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The Suburbanite
  • Key matchups: Ohio State vs. Florida A&M

  • Key matchups to watch for Saturday's game between Ohio State and Florida A&M.

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  • Ohio State vs. itself
    This wasn’t the game athletics director Gene Smith had in mind when he put together the 2013 Ohio State schedule. Originally, the Buckeyes were supposed to open the season with Vanderbilt, but the SEC school canceled the game. OSU was supposed to play Buffalo this week, but moved it to the opening week and slid Florida A&M here when it scheduled San Diego State on Sept. 7, which is where this game was supposed to be.
    Now, Ohio State has to find a way to get excited and win for style points as the third-ranked team in the country after playing on national TV in prime time last week at Cal, and playing in prime time the next two weeks against Wisconsin and at Northwestern, respectively.
    The Buckeyes need a fast start, but they also need to retain it for the better part of three quarters. Nothing short of a 40-plus point win will satisfy poll voters. That shouldn’t be a problem if OSU’s young team walks what it talks all week long and plays the Rattlers as if they were a FBS opponents and not a Florida equivalent of Youngstown State.
    RB Dontre Wilson vs. A&M special teams and LBs
    It is clear Urban Meyer wants to see Wilson break a long run and show off his speed before the Big Ten season starts. The true freshman from Texas was close a couple of times last week, but Cal defenders got the angle on him. Florida A&M will not be as physically strong as Cal, and Wilson should be able to break tackles if he has to. Wilson as a weapon gives the Big Ten opponents coming up something for which they have to prepare. Ohio State has not scored a special teams or defensive touchdown this season, and OSU has not returned a kickoff for a TD since the 2010 Michigan game.
    OSU WR Devin Smith vs. A&M CB Patrick Aiken
    Smith is coming off the best game of his career. He leads the WRs with 13 catches for 256 yards and three TDs. Aiken has been the Rattlers’ most consistent player through what has been a disappointing start to the season. He has two interceptions and he returned one for a TD last week. In fact, CB Devonte Johnson also returned a pick for a score for 12 of Florida A&M’s 20 points. Smith can outclass these CBs and OSU can have its way. Part of that may mean Smith’s keeping Aiken away from the action on the other side of the field.