Although the Ohio State Buckeyes are 18 point favorites over the University of Central Florida Golden Knights, the Buckeyes can’t afford to let up after last week’s high-scoring game over Miami. Also facing a post-season ban for NCAA recruiting violations, UCF has absolutely nothing to lose. A win over the Buckeyes on the national stage could be the pinnacle of UCF’s season.
Oh…a running game?
Unlike Miami, UCF actually does bring a solid ground game. And although running back Latavius Murray, who notched up 108 yards against Akron before going out with a shoulder injury will still be out, backup Storm Johnson knows how to move the ball. This should provide the first true test of the defense this season as they Knights look to pound out yards up the middle.
In their season opener against Akron, UCF quarterback Blake Bortles went 13/16 for 168 yards averaging 10.8 yards per pass. Yeah, that was against Akron but if it weren’t for the Miami receivers outright fear of the completed pass, it might have been a much closer game last week. The Buckeye secondary needs to step up and shut down the UCF passing game and force a couple of turnovers.
Looking much more like a Big-10 lineup, UCF packs some serious beef on defense with a number of linemen tipping the scales at 300+ and Jose Jose weighing in at 340. It will be interesting to see how well the Buckeye offensive line can protect Miller, how quick Miller can execute the play and if the Urban Meyer hurry up offense can really wear out a big defensive line.
1st Quarter Miller or 2nd Quarter Miller?
Buckeyes won’t have the luxury of lounging around in the first quarter like they did last week. However, if we see a performance from Braxton Miller like we did in the second quarter last week, game over. Take the over bet at 50. Meyer knows UCF, knows they are a quality opponent and will go for the kill the first second he gets.
Miller also needs to hold on to the ball. He made an amazing fumble recovery last week but UCF forced four turnovers against Akron. Size may have been a big factor here.
I’m really looking forward to seeing more from the special teams. If the Buckeye defense can slow UCF, the Ohio State punt defense may be one of the best things going Saturday.
Take the spread
Spreads at 18 or so and since I’m only dishing out advice and not betting, go for it. Meyer knows the dangers presented by UCF and he’s not going to let anyone on the Buckeyes let up until the final second ticks off the clock.