On Saturday, No. 3/2 Ohio State takes on San Diego State from the Mountain West Conference. Kickoff at Ohio Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, and it will be televised on either on your local ABC affiliate or ESPN2, depending on where you live.
The Buckeyes come into the non-conference match-up with a record of 1-0 after defeating Buffalo, 40-20, last weekend, though it was far from an impressive showing.
Ohio State scored 23-straight points in the opening period and it appeared that the rout was on, but were outscored by the Bulls 20-17 in the final three quarters.
In the first quarter against Buffalo, Ohio State’s offense generated three scoring drives that lasted a total of 17 plays and 217 yards as the Buckeyes took a 23-0 lead after the first 15 minutes of action.
The final stats show that Ohio State led in total offense (460-258), rushing yards (261-73), passing yards (199-185), first downs (23-18), and time of possession (32:04-27:33). Senior running back Jordan Hall netted 159 yards on the ground in 21 carries and two scores. Junior quarterback Braxton Miller was 15-of-22 passing for 178 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Miller also rushed for 77 yards on 17 carries.
This week, though, the Buckeyes get back three key players with strong safety C.J. Barnett, cornerback Bradley Roby, and running back Rod Smith.
As for the Aztecs, it seems to this writer that given San Diego State’s location in the talent-rich state of California that SDSU would be a perennial winner and dominate the Mountain West Conference.
Playing in an NFL stadium in a city with sandy beaches, dry Mediterranean climate that includes an daily average temperature of 70 degrees annually and only 41 days of rain, you’d think that high school recruits would be flocking to its beautiful campus.
But that’s not the case.
Sure, it’ll help if San Diego State somehow joined a BCS conference. The Aztecs almost did that this season by aligning with the Big East, but left last January before it ever officially joined in order to remain with the Mountain West.
With that, San Diego State’s return to the Mountain West gives it 12 schools for the 2013 season as Boise State opted to stay put as well.
The Aztecs will venture nearly 2,000 miles to pay a visit to Columbus this Saturday to take on the highly-ranked Buckeyes and get paid well to boot.
Coming into the game, the San Diego State is 0-1 after losing in embarrassing fashion to FCS-member Eastern Illinois, 40-19, last weekend.
In that game, the Aztecs led 13-7 after the first quarter and with 10:57 left in the third frame, the contest was tied at 19-all. Then the Panthers went on to score 21 unanswered points for the win.
San Diego State’s junior quarterback, Adam Dingwell, was 27-of-63 passing for 318 yards, but he didn’t throw for a score and was intercepted four times.
One of the reasons the Aztecs threw the ball so much was that junior running back Adam Muema left after the first quarter due to an ankle injury. Earlier in the week it was reported that he was in a walking boot, but still plans to play against Ohio State on Saturday. Last season, Muema rushed for 1,458 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore.
Granted, teams rarely win when they have five turnovers, and that’s what San Diego State did against Eastern Illinois, but the Aztec defense had more holes than Swiss cheese. SDSU surrendered 533 yards as the Panthers gained 172 on the ground and another 316 through the air.
And all of that is very surprising given the fact that San Diego State had 15 starters back on a team that went 9-4 overall and claimed a piece of the Mountain West Conference title last season.
Ohio State had problems last week with its pass defense. The cornerbacks were giving way too much cushion playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage. With the return of two starters who didn’t play last week, the secondary will be more aggressive against San Diego State.
The question is, how good are the Aztecs? Was last week’s game against Eastern Illinois a fluke, or are they really that bad? I think it’s a combination of both. I don’t think SDSU is that bad, but they don’t have the talent or depth to hang around long with Ohio State.
But then again, I said the same thing about Buffalo.
Ohio State 49, San Diego State 13.