The Buckeyes of Ohio State are one of two Big 10 teams traveling west for their third game of the season. The Wisconsin Badgers will be traveling to Arizona State and the Buckeyes are making the trip to California to take on the University of California Golden Bears. Both Big 10 teams are squaring off against Pac 12 teams this week.
Northwestern has already represented the Big 10 in a victory over Cal in the first game of the season. The Buckeyes will be looking to do the same this Saturday. Regardless of whether Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller sits this week’s game out or plays in a limited role, the Buckeyes will be leaning on a very strong rushing attack lead by junior Jordan Hall.
If Miller is out on Saturday, Kenny Guiton will be asked to take the snaps. Guiton proved to be a more than capable backup last week as he led the Buckeyes to a victory over San Diego State. Guiton’s performance was truly impressive and coach Urban Meyer’s offense did not seem to miss a beat. Guiton has undoubtedly seen more snaps this week and should be even more prepared for this week’s matchup. That along with the security of Hall in the backfield should allow the Buckeye signal caller to effectively move his team down the field.
Fans can also expect to see an increased role for senior wide out Corey Brown. Brown is a captain this season and is a very exciting player who fits well in Meyer’s offense. His skills will be very valuable to the Buckeyes if they hope to make a run at a Big 10 or National Title this season.
Cal fans can expect to see their team try to establish a running game early. The Bears have found it difficult to do so this season. Cal desperately wants to have a balanced attack and running back Brendan Bigelow will be charged with this task. Much of the responsibility for moving the ball through the air will be on given to young quarterback Jared Goff. The freshman quarterback leads the nation in passing yards.
Everyone is well aware of Cal’s ability to put up point but without a run game to compliment their passing attack the Bears will be running the risk of the Buckeyes sitting back and jumping passing routes getting those always coveted takeaways. Buckeye fans should also not be surprised to see their team applying more pressure on the Cal quarterback than they did a year ago. The Buckeyes will attempt to do so with just their base pass rush but will not shy away from bringing an extra attacker if need be.
Saturday’s matchup will feature too very exciting offenses. Don’t expect the Buckeyes to show any signs of desperation if Miller is out for this matchup. Both offenses should move the ball well. Cal’s quick operating spread offense will compensate for a lack of a running game at times but the Bears must attempt to be a multi threat offense. Ultimately, the Buckeyes have a bigger, more physical football team, more talent on defense, and the ability to control the clock. Look for the Buckeyes to return to Columbus with another victory.