Ohio State/UAB—A Few Opening Thoughts...
No. 16 Ohio State may on the verge of starting 4-0 this season—thanks mostly to the exceptional play of sophomore quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender, Braxton Miller—but last weeks shaky defensive performance against California has coach Urban Meyer shaking his head.
The Buckeyes gave up several big plays of 15 or more yards—including an 82-yard-touchdown-run, the longest by an opponent in Ohio Stadium history—to Cal in their come-from-behind, 35-28 win.
"That is the most alarming thing," Meyer said on Monday. "I've watched Ohio State's defense for a long time, and I can't remember a defense I've been around that's given up this many (big plays). We've got to stop or we'll lose a game."
The cure that ails you for the Buckeyes, at least for this week, comes in the form of the 0-2 UAB Blazers.
UAB fell on the road to the old ball coach and No. 7 South Carolina last week, 49-6. With the odds makers having Ohio State listed as 36-point favorites, surely coach Meyer will expect a similar, and perhaps even more dominating, result for his Buckeyes against the Blazers this weekend.
Here are where Ohio State and UAB currently rank and compare statistically on offense to date:
The Buckeyes are 66th in total defense and 36th in scoring defense, allowing 18 points per game.
UAB is 104th in total defense and 120th in scoring defense, allowing 44 points per game.
You can get an expanded game preview via ESPN by clicking here.
Ohio State—UAB History Lesson And Trends
• Ohio State is 60-7 in Ohio Stadium since the 2002 season.
• This is the first-ever meeting between Ohio State and UAB.
• Urban Meyer coached teams are 37-4 in the month of September.
• Ohio State is 20-1 in first-ever meetings with an opponent in Ohio Stadium.
• Ohio State's defense has held opponents to 10 points or less 37 times since 2006.
• Ohio State's defense has allowed only 10 100-yard rushers in their last 52 games.
• Ohio State has held 69 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.
• Ohio State is 44-7 overall vs. non-conference opponents since the start of the 2002 season.
• Ohio State has won 60 consecutive regular season non-conference home games vs. unranked opponents.
• Ohio State is seeking win No. 400 in Ohio Stadium. Their overall W/L/T record in The Shoe is 399-109-20 (1922-2012).
• UAB is 3-33 all-time vs. teams from a BCS conference.
• UAB is 3-19 overall vs. ranked opponents and 0-19 vs. ranked opponents from a BCS conference.
Final Thoughts and Score Prediction
The biggest offensive threat for the Blazers is QB Jonathan Perry who is averaging nearly 270 passing yards per game, but has also been picked off once and sacked five times in UAB's two games.
The Buckeye defense must play better against the pass and overall honestly, and I believe they will. If I'm wrong and they don't, a few players, and eventually a coach or two, could be out of a job.
UAB's defense is ripe for the picking here. They can't stop the run, and that is Ohio State's biggest strength, and they are dead last in scoring defense in the FBS.
This feels like the perfect time for the Buckeyes to hang half-a-hundred and then some offensively, and to get their defense back on track before league play begins in East Lansing next week.
Ohio State 66
"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson