No Urban Meyer. No Dwayne Haskins. No matter
Ohio State still is Ohio State – a daunting prospect for a Miami football team that is coming off a punishing 35-13 loss to Cincinnati.
The RedHawks (1-2) will make their sixth visit to Columbus to face the sixth-ranked Buckeyes on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at 102,082-seat Ohio Stadium. Miami is 0-5 in the series, which started in 1904. The last meeting was a 56-10 Ohio State win in 2012.
Miami has lost 13 consecutive games against non-conference Football Bowl Subdivision opponents since edging Massachusetts, 20-13, in the 2015 regular-season finale. That streak includes two losses at Iowa and one each at Notre Dame and Minnesota.
The visit to Ohio Stadium will be the first for many Miami players, including 5-foot-10, 217-pound third-year sophomore running back Davion Johnson and 6-1, 210-pound junior safety Mike Brown – both Michigan products.
“It’ll be a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “It’ll be a great atmosphere.”
The Buckeyes are 3-0 in their first season under coach Ryan Day, who was promoted when Meyer retired. Quarterback Justin Fields, a transfer from Georgia, took over for Haskins and has thrown for 657 yards and nine touchdowns while gaining 114 yards and scoring four touchdowns on the ground. Fields operates an offense that generates averages of 46.0 points and 501.7 yards per game.
Ohio State’s defense is yielding averages of 10.3 points and 252.7 yards per game.
“Obviously a great, great football program, a great, great football team – very well-coached, loaded with talent at every position,” sixth-year Miami coach Martin said about Ohio State. “They have great players backed up by great players. There’s going to be a physical mismatch. None of the kids that are recruited to play at Ohio State were looking at Miami of Ohio and vice versa. I said it’s kind of like going to recess and they’ve got the first 85 picks. You’d do pretty well at recess.”
The Buckeyes aren’t much different under Day than they were under Meyer, Martin said.
“Their defensive structure is pretty much the same as ours,” he said. “Structure is one thing. Body type is another.”
The Buckeyes’ offense depends heavily on maintaining a fast-paced tempo, which Cincinnati discovered in a 42-0 loss at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 7.
“UC did a good job in the first half, but the tempo wore them down,” Martin said. “Offensively, there’s no margin of error for our defense because any of their skill guys, including the quarterback and tight ends, if they get the ball and they get out in space, it can go the distance. They have so many chunk plays, plays that most normal teams wouldn’t get chunk plays on. They get eight-yard runs that turn into 80-yard runs just because of the overall speed of their team.
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“The same thing defensively. Things just close up so fast. They close so much space. Windows open and close in the passing game so fast. In the run game, you think you have a little bit of air and it shuts down so quickly. So their speed is overwhelming to the opposition and it really can wear teams down.”
“They have big, fast, athletic players,” Brown said. “They have a pretty basic offense. It’s stuff we’ve seen. It’s about us being men.”
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