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Buckeye brainteasers: 5 questions for Ohio State versus Colorado

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

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What should we expect from Braxton Miller in his first start?

When head coach Luke Fickell announced that the true freshman would start for the Buckeyes during his weekly radio show, he said the team will continue to need both senior Joe Bauserman and Miller.

Fickell also said that Bauserman will get playing time against Colorado, so you can bank on the continuation of the two-quarterback system.

Jay Minton, who was coaching Miller this time last year at Wayne High School, told The Lantern that while his former player is known for his scrambling ability, he wants to see Miller throw the ball.

“I want to see him really get in a rhythm and throw the ball,” Minton said. “When he’s on, he can really throw the ball as well as anybody.”

Minton said the while he believes Miller is ready to start for OSU, he won’t be perfect.

“He’s probably going to make some mistakes, hopefully they’re not major ones,” Minton said. “You try to prep these young men for Buckeye Nation, but I don’t know that you can prep it until you go and experience it.”

Which Colorado players could hurt the Buckeyes on Saturday?

The Buckeyes’ defense will want to make sure their best corner has his sights set on Buffaloes’ sophomore wide receiver Paul Richardson throughout the game.

Richardson has hauled in 18 passes for 360 yards and four touchdowns on the year for Colorado.

Senior Rodney Stewart poses a significant threat to OSU as both a running back and a receiver.

Despite his listing on the Colorado roster as a tailback, Stewart has caught 18 passes for 277 yards while also rushing for 223 yards on 61 carries through three games. Those numbers make Stewart the team’s No. 1 running back and its No. 2 receiver.

The last time the Buckeyes faced a dual-threat from a player like Stewart was on Sept. 10 against Toledo when senior Adonis Thomas gained 158 all-purpose yards on the OSU defense.

Hopefully the Buckeyes won’t make similar mistakes to Colorado.

Is Saturday a must-win?

Nothing builds confidence like a win, and OSU will need all the confidence it can muster after its shaky start to the 2011 season. After all, the Oct. 1 Big Ten conference opener against Michigan State is nearing.

Win now, and Fickell and the Buckeyes will have bought themselves another week to improve before Big Ten schools set their sights on each other.

Lose to a 2-1 Colorado team and, no matter what the players and coaches say, the team’s collective ego will be in the gutter.

No one likes a “must win” game just four weeks into an OSU football season, but, like it or not, Saturday is a “must win.”

The quarterbacks didn’t pass well in their last game, so how will the team generate offense?

Pound the rock.

Saturday is a perfect day for junior running back Jordan Hall and sophomore Carlos Hyde to take the reigns for OSU’s offensive unit. On top of the fact that Miller probably won’t be asked to win the game with his throwing arm or sacrifice his body by constantly scrambling, Hall and Hyde combined for 143 yards on 26 carries against Miami.

You can’t put too much pressure on Miller in his first start, and OSU quarterbacks haven’t been completing too many passes lately anyway. The Buckeyes will do well to rely on Hall and Hyde on Saturday.

The Buckeyes have a 3-1 all-time record against Colorado. Will they stampede the Buffaloes and improve that mark to 4-1?

The offense has been lean of late, and the Miami game wasn’t pretty. There’s a new air of confidence about the team following the announcement that Miller will start on Saturday.

The Buffaloes are a bottom-tier Pac-12 team and, despite the Buckeyes’ recent struggles, Buckeye Nation should expect a win.

SCORE PREDICTION:

Ohio State 17, Colorado 14

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