After more or less taking care of business in the season/home opener against University of Buffalo last week, the Buckeyes again play host, this time to the San Diego State University (SDSU) Aztecs. Last year’s Aztec team finishes a respectable 9-4 (7-1 Mountain West Conference) and had a strong finish to their season, winning seven consecutive regular season games.
As fearsome as their mascot is, last week didn’t go so well for SDSU. The Aztecs hosted FCS opponent Eastern Illinois (Ohio Valley Conference) and were demolished 40-19. It was an odd game in that SDSU had 440 total yards (318 passing) yet scored only 19 points. I’d suggest that a contributing factor was the Aztec’s 5 turnovers; 4 interceptions and 1 fumble. SDSU’s defense didn’t help matters much by giving up 533 yards; 361 passing, 172 rushing.
Ohio State on Offense
This will be a good game to work out some of the kinks that developed on offense last week. That would involve ironing out the transition between Linsely/Boren at Center, working in Rod Smith into the RB rotation, and perhaps even some Bri’onte Dunn there as well.
The Aztecs gave up a ton of yardage last week (see Introduction) and quite a few TDs. Eastern Illinois spread their scoring among 3 passing TDs, 2 rushing TDs and a punt return TD. The Aztecs run a 3-3-5 scheme, which should sound familiar, but fortunately, no Khalil Mack. Their front three isn’t that big, ranging from 6’1”255 to 6’4”275, so it would seem they can be manhandled. The problem is that with their DL being a bit on the shortish side, Coach Warriner’s troops need to really focus on staying low to get blocking leverage on SDSU. Once OSU’s linemen get engaged in their blocks, running lanes should open up.
With SDSU getting blistered in the passing game last week, I would expect Coach Herman to emphasize the passing game this week as well. There were flashes of it coming together, at least in the first quarter last week, and based on Eastern Illinois’ offensive performance, the Buckeyes’ passing game should do well.