The No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) will face their second Conference USA opponent of the year when they host the UAB Blazers (0-2) this Saturday in Columbus.
The game will be the last in a four-game homestand to open the 2012 football season as the Buckeyes open conference play next week against Michigan State in East Lansing.
Ohio State will be looking to close out non-conference play undefeated for the first time since 2007 (due to the vacating of wins from the 2010 season).
This complete game preview provides all the details for Ohio State’s upcoming matchup with UAB.
UAB at Ohio State
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. (ET)
Ohio Stadium (102,329)
Big Ten Network
Ohio: Akron - 1590 AM | Cincinnati - 1480 AM | Cleveland - 850 AM | Columbus - 1460 AM | Columbus - 97.1 FM | Toledo - 1470 AM | Youngstown - 1390 AM"
Alabama: 107.7 FM
Braxton Miller | Kenny Guiton
Jordan Hall | Bri'onte Dunn
Zach Boren | Adam Homan
Wide Receiver (H):
Jake Stoneburner | Chris Fields
Wide Receiver (X):
Devin Smith | Michael Thomas
Wide Receiver (Z):
Corey Brown | Evan Spencer
Jack Mewhort | Darryl Baldwin
Andrew Norwell | Antonio Underwood
Corey Linsley | Jacoby Boren
Marcus Hall | Chase Farris
Reid Fragel | Taylor Decker
Nick Vannett OR 86 Jeff Heuerman
Defensive End (LEO):
John Simon | Steve Miller OR Noah Spence
Garrett Goebel | Joel Hale
Johnathan Hankins | Adolphus Washington OR Tommy Schutt
J.T. Moore | Nathan Williams
Ryan Shazier | Conner Crowell
Curtis Grant | Storm Klein
Etienne Sabino | Joshua Perry
Bradley Roby | Doran Grant
Christian Bryant | Orhian Johnson
C.J. Barnett | Corey Brown
Travis Howard | Adam Grifﬁn
Drew Basil | Kyle Clinton
Ben Buchanan | Drew Basil
Corey Brown | Devin Smith
Corey Brown | Bri’onte Dunn
Jonathan Perry | Austin Brown
Greg Franklin | Darrin Reaves
Sam Accursio | Grant Davis
Wide Receiver (X):
Nick Adams | Stephen Herring
Wide Receiver (W):
Jackie Williams | Jay Davis
Wide Receiver (Z):
Patrick Hearn | Jamarcus Nelson
Chris Hubbard | Hisham Haqq
Brian O’Leary | Billy Autrey
John Hix | Dominic Sylvester
Cody Payne | Cameron Blankenship
Kaycee Ike | Aaron Green
Kennard Backman | Sam Accursio
Diaheem Watkins | Shaquille Roberson
Connor Boyett | Jontavius Morris
Deric Scott | Jewel Christian
Chris Walton | Trey Grissett
Greg Irvin | Tevin Crews
Marvin Burdette | Jesse Parrish
Patrick Bastien | Shaq Jones
Cornelius Richards | Darius Powell
Calvin Jones | Lamar Johnson
Jake Ganus | Cortez Webb
Lamarcus Farmer | Devon Brown
Ty Long | Colin Anderson
Greg Franklin | Jackie Williams
Boosted by the late-game heroics of Braxton Miller and Devin Smith, the Buckeyes narrowly escaped Cal’s upset bid with a 35-28 victory.
Ohio State rushed out to a 20-7 lead and looked to be in complete control of the game. The tone changed in the third quarter though as the Buckeyes’ offense hit a wall. Ohio State gained only 25 total yards in the third quarter, and Cal cut the Buckeyes’ lead to six after an 81-yard touchdown run by Brendan Bigelow.
The Golden Bears claimed a 21-20 lead with an eight-play, 46-yard touchdown drive to start the fourth quarter.
Two of Ohio State’s following drives ended with Braxton Miller touchdown passes, and despite giving up 512 yards of offense, it was enough to help Ohio State earn its third win of the season.
Following a rare early season bye week, the UAB Blazers lost to No. 8 South Carolina 49-6 last Saturday.
The Blazers kept things close in the first half. Two field goals from Ty Long had UAB down just 14-6 late in the second quarter, but a pass interference call against the Blazers spoiled what would’ve been a three-and-out by South Carolina’s offense. Two plays later, Marcus Lattimore bull rushed his way into the end zone to make it a 21-6 game.
Despite sloppy play, the Gamecocks still piled up 501 yards of offense and limited UAB to just 27 rushing yards on 42 attempts.
For Ohio State:
This game provides an opportunity for the Buckeyes to get back on track defensively.
Through three games, Ohio State ranks 66th in the country in total defense and 101st in passing defense. Opposing quarterbacks have found massive holes in the Buckeyes’ secondary, and to date, Ohio State has given up an average of 283 passing yards per game.
Even when Ohio State dialed up the pressure and sacked Cal quarterback Zach Maynard six times last Saturday, he still found a way to complete 70 percent of his passes for 280 yards.
UAB gets practically nothing from their running game, so Ohio State should expect the Blazers to throw the ball quite a bit. It will be important for the Buckeyes to show improvement defending the pass before conference play begins.
For the Blazers, this game provides an opportunity to build on the positives displayed last week against No. 8 South Carolina.
UAB has one of the worst rushing offenses in the country, averaging just a hair over 80 yards per game. They will likely need to throw the ball early and often to keep it competitive, and with how poorly Ohio State’s secondary has played this year, UAB could build some confidence with a good performance.
Jordan Hall, RB
Ohio State shouldn’t need a Herculean effort from Braxton Miller to beat UAB, so that gives the Buckeyes an opportunity to develop a different playmaker in the running game.
Jordan Hall, who sat out the first two games while recovering from offseason surgery, saw his first action of the year last Saturday against Cal. The senior running back is supposed to fill the “Percy Harvin" role for Ohio State, and while he played admirably on Saturday, Hall couldn’t shake free for the huge plays you’d expect from him.
If Ohio State wants to build a dynamic offense that doesn’t rely so heavily on Braxton Miller, developing Jordan Hall is a must.
Jonathan Perry, QB
UAB will need a huge game from quarterback Jonathan Perry to keep things competitive.
The Blazers struggled running the ball last week against South Carolina, averaging just .6 yards per attempt. It could be just as tough running against the Buckeyes this Saturday. That means Perry will need to throw the ball quite a bit against an Ohio State defense that has given up some huge plays through the air so far.
When Perry does throw, he’ll need to get rid of the ball quickly. UAB has four new starters on their offensive line this year, and they’ll be facing a defense coming off a six-sack performance last Saturday.
The Buckeyes will win if they show up.
The margin of error for Ohio State in this game is pretty wide. If the team can execute at even 50 percent, that should be enough for the Buckeyes to remain unbeaten.
The Blazers will win if all 22 starters from Ohio State’s offense and defense get food poisoning Friday night, and the Buckeyes’ second and third stringers play a turnover-riddled game.
Ohio State 56, UAB 10
Braxton Miller throws two touchdowns and runs for two more before Urban Meyer pulls him at the end of the third quarter.