After a week, and really an entire preseason, full of hype leading up to last Saturday's Ohio State-Miami game, the No. 2 Buckeyes have what many consider another "scrimmage" this week as they welcome in the Ohio University Bobcats to Ohio Stadium.
As one of the top grossing football programs in the country, the Buckeyes traditionally play two state schools as part of their four-game, out-of-conference schedule.
This permits Ohio State to play two additional home games in addition to their four annual Big Ten home games, while also allowing their opponent to literally "cash in" as a guest of the Buckeyes. This year for example, Ohio will receive a payment of $850,000 from Ohio State for their visit to Columbus.
In summation, it goes like this pretty much:
Hey Ohio, this is Ohio State calling. We were wondering if you would be interested in coming to Columbus and playing us in 2010. Playing in front of 105,000 fans in The Horseshoe will be an experience your players will never forget. It also provides another home date for us in which we will almost certainly pound your team into the ground in embarrassing fashion, but look at it this way—at least we'll pay you quite handsomely so it's totally worth it...
You may remember the Buckeyes getting caught looking ahead to their upcoming meeting with No.1 USC in Los Angeles back in 2008. The week before when they hosted the Bobcats, they trailed 14-12 with just 14 minutes left in the game. Thanks to a short touchdown run by Brandon Saine and a 69-yard punt return by Ray Small, the Buckeyes escaped with the 26-14 win.
Fast-forward back to 2010.
Ohio State (2-0) is the favorite to win the Big 10 and is considered a legitimate BCS national title contender, while Ohio (1-1) was picked to finish second in the MAC-East behind Temple.
There is really no comparison between these two programs and their 2010 expectations, but they are playing each other, so we'll go ahead do it anyway, just because.
Ohio University—By the Numbers
Quarterback Boo Jackson (no, not Bo) has had a rough start to the 2010 season. So far vs. Wofford and Toledo, he has only thrown for 234 yards with just one touchdown to four interceptions. He does have one rushing touchdown as well.
This is just a guess, but it is a fairly safe bet to assume that Jackson's touchdown total will remain the same, but the number of interceptions he has thrown will almost certainly increase against the very opportunistic Buckeye defense (just ask Jacory Harris).
Running backs Vince Davidson and Ryan Boykin have combined for 153 yards and one rushing touchdown—not exactly setting the world on fire either.
Continuing the trend of under-impressiveness is leading wide receiver Riley Dunlop, who has a whopping 57 yards receiving and one touchdown catch.
Overall, Ohio ranks 111th in passing yards per game (119.0), 79th in rushing yards per game (138.0), 85th in points per game (23.0), and 30th in points allowed per game (15.0).
Ohio State—By the Numbers
After two games, Terrelle Pryor has not been perfect, especially in the short-passing game, but he has amassed 480 passing yards, thrown four touchdown passes, rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown, and most importantly, has not turned the ball over even one time. He may or may not remain on that pace going forward, but just for the record, over 12 games that projects out to 2,880 passing yards, 780 rushing yards, and 30 total touchdowns.
Running backs Brandon Saine and Boom Herron have each gained 110 yards on the ground with Herron scoring once and Saine twice. Herron has 56 yards receiving and Saine has 36 receiving yards and a touchdown catch. Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry each had big returns for the Buckeyes against the Hurricanes in an otherwise dismal special teams effort, and both should continue to return kicks and each should also see some time at tailback in the third or fourth quarters the next couple of weeks.
Wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher leads the Buckeyes with 150 yards and a score, followed closely by DeVier Posey with 146 yards and two TD catches. Taurian Washington, who was supposed to be the third receiver, must have fell off the Earth. Outside of being a Spring football Legend the last couple of offseasons, he has not caught one meaningful pass in his entire Buckeye career. Hopefully Corey Brown or Chris Fields can get on the field in the next couple of games and show that they are ready to be the No. 3 man.
As a team, Ohio State is 45th in passing yards per game (241.0), 22nd in rushing yards per game (230.5), 22nd in points per game (40.5), and a very misleading 33rd in points allowed per game (15.5). Marshall scored one special teams touchdown and Miami scored twice on returns. Take away the 21 points the kicking teams allowed and the Buckeyes defense is actually only allowing five points per game.
The three special teams blunders have been the only real weakness this team has shown. Hopefully Coach Tressel and company have dedicated a significant portion of practice time to correcting those issues.
Ohio State—Ohio: History Lesson and Other Tidbits
• This will be the seventh meeting between Ohio State and Ohio.
• Ohio State is 6-0 all-time vs. Ohio, having outscored the Bobcats 161-30.
• Since 2001 under Jim Tressel, Ohio State is 37-8 vs. non-conference opponents.
• Overall since 2001, Ohio State is 58-7 at home.
• Ohio State has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in their last 23 games.
• Ohio State is 41-0-1 vs. instate schools since 1922.
• Ohio is coached by former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich, who has a 32-31 record at the school since taking over in 2005.
• Since 2005, Ohio is 0-3 under Solich against top 25 teams and just 2-9 overall vs. schools from a BCS conference.
Summary and Prediction
The Buckeyes won't overlook the Bobcats this year like they did in 2008. Next week is another "scrimmage" against Eastern Michigan in case you were wondering.
This game should again go the way of the Marshall game, meaning even despite the fact that Coach Tressel never runs up the score on lesser opponents for those so-called all-important style points, it's hard to imagine the Buckeyes won't score at least 40 points, while the "D" either pitches a shutout or only gives up one or two scores (via special teams?) at most.
Assuming the special teams units don't blow it this week, the verdict is in.
Ohio State 42