When Ohio State puts forth a dominating performance to open the regular season, there's no guarantee that they'll do the same in Week 2 action. Anyone who has followed the Buckeyes over the past few seasons knows this all too well.
In 2008, the Buckeyes crushed Youngstown State 43-0 in the opener, only to find themselves trailing Ohio 14-12 entering the fourth quarter, needing a two-yard touchdown run from Brandon Saine to take the lead and a 69-yard punt return by Ray Small to pull away.
Last year, Ohio State destroyed Akron 42-0 to open the season, only to have their hands full with Toledo, holding on for a 27-22 victory.
After beating up on Miami (OH) 56-10 last week, you see what I'm getting at.
Now yes, those were different squads, with different players on the roster and a different head coach.
But this week's opponent, UCF, is no pushover.
Like the Buckeyes, UCF dropped 56 points in their season opener. Like the Buckeyes, the UCF Knights are playing this season with no hope of a postseason appearance.
Knights' head coach George O'Leary is confident in his team's abilities (via Fox Sports):
I like playing non-conference games against tradition schools like Ohio State that have a great, long history of winning (and) a great tradition as far as the program's concerned. But we go into every game with an opportunity to win it.
Offensive lineman Theo Goins echoed his Head Coach's sentiment:
You definitely go out to win, you don't want to lose. All of that stuff that's around it - Top 25, the school that you're playing - that's just hype. You strap on your pads, you put on your pants and you go play football.
I'm not saying that UCF is going to come into Ohio Stadium and beat the 14th-ranked team in the country, because I don't think that they will—especially without starting running back Latavius Murray, who is expected to miss the game with a bruised shoulder.
But UCF is not afraid of Ohio State.
So while there's a very good chance that the Buckeyes will roll into Big Ten play next month with an undefeated record and all the confidence in the world, they cannot look ahead to conference play.
History has shown that this is one of the games where the Buckeyes are most vulnerable.
It's time for them to buck that trend.
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