After a devastating week two loss against Virginia Tech at home, the Ohio State Buckeyes needed a huge pick-me-up win and they got just that, defeating Kent State in humiliating fashion, 66-0. The Buckeyes seem to be back on track and Urban Meyer is poised to lead this team to a Big Ten title for the first time in the third-year coach’s tenure.
The Cincinnati Bearcats football program seems to be a revolving door for head coaches as all the top guys in college ball seem to go through the school and find a ‘better’ job somewhere else. Fans are hoping Tommy Tuberville is here to stay as he led the Bearcats to a 9-4 record in his first season and has them off to another 2-0 start in 2014. This program is trending upward with him at the helm.
Ohio State had been hoping to have a Heisman candidate quarterback its team this season, but Braxton Miller fell ill to the injury bug at the end of the offseason and a shoulder problem will keep him out for the entire 2014 campaign. Freshman QB J.T. Barrett was handed the reigns and he has done a solid job thus far, passing for 757 yards and nine touchdowns while completing about 60 percent of his passes. Barrett has also rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown — good for third on the team. Sophomore wide out Michael Thomas has developed into a No. 1 receiver for the young quarterback, catching a team-high 11 passes for 214 yards and four touchdowns. Senior receiver Devin Smith has also been solid, catching five passes for 211 yards and two scores. The run game has been decent, ranking 44th in the nation in yards per game on the ground. Curtis Samuel and Ezekiel Elliot both have 27 carries while Samuel has 171 yards and two scores, Elliot has 141 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
Starting his first career games as a collegiate quarterback, transfer Gunner Kiel has been living up to all the hype so far. Cincinnati has found itself a gem in the young QB as he has passed for 689 yards and 10 touchdowns with another 41 yards rushing in just two games this season for the ninth-best passing team in the nation. Senior Munchie Legaux suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2013 that has been the reason he will likely no longer start in a Bearcats uniform as a quarterback. Kiel’s favorite target so far has been Mekale McKay who has 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns while Shaq Washington is right behind, catching 11 passes for 125 yards and a score. The young QB has spread the ball around to 12 different receivers in the first two games. The run game hasn’t been nearly as potent, ranking 103rd nationally in yards per game. Senior Hosey Williams leads the way with 19 carries for 114 yards.
Defensively, the Bearcats have been one of the worst teams in the nation. Cincinnati’s offense can only do so much when the defense is always giving up points and mass amounts of yards. The team ranks 90th in points allowed per game while also ranking 109th in total yards allowed per game, giving an elevated 463.5 yards — most have come through the air. Ohio State has been a tad more impressive on this side of the ball — and by a tad, I mean a lot. The Buckeyes rank 21st in the nation in points allowed per game while also ranking 13th in total yards allowed per contest. The Ohio State crowd will be electric as the Bearcats make their way to Columbus for a big showdown.
Cincinnati will travel to Ohio State to take on the Buckeyes at 6 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 27. The game will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.
PREDICTION: Cincinnati 23, Ohio State 31
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Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at email@example.com.