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SDSU invades the ’Shoe

September 6, 2013
By SETH STASKEY - Buckeye Blitz ( , Times Leader

Sometimes not everything goes according to the plan or script.

Many fans believed that Ohio State would come out last Saturday against Buffalo, score somewhere near 70 points and never have to even break a sweat against the Bulls.

The Buckeyes scored 40 points, were never seriously challenged, but the entire performance wasn't nearly as dominant as most had hoped for.

Head coach Urban Meyer talked all last week about his desire to start fast and play crisp. His message came across loud and clear as the Buckeyes shot out to a 20-0 lead before Buffalo knew the game had started.

However, the Buckeyes fell into a "lull" in the second and third quarters and as they battled the heat and cramps. Buffalo didn't go away until a Kenny Guiton to Chris Fields touchdown pass sealed the deal.

"I am very pleased with our win and I was very pleased with our fast start," Meyer said at his weekly press conference. "That (start) was something that was really important that we made a big emphasis in our program.

Often times, there needs to be a reminder that winning the game is the ultimate objective, which Ohio State did, and there are additional chances to get better.

The Buckeyes have that chance Saturday at 3:30 p.m. when San Diego State, which is coming off a 40-19 home loss to Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) member Eastern Illinois.

As "The Chase" moves along, Meyer certainly isn't going to allow his team to overlook anyone, especially a program that reached three straight bowls and is the defending champion of their league, the Mountain West Conference.

"I've coached against Rocky Long before," Meyer said. "He's an excellent football coach, who is tough. His guys play real hard, and I believe they won nine games last year, which is not surprising for his coached teams. They play an odd-stacked 3-3-5 defense that's kind of a chaos defense and they play really hard with good players on offense and defense."

On top of San Diego State's past success, Meyer and his staff have spent much of the week driving home the fact that they have a lot of their own aspects to work on.

"Complacency is certainly not a problem this week," Meyer said. "There have been times when you smoke a team, and then all of the sudden, it's Tuesday and you start trying to get after them and they're looking at you because they've just been told how great they are."

Ohio State should benefit this week as two of their three suspended players are expected to dress this week.

Red-shirt junior defensive back Bradley Roby has been competing to regain his starting spot at corner against Armani Reeves.

"I think Bradley has learned a really strong lesson and he's done everything we've asked him to do, and I am anxious to get him back on the field," Meyer said.

Rod Smith also returns to crowd up the backfield even further. Smith sat out last week as a punishment for a violation of teams rules from during the winter.

Where Smith fits in on depth chart still remains to be seen. Jordan Hall is coming off arguably his finest game as a Buckeye as the starting tailback.

He ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.

Along with those two, Warren Ball, Bri'onte Dunn and Dontre Wilson are also in the mix.

The offense clicked early last week as junior quarterback Braxton Miller looked comfortable throwing the ball and was used very seldomly in the running game in the first half.

However, the offense bogged down somewhat in the second and third quarter. In that span, Miller threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. But, at the end of the day, the Buckeyes did score 40 points.

"We have very high expectations," Meyer said. "I want to score every time we touch the ball. I'm disappointed if we don't score. We have some talented guys, our coaching staff has been together and it should have been better. We came out of the game the way I kind of envisioned."

For the game, Miller completed 15-of-22 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for 77 yards on 17 carries.

"I've watched all of their film from last year and their game this year and there are a whole bunch of good players on that team," Long said. "There are so many that the only one everyone knows the game of is the quarterback. They have too many good players for us to do anything but try to put our players in the best position against their offense."

The Buckeyes' offensive line, which is expected to have Corey Linsley back for much more action this week, was also pushed to the brink at times.

"For the most part, I thought we played OK, but we got beat a couple of times and it goes exposed," Meyer said. "You just can't get exposed. I have the utmost confidence in our offensive line and their position coach. They will play much better, they have to."

The receiving corps, outside of dealing with some cramps, had a solid day. Fields and Devin Smith both caught three passes. Meyer was adament, however, that Corey "Philly" Brown must become a bigger part of the offense.

The Aztecs allowed 533 yards of total offense, including 361 yards through the air. Their leading tacklers are linebacker Jake Fely and Vaness Harris who had eight and seven stops, respectively.

On the defensive side of the ball, Ohio State shouldn't only benefit from the return of Roby, but also with defensive back C.J. Barnett returning to the lineup after sitting out last week with an ankle problem.

The added depth in the secondary will be needed because the Aztecs play the uptempo style offense and threw the ball 63 times last week, completing 27 for 318 yards. Quarterback Adam Dingwell was picked off four times.

"I think we are more suited now that we get our two players back (in the secondary)," Meyer said.

The Buckeyes didn't pressure the quarterback as much as they would have liked, only recording one sack. And they were susceptible to the short passes that hurt at times during the 2012 season.

Those sorts of things happen with the inexperience up front and the fact that the one veteran in the first two levels, Ryan Shazier, spent much of the game battling cramps.

Noah Spence was graded out as a champion, according to Meyer. He had the Buckeyes' lone sack.

Curtis Grant was a bright spot in his first real significant action at linebacker. Doran Grant was solid at corner and Christian Bryant was named the defensive player of the game.

"We want to be a little more aggressive," Meyer said. "We didn't play as much bump and run coverage, however, we did pressure quite a bit."

Colin Lockett was the Aztec's leader both in rushing and receiving.

His lone rush went 48 yards for a touchdown and he caught eight passes for 98 yards.



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