|Matchup Preview | September 27, 2014|
(2-0, 0-0 Away)
|#20 Ohio State Buckeyes|
(2-1, 1-1 Home)
Five UC Fast Facts
1. This is in many ways a true Buckeye State matchup, as 63 members of the Ohio State roster and 43 from Cincinnati are from Ohio.
2. UC has won a conference championship in four of the last six seasons and made a bowl in seven of eight.
3. Cincinnati actually started playing football five years before Ohio State in 1885.
4. This is Cincinnati's third straight game against an Ohio foe (Toledo and Miami) while OSU is playing its second straight vs. a Buckeye State opponent (Kent State).
5. QB Gunner Kiel leads the NCAA FBS in points responsible for per game, averaging 30.0 through two contests.
OHIO STATE RUSH OFFENSE vs. CINCINNATI RUSH DEFENSE
The Buckeyes found their groove some against Kent State, rushing for 284 yards behind good days from both Curtis Samuel and Ezekiel Elliott, who combined for 165 yards rushing on 22 carries. The offensive line was much more assertive in that game and showed it could also handle a stacked front when Kent State tried to copy Virginia Tech’s game plan at times. Cincinnati, meanwhile, got off to an inauspicious start in this arena against Toledo, allowing 240 yards rushing and 6.2 yards per carry, though things got better against Miami. EDGE: OHIO STATE
Cincinnati really isn't about the running game, though it does have two OK backs in Hosey Williams and Tion Green, while quarterback Gunner Kiel can run, though the team has just 4.1 yards per carry thus far. Right now, this is a passing offense, though, under the rocket-armed Kiel. Ohio State has been solid against the run thus far this year, especially when facing conventional offenses, as facing teams going downhill is a strength of this defensive line and linebacker corps. EDGE: OHIO STATE
Ohio State showed what its offense can look like when it spread things out and threw six touchdown passes vs. Kent State, but obviously the difficulty challenge jumps up a notch vs. the Bearcats. Cincinnati had a fair bit of trouble against Toledo’s passing offense, though, ceding 322 yards and three scores. The Rockets were able to turn short screens into longer gains thanks to missed tackles and then hit Cincinnati over the top once it started to press forward. Ohio State can use this game plan with its skill position options as well. EDGE: OHIO STATE
This will be perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the day. Kiel is the starter, having tied a school record with six touchdown passes in his first start, and the Bearcats the seventh-most efficient passing offense in the nation thus far. Ohio State’s new-look aggressive scheme was hit or miss in the loss to Virginia Tech, and the Buckeyes admitted afterward it was taking a natural amount of time to get used to running the style on the field. Add in Cincinnati’s deep stable of receivers, including the explosive MeKale McKay, and Cincinnati could have an advantage here. EDGE: CINCINNATI
The Bearcats have been pretty in special teams so far, though the team is using a freshman kicker in Andrew Gantz, and Ohio State learned vs. Virginia Tech how young kickers often handle the first big bit of pressure in college. After the kicking game was a true negative in the loss to the Hokies, Ohio State was much better against Kent State, finally breaking off some big returns and getting Sean Nuernberger some confidence back. UC can also be hit, it appears, some in the return game. EDGE: EVEN
This is one of the rare games in Ohio Stadium where the opposing Ohio team might actually have a chance. The rivalry between the University of Cincinnati and Ohio State is real – at least from one side – and there’s little doubt the Bearcats will want to take advantage of what could be viewed as a vulnerable Ohio State team in its own backyard. This is an Ohio State team still with something to prove against top-level opposition, while Cincinnati will enter with a point to prove. EDGE: CINCINNATI
This is a losable game for Ohio State; the Bearcats enter with one of their more talented teams in recent years, and it’s been a good few years for the Black and Red. The school that sent Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly and Butch Jones onto bigger and usually better things has seven winning seasons in the last eight campaigns, and six of those have been 10-win campaigns. But it’s still hard to imagine an Ohio team coming into the Horseshoe and leaving with a victory against the Scarlet and Gray. Cincinnati will have its moments on offense, but the Buckeyes should be able to survive as UC won’t be able to do the same things defensively to the OSU attack that Virginia Tech could pull off. OHIO STATE 40-26
The staff pick is an average of predictions by staffers Kane Anderson, Ryan Ginn, Matthew Hager, Mark Rea, Jeff Svoboda and Blake Williams