen Victor, Chris Olave and Austin Mack, there is plenty of talent for Fields to spread the ball around to. Hill’s experience is something Fields can lean on as he returns after catching 70 passes for 885 yards and six touchdowns last season. Even new tight-end Jeremy Ruckert displayed high-end talent against FAU, hauling in four passes for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
A Desirable Schedule
Ohio State’s schedule sets up well for Fields to stay unbeaten for a while and then capitalize in showcase games as the season comes to an end. Prior to November 23rd, the toughest games the Buckeyes will face are matchups at Nebraska and at home against Michigan State. Given that they should be substantial favorites in those two games, Fields might not get tested until a November 23rd date at home with Penn State and then traveling to Michigan the week after. Those two games are nearly certain to be high-stakes affairs and Fields will have a chance to capture the national spotlight in back-to-back weeks.
The media loves quarterbacks and they like to search for "Heisman moments". Fields will have his crack at plenty to end the year.
Consider that since the year 2000, 17 of 19 Heisman winners have been quarterbacks. Given that and the criteria that generally combines wins and big numbers and it’s a small group of serious contenders to choose from. A five touchdown day was a great start to the 2019 Heisman campaign for Fields, and even more so when comparing his start to Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, the opening Heisman favorite (+225). Lawrence failed to throw for 200 yards and also was intercepted twice. Every week matters and Fields made the nation take notice in Week 1. At +1600, a bet on fields has a lot of upside. Expect him to improve those odds week after week.
Note: The advice above represents the writer's personal view and does not reflect or represent BetQL's stance or interest in any way.