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The Ohio State debut of coach Urban Meyer was a rousing success, but the Buckeyes figure to have a much tougher challenge on Saturday when they host preseason Conference USA favorite Central Florida. OSU is a 17.5-point home favorite on WagerWeb.com.
The Buckeyes opened with a 56-10 home win vs. MAC team Miami of Ohio. Sophomore QB Braxton Miller rushed for 161 yards, a record for an Ohio State quarterback, running for one touchdown and throwing for two more. In addition to his 161 yards on 17 carries, he ended up 14-of-24 passing for 207 yards. Miller and RB Carlos Hyde, who had 82 yards on 17 carries, helped the Buckeyes roll up 294 yards on the ground and 244 through the air. The 56 points scored and the 46-point margin of victory were Meyer’s highs in a debut at a new school. The Buckeyes shook off a slow start to amass eight touchdowns and 538 offensive yards while the team’s defense held the Redhawks to negative rushing yards (-1).
Central Florida also opened vs. a MAC school, beating Akron 56-14 last Thursday. UCF had four takeaways and Blake Bortles passed for 168 yards and three touchdowns. Bortles went 13 of 16, connecting with Rannell Hall for TDs of 18 and 56 yards, and opening the scoring with a 5-yard pass to Chris Martin.
Latavius Murray gained 108 yards with one score on 14 carries, playing little more than one quarter. He rushed for 68 yards on UCF’s opening drive of 73 yards, and Murray’s 2-yard run later made it 14-0. However, Murray suffered a shoulder injury and may be forced to sit this one out. That means Storm Johnson, Brynn Harvey and Cedric Thompson will likely handle rushing duties against the Buckeyes. Johnson, a former Miami Hurricane, did fairly well when given the chance in the team’s opener, taking 12 carries for 34 yards and two touchdowns.
Ohio State and Central Florida are meeting for the first time on the gridiron. Ohio State has won 58 consecutive regular-season non-conference home games vs. teams not ranked in the AP Top 25. The last loss: 34-17 to Florida State, Oct. 2, 1982.