The Knights head to Ohio State to try and take down the No. 14 Buckeyes
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 15:09
The Knights (1-0) are going back to Ohio for the second consecutive week, this time for the biggest game of the season against the No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0).
If UCF is to win this week, it will have to do it without its starting running back, redshirt senior Latavius Murray, who was all but ruled out by head coach George O’Leary.
“If they don’t practice Tuesday and Wednesday I don’t include them in the game plan, pretty much,” O’Leary said.
Murray suffered an apparent shoulder injury during the first half of the Knights’ game against Akron.
Redshirt sophomore Storm Johnson may get his first career start, setting senior Brynn Harvey up as the backup this week.
“We’re blessed as a team to have a whole slew of running backs, we still got guys who can run and make plays,” senior guard Theo Goins said.
The Knights ran for 206 yards against Akron in Week One, but were outdone by this week’s opponent. Ohio State amassed 294 yards on the ground against Miami (Ohio) in its first game of the season.
Buckeyes sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller was a big reason for that rushing yardage in Ohio State’s opening game.
“He’s a good quarterback, he can beat you two ways,” UCF senior defensive end Troy Davis said.
Miller passed for 207 yards and rushed for 161 yards, scoring three total touchdowns in the game.
The Knights focus this week will be on the running game offensively and stopping the run on defense.
“They have a big, massive offensive line. We’re going to basically do a lot of things on defense and you can’t give up the hidden yards,” O’Leary said. The average starting offensive linemen for the Buckeyes is 6-foot-6, 308 pounds.
In four of the Buckeyes’ six regular season losses last season under head coach Luke Fickell they were out-rushed by their opponents. Current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer runs a fast-paced spread offense that uses a lot of option and no-huddle looks.
“As far as the hurry up offense, that’s always challenging to any defense because you can’t do substitutions,” Davis said.
Meyer has been candid in his intentions to unleash the no huddle against UCF.
“One is a 340-pound, Jose Jose I believe his name is, a 340-pound defensive tackle as opposed to 270, so that tells you right there. So we have to get no huddle and wear them out,” Meyer said in a press conference earlier in the week.
Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde, a 6-foot, 235-pound junior, is a powerful runner and will get his fair share of carries.
“I think he [Meyer] gets his good athletes the ball in space and let them do the work,” O’Leary said.
Hyde rushed for 82 yards and two scores in Week One.
While the Buckeyes may have a massive offensive line, the UCF defensive line will look to attack with strength and put pressure on the quarterback. Defensive tackles Jose Jose and E.J. Dunston will hope to control the line of scrimmage, and Davis and Victor Gray are going to need to set hard edges in order to contain Miller on the options.
The Knights enter the game, despite a blowout in Akron, as underdogs.
“I feel like they’re a good football and we’re a good football team. As far as the underdog aspect, I don’t believe in that,” Goins said.
O’Leary echoed Goins’ sentiments.
“I think they are eager to play good competition. ... I always say you respect everybody and fear none.”