1. The Return of Bradley Roby
Even though OSU coach Urban Meyer would not say whether Roby will start against San Diego State, it is hard to believe the redshirt junior cornerback wouldn’t see significant playing time. The presence of the preseason All-American and Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist is much-needed for a secondary that will also see the return of another starter in redshirt-senior safety C.J. Barnett. Roby’s ability to take the opponent’s best receiver out of the game is something the Buckeyes will need once Big Ten play starts in three weeks. It will be interesting to see how much Meyer plays him.
2. Can Jordan Hall repeat his performance from last week? How does redshirt-junior Rod Smith figure into the equation?
Last week Hall got the start at running back for the Buckeyes, and instead of just filling in while OSU waited for the return of suspended running backs redshirt-junior Rod Smith and senior Carlos Hyde, he put up a career-high 159 yards and two touchdowns. Now, with the return of Smith, the pressure will be on Hall to repeat his performance from last week, or risk losing his spot. SDSU allowed 172 yards rushing last week against Eastern Illinois, so the opportunity could be there for Hall to impress again.
3. Will OSU’s front seven be able to contain SDSU running back Adam Muema?
SDSU’s junior running back Adam Muema left the Aztecs’ 40-19 loss midway through the first half because of an ankle injury but is expected to be full-go against OSU Saturday. Muema will still be a focus of the Buckeye defense Saturday, as he finished with 1,458 yards last season to go along with 16 touchdowns. Against Buffalo, the Buckeyes only allowed 73 rushing yards, but the Bulls did not have a back of the quality of Muema. Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier and company will have to slow Muema if the Buckeyes hope to continue their 13-game unbeaten streak.
4. Did the Buckeyes learn their lesson after suffering cramps last week?
Several key members for OSU, including starting junior quarterback Braxton Miller, left last week’s win over Buffalo at different points in the game due to cramping. With temperatures likely to be in the mid-80s again Saturday, hydration both before and during the game will be important. Meyer called the cramping “a concern” following the win, so seeing if the issue was addressed will be a storyline to watch.
5. Will the Buckeyes get complacent?
After SDSU, the Buckeyes are scheduled to face California, a member of a BCS conference in the Pac-12. Although the Mountain West Conference has earned some respect over the past few years, it still does not consistently compare to the Big Ten, Pac-12 or other members of the BCS. With that in mind, the Buckeyes need to focus on the task at hand and not look ahead to next week’s clash with the Golden Bears. If OSU does not keep focused, the Aztecs could come out of the gate quickly and grab an early lead. The game could become more complicated for the Buckeyes if they have to play from behind, so they need to keep their minds on the game at hand.