|The Buckeyes will try to improve to 2-0 under coach Urban Meyer on Saturday vs. Central Florida. (AP Images)|
Kickoff: Saturday, noon ET (ESPN2)
Spread: Ohio State by 17
Watchability: The two teams combined for 112 points last week and the face that neither offense is one-dimensional should make it a highly entertaining game. Plus, you never know when WR Devin Smith might make another catch like last week’s incredible one-handed touchdown snag.
Shining Stars: Ohio State: WR Corey Brown was the biggest beneficiary of Braxton Miller’s arm last Saturday in the 46-point drubbing of Miami (Ohio). Brown had seven catches for 87 yards and a TD in Urban Meyer’s first game under the spread offense. The sophomore, who claims that he’s the fastest player on Ohio State (S Bradley Roby is second, according to Brown), fits the hybrid role that Percy Harvin played while at Florida under Meyer. After recording just 10 catches last year, Brown could have a breakout season. Central Florida: Ohio State wasn’t the only team that put up 56 points last week as the Knights routed Akron 56-14. Sophomore QB Blake Bortles set career highs in touchdowns (3) and completion percentage (13 of 16 for 81 percent) as he found eight different receivers in the season-opening win.
Who could steal the show: Ohio State: Much as he did last week, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller could stutter-step his way to another 161-yard rushing performance. Miller shattered his previous career-high in rushing yards by 56 yards and nearly equaled his career-best (235) passing performance, as well. Expect the Buckeyes to test Central Florida’s secondary more than the Zips did. Akron averaged just 4.7 yards per pass while Miller averaged 8.6 yards per completion. Central Florida: Coach George O’Leary said that he doesn’t expect starting RB Latavius Murray (108 yards, TD vs. Akron) to play Saturday after suffering a shoulder injury last week. That will put more pressure on the passing game and specifically, sophomore Rannell Hall. Although he had just eight career receptions coming into last week’s game, Hall nearly doubled his career production with four catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns, including a 56-yard reception.
You going? Ranking the road trip: The buzz around Columbus will be Miller’s inauguration into Meyer’s spread offense and whether the sophomore can replicate his performance. If he does, expect to hear some Heisman talk around Columbus.
Magic Number: Ohio State: 142.5. The difference between the amount of rushing yards the Buckeyes conceded last week vs. Miami of Ohio (minus-1 yards) and their average amount of rushing yards allowed last year (141.5).
Magic Number: Central Florida: 4. The number of turnovers the Knights forced last week vs. Akron. They likely won’t have the same success as Ohio State had a plus-5 turnover margin last season and forced three takeaways vs. the Redhawks last Saturday.
The game comes down to: Whether Central Florida can run the ball against Ohio State. The Knights are already at a disadvantage without their starting running back but they have depth at the position as seven different players rushed the ball last week. Expect Miami transfer RB Storm Johnson to start in the backfield. If the Knights can keep the ball on the ground and out of Miller’s hand, they may be able to keep it close.
Prediction: Ohio State 42, Central Florida 20
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