September 19, 2013

Tale of the Tape: Florida A&M

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Head Coach:

Earl Holmes

2012 Record: 4-7 MEAC


Tallahassee (Fla.)

Kickoff: 12:00 pm EDT Television: BTN Location: Ohio Stadium (102,329)

When Ohio St. has the ball...

  • Rushing Defense: 201.0 Ypg. (80th)*

  • Passing Eff. Defense: 83.72 (2nd)*

  • Scoring Defense: 21.3 Ppg. (28th)*
  • Rushing Offense: 285.3 Ypg. (13th)

  • Passing Offense: 219.0 Ypg. (75th)

  • Scoring Offense: 44.7 Ppg. (T-17th)

  • Florida A&M Defensive Backs

    Ohio State Skill Positions (QB/WR/TE)
    The most successful unit for the Rattlers is the secondary where the team has six interceptions including two taken back for touchdowns including ones from each of the starting corners, Patrick Aiken and Devontae Johnson. Aiken has two picks on the year and more than 130 yards of return yardage. Both cornerbacks are sophomores and are flanked by seniors at the safety spots and across the board the secondary is blessed with good size. That is pretty much where the good news ends for FAMU because they have not been tested by even a passing offense in their I-FCS schedule and things could get out of hand quickly if the Buckeyes look to hit them with short to intermediate passes and keep the tempo moving quickly. Florida A&M will not face an offense like the Buckeyes all season long and the odds makers are aware of that. Braxton Miller or Kenny Guiton or both? How much will we see of Miller, if at all? Those are questions that everyone wants to know the answers to and even the coaching staff is not quite sure at this point how Miller's knee will respond going into the game. One thing that is safe to say is that with either QB under center that the offense will be just fine. The Ohio State passing game was alive and well against Cal with Guiton passing for four touchdowns and Devin Smith having a huge day with a record setting touchdown reception (90 yards) on the 2nd offensive play from scrimmage for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is aware that the pass defense may be the strongest part of the FAMU defense but won't change whom they are to try and work around their weaker opponent however.

    Florida A&M Linebackers

    Ohio State Running Backs
    Weakside linebacker Michael Ducre is the team's leading tackler with 29 and is tied for the team lead with three solo tackles for loss. None of the other linebackers (or the hybrid Rattler position) are overly big but all have relatively good quickness and should be able to get sideline-to-sideline if the Buckeyes force the issue. MLB William Smalls may be the smallest middle backer the Buckeyes will face at a listed 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. As a unit the run defense has not passed the test in either of the team's losses allowing 100-yard rushers in each of those games and none of those backs carry the pedigree of any that they will face on Saturday. FAMU is giving up 201 yards per game and that number should swell when Ohio State gives the Rattlers a healthy dose of the ground and pound. Carlos Hyde is back in the good graces of the team but that doesn't mean he has a clear path to being the starter based upon what Jordan Hall has done for the team. Meyer said that Hyde has gone above and beyond what has been asked of him during his suspension and that they didn't make it easy for him to just walk back into things. The Buckeyes now have a full compliment of rushers but don't expect to see the team get "too creative" against FAMU because honestly, there is no need to give opponents and tape of what this offense is capable of doing. Dontre Wilson continues to show flashes as a runner and this could be a chance for him to have that "wow" play that everyone has been waiting for. Ohio State will have its best chance to spread out carries in this game so could that mean extended carries for Rod Smith, Warren Ball and Ezekiel Elliott?

    Florida A&M Defensive Line


    Ohio State Offensive Line
    The Rattlers are young on the defensive line with James Broaddus and Michael Lovejoy both being sophomores but the most intriguing player is Frances Mayes who is 6-foot-10, 295 pounds and is one of the few players on the roster who is not from the Sunshine state. Mayes is another defensive player with three solo TFLs and is a player who can create issues for smaller offensive linemen who don't know how to approach the jumbo sized lineman. As a unit the line has six sacks and has 17 tackles for loss on the season so there is an affinity to sending pressure in on opposing offenses but will it matter when the Rattlers play their only Division I-FBS opponent of the year. One thing to take notice of is how often that FAMU blitzes (somewhere around the level of 'all the time'). Urban Meyer mentioned it during Wednesday press availability and the Buckeyes will be ready. The offensive line better be ready for a lot of pressure from the Rattlers and this should be a good test of just what a blitzing team is capable of doing, even if FAMU does not have B1G caliber players. The offensive line had a big game against Cal when it came to run blocking and pass protection but is this line playing the way that one would expect a senior heavy line to play? Andrew Norwell has been a rock on the line and the Buckeyes only have this last game before the start of the Big Ten season and Wisconsin waiting in the wings. Marcus Hall rebounded from a pretty terrible game against San Diego State with a solid outing on the road. This game has all the makings of being an offensive showcase and the line just needs to do its part to help the Buckeyes put up huge numbers.

    When Florida A&M has the ball...

  • Rushing Offense: 99.0 Ypg. (95th)*

  • Passing Offense: 129.3 Ypg. (97th)*

  • Scoring Offense: 18.0 Ppg. (T-87th)*

  • Rushing Defense: 89.7 Ypg. (T-12th)

  • Passing Eff. Defense: 117.97 (49th)

  • Scoring Defense: 20.3 Ppg. (T-44th)

  • Florida A&M Skill Positions (QB/WR/TE)

    Ohio State Defensive Backs
    The Florida A&M offense is not very good, or at least hasn't shown any positive signs yet, this weekend will not change things. FAMU has 685 yards of total offense this season, through three games. Ohio State had 608 in four quarters against Cal. The FAMU passing game is the stronger of the two arms of the offense with quarterback Damien Fleming passing for 383 yards but not being very effective in scoring points with two passing touchdowns to go against five interceptions. Lenworth Lennon is the leading receiver as a senior with 14 receptions for 229 yards and one of the two touchdowns. Junior Casey Glines has the other within his three receptions on the season. Dewayne Harvey is another wideout to keep an eye on with his seven receptions and then outside of running back James Owens' three receptions of his own, there are not a lot of receptions left to go around for Florida A&M. Bradley Roby is hoping to put the Cal game out of his memory after a below average showing against Cal just a week before. The numbers don't shape up well for FAMU in this game, even with some returning experience in the passing offense and both Roby and C.J. Barnett will be looking to make that spectacular play while the Buckeyes may not have to employ the Dime (six DBs) or Penn (seven DBs) in this game. Tyvis Powell has performed well in his role in the secondary and nobody is sleeping on either Christian Bryant or Doran Grant from their safety spots. Ultimately the Buckeyes will have to avoid the trap of seeing the box scores and looking past the Rattlers who will be playing with nothing to lose and could have a couple of tricks up their sleeves to try and test the Buckeyes.

    Florida A&M Running Backs

    Ohio State Linebackers
    If the passing numbers were south of mediocre and were considered to be the stronger part of the offense then the rushing numbers have to be pretty subpar... well, they are. FAMU has three rushing touchdowns (one more TD than passing) but does not have a single 100-yard rusher for the season. Albert Omari leads the way with 85 net yards (and a TD) while James Owens has 66 and one time Clemson Tiger, Lemond Buice has 65. Just for a little perspective, Florida A&M has almost as much penalty yardage against them (246) as total yardage on the ground (297) this season. Breaking down the numbers further is even uglier when you see FAMU's 1.8 yard per carry average on the ground and 13 total rushing first down (granted the team only has 17 passing first downs so it is six of one and half-a-dozen of another).

    In one of those rare situations Ryan Shazier was honored by the Big Ten as being the defensive player of the week but did not get honored by the Buckeyes due to too many missed tackles and likely a bad personal foul call for a hit out of bounds. Curtis Grant and Josh Perry both had limited roles against Cal but should see much more action against FAMU and need to get momentum going before the Big Ten season starts and the challenge of the Wisconsin running game comes to town. There really isn't much else to say here because the Florida A&M running game just isn't that good so when it comes down to it as long as the Buckeyes show up, everything should be just fine.

    Florida A&M Offensive Line
    Ohio State Defensive Line
    The offensive line for the Rattlers is full of 300 pounders including center Kevin House. Zerrie Patterson is a big guy at the left tackle spot at 340 pounds but is only 6-foot-2 and lining up to him is guard Keonte Cash who is 5-foot-11, not the tallest tandem on the left side of the line that Ohio State will face. The right side of the line is a little taller at 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-3 but there is not much height on the line and the Ohio State defensive line will be that much ahead of the game when they take the field and line up against FAMU. The defensive line has had to go without a couple of day one starters but Michael Bennett and the rest of his line mates have stepped up in their absences. Adolphus Washington is 'out' for the game against Florida A&M but Joey Bosa has played well in his spot while Noah Spence leads the DL in most categories. The Buckeyes will look to disrupt the FAMU offense by sending four but this could be a good game to show off some blitz packages to give opponents something to think about.

    Special teams matchups...

  • Net Punting: 33.61 Avg (80th)*

  • Punt Returns: 8.0 Yds/Ret (T-39th)*

  • Kickoff Returns: 20.00 Avg. (72nd)*

  • Field Goals: 2-3 (67%)

  • Net Punting: 41.64 Avg. (20th)

  • Punt Returns: 10.57 Yds/Ret (42nd)

  • Kickoff Returns: 25.33 Avg. (28th)

  • Field Goals: 2-2 (100%)

  • Florida A&M Special Teams

    Ohio State Special Teams
    Special teams have not been the worst thing in the world but are not the best either. Colby Blanton is a relatively strong-legged punter but the coverage team has not helped his net punting numbers. The return game isn't all that special for FAMU on either kicks or punts. Kicker Chase Varnadore is 2-3 in field goals but both makes have come inside the 30. Will Dontre Wilson break one in this game? How about Corey Brown? The Buckeyes likely will not need a special teams score to win this game but Meyer would love to see his team get things going in that facet so the team can be clicking in every category with league play around the corner.

    * All rankings based on Division I-FCS rankings


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