This Weekend: Ohio State Buckeyes v University of Miami Hurricanes
Nationally ranked (17) Ohio State University, with new coach Luke Fickell at the helm, is slated to play at the University of Miami this weekend. Both teams have been under the microscope this season, amidst controversy involving NCAA infractions.
Coach Fickell has replaced Jim Tressell, who brought Ohio State great success in recent years. The Buckeyes stomped over Akron by a score of 42-0 in its opening game, but barely squeaked by another MAC opponent, escaping with a 27-22 win at home against Toledo. Ohio State begins Big Ten conference play on October 1, 2011 and they still have a lot of work to do.
Al Golden has had a rocky road since landing in Miami. After accepting the job as head football coach during the off-season, he we notified that the program was under investigation for violations and infractions stemming from players and staff accepting benefits from a booster. The Hurricanes were without most of their top players in their season opener against Maryland, in which the Hurricanes lost by a score of 32-24. Golden thought that they had enough talent to beat Maryland, but too many mistakes led to their downfall. This week, many of Miami's key players are back in the mix as they look to even their record.
Ohio State's offense has been productive throughout the first two games. The Buckeyes are averaging 34.5 points per game and 409 yards per game. Freshman QB, Joe Bauserman, leads the team and has passed for four touchdowns, 352 yards, with a 60.9 percent completion rate, and no interceptions. Receiver Jake Stoneburner has four touchdowns and eight catches, while Carlos Hyde has two rushing touchdowns and 169 yards.
During the Toledo game, Bauserman hit Stoneburner for a 26-yard touchdown on the first drive of the game. Hyde scored what ended up being the game winning touchdown with 3:17 left in the third quarter to add to his 36-yard rushing score in the second quarter. Even though they emerged victorious, it was still a disappointing outing for the Buckeyes who averaged 3.3 yards per rush attempt and 3 for 12 on third-down conversion attempts.
OSU's defense has handled their opponent's run game very well, allowing 40.5 yards per game and 1.4 yards per rush. They are holding the pass game to a rate of less than 50 percent completion and has allowed an average of 11 points per game and 214 total yards per game. The Buckeyes limited Toledo to a mere 46 yards on 30 rush attempts while the pass defense allowed 21 of 42 passes; two of which were for touchdowns and a total of 292 yards. OSU will need to stop big plays in order to remain undefeated.
On the other side, the home team Hurricanes will have quarterback Jacory Harris back in the lineup to try and bust the Buckeye defense. Harris was under suspension to begin the season and is currently eligible to play, but he is still under investigation. Miami is hoping his talent and experience will lead the Hurricanes to victory this weekend.
Last season, Ohio State bested Miami with a 36-24 win to take a 2-1 series lead.