The last time Ohio University took the field in Columbus they nearly left with a victory. The Bobcats held a 14-12 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. Ohio State scored 14 unanswered points on a 2 yard plunge by Brandon Saine, and an electrifying 69 yard punt return by Ray Small with just 6 minutes left in the game to win 24-16. It was a narrow escape, and an all too familiar wake-up call against an in-state rival. That's one of the many reasons why this years match-up is being taken seriously by the Buckeyes.
Many of the Bobcats from that 2008 team are back. Key defensive lineman Dak Notestine(6'3" 265), Ernie Hodge(6'1" 300), and All -American Lb candidate Noah Keller(6'2" 240) anchor the MACs toughest front seven. Don't let last weeks' 20-13 loss to Toledo fool you. The Bobcats have a stout defense, and Coach Frank Solich's bunch 'brings-it' physically. This is the same team that rolled into Neyland stadium last season and played the Vols tough before falling 34-23, and the same bunch who fell in last years opener to UConn 23-16. They're offensively challenged, but the Bobcats have an inferiority complex on D. Somebody forgot to tell these guys they play in the MAC. This is a bruising bunch, that despite their small school MAC reputation, will actually be one of the tougher match-ups this season for the Ohio State offensive line.
Coach Solich understands who he's up against. In the last meeting he dialed-up blitzes with regularity, and you can expect more of the same this Saturday.
This group of over-looked Ohio recruits will be playing in front of friends and family in what amounts to a no-lose situation. One player in particular will be looking to shut down one of Ohio State's most dangerous weapons.
Ohio CB Julian Posey should be a familiar name to Ohio State fans. That's because Julian is the older brother of Ohio State WR Devier Posey. It's one thing to have two brothers on the same team like Ohio State FB Zach Boren and OG Justin Boren. It's something else altogether to have two brothers standing on opposing sidelines, and almost surreal to have them line-up on the first play from scrimmage going head-to-head.
It appears as if younger brother is avoiding trash-talk like the plague. "He's the better athlete", Devier said in an interview. He continued,"I know he'll be going 120% on every play". Devier also hinted on what could be construed as inspiration,"I remember when he used to beat me up as a kid".
Saturday's game is not only an in-state rivalry, but a sibling rivalry. Julian will start at corner wearing #9 on defense. Devier will line-up in his usual WR slot wearing the #8 Jersey. Mom will probably be in the stands wearing a split jersey - that is - unless she's needed down on the field. It will be one of the many Christmas colored match-ups to watch this weekend when the Buckeyes look for their third straight victory.
Ohio State starting SS CJ Barnett is out following a season ending knee injury that he suffered against the Hurricanes. The spot was originally thought to go to this weeks' starter Orhian Johnson, but Johnson had suffered a pulled-calf muscle towards the end of fall camp which opened the door for the now injured Barnett. OJ steps back into the starting role with high expectations from himself and Buckeye fans. #19 is a rangy defender with size(6'2" 200), and speed(4.42). I wouldn't expect any fall-off in production.
All eyes will be on the special teams. Ohio State has allowed three touchdowns on special teams in two weeks. Solich will try to capitalize on the Buckeyes special teams woes. Expect the unexpected.
I see this as a close game early. Ohio will put 7/8 men in the box and hold their own at the point of attack. Julian will probably make things pretty difficult on his younger brother, but Devier's size and speed is a tough match-up for any corner. My guess is that Dane Sanzenbacher will be the man that comes out and has a huge game for the Buckeyes. Also look for Brandon Saine and Jaamal Berry's speed to be a factor in Saturday's game.
Def Player of the Game - Cam Heyward
Off Player of the Game - Dane Sanzenbacher
Final - Ohio State 31 Ohio 10(14-3 @ Half)
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