The Ohio State Buckeyes have survived multiple upset bids over the last seven weeks, and are just five wins away from completing a perfect season.
Urban Meyer's presence in Columbus has ignited a new explosive style of offense led by superstar Braxton Miller, who is racking up yards in bunches this season. The Buckeyes boast a potent rushing attack and are looking to ride it to their first undefeated season since 2002.
More than halfway home, 12-0 is looking more and more like reality in Columbus.
Here are the keys for Ohio State to run the table this fall.
Pound the Rock
The Buckeyes must continue to run the football effectively this fall in order to make 12-0 a reality. Ohio State ranks eighth in the nation in rushing offense this season, averaging more than 263 yards on the ground per game.
Urban Meyer's ground attack is led by quarterback Braxton Miller, who is averaging an incredible 7.1 yards per carry this season, but also features a dominant tailback in Carlos Hyde. The junior is averaging 5.3 yards per carry for Ohio State out of the backfield and has scored seven touchdowns in five games.
Hyde's breakout performances over the last two weeks, against Nebraska and Indiana, are also a huge reason why the Buckeyes ground attack ranks so high. Hyde has rushed for 296 yards and five touchdowns on just 50 carries since October 6.
Will Ohio State finish 12-0 in 2012?
Ohio State has committed 19 combined penalties for nearly 170 yards in its last two games. Those mistakes must stop if the Buckeyes are to complete a perfect season this November.
Foolish penalties kill drives, take points off the board and can cost even the best football team.
Excessive flags can be especially devastating on the road, and Ohio State still has two mega road matchups left on its schedule. The Buckeyes will visit scorching Penn State on October 27 and travel to Wisconsin on November 17.
Playing mistake-free football isn't easy, but it's vital to winning 12 straight games.
Keep Braxton Miller Healthy
It doesn't matter how Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes manage to keep quarterback Braxton Miller healthy the rest of the way in 2012, it simply matters that they do.
Miller has 2,183 total yards and 20 total touchdowns in seven games this fall. The sophomore signal-caller is accounting for nearly 69 percent of Ohio State's total yards this season, so imagine the drop off if it were to lose him for even one game.
He's accounting for more than 311 yards per game and can score points in a variety of ways. If I was Meyer, I would be looking to hire a crew of bodyguards to follow Miller around campus as well as to and from the locker room on game days.
With Meyer still in his first year, the Buckeyes will go only as far as Braxton Miller takes them.
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