Colorado Preview

The Essentials
What: Ohio State vs. Colorado
Where: The Horseshoe
When: 3:30 PM, Sep. 24th, 2011
The Line: Ohio State -16.5
Television: ABC/ESPN2
Weather: Mid-60s, possible showers

Colorado comes to town. If Fickell has any chance of retaining the title “Head Football Coach” he better have the team loaded for bear. Or Buffaloes. Either way, come Saturday evening, if there isn’t a smoldering pile of Ralphie at the fifty yard line, there will be a reckoning.

So let’s do this preview thing (format heavily borrowed from Brian at Em Grab Blag)

Run Offense vs. Colorado

This has the potential to be the classic strength vs. weakness match-up. How good or how bad is Colorado’s run defense? On one hand, Hawai’i had success moving the ball on the ground (particularly their QB, Bryant Moniz). Moniz ran all over them including a 57 yard gash where he simply outran everyone on the field for a TD. On the other, they held Cal to a hundred yards on the ground, almost 80 under their season average. It’s hard to gauge how good (or how bad) Colorado’s run defense will be.

Colorado, having seen the success other teams have had, will probably load up to stop the run, particularly in between the tackles. After last week’s passing embarrassment, establishing the run will be priority numero uno. A rejuvenated Jordan Hall will be called upon early and often. He ran well when given the chance and the line got movement against and not terribly bad Miami offensive line. Even against eight and nine man fronts, Hall found lanes and ran hard.

Carlos Hyde is listed as a starter alongside Hall and both will see lots of opportunities.

Key Matchup – Jaamal Berry vs. the depth chart. Come on, dad, let me play!

Pass Offense vs. Colorado



SERIOUSLY STOP, MY SIDES ARE HURTING. Quit joking. Passing game! You’re so funny.

Oh, we’re being serious? Okay then.

Braxton Miller was announced as the starter and will get his first chance to get into any kind of a rhythm. He had a good showing against Akron but has been hurt limited since then. This will be his first chance to really show anything.

I’m not sure Colorado is the best game for Braxton’s first start. They do a lot of blitzing on defense and will certainly bring the heat against the new guy. Of course he always has the feet, a la early-era Troy Smith (let’s not compare Braxton to Terrelle. Pryor was a freak of nature with athletic ability that I don’t think Braxton parallels. He’s going to be a better passer and therefore better QB than Terrelle but he’ll never have the escapability or speed of Pryor). He also needs to protect that ball like new born.

If we go conservative and simple in the passing game, similar to what Tressel did with Pryor in 2008, Miller should be able to gain confidence and fall into a rhythm. Then start layering the complexities in there. Give this time. A 12 for 18 for 175 yards will do just fine. Just keep Bauserman off the field.

Key Matchup – Tight ends vs. wide receivers (same team) in a race to see who will catch the first pass in almost two weeks.

Run Defense vs. Colorado

Colorado’s main back, Rodney Stewart, (an Ohio boy) is not a top tier “threat” but has the size (5’6″, 175) and speed that always gives the Buckeyes fits. Small, shifty and quick. In fact, none of the listed Colorado running backs tip the scale over 195 or 5’9″.

Simon and company did a commendable job as a whole on defense against Miami but also were gashed early putting them in uncomfortable spots. The Colorado line is young, anchored by a freshman at center and not imposingly large. The trenches battle should tilt in the Buckeyes favor and free up Storm Klein, Etienne Sabino and Andrew Sweat to rehabilitate their image as premier line backers.

Key Matchup – John Simon vs. Colorado’s medical staff.

Pass Defense vs. Colorado

While Colorado was being not that bad against Cal (rolling up over 580 yards) quarterback Tyler Hansen and receiver Paul Richardson went to town, connecting for 284 yards on eleven catches, including two for TDs. Hansen went 28 for 49 and 474 yards. Against Cal, that’s not terrible.

With Richardson at 6’1″ and Toney Clemons at 6’2″ on the other side, the defensive backs will have their hands full. We’ll assume that Travis Howard will check Richardson, which could be the match up of the day.

Rodney Stewart is also a major part of the passing game, tied with Richardson for the lead in receptions. If tiny fast running backs catching the ball out of the backfield doesn’t give you nightmares, you’re not a fan of the 2011 Ohio State Buckeyes.

Colorado is going to pass early and often, both due to their ineffectiveness to get a ground game going and (hopefully) because they’ll be playing from behind.

Key Matchup – Howard vs. Richardson

Special Teams

Basil got off the shnide, kicking two FGs for the only points last week against Miami. Before that, his previous attempts at kicking the ball through the uprights had been OH THE HUMANITY. Now, he appears to not be completely terrible. And please, announcers, get the pronounciation right. It’s “Bahzil” as in “Bauserman.” Think Jamie Oliver. Bahzil.


The last time Colorado won a game on the road (Oct. 27, 2007), Braxton Miller was in the ninth grade. (Bauserman was still old).

Jim Tressel always had his teams ready after a tough loss. Let’s see if Fickell will, too.

This is the first game in The ‘Shoe since classes started, so it should be ruckus.

How others see it

Marcus Hartman at Cus Words: Scouting Colorado. Scarlet Game: Week 4 Colorado Buffaloes Preview. The Buckeye Battle Cry’s Keys to Victory: Colorado. Inside The Shoe: Enemy Blogger Interview: Colorado.

What to think

Doom is nigh if…

  • Colorado scores first.
  • And second.
  • And third…

Rapture is around the corner if…

  • Jordan Hall runs like he did in the 2nd quarter against Miami in the first against Colorado.
  • Miller opens with three straight passes to Stoneburner that don’t end up in B-deck.
  • Bauserman is taking snaps… at the end of the third quarter.

Predictions? Predictions:

Ohio State 31
Colorado 10

(Photos via Daylife)


  1. I think there are only 2 ways this game can go……

    Option 1: Braxton has a fairly decent day and the fans start talking about him for multiple Heisman trophy wins.


    Option 2: Braxton has a horrible game and the fans start wondering why Kenny Guiton hasnt gotten a chance to play yet.

    I am hoping for option 1 with maybe a little less fan enthusiasm so Miller can come into his own. So I am going with a score of 45-13 OSU wins.

  2. OSU: 24

    Colorado: 17

    The Colorado offense is better than people give it credit for and they have an explosive WR and RB…similar to Toledo…and they love running screens.

    Miller has a pedestrial day, but MAKES PLAYS to help win the game…

  3. The rain is going to play a huge factor in the game….

  4. What rain? Partly cloudy with 10% chance of rain.


    (end angry typing)

  5. hahahaha I am praying for a monsoon jk

  6. If that happens I shall spring from the shadows and attack you with a bag of dead chickens.

  7. I agree Colorado has a very Toledo-like offense… but the problem with those offenses is that they tend to sputter in the red zone (like Toledo’s did). I still have faith that the OSU defense is a juggernaut just waiting to gel. Without those three big homerun plays in two games, they’d be fear-inspiring.

    I think the d-backs that returned last week and were rusty have a better game than we expect against the screens.

    I believe the game will hinge on the QBs turnovers (or lack thereof). If TOs are nonexistent or low, OSU 35-10.

    If multiple QB TOs happen, OSU 20-17 in a nailbiter.

  8. OSU 24-21 Colorado agreed to come to the ‘Shoe for the $1.4 million but now they think they can win too. Seesaw battle with OSU defense scoring the deciding points. Miller shows promise at scampering and Bauserman completes 2nd half passes to quiet the boo birds, question is can they win another one before November?

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