Who: Ohio State (2-0) vs. California (1-1)
When: noon today
Where: Ohio Stadium
Stat pack: Cal RB Isi Sofele 126 rushing yards, 5.2 average; RB C.J. Anderson 112 yards, 5.9 avg.; QB Zach Maynard 34-of-53 passing, 474 yards, 3 TDS, 1 interception. OSU QB Braxton Miller 32-of-48, 362 yards, 3 TDs, 1 interception; Miller 302 rushing yards, 6.9 average; LB Ryan Shazier 14 tackles; CB Travis Howard 3 interceptions.
Worth noting: Cal coach Jeff Tedford is in his 12th season, and the program has slipped a bit. After eight straight winning seasons from 2003-2009, the Bears slumped to 5-7 in 2010 and were 7-6 last season, losing to Texas in the Holiday Bowl.
But Tedford has been known as a quarterback guru in his 20-year career, having coached Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Boller, David Carr, Trent Dilfer, Joey Harrington and Akili Smith, all NFL first-round picks.
Pressure is on: OSU’s Bri’onte Dunn. The true freshman from Canton likely will be making his first career start at running back in place of the injured Carlos Hyde. He has 60 yards and one TD in 12 rushes this season. And while he’s forced Miller to have to scramble a couple of times by going the wrong way on running plays, Dunn has the skill, speed and frame (6-1, 210) to be an every-down back.
Edge goes to: Ohio State. A 17-point favorite, the Buckeyes aren’t expected to be stretched as much as they were against Central Florida in a 31-16 win last week. Cal is ranked 75th in the Sagarin ratings, UCF 49th and OSU seventh.
Storyline: Gotta love Meyer’s honesty. He’s been blunt about his assessment of the Buckeyes, saying he anticipated more than what he’s seen so far. And, frankly, those familiar with Meyer’s track record probably feel the same way.
After floundering on offense last season, they’re averaging 43.5 points and 474.5 yards per game, much better than the 24.5 and 318.5 marks from 2011. But there’s a nagging feeling that the Buckeyes need to be sharper if they want to sustain that level when they start tackling better competition.
Prediction: OSU 49, California 13