Ohio State Football: 7 Keys to Winning the Miami Game
Ohio State is about to begin the Urban Meyer era on Saturday by hosting one of the tougher teams in the MAC in the Miami (OH) Redhawks.
Saturday's game is one that almost everyone expects OSU to win because of the buildup and preparation the Buckeyes have had in Meyer's first fall camp.
Fans have every reason to be excited because of a new offense and a very talented freshman class already making an impact on the depth chart.
Looking strictly at Saturday's opening showdown, here is a look at seven keys to the game for the Buckeyes.
Slow Down Dysert
When Urban Meyer last faced Miami quarterback Zac Dysert in 2010, the then-Gators coach found a way to force four interceptions from Dysert in a 34-12 win in the Swamp.
Two years later, Dysert has proven himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He is currently third among active quarterbacks behind USC's Matt Barkley and Oklahoma's Landry Jones in career passing yards with 8,530.
The arm of Dysert is going to be a good test for a revamped Ohio State defense and its secondary.
If OSU can force several turnovers from Dysert, it should have no problem shutting down the Redhawks.
Ride out the (Potential) Hurricane
This may be an over-exaggeration, but we already know that the impact of Hurricane Isaac has forced several games to either be cancelled or postponed.
The remnants of Isaac will likely work its way up through Arkansas and Tennessee into the Midwest and into Ohio, though we don't know yet exactly when that will happen.
Heavy rain will without a doubt alter the course of the game and give Ohio State a huge advantage because of Miami's terrible run offense, which was worst in the country last year.
All hopes are that the skies are blue and clear all afternoon, but a heavy amount of rain will severely impact Miami's passing offense.
How Much of the Offense Will Be Unveiled?
Former Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Herman is the architect of Ohio State's new power-spread, no-huddle offense which we saw a small portion of in the spring game.
However, we saw a "vanilla" package which was pass-heavy in April with very little knowledge of what it's going to look like on game day.
Against an inferior opponent like Miami, the question will be how much (or how little) the Buckeyes want to unveil in the opener.
Conventional wisdom says to show just enough to win comfortably against Miami, but Meyer's mantra has never been about extreme secrecy and paranoia.
Braxton Growing as a Passer
By all accounts, Braxton Miller has improved dramatically as a passer, which means Ohio State should finish better than No. 114 in passing offense.
We all know that Miller is a very talented runner, as he carved up almost every Big Ten defense he faced last season with the exception of Michigan State.
His passing, however, was simply not very good. That has been the biggest question mark of the offseason.
This team will go as far as his arm this season, and it will all start on Saturday.
Hyde, Dunn as a One-Two Punch
Carlos Hyde proved at the start of last season that he has the ability to be a very good lead back in the running game.
He will get the nod to start this season while Jordan Hall recovers from a torn tendon in his foot.
Giving Hyde a boost in the backfield will be freshman Bri'onte Dunn, who had a solid spring and brings a similar, physical style of running.
Both Hyde and Dunn are good fits in the power-spread that the Buckeyes will run this year, at least until they add some speed elements in their 2013 recruiting class.
Bring on the Freshmen
Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class was ranked in the top five by just about every major recruiting service in the country, and for good reason.
The Buckeyes have added significant punch to the defensive line, led by blue-chippers Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington, each of whom are all but guaranteed to play on Saturday against the Redhawks.
Quite a significant amount of true freshmen on the roster are in the two-deep, which means quite a few of them will be in the game.
And as we all know, Urban Meyer really loves to play freshmen.
Don't Make Stupid Mistakes
Last year, Ohio State uncharacteristically shot itself in the foot several times, whether it be poor pass protection or not being able to make the defensive play it needed to have.
Going into the home opener, most believe that there is almost no conceivable way Ohio State loses with Meyer trying to make his first impression in the Horseshoe a great one.
What OSU can't afford to do again is go back to beating itself by making careless mistakes and letting Miami believe it has a chance, which is what teams are supposed to do when playing inferior opponents.
Prediction: Ohio State 41, Miami (OH) 14
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