Who: Ohio State (1-0) vs. Central Florida (1-0)
When: noon today
Where: Ohio Stadium
Radio: WING-AM (1490)
Stat pack: UCF quarterback Blake Bortles, 13-for-16 passing, 168 yards, 3 TDS in season-opening 56-14 win at Akron; OSU QB Braxton Miller 368 total yards (161 rushing, 207 passing) vs. Miami; RB Carlos Hyde 17 rushes, 84 yards, 1 TD; WR Corey Brown 7 catches, 87 yards, 1 TD.
Worth noting: Ohio State has a student enrollment of 56,867, but UCF, located in Orlando, Fla., is bigger with 58,698. The schools have something else in common: both of their football programs are serving one-year bowl bans for NCAA violations.
Pressure is on: OSU’s linebackers. Miami’s spread offense meant the Buckeyes played mostly in their nickel package (five DBs, two LBs), but the Knights will try a power running game and challenge the defensive front seven. Etienne Sabino, Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant will need to show they can hold their ground.
What’s at stake: The Buckeyes climbed from 18th to 14th in the Associated Press poll (they’re not eligible for the USA Today coaches Top 25), and they likely can’t afford a slip-up in the non-league schedule if they want to reach the double-digit win total needed to make the season feel like a success.
Edge goes to: The Buckeyes should win handily, but the Knights, who are joining the Big East in 2013, aren’t hurting for talent. They won the Conference USA crown two years ago.
Storyline: OSU’s hurry-up offense under new coach Urban Meyer had a rocky start, going scoreless in the first quarter against Miami. Meyer credited the RedHawks for some surprise defensive schemes that required a few adjustments. The Buckeyes fared much better after that, racking up 490 of their 538 yards in the final three periods in a 56-10 win.
Will we see more of Meyer’s impact — or is the Buckeye offense, which ranked 115th out of 120 FBS teams in total yards per game last season, just too limited in quality personnel for the new coach to make a pronounced difference?
Prediction: OSU 41, Central Florida 14
— Doug Harris, staff writer
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