Key matchups to watch for during Saturday's game between Ohio State and Buffalo.
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller vs. Buffalo LB Khalil Mack
Miller is supposed to be more comfortable in Urban Meyer’s offense. There are hints that it won’t be the Braxton Miller show. The ball is supposed to be distributed differently than in 2012. That means short passes in space. It will be Miller’s job to read and use his eyes to make Mack guess wrong. Mack is good enough to start at LB for Ohio State. He is an early round NFL draft pick and the leader of the defense. Handling him will determine what kind of day the Buckeye offense has.
Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier vs. Buffalo RB Branden Oliver
The Bulls got a single-season record 1,395 yards rushing from Oliver last season. Shazier led the Buckeyes in tackles. He is OSU’s only returning starter among the front seven and is a possible All-American so long as he plays like he did a year ago. But Shazier struggled in practice because he feels the stress of having to be a team leader on a young defense.
Ohio State DEs Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington vs. Buffalo LT Andre Davis
Spence and Washington combined for seven sacks in Ohio State’s spring game. Some of those were touch sacks, but they wrecked the offensive line in the spring. Both players, highly-ranked recruits, have to prove they can do it live. Davis is no slouch. He started all 12 games and he will have to protect QB Joe Licata’s blind side against a defense looking to get back its swagger.
Buffalo WR Alex Neutz vs. Ohio State CB Armani Reeves
Reeves is a sophomore making his first start because Bradley Roby, one of the best cover corners in college football, is suspended. There is a marked difference between the two. Neutz had Buffalo’s third 1,000-yard receiving season a year ago when he was selected All-MAC.