None of us have forgotten the last time these teams clashed in the 2003 National Championship game. You would think after seven years these players wouldn’t look to that game as a source of inspiration, but the ‘U’ is out for vengeance. None of the 2010 Hurricanes were even out of high school yet, being somewhere between 10-14 years old when the Buckeyes took down the favored Miami team in a double-overtime 31-24 upset that prevented the ‘U’ from back-to-back titles. Even still, the Miami Hurricanes of today haven’t forgotten about the loss.

still hurts after all these years

Defensive end Olivier Vernon told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “It’s revenge time. Nobody’s forgotten about that. I feel like I was playing in that game.”

For the Buckeyes what happened in 2003 simply happened in 2003. Even Jim Tressel claimed to be puzzled by the idea that this game holds a sense of revenge for Miami. As for the superstar quarterback of the Buckeyes, the game wasn’t even important enough at the time for him to watch.

Terrelle Pryor, originally from Jeannette, Pa., said, “I’d be lying if I said I watched that game”.

All eyes will be on Pryor this weekend as the stage is set for battle. Number 2 Ohio State takes on the number 12 ranked Hurricanes in the Horseshoe at approximately 3:40 pm on Saturday. The weight of the two superpowers will be riding on their star quarterbacks, Pryor and Miami’s Jacory Harris. They both opened up the season last week in impressive fashion. Harris was very efficient as he went 12-of-15 for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns in a demolishing 45-0 win over Florida A&M, while Pryor went 17-of-25 with 247 yards and 3 touchdowns in almost a mirrored outcome of 45-7 over Marshall.

Expect Harris to attempt to make plays downfield with his arm Saturday, being that he is much more apt to stay back and sling one downfield then to take off with his feet. While his counterpart is a threat through the air as well as on the ground- Pryor has over 1400 rushing yards throughout his career of 26 games. Ohio State defensive back Chimdi Chekwa, a senior from Clermont, Fla., talked about the opposing styles of Harris and Pryor.

He said, “He’s a great quarterback, just like Terrelle, but I don’t think they have the same style. Terrelle is a guy who, if you give him an opportunity to run, he’s going to take that opportunity and make you pay. Jacory is a guy who wants to sit back there and throw the pass”.

The offensive line of the Hurricanes will be tested against the Buckeyes as Harris was forced to use his feet far too many times last season. If the line can give him time in the pocket expect him to seek out his favorite target, senior Leonard Hankerson.

Ouch!

As far as Miami’s defense, expect them to attempt to make the Buckeyes offense one-dimensional by stuffing the running game early. They want to see Pryor forced to show us that he has a Heisman worthy arm as well as the athletic ability to extend drives with his feet.

The task of shutting down the running game of OSU won’t be an easy one. Brandon Saine was simply stellar with 103 yards and two touchdowns on the ground last week only carrying the ball nine times. If Pryor can engineer this game through his passing and keep Miami’s defense off balance then we can expect a lot out of Saine, Boom Herron and even Pryor himself.

Ohio State’s defense looks primed and ready as ever this year, forcing three turnovers last week against Marshall. Expect a similar game plan for the Bucks D as far as stuffing the run and putting Harris into some uncomfortable throwing situations. If OSU can get some pressure on Harris and force him to make some bad decisions then we might see some turnovers in favor of the Buckeyes.

Prediction

If OSU can get in the backfield, and make Jacory Harris uncomfortable I expect them to get some turnovers. I feel like this will be a game won and lost by a few costly errors. An interception late in the game for Miami is my prediction for their downfall. Expect the Buckeyes to win in the Horseshoe 31-24 with a late drive to break the tie with a touchdown edging out Miami by the same score and margin as in 2003. I think that scoring prediction adds a nice sense of dramatic effect don’t you?

-DJ

Also check out our Oklahoma-Florida State preview. Check back tomorrow for previews of Notre Dame vs. Michigan and Alabama vs. Penn State.

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