Date/Time: September 14, 2013 7:00 pm EST
College Football Betting Favorite: OFF
The Ohio State Buckeyes were the second ranked team in the country before the season. They have slipped back to number four after Oregon and Clemson have picked up impressive wins. Ohio State will face their biggest challenge so far this year on Saturday night at Cal. The Golden Bears are young, but Sonny Dykes does have this team playing hard. Braxton Miller’s injury leaves a lot of question about this game, but let’s examine this Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup.
Braxton Miller sprained his ACL on the Buckeyes seventh play from scrimmage last week against San Diego State. Kenny Guiton stepped in and did a terrific job leading the Buckeyes to a 42-7 victory, but there’s no doubt that Ohio State is going to need a healthy Braxton Miller in the long run. Miller is currently listed as day-to-day for this game, but Urban Meyer said he was cleared for practice on Tuesday evening and he does believe Miller will probably play on Saturday.
Ohio State struggled a bit in their 40-20 season opening win over Buffalo, but the Buckeyes looked much better in a 42-7 win over San Diego State last week. Jordan Hall has 234 rushing yards in the team’s first two games. The Buckeyes defense was impressive last weekend. Ohio State is a much better team when star cornerback Bradley Roby is on the field. He sat out the first game due to a suspension. The entire Ohio State defensive line is new from last year, so that will be an area to watch. The Buckeyes defense will need to be in good shape this week against a fast-paced Cal offense.
Sonny Dykes is quickly getting his offense installed at Cal. The Golden Bears have been lining up and snapping the ball as fast as possible through their first two games. The game plan on Saturday will be to try to wear down Ohio State with quick hitters and an occasional long pass. Quarterback Jared Goff is in his freshman season, but you can already see that he will be a good fit for Dykes’ system. Goff threw for 445 yards in his first game and 485 yards in game two as the starter. He’ll get a much bigger test against a very good secondary this week.
Can the Cal defense keep them in this game? The Golden Bears allowed 44 points in a season opening loss to Northwestern. They gave up 30 points in a 37-30 win over Portland State last week. California lost a ton of talent from last year’s defense, and the secondary is a major weakness. Ohio State’s passing offense isn’t great, but the Buckeyes do have a ton of speed on offense and it will be interesting to see if Cal can keep up.
Look for a high scoring game as both offenses rack up a bunch of yards here.
Score Prediction: Ohio State 45 Cal 27
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