5 Questions: Ohio State at Miami

This week we are looking at both quarterbacks, the running game and special teams. Players returning from suspension also figure to play some kind of role as well when Ohio State and Miami (Fla.) face off under the lights.

1. Can Ohio State's quarterbacks make plays while avoiding turnovers?

Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell was happy to see Joe Bauserman finish a second game in a row without turning the ball over, but he admitted the senior will need to take more shots as the season progresses.

"He didn't take some chances in some situations where maybe the people in the crowd or even as you look back and think, oh, he really could have taken a chance and try to sneak it in there," Fickell said. "Maybe that's something he's done in the past that sometimes we think throwing the ball up there in the sixth row stands is not always a bad decision.

"We know there's things we are going to have to do moving forward, but I think Joe did a lot of the things we asked him to do."

2. Will Jacory Harris bounce back from his poor showing in the Horseshoe?

On the flip side, Miami plans to start Jacory Harris, a talented passer whose four interceptions crippled his team's chances to beat the Buckeyes last season at Ohio Stadium.

Harris and several teammates were suspended for the Hurricanes' opener because of their roles in a scandal involving illegal benefits from a booster, and the announcement he will start game two actually brought about excitement from Buckeye fans who remember his miscues in 2010.

"It's a different time and place," Miami head coach Al Golden told reporters in this week. "Jacory's the guy this Saturday. He's established that. He's had a great camp. Look at what he's done right – he unselfishness, the competitive nature, the command of the offense. I think Jacory's gonna show us all Saturday night. I want him to go out and relax and play his game."

Despite his struggles with turnovers, Harris is undeniably a talented passer with 6,340 passing yards and 50 touchdown passes to his name to go along with 39 picks.

3. Will the Ohio State special teams provide a boost or a bust?

This is an ongoing area of great interest to Buckeye Nation after seeing their favorite team return a punt for a touchdown and give up a blocked punt that resulted in a Toledo score. The kickoff coverage team gave up a 42-yard return to Rocket star Eric Page.

The Buckeyes gave up two returns on touchdowns last season - an 88-yard kickoff return by Lamar Miller and a 79-yard punt return by Travis Benjamin. Both players are back this season.

"We always put emphasis on special teams," Fickell said. "That's where we know we have to get better.

"We have to do a much better job of making sure that fundamentally we know what we are doing so that we can go out there and play relaxed and play fast."

4. Who will win the rushing battle?

Both teams like prefer the power running game to some of the spread attacks that have proliferated elsewhere in college football, so this could be quite the battle of wills.

Miller and Mike James give the Hurricanes a talented one-two punch in the backfield while the Buckeyes will counter with Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith. Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry could contribute at tailback for Ohio State as well, but how much either will play remains to be seen as Hall returns from suspension and Berry is worked in following a hamstring injury.

Berry and Hall both provide changes of pace to the bullish Hyde and Smith.

Ohio State ran for 181 yards against Miami last season, but 113 of those yards came from now-departed quarterback Terrelle Pryor on scrambles and option plays. Tailbacks Dan Herron and Brandon Saine were held to 73 yards on 26 attempts, a 2.8-yard average the Buckeyes will need to improve upon without the same running threat under center.

5. What effect will players returning from suspension have on the game?

For the second week in a row, Ohio State is expecting the return of Hall, cornerback Travis Howard and safety Corey Brown.

Hall could inject some life into the Ohio State offense as a runner and a pass catcher while Howard figures to be an important addition to the secondary and Brown should help on some important special teams units. Hall was a dangerous punt returner last season as well.

Miami will get an infusion of new players as well. Joining Harris in returning this week are Benjamin, linebacker Sean Spence and defensive linemen Adewale Ojomo and Micanor Regis.

Benjamin, Harris and Spence are listed as starters while Ojomo and Regis are listed as co-starters on the Cane depth chart.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories