Head Coach: Randy Shannon
Miami Players Who Were Recruited By Ohio State: DB Latwan Anderson, WR Leonard Hankerson, CB Brandon Harris, OT Seantrel Henderson, CB Ryan Hill, C Brandon Linder, LB Colin McCarthy, CB Brandon McGee, CB Keion Payne, S Kacy Rodgers, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke
When Miami Is On Offense vs. Ohio State's Defense: Miami scored easily and often in their opener against Florida A&M, winning 45-0. I look for Miami to use multiple wideout sets, to put a great deal of pressure on Ohio State's secondary. If Miami can strike deep for big gains, Ohio State could be in trouble. Ohio State's secondary has experience in starting corners Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence, but Ohio State has not faced a passing attack like Miami.
Ohio State's defensive line will need to apply pressure on Miami QB Jacory Harris. Ohio State DE Nathan Williams will return from injury, but the rest of the defensive line will need to put more pass-rush pressure on Miami than they did against Marshall.
Edge: Miami. I do not look for Miami to be able to run effectively on Ohio State, but I do believe Miami's passing game will test Ohio State's secondary.
When Ohio State Is On Offense VS Miami's Defense: Ohio State was able to both run and pass against Marshall in its 45-7 win. One of the key aspects of Ohio State's offense was how QB Terrelle Pryor distributed the ball to various receivers, especially TE Jake Stoneburner.
Miami was able to register eight sacks in its opening win, so a key match-up to watch will be Ohio State OLT Mike Adams against Miami DE Allen Bailey. I will also be curious to see if Pryor takes off for positive yardage more than he did against Marshall.
Edge: Ohio State. While Miami has a fearsome pass rush, I believe Ohio State's running game, led by RB Brandon Saine, will be able to control the clock.
Another key area to watch will be if Miami will be able to cover Stoneburner effectively. This was an area Wisconsin exploited repeatedly in their bowl win over Miami, and I am guessing Ohio State will try to do the same.
Intangibles: Miami is seeking revenge for its bitter defeat to Ohio State in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State needs this game, to not only gain national respect, but also to stay in the national title hunt.
If Ohio State loses this game, it will be out of the national championship race. With Boise State's impressive opening win, as well as other schools highly ranked such as Texas, Nebraska, or Oregon, Ohio State cannot slip up.
One interesting area that may play a factor: the weather. With rain possibly in the forecast, this could play a part on both teams' passing games.
Slight Edge: Ohio State. While I respect Miami's quest for revenge and respect, the reality is none of the key players from that 2002 team (Kellen Winslow, Ken Dorsey, Jonathan Vilma, etc) are suiting up for the Hurricanes. With a 3:40 p.m. kickoff, the fans are going to have ample time for tailgating and will be ready to make it as loud as possible against the Hurricanes.
The home crowd, and possibly the weather, make me give this slight edge to the Buckeyes.
Prediction: I believe this game is going to be lower-scoring than most people possibly anticipate. Both defenses are fast and disruptive.
While Miami has the talent to pull out a win, and it would not be an upset in my eyes if they won, I believe Miami has to wait until next season when Ohio State visits to get their victory. I am going with Ohio State 17, Miami 14.