SATURDAY won't be the Fourth of July so there won't be a fireworks display, but there may be a continuation of "explosive" actions exhibited by the Ohio State offense when the Buckeyes face the Florida A&M Rattlers at the 'Shoe.
OSU tight ends/fullbacks coach Tim Hinton this week said he thinks the explosive play factor of the offense is greater this season than a year ago.
Hinton mentioned a tremendous number of explosive plays during OSU's first three games, adding he wants that to continue along with no turnovers.
He went on to say, "If you're winning the turnover battle and winning explosive plays, normally you're going to win games. That's what I kind of sense right now is we are doing a great job in the explosive play category.
"You know, one of the things we did Saturday, I thought a lot better than game one and game two, is we had some more consistent drives when we didn't have the explosive play. And we really played well in the second half. That's the part that obviously we were lacking a little bit in the first two games, also, and we came out and we just were able to execute our offense all through the game."
Last week's game with the California Golden Bears was fifth-year senior Kenny Guiton's first career start, and he threw for three touchdowns in the first six minutes of the game, sparking OSU to a quick 21-0 lead. At game's end, he had 368 yards of total offense and four TDs in the 52-34 win.
He also connected with junior receiver Devin Smith on a school-record 90-yard touchdown pass - the longest play from scrimmage in school history.
Among his other accomplishments, Guiton led a Buckeye offense to a three-year high 608 yards of offense.
He was named Walter Camp Football Foundation's offensive player of the week and also was selected as the Big Ten Conference's offensive player of the week for his efforts on the California trip. OSU junior linebacker Ryan Shazier was the conference's top defensive player of the week.
Meyer, when asked if Guiton does anything better than Heisman Trophy hopeful Braxton Miller, who didn't play last week because of an injury, replied, "Probably certain things. I think Kenny is a natural option quarterback. Braxton is not quite as natural pitching the ball. I would say that's probably the area that Kenny excels at. I mean, there's a couple that were right now, in the last two games, we've ran more option than we've run in a long time."
The coach later noted that Miller probably would play this week.
Saturday will be the first time for a game between the Buckeyes and Rattlers so it won't be "old home week" for the two teams, but there are several connections between them.
William "Big Bill" Bell (1936-42), the Rattlers' first national championship coach, was an OSU graduate as was Rudy Hubbard, who coached FAMU from 1974-85 and was a running back and assistant coach for Woody Hayes at Ohio State. The Rattler website notes that Hubbard at 28 was the youngest head coach in the nation when he was named to the FAMU post and "was responsible for helping restore the luster to the Rattler football program, which languished a bit following the retirement of coaching legend Jake Gaither in 1969."
Hubbard's selection as head coach was helped by the enduring friendship between Gaither and Hayes.
Earl Holmes, who became the FAMU head coach this year, was a Pittsburgh Steeler from 1996-2001, and one of his teammates was OSU graduate and now Buckeye defensive line coach Mike Vrabel.
A current connection with the area is Linsly graduate and Rattler linebacker Akil Blount, son of former Pittsburgh Steeler Mel Blount.
Playing teams from the Midwest haven't been happy times for the Florida team. The website points out the most memorable game in this section of the country was the heartbreaking 1999 NCAA playoff loss at Youngstown State. The Youngstown coach at that time was Jim Tressel, who later did outstanding work for the Buckeyes, including being the only OSU coach in history whose teams won seven consecutive games against the Michigan Wolverines.
This year's record for the team from Tallahassee is 1-2 including a win over Mississippi Valley State, 17-10, and losses to Tennessee State, 27-7, and Samford, 27-20.
THE BUCKEYES currently have the nation's longest winning streak at 15 games.
OHIO State's offense had 608 total yards in last week's win and ran 87 offensive plays. That's the most for the Buckeyes since the 2010 Rose Bowl win over Oregon.
BUCKEYE senior running back Jordan Hall must have decided records are made to be broken - even his own. In the game with Buffalo, he set personal bests with 21 carries for 159 yards and two scores. Then last week, he did even better with 30 carries for 168 yards and three TDs in addition to setting a career-best with five receptions.
He is third in the Big Ten in rushing, and he ranks first in scoring and touchdowns scored.
Saturday's game, which will be aired by BTN, will begin at noon.
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