Western Michigan at (1) Ohio State
Time: 3:30 PM ET, Sept 26, 2015 (ABC)
Spread: OSU -33
Betting odds c/o Bovada
The Ohio State Buckeyes survived a scare from lowly Northern Illinois last week. Despite entering the game as heavy favorites, the team was able to pull out just a 20-13 victory. Despite that collapse, AP polls still favored Urban Meyer’s squad as the No. 1 team in the nation.
OSU will try to get back on track this week against Western Michigan, again factored as 33-point favorites over a club that lacks the talent to matchup with OSU on either end of the ball.
OSU scored easy victories in Weeks 1 & 2 over Virginia Tech and Hawaii and will not face a real test until Oct 17 against Penn State. The point total is set high also at Bovada, giving a 63 point mark. It is difficult to ascertain the reasonability of this given the lack of production last week.
It was defense that ultimately saved OSU last week against NIU. The Buckeyes were able to limit NIU QB Drew Hare to 14 of 31 passing while forcing two interceptions, and other than giving up 110 yards on the ground it was a valiant effort by Meyer’s unit.
Meanwhile on the offensive end of the ball, the Buckeyes got 16 of 29 passing from the QB position (led by J.T. Barrett’s 97 yards and 11 completions). RB Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 108 yards on 23 carries, but he failed to reach the end zone in the game.
Punter Cameron Johnston nailed a 63 yard punt attempt and averaged over 50 yards for his six punts. The OSU special team play has been superb.
Western Michigan began the season with consecutive losses to then-No. 5 Michigan State and Georgia Southern in Weeks 1 & 2. Last week it bounced back against lowly Murray State to win 52-20, which is hopefully a good omen of things to come for the Broncos. QB Zach Terrell was very busy, launching 25 of 30 for completion en route to 355 of the team’s 391 passing yards. It also got 161 yards from RB Jarvion Franklin.
WRs Daniel Braverman and Corey Davis each caught a pair of TDs while combining for over 300 yards. If the Broncos are to stay in this game with OSU, it will likely be on the heels of that tough passing offense, but do not expect Western Michigan to do much more than cover the spread if it has a good week.
The Buckeyes learned the peril of playing down to its competition last week and Meyer’s expectations are simply too high to allow consistent disappointment and narrow victories against gutter opponents.