The Ohio State Buckeyes opened the season with a convincing 56-10 victory over Miami (OH) last Saturday. The Buckeyes piled up 538 yards of offense—368 of which came from the arm and legs of sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller—as the Urban era kicked off with a bang.
The Buckeyes have a much stiffer test in Week 2.
Of course, no one will confuse Ohio State’s next opponent for Alabama or USC, but the UCF Knights will be a solid test for the Buckeyes this Saturday.
UCF is coming off a 56-14 blowout victory over the Akron Zips. The Knights traveled north to Akron last Thursday and opened their season with an impressive performance on both sides of the ball. UCF’s run-first offense bullied their way to 206 yards on the ground while their defense forced four turnovers in the Knights’ 42-point victory.
Is UCF good enough to beat Ohio State in Columbus? Are the Buckeyes on upset alert this week?
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has spoken highly of the Knights all week, “We’re 1-0, and we’re not a very good team,” Urban said. “We’re average right now. We’re playing a very good team that I think is equal to us at some positions.”
On paper, the Knights look like a team the Buckeyes would be facing in conference play.
The average weight on UCF’s defensive line is a hair under 290 pounds, anchored by 327 pound Jose Jose at defensive tackle. Their linebackers are big too, so it won’t be easy for Ohio State to bull rush the Knights like they did against Miami last week.
On the other side of the ball, the Knights have a similar feel to Ohio State’s do-it-all offense from 2010. UCF will line up and run power right up the gut on one play, then spread it out wide with multiple receiver sets the next. Coach Meyer is expecting a varied offense from the Knights on Saturday with some designed runs for sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles.
One thing that definitely hurts UCF’s chances against Ohio State is the injury to stud running back Latavius Murray.
The senior was having a fantastic game against Akron, rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown in about 18 minutes of actual game time, but Murray injured his shoulder early in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the game. Murray has not practiced this week and will not play against the Buckeyes.
Still, the Knights have plenty of options in the backfield. Miami transfer Storm Johnson, a former 4-star running back recruit, will start in place of Murray. When Johnson needs a breather, UCF will rotate senior running back Brynn Harvey into the game. While neither are quite the threat Murray is, they’re both still very capable of busting a play wide open.
Experts like Phil Steele, Brian Bennett and the folks over at the Toledo Blade are warning Ohio State fans of a possible upset this weekend, but with Latavius Murray out, the Buckeyes are favored by over 18 points.
UCF coach George O’Leary isn’t paying attention to what Vegas thinks of his chances though, "All we can do is control what we do. We're going to go out there and try and execute what we do and come out with a W. We could care less what the line or the spread is.”
Do the Knights have a chance against the Buckeyes this Saturday? What would UCF need to do to get an upset win in Columbus? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
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