Week One: Ohio State-Navy Preview
The 2009 season is almost here. With just four days remaining until the season opener against the Navy Midshipmen, the Buckeyes must be ready to play or they could be in for a surprise, at least early on.
By Mark Silverman
Ohio State, coming off a 10-3 record in 2008, returns 11 starters and enters the season looking to capture a fifth consecutive Big Ten Championship. Navy also returns 11 starters to a team that finished 8-5 last season, including a 29-19 defeat to Wake Forest in the Eagle Bank Bowl.
Defensively, the Buckeyes will receive a heavy dose of the triple option, led by Navy starting quarterback Ricky Dobbs. Last season, Dobbs led the Midshipmen in rushing with 495 yards. The Navy rushing attack versus the Ohio State defense should be Saturday’s most intriguing matchup. Navy averaged 262.4 rushing yards per game and just 60.9 yards passing. With that said, it is no secret that the Midshipmen are looking to run the football, but the Ohio State defense should be up for the challenge. The Silver Bullets allowed just 110.2 yards on the ground and seven rushing touchdowns in 2008.
Offensively, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor could make it a long afternoon for the Navy defense, although the Midshipmen are much improved defensively. In 2007, Navy allowed 36 points per game compared to just 22 points in 2008. Pryor should receive plenty of opportunities to showcase his improved ability to throw the football downfield. However, expect running backs Daniel “Boom” Herron and Brandon Saine to make their presence felt early and often.
The Navy-Ohio State matchup will be the first meeting since the 1981 Liberty Bowl. The Buckeyes defeated the Midshipmen 31-28 and improved to 3-0 all-time in the series.
Prediction: Ohio State 41, Navy 13.