Game Two: Ohio State vs. Toledo
Location: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, OH). 12pm EST kickoff, Big Ten Network
Head Coach: Tim Beckman
Toledo Players Who Were Recruited By Ohio State: DL Andre Sturdivant from Cleveland Glenville. Sturdivant actually chose Toledo over Penn State on signing day in 2011. Toledo QB Terrance Owens is from Cleveland Glenville and visited Ohio State unofficially, but was never offered a scholarship.
Toledo Rushing Offense vs Ohio State Defense: Toledo rushed for 287 yards against New Hampshire in its opening game last week. No disrespect to New Hampshire, but I believe the Rockets will find running the ball against Ohio State to be a tad more difficult. The key runner for Toledo is RB Adonis Thomas, who had 115 yards in the win over New Hampshire. 46 of those yards came on one carry, so again, I have to take those statistics carefully when I consider the caliber of competition.
Edge: Ohio State
Toledo Passing Offense vs Ohio State Defense: Here is where I am more concerned. Toledo has two capable quarterbacks in Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens; both players threw for at least two touchdowns in the opener against New Hampshire. More importantly, Ohio State did not seem to get a strong pass rush against Akron, while Toledo is a stronger and better team than the Zips. Throw in the relative inexperience of Ohio State's secondary, and I am going to give the Rockets the slight edge here in this category.
Slight Edge: Toledo
Ohio State Rushing Offense vs Toledo Defense: Similar to how Ohio State played against Akron, I look for Ohio State to pound away at Toledo with RBs Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith. If Ohio State can control the clock by running the ball and wearing down the Toledo defense, it would not surprise me, as Ohio State's quarterbacks and receivers are relatively inexperienced.
Edge: Ohio State
Ohio State Passing Offense vs Toledo Defense: QB Joe Bauserman responded beautifully in his first career start, throwing for three touchdowns and scoring a rushing touchdown against Akron. TE Jake Stoneburner emerged, as I suspected he would, as Bauserman's favorite target. Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller played well in the second half against Akron, so look for another rotation by Bauserman and Miller against Toledo.
Edge: Ohio State
Special Teams: PK Drew Basil missed a 40 yard field goal against Akron, meaning he has never kicked a field goal in his attempts at Ohio State. In addition, the kickoff coverage was better against Akron, but there is always room for improvement in this area after all of the troubles Ohio State has had over the last few seasons.
Intangibles: Toledo is no stranger to being a giant killer, having defeated Purdue, Colorado, and Michigan over the last three seasons. Throw in the facts that Tim Beckman is a former Ohio State assistant, who would love to have the Ohio State job, plus all of the Toledo players who feel slighted by not being recruited by Ohio State, and I believe you will see why I give Toledo the edge here.
Prediction: The oddsmakers have Ohio State as a 19 point favorite, which may be a tad too high. I believe this game will be closer than Ohio State fans want to believe. Yes, Ohio State crushed Akron, but Akron was a 1-11 team in 2010. Toledo was a bowl team last season, and is arguably the best team in the MAC this season.
I believe Ohio State will be ahead at the half, then start to pull away by the middle of the fourth quarter behind a strong running game, and another decent performance by QB Joe Bauserman. I am going with Ohio State 35, Toledo 17.