Predicting Ohio State's Stats vs. Buffalo
After another long offseason, Ohio State is finally set to kick off the 2013 season on Saturday when it hosts Buffalo in the Horseshoe.
The Buckeyes had the No. 10 rushing offense a year ago and it could be even better this year even though Carlos Hyde will miss the first three games of the season.
A talented group of freshmen led by Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall should inject some more big plays into the Buckeye offense as well as the growth of junior quarterback Braxton Miller.
So how will Saturday's box score look after the season opener?
Here's a prediction of what it could look like.
Braxton Miller: 18-of-24, 250 yds, 3 TDs
The Ohio State coaches and players have raved about Miller's growth after his breakout sophomore season a year ago.
Miller has worked to improve his passing mechanics and make the OSU offense much more balanced than it was a year ago.
He should be able to do that on Saturday with a completion percentage of 75 and throw for three scores. The running will always be there, but the Bulls could provide a good test for how much of a better passer he has become.
Jordan Hall: 12 carries, 92 yds, 1 TD
Braxton Miller: 11 carries, 90 yds, 1 TD
Bri'onte Dunn: 8 carries, 41 yds
Dontre Wilson: 4 carries, 68 yds, 1 TD
Jordan Hall and Bri'onte Dunn will be the top two backs for Ohio State on Saturday with suspensions to both Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith.
Miller will get his carries as expected and should be able to rip off a long run or two at some point. But Urban Meyer will want to limit Miller's carries if possible.
The wild card this year is true freshman Dontre Wilson who has impressed almost everyone at fall camp. He will get his touches and has the ability to make a big play every time he's on the field.
Don't be surprised if he makes one of those long plays on Saturday.
Corey Brown: 6 catches, 88 yds, 1 TD
Devin Smith: 4 catches, 55 yds
Jeff Heuerman: 3 catches, 46 yds, 1 TD
Corey Brown and Devin Smith will be Braxton Miller's top two targets throughout the season and it will start on Saturday.
Brown will get the bulk of the catches although Smith will have his chances as well.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman is expected to have a big year and he should be able to haul in a couple of catches and find the end zone once against Buffalo.
Noah Spence: 2 sacks
Adolphus Washington: 1.5 sacks
Ryan Shazier: 11 tackles, 2 TFL
Doran Grant: 3 pass breakups, 1 INT
The season opener could be the coming-out party for Ohio State's duo of talented sophomore defensive ends in Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington.
Those two had a solid impact in their freshman seasons last year, but they will be asked to be big-time players starting this year. They need to get to the quarterback and create havoc in the backfield.
Ryan Shazier will do his usual thing, flying around the football field and making all sorts of tackles, whether in the passing game down the field or blowing up a running play in the backfield.
OSU will at least get one turnover on Saturday and the most experienced corner on the field—Doran Grant because of Bradley Roby's suspension—will be the recipient of an interception.
Passing: 284 yds
Rushing: 291 yds
Defense: 295 yds, 20 points
There's no reason to think Ohio State won't win big over Buffalo on Saturday barring any catastrophic injuries to Braxton Miller or several key players on the roster.
It will be a chance for fans to see an improve passing game as well as the new faces on both sides of the ball.
This should be a good tune-up for the Buckeyes as they are chasing a national championship.
A strong performance against the Bulls will go a long way to doing that.
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