The No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) are hosting the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (0-2) in a contest that is as lopsided on paper as it will be out on the gridiron.
However, it’s an important game for the Buckeyes, as they must use it to tune-up in preparation for the meat of their Big Ten schedule.
OSU plays No. 21 Michigan State on Sept. 29 and follows that up with No. 25 Nebraska on Oct. 6. They can’t afford to still be fixing the little things against these powerhouse opponents.
Expect the Buckeyes to go all out in this one and be firing on all cylinders in an attempt to build momentum for the coming weeks.
Keep reading to find out where you can watch this matchup, when it takes place, a few players to keep an eye on and a prediction on the final score.
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
When: Saturday, Sept. 22 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Watch: Big Ten Network
Live Stream: BTN.com
Listen: Free Football Radio
Betting Line: Ohio State -37.5
Injury Report (Via USA TODAY)
OL John Hix—Shoulder—QST
CB Darius Powell—Foot—QST
RB Adam Homan—Undisclosed—QST
RB Carlos Hyde—Knee—QST
DL Michael Bennett—Groin—QST
RB Warren Ball—Foot—OUT
BCS/Top 25 Implications
Ohio State is currently in the middle of the Top 25 polls, sitting at No. 16 in the AP rankings. They aren’t eligible for the USA TODAY coaches’ poll due to probation.
The Buckeyes haven’t had a truly dominant performance in the past two weeks, beating UCF by just 15 points and just getting past Cal at home, 35-28.
They must destroy UAB on Saturday to remind poll voters that they aren’t just a middle-of-the-road team.
If OSU allows the Blazers to hang around, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them drop a few notches in the Week 5 rankings.
UAB Player to Watch: Jonathan Perry
The junior QB is finding some success in new head coach Garrick McGee’s system.
He’s connected on 35-of-67 pass attempts for 536 yards and two touchdowns in two games, while throwing just one interception.
Perry struggled a bit against South Carolina in the Blazers lasting outing, hitting on just 17-of-34 attempts, but he didn’t commit a turnover via the air and could use that to boost his confidence going into this contest against OSU.
Ohio State Player to Watch: Braxton Miller
Miller has looked absolutely solid through three games.
Because of his incredible ability to run the football, the Buckeyes offense is always a threat to move the ball on the ground or via the air.
The signal-caller has totaled up 611 yards and seven touchdowns on 48-of-78 pass attempts, while adding another 377 yards and five TDs on 56 rushing attempts.
He’s going to be a handful for the Blazers to game-plan to stop, and it’s doubtful that they will be able to.
Prediction: Ohio State 55, UAB 3
The Buckeyes are simply a dominant team in comparison to the Blazers.
OSU head coach Urban Meyer isn’t going let off the gas in this one, not when his team has played two “close” games in a row.
UAB is consistently one of the worst teams at the FBS level and will struggle to score more than a field goal in this contest.
Expect an absolute bruising when the Blazers head into Ohio Stadium.