By: Teddy Ellison
Ohio State’s season opener this year means more than their typical cake walk first game. Much more. After a tumultuous 2011 campaign and the dust cloud of controversy surrounding the program, the Ohio State Buckeyes are going to be looking to prove a point. New head coach, Urban Meyer, and young quarterback, Braxton Miller, will be facing a lot of pressure to not just win the football game, but to reinstate hope in the hearts of a hungry fan base.
Entering this season, Braxton Miller’s name has come up in just about every discussion, from Heisman hopeful to sophomore slump. Regardless, all eyes will be on the dual-threat quarterback as he hopes to improve from a very impressive, yet disappointing, freshman campaign.
A key to Braxton’s success in week one and throughout the season will be whether or not he can find and use a number one receiver. Devin Smith and Jake Stoneburner will be the obvious choices, but one is going to need to step-up and establish himself as a go-to option for Braxton.
Oh, and the Buckeyes also have an opponent, the Miami (OH) Redhawks. Zac Dysert is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, and he looks to lead this offense against a presumably stout Ohio State defense. If Urban Meyer’s new look defense can slow down Dysert, it will be a long day for the Redhawks.
Lastly, how will the new power-spread offense of Ohio State work with the personnel they have? Carlos Hyde is a strong, powerful back, but his style doesn’t necessarily fit in a spread offense. In order for the Buckeyes to have the season they want to have, Carlos Hyde needs to take some pressure off Braxton Miller. I, for one, am skeptical.
My prediction: The Buckeye defense will have some lapses in coverage in the first half that will allow Zac Dysert to have success and get the Redhawks on the board early, but the defense will settle in the second half and force some turnovers that will deflate the Redhawks’ attack. As for the offensive side of the ball, they will have success early and often. Braxton will make some big plays using his arm, as well as his feet. If the Buckeyes keep the turnovers at a minimum, this game will be a blowout. The Redhawks will have hope at halftime (17-10), but the final score will not look so promising (34-10), as the Buckeyes roll in their season opener.