Detroit has become well acquainted with Ohio State, playing the Buckeyes several times during the regular season in recent years. Tonight, the game makes a fall ball appearance.
The loss of three-time All-America attack Logan Schuss is a blow to the OSU offense. So too is midfielder Dominique Alexander’s departure. On offense, however, most of the rest of the Buckeyes’ lineup returns intact.
The matchup should be particularly interesting against a Detroit squad that is going through an overhaul of its own on defense. The Titans won’t play the same takeaway style that they had in recent years with Jamie Hebden and Jordan Houtby no longer on the roster. New personnel stepping up and playing a new style of defensive lacrosse is the factor to watch.
Goalie Greg Dutton returns for his final go-round in Columbus, and he’s an excellent ball-stopper. He also committed only six turnovers last year, so he’s solid in the clearing game, as well. Fellow senior Scott Spencer didn’t play as much last year, but put together nice numbers. Since this is just a scrimmage, Detroit should see plenty of both.
Senior Joe Meurer leads the close defense. He was far and away the team leader in caused turnovers last year, with only fellow senior Darius Bowling joining him in double-digits. Still, this wasn’t a pressure-heavy Buckeyes defense, instead one that let Dutton see (and stop) a lot of rubber. Sophomore Robby Haus should be the third starter.
Detroit’s offense should be the strength of the team this year. Mike Birney is your outside gunner, Shayne Adams should (hopefully) be healthy once more at attack joining Alex Maini, and there are several complementary pieces. This game should allow the Titans to test themselves against an excellent defense, and see just how much of the expected offensive explosion is likely to come to fruition.
Trey Wilkes was the team’s most often deployed (and also best) faceoff specialist last year, but he’s out the door. Kacy Kapinos should step into the full-time role as a sophomore, and he was better than .500 last season.
Detroit seemed to find something that worked well by putting Damien Hicks on faceoffs, and mixing around some of the wing players. Several other Titans should get a shot in the scrimmage format, but I think they’ll be able to hold their own.
Short and sweet for the scrimmage: I think this is more competitive than recent regular season contests, but Detroit still has a ways to go to approach Ohio State’s overall level as a program (and it’s taken the Buckeyes a long way to get there). Assuming a final score is even reported, I see a 15-11 Buckeye victory.