No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) at Miami Hurricanes (0-1 SU, 0-11 ATS), Saturday September 17th, 2011 7:30PM EST, College Football Week 3
Sun Life Stadium Miami, FL
By Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OSU +2/Mia -2
Over/Under Total: 48.5
The no. 17 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will leave Columbus for the first time this season and head south in a big out of conference game with the Miami Hurricanes this Saturday night. Last year the Hurricanes took the trip to Columbus, but 4 turnovers plagued the offense and Ohio State captured a 36-24 victory. However, this Saturday Miami has had an extra week of preparation and will get their shot at redemption when they host the Buckeyes at Sun Life Stadium.
Miami opened their 2011 season with a close 32-24 loss to Maryland at home. For the Hurricanes, turnovers were the story yet again. Miami gave up 4 turnovers which ultimately led to their demise. The good news is that Miami had last week off and some much needed extra time to correct their mistakes. Possibly the bigger story heading into this Saturday will be the return of QB Jacory Harris along with 4 additional players. As we all know, Miami had several players in trouble with the NCAA over the preferential treatment rule. Luckily for the Hurricanes, several players including Harris only received 1 game suspensions rather than receiving harsher punishments.
Having Harris back for the offense should be great news for Miami. During his tenure for the Hurricanes, Harris has shown flashes of brilliance throwing the football. However like the rest of the team, Harris has struggled with turnovers. In 2010, Harris posted disappointing numbers completing 55% for 1,793 yards with 14 touchdowns and 15 picks. Those numbers were down significantly from Harriss sophomore campaign and Hurricanes fans hope he can improve under new head coach Al Goldens new system.
Luckily for the offense, Miami has plenty of talent for Golden to work with. WR Laron Byrd leads a young talented group of receivers. Byrd is the seasoned veteran, but Miami has plenty of receivers that can get the job done allowing Harris the option of spreading the ball round. Furthermore, running back Lamar Miller is a proven threat on the ground. Miller posted 118 yards in the opener against Maryland and he will be a big factor in the 2011 offense. The big concern for the offense this week will be up front along the offensive line. Ohio State has an extremely talented defensive line that gets after the quarterback. The Buckeyes have already racked up 9 sacks (7th in NCAA) through their first 2 games so it will be interesting to see if the Miami offensive line can play well enough to allow Harris time to throw the football.
On the other side of the field, Ohio State enters this Saturday after a close scare with Toledo last week. The Buckeyes prevailed 27-22, but Toledo had many opportunities to come away with the upset. The Buckeyes will look to shake off the lackluster performance as they prepare for big time football this Saturday night. However, Ohio State still has some concerns as well on the offensive side of the football. Last week the Buckeyes managed to rack up just 301 yards of total offense in what can only be stated as an embarrassing offensive performance.
Ohio St. Senior QB Joe Bauserman has looked decent through the first two games completing 60% passing for 352 yards with 4 touchdowns and 0 picks. Young tailbacks Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith have also shown promising upside. Hyde leads the team with 169 yards on 36 carries. Smith has added with 98 yards on 25 carries. While both tailbacks have been effective, neither has proved to be the homerun threat out of the backfield that the Buckeyes offense is accustomed to. It will be interesting to see how Ohio State approaches the game offensively. The Buckeyes are known for being able to run the football and then turn to the air when needed. However, if the Hurricanes can jump out to a quick lead it will be interesting to see if Coach Luke Fickell abandons the Buckeyes running game giving the inconsistency on the ground.
Jays Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is a tough one to nail down. When Miami is good, they are REALLY good and definitely capable of beating the Buckeyes in a revenge type game at home. However, that Ohio State defense is pretty good as well and should be able to put some pressure on Harris who is known for turning the ball over. Im really on the fence on this game, but I would lean towards the Buckeyes at +2.
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