The Cleveland Fan on Facebook

The Cleveland Fan on Twitter
Buckeyes Buckeye Archive Preview: San Diego St. at Ohio State
Written by Dan Wismar

Dan Wismar

- Saturday, September 7, 2013

- Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

- San Diego State at Ohio State

- 3:30 p.m. ET

- TV: ABC (Regional) -

gameday1The Aztecs of San Diego State visit the Horseshoe for Week Two of the 2013 season, as Ohio State (1-0) shoots for its 14th consecutive win to begin the Urban Meyer era in Columbus. The Buckeyes will be closer to full strength than they were in last week’s opener, as several suspended or injured players will be back to bolster the Scarlet and Gray.

SDSU (0-1) dropped their opener to Eastern Illinois last week, 40-19, in a game Aztec fans surely had circled as a “W” prior to the season. That unexpectedly poor performance has some in Buckeye country suggesting the Aztecs must have been looking past the opener, and couldn’t possibly be as bad as they looked, losing at home to EIU by three touchdowns. The prevailing view, however, seems to be that...well...yes they could.

Meyer will be expecting a more consistent performance out of his Buckeyes than the one they delivered last week. The Bucks executed nearly flawlessly in the first quarter while building a 23-0 lead, but then appeared to lose some focus and made some mental and physical mistakes, allowing Buffalo to climb back into the game at 23-13, and again at 30-20. Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman kept the majority of their playbook under wraps while still managing to put 40 points on the scoreboard, but their 10-point second half left their fans (and some poll voters) unsatisfied.

Chief among the culprits cited by Meyer this week was the offensive line. He said that he expects them to be the best line in the Big Ten, but on Saturday they didn’t play like it. Meyer also expects more sack opportunities for his defensive line this week than they had against Buffalo, because the Bulls concentrated on short drops and getting rid of the ball quickly.

This will be the fourth meeting between the two programs, with Ohio State holding a 3-0 advantage in the series, having prevailed in 2001 (27-12), 2003 (16-13) and 2005 (27-6). The Buckeyes are 28-point favorites in this year’s game.


State of the Bucks

Roby MattSullivanReutersAs noted above, the Buckeyes are a much healthier and more complete team this week than the squad they fielded against Buffalo. Perhaps most importantly, two key returning starters in the defensive secondary will be back in action. All-Big Ten cornerback Bradley Roby (#1 at right) has completed his one game suspension for an offseason incident in Indiana, and starting safety C.J. Barnett, who sat out the opener with an ankle sprain, will be back as well.

Also returning from a one-game suspension is junior running back Rod Smith. Meyer said this week that Smith would have to win the tailback job back from Jordan Hall before he would play, but it is also well known that Meyer would like to use Hall in the H-Pivot position in the offense,  and Smith would give him a bigger, more powerful option at running back.

Outside of backup defensive tackle Tommy Schutt, who is out for the first half of the season with a broken bone in his foot, the Buckeyes are fairly healthy throughout the two-deep roster. Senior center Corey Linsley is being eased back into action after offseason foot surgery, He played just 16 snaps in the opener, and will probably once again be limited this week as a precaution.

Meyer cited the performance of defensive lineman Joey Bosa as probably the most impressive debut by one of his freshmen last week. Running back/receiver/kick returner Dontre Wilson was mentioned by the head coach for his first game contributions, but he added that Wilson fumbled the ball away, saying that, “he won’t play much if that happens again.”


San Diego State: Key Personnel

San Diego St HelmetThe Aztecs come to Columbus under head coach Rocky Long, who is in his 3rd year at SDSU, with a record of 17-10, counting his 0-1 start in 2013. On the staff is local favorite Brian Sipe as quarterbacks coach.

Adam Dingwell has been the Aztecs’ starter at QB since taking over with five games to go in 2012. He passed for 939 yards, with 8 TD passes and 7 interceptions a year ago, and he aired it out 63 times in the opener last week, completing 27, with no TD’s and 4 interceptions.

Running back Adam Muema, a 5’ 10” 205 lb junior, is a preseason All-Mountain West selection, and was called one of the best running backs in the nation by Urban Meyer this week. Muema left the game last week with an ankle sprain, but was back in practice, and is expected to play Saturday. He had just 17 yards on 10 carries a week ago.

The top two receivers from 2012 are gone, and the Aztecs will rely on Ezell Ruffin and Colin Lockett to catch the ball this season. Lockett led the team with 8 receptions for 98 yards in the opener.

On defense, SDSU has a solid front seven, including the conference’s best linebacking corps, led by senior Nick Tenhaeff. Other defensive standouts for the Aztecs include defensive tackle Sam Meredith and safety Nat Berhe.



Idle Speculation

The Buckeyes have won 65 straight home games against unranked non-conference opponents, and this week they should have no trouble making it 66. With the emphasis on consistency and avoiding the lulls and letdowns that plagued them last week, we might fairly expect a convincing victory by the good guys.

We should also remember though, that this SDSU team is an up and down squad that always seems to give OSU fits. They have 15 starters back from a team that traveled to Boise St. last year and beat the Broncos. And they are stinging from a disappointing home loss in their opener.

I expect OSU fans to get their first extended look at Rod Smith at running back on Saturday, and I’d bet they’ll like what they see. I also expect OSU defensive ends Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington to become well acquainted with the Aztec quarterback Dingell, with at least a sack apiece, along with more consistent pressure.

Four touchdowns seems about right for the spread, but nobody has gone broke recently betting on OSU’s September non-conference opponents to cover, so I’ll go with the trend and peg this one at 41-17 Ohio State.


OSU Roster


San Diego State Roster



on Twitter at @dwismar


Dan’s OSU Links and Resources



photo credits: Matt Sullivan - Reuters (Roby)

The TCF Forums