Urban Meyer will take the field on Saturday as the 24th head coach in Ohio State's 123-year football history. The Buckeyes are 21-1-1 in head coaching debuts, their last loss being in 1892.
Ohio State is 4-0 against Miami (Ohio) all time, including 2005's 34-14 victory in Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes have not lost to an in-state team since a 7-6 loss to Oberlin in 1921. They are 179-48-15 all-time against in-state schools.
Miami (Ohio) is 79-38-6 all-time in season openers. Ohio State is 106-12-4.
When Miami Has the Ball
The RedHawks threw for 299 yards per game last season, so they will throw the ball around quite a bit on Saturday. Given that this is Miami's offensive style, don't expect them to change their offensive attack if it is raining.
Quarterback Zac Dysert threw for 3,513 yards last season and completed 65.8% of his passes. The short passing game is the norm, as Dysert will look to get rid of the ball quickly. This will possibly neutralize some of Ohio State's pass rush, and will put the pressure on the back seven to tackle the ball.
Miami has a veteran offensive line, but they were 119th in sacks allowed last season. Even with Dysert's quick trigger, they couldn't protect him very well.
The Buckeye front four will rotate a number of players, especially at strongside defensive end, where Michael Bennett is recovering from a groin injury.
Defensive end John Simon has been unblockable in camp, and we will finally get to see if that domination carries over to the actual games.
Keep an eye on Miami's true freshman left guard Brandyn Cook, who will be battling the likes of defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins and Garrett Goebel.
The top receiver for Miami is Nick Harwell, who caught 97 passes for 1425 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Travis Howard will both get their cracks at Harwell. He will move around, and Dysert will look for ways to get him the football.
The Buckeye defense will be in the nickel for most of the game, and while the coaches haven't stated who that nickel back will be, expect Corey Brown to get extensive playing time.
Harwell isn't the only weapon for the RedHawks out wide, however. Even though they lost last year's second-leading receiver, the number three, four and five receivers return, and they combined for 91 receptions last season.
The running game has been almost non-existent for Miami. Some of it is by choice, but most of it seems like it's due to simply not being able to run the ball.
Last season, the RedHawks averaged just 74 yards rushing per game, which was dead last in the nation. If they break that number on Saturday, it will take a run of 30 yards to get it done.
Because Miami won't run the ball very much, we won't really get to see if the Buckeye linebackers are as good as they'll need to be. However, Ryan Shazier and Etienne Sabino will get plenty of opportunities to make tackles in space against the various RedHawk receivers.
Miami returns both of their kicking specialists from last season, but there is a battle at placekicker between last year's starter Mason Krysinski and true freshman Kaleb Patterson.
Punter Zac Murphy averaged 39.1 yards per punt last season. The Buckeyes are intent upon blocking a punt in this game, so do not be surprised when it happens.
The RedHawks were very mediocre in the return game last year, as well as defending it. Much like they do offensively and defensively, Ohio State will also have the advantage in the special teams.
When Ohio State Has the Ball
Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman have the first dozen plays scripted for their offense on Saturday. These are the twelve plays that the offense has run the best throughout camp, and they are also the plays that they expect to have the most success with.
The talk the last week has been that the offense wouldn't simply feel their way around on Saturday, but rather that they would come out attacking.
Expect Ohio State's new no huddle offense to run Braxton Miller early as they'll want to see how Miami plans to defend him. On outside runs, will defensive backs peek in on him, or will they simply stay focused on their receiver? If they peek, they lose their man. If they don't, then Miller will be able to run free out wide.
There will be several players involved in carrying the ball for the Buckeyes, but most prominent in that group will be Carlos Hyde. Ohio State wants to run a power game, and at 6'0" and 232 pounds, Hyde is more than capable of doing so. Hyde is also the fastest tailback on the team, so he is always a threat to go the distance.
If the Buckeyes want to go bigger, they can trot out fullback Zach Boren (6'1" 245). Boren, a senior, has just one career carry. In fact, Boren has as many forced fumbles in his career as carries, and two more career tackles.
To combat that running attack, Miami will rely on a three-fourths of last year's starting defensive line. A season ago they were 75th in the nation against the run.
As each Ohio State drive wears on, expect Miami's line to become softer and softer because of the extreme pace.
Middle linebacker Jaytee Swanson and weakside linebacker Pat Hinkel figure to be very busy against the run, and they will both be called upon to corral Braxton Miller in the option game.
The Buckeyes will use quite a bit of misdirection on Saturday, but their focus will be to simply get the ball in their playmakers' hands as often as possible.
Receiver Corey Brown will be in the slot at times, which will allow him to be involved in the passing game and running game. He may not run the ball inside, but expect him to be used on speed options or fly sweeps.
Devin Smith will test the RedHawks' speed down the field. One of the best matchups to watch on the day may be Smith against cornerback Dayonne Nunley, who is an All-MAC player. Nunley is an aggressive player who had eight tackles for loss and thirteen passes defended last season.
Free safety D.J. Brown was a cornerback last season, so his coverage skills will be a little better than the average safety. Brown might be a guy to watch against converted tight end Jake Stoneburner.
Protecting Miller will be an offensive line featuring two tackles who weren't tackles last season. Jack Mewhort has been solid at left tackle through camp, but converted tight end Reid Fragel has had his issues. True freshman Taylor Decker will also mix in at right tackle as well.
While tailback Jordan Hall is out, the Buckeyes' return game will be a little different. Corey "Philly" Brown will get the first crack at both punt and kick returns, and he has the ability to make plays.
The kicking game should be solid for the Buckeyes, provided the weather doesn't have different ideas.
How It Will End Up
There's a good chance that this game will feature some rain, but it shouldn't be anything that would affect either team's gameplan.
Ohio State will come out firing, and as long as they keep the ball on the ground early, they should be successful. Short passing should be the plan early on until Braxton Miller gets his feet under him. Once he does, expect the Buckeyes to attack from all angles.
Defensively, the Buckeyes will have to keep everything in front of them in the back seven, and they'll need to prove that they can tackle.
Even though Miami gets rid of the ball quickly in the passing game, this defensive line will force Zac Dysert out of the pocket. Once he leaves the pocket, however, the secondary will need to stay with their man because he is just as effective on broken plays as he is anywhere else.
Expect the Buckeyes to be prepared for Dysert on the scramble, and expect him to run into the waiting arms of several defensive linemen.
Ohio State will rush for over 300 yards, and Miller will approach 100 yards in the first half.
Miami will find themselves on their heels early on, and it won't stop until the foot comes off the gas.
Ohio State 38 - Miami 10
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