Ohio State - UAB capsule preview
SEP 20, 2012 2:38p ET
Line: Ohio State by 37.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Ohio State concludes its nonconference schedule, all four of the games kicking off at noon in Ohio Stadium, against the Blazers. The Buckeyes, in Year 1 U.M.E. (Urban Meyer Era) have unveiled a wide-open offense and an opportunistic defense -- at times. They've also shown some shortcomings and lapses, with a couple of the games closer than might be expected. The first meeting with UAB doesn't figure to be in that category as the Buckeyes tune up for their Big Ten opener (and first road trip) at Michigan State a week later.
In a matchup of first-year coaches at the respective schools, one of the keys might be if Garrick McGee can keep his team healthy for what he believes could be a run for the Conference-USA title. QB Jonathan Perry can sling it and WR Jackie Williams can catch it. The Buckeyes' defense, led by DLs John Simon and Johnathan Hankins, figures to be geared up after surrendering huge gainers in each of the first three games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
UAB: DEs Diaheem Watkins and Chris Walton will have the sizable job of putting pressure on Ohio State QB Braxton Miller while trying to prevent him from breaking containment and breaking outside for huge yardage.
Ohio State: Look for RB Jordan Hall, who gained 87 yards in his 2012 debut last week, to have a big day. The Buckeyes know they need a presence running the ball other than Miller, and Hall will get every opportunity to become that.
FACTS & FIGURES
If Ohio State wins it would be its 400th victory in Ohio Stadium (399-109-20), which is celebrating its 90th season. ... Teams making their first appearance at the old gray hulk on the banks of the Olentangy are 1-20 over the last 25 years, the only victor being Texas in 2005. ... UAB is averaging a respectable 363 yards a game. The Blazers lost their home opener to in-state rival Troy, 39-29, and now are playing their second consecutive ranked opponent after falling 49-6 at No. 8 South Carolina last week. ... Alumni day will be marked by a quadruple rendering of "Script Ohio" at halftime. ... The Blazers have already had their open date (Sept. 8) and are in for 11 straight weeks of work.