Who: Ohio State vs. Buffalo
Where: Ohio Stadium
When: noon today
TV/Radio: ESPN2/WING-AM (1410)
OSU stat pack: Ohio State QB Braxton Miller 1,271 rushing yards (5.6 yards per carry), 2,039 passing yards (58.3 completion rate) in 2012; RB Jordan Hall 218 yards (5.4 per carry); WR Philly Brown 60 receptions, 669 yards and 3 TDs and 12.3 punt-return average and 2 TDs.
About Buffalo: The Bulls were only 4-8 last season but they fared better when Joe Licata took over as the starting QB for the last four games, finishing 3-1. RB Branden Oliver rushed for 821 yards despite missing five games with an injury. Linebacker Khalil Mack was a first-team All-MAC pick last season and is considered a high NFL draft pick. OSU coach Urban Meyer said Mack could start for the Buckeyes.
Keys to the game: OSU has won 34 consecutive home openers and hasn’t lost to a MAC team since falling to Akron in 1894. The nation will be looking for style points from the Buckeyes. They’re ranked No. 2 and have spent more weeks in the Associated Press poll (805) than any other school. They don’t want to do anything to move backward in the minds of voters.
The most intriguing element of the game could be whether Braxton Miller and the passing game can show they’ve improved as much as the coaches and players have been saying. The Buckeyes won’t be able to maintain their status as one the nation’s elite teams without it.
Worth noting: Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn, who is 10-28 in three seasons, was the interim head coach at Cincinnati for the Sugar Bowl during the 2009 season after Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame. He matched wits against Urban Meyer, who led Florida to a 48-17 win.
Hall of Fame flavor: Former OSU wide receiver Cris Carter, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer, will be recognized on the field during a break in the game. He’s one of seven former Buckeyes in the NFL Hall, joining Lou Groza, Dante Lavelli, Dick LeBeau, Jim Parker, Paul Warfield and Bill Willis.
Record watch: Braxton Miller needs 109 rushing yards to become OSU’s all-time leader among QBs. Cornelius Greene, a starter is from 1973-75, is No. 1 with 2,080 yards.
Quote: “It seems like we haven’t had a live snap in so long — since that Team Up North game,” Miller said, meaning the Michigan game on Nov. 24 2012. “It’s been a long time going against our guys. We’re ready to go against a different team.”
— Doug Harris, staff writer