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No vacation for Bucks in Fla.

September 16, 2011
By RICH GIBSON - Buckeye Blitz ( , Times Leader

Oh, well, it felt pretty good at the time.

That being last year's 36-24 Buckeyes' victory over Miami which Ohio State's braintrust opted to wipe from the books.

All, naturally, in the aftermath of mounting allegations of illegal practices which directly led to the suspensions of several high profile stars and more importantly, the eventual resignation of head coach Jim Tressel.

In south Florida, meanwhile, the University of Miami has experienced its share of controversy regarding allegations of illegal benefits provided players by a former booster.

Following an investigation, Canes' starting quarterback Jacory Harris was one of eight players forced to sit out at least one game for their part in the scandal.

Harris has since been reinstated and is expected to resume operations as UM quarterback for Saturday night's nationally televised game.

Minus Harris, Miami suffered a season-opening 32-24 setback at Maryland in a game played Labor Day evening at College Park, Md.

"I literally got sick. It was hard to watch. I wanted to be out there with them," Harris stated on an Atlantic Coast Conference blog.

The 6-4, 195-pound Miami native was at the controls last year in Ohio Stadium and threw four interceptions which greatly aided OSU's victory. Harris also completed 22-of-39 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown.

Unfortunately, all the principals responsible for Ohio State's 36 points in that game have either graduated, moved on, or remain on suspension.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor enjoyed one of his finest outings in Scarlet & Gray, accounting for some 346 yards. Additionally, running back Boom Herron ran for 66 yards and a score while kicker Devin Barclay connected on a school record-tying five field goals.

All of which means the Bucks will need production from alternate sources in Saturday's rematch.

Following a season-opening 42-0 rout of Akron, the Bucks were fighting for their lives in last week's 27-22 thrilling win against Toledo.

Twice, OSU rallied from deficits, finally getting a go-ahead touchdown from sophomore running back Carlos Hyde in the third quarter.

A late fumble by redshirt freshman Rod Smith enabled Toledo to stage a potentially game-winning drive that came up 16 yards short in the final minute of play.

"We'll definitely need a better overall effort (against Miami)," said Bucks' sophomore guard Jack Mewhort following Saturday's game.

The Hurricanes likely said the same after yielding 499 yards in the loss at Maryland. UM's secondary was burned by Terps' quarterback Danny O'Brien who passed for 348 yards and a score.

Additionally, Maryland enjoyed a solid run game, piling up 151 yards via 34 carries.

For their part, the Hurricanes also displayed good balance behind quarterback Stephen Morris who threw for 195 yards and running back Lamar Miller who ran for 119 yards and a TD. UM, though, coughed up four fumbles in the loss.

The 5-11, 212-pound Miller also made his presence felt in last year's game, returning a kickoff 88 yards to the house.

Miami's receiving corps features returning vet Travis Benjamin (5-10, 175) who burned the Bucks on a 79-yard punt return a year ago.

Senior Laron Byrd (6-4, 220) and 6-3, 185-pound sophomore Allen Hurns, meanwhile, combined for seven receptions and better than 100 yards in Benjamin's absence at Maryland.

The Buckeyes may not face a more experienced offensive line all season than UM's upperclass-dominated contingent.

Left tackle Joel Figueroa (6-6, 323) is a rare, six-year senior, awarded an extra season of eligibility.

A pair of fifth-year seniors are 6-2, 310-pound left guard Harland Gunn and 6-4, 305-pound center Tyler Horn.

At right tackle is junior Brandon Washington (6-4, 320) while sophomore Brandon Linder (6-6, 310) operates at right guard.

Tight end Chase Ford, a 6-4, 245-pound senior, complements the Canes' formidable offensive front.

Seven returning starters on defense are led by 6-0, 224-pound senior linebacker Sean Spence who logged 17 tackles for lost yardage last season.

Spence is aided by 6-1, 222-pound senior Ramon Buchanan on the left side and 6-3, 220-pound sophomore James Gaines in the middle.

Free safety Vaughn Telemaque (6-2, 200) was also a major player in 2010, recording 58 tackles and three pass thefts. Fifth-year seniors Jojo Nicholas (6-1, 200) and Mike Williams (6-1, 170) are also secondary stalwarts.

Two seniors anchor the defensive front led by 6-3, 305-pound tackle Micanor Regis and 6-3, 250-pound end Andrew Smith. The Canes' lone freshman starter is 6-4, 248-pound end Anthony Chickillo.


SATURDAY night's game will be played at 74,916-seat Sun Life Stadium, also home to the NFL's Miami Dolphins who host Houston Sunday afternoon.....

THE Hurricanes were tabbed to finish second this season in the ACC's Coastal Division behind Virginia Tech....Ohio State and Miami have recorded 19 bowl victories apiece in their respective programs' history....

OHIO State is looking for its first 3-0 start since the 2007 season when they ran off 10 consecutive wins....Eight of the Bucks' previous 22 head coaches started 3-0 in their first season. Earle Bruce was the last to do so, winning his first 11 games before suffering a 17-16 loss to to Southern California in the Rose Bowl....

THE Big Ten announced its 2013-14 football schedule which has Ohio State hosting Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State and Indiana in 2013.....The following season, the Bucks welcome conference foes Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois and Michigan....

FOLLOWING Saturday night's game, the Buckeyes return to Columbus and will host Colorado (Sept. 24) and Michigan State (Oct. 1) on consecutive weekends before making their Big Ten road debut at Nebraska in a nationally televised game, Oct. 8.

Gibson may be reached at



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