After returning to campus at around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning after beating Virginia Tech 42-24, Ohio State has the task of a very short turnaround to its next game.
“It’s real difficult right now,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “Guys are still sore, banged up. That was a tough game.”
Now with the Labor Day challenge against the Hokies in the win column, the Buckeyes (1-0) are set to welcome the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (1-0) for OSU’s home opener.
Despite Saturday’s game marking the first-ever meeting between the two programs, Meyer said that the Hawaii game was not mentioned once until the Virginia Tech one came to a close. The coach described the preparation for Virginia Tech as a “Super Bowl-type atmosphere” and prepared for the game like there is “no tomorrow.”
Potentially putting the Buckeyes at a further lack of preparation for Saturday’s game is the fact that Meyer and his coaching staff were not allowed to hold a practice until Wednesday, just three days before the game.
“We appealed to the NCAA to let us meet with them yesterday and all that, and they said no, so those are all things probably before you schedule a Monday night game we should ask those questions because we’re way behind,” Meyer said.
The coach further added that Wednesday’s practice was an abbreviated one because players were still tired from playing two nights before.
However, Meyer said that he “feels great” about the team being fresh enough to play as well against the Rainbow Warriors as it did against the Hokies, crediting the depth that OSU has at just about every position as a reason for confidence.
Previously for Hawaii
Despite being outgained by 71 total yards, the Rainbow Warriors held off Colorado at Aloha Stadium 28-20 on Thursday night.
Senior quarterback Max Wittek completed 19 of 38 passes with three touchdowns and two interceptions, while Columbus native Paul Harris led the way on the ground. The junior rushed for 68 yards on 17 attempts.
The offensive highlight of the game for Hawaii came from a 79-yard connection from Wittek to junior receiver Marcus Kemp in the middle of the second quarter to put Hawaii up 15-7 at the time.
Senior defensive lineman Luke Shawley starred on defense for Hawaii, racking up 14 tackles, including 1.5 sacks.
Joining the party
When OSU topped Virginia Tech on Monday, it did so without the benefit of four major players. Those four will be back on the gridiron against the Rainbow Warriors on Saturday.
Redshirt sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall, junior H-back Dontre Wilson, redshirt senior receiver Corey Smith and junior defensive end Joey Bosa were all suspended for the opener due to violations of athletic department policies.
Marshall, Wilson and Smith are poised to bolster an offense that already crushed Virginia Tech to the tune of 572 total yards and a school-record 10.2 yards per play.
Bosa, a 2014 unanimous Associated Press All-American, should force the opposing offensive line to return to its usual double-teaming of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native, which sophomore linebacker Raekwon McMillan said could enable the rest of the defense to run wild.
“Joey is one of the best, if not the best, player in the nation,” McMillan said. “Having him back on the field with us, even though we had guys step up last week, having him back on the field will be fun.”
Awards and records
With the Virginia Tech game approaching, there was plenty of doubt about how Braxton Miller, a former quarterback turned H-Back, could contribute turn right out of the gate.
The redshirt senior quickly put those doubts to rest, putting up not only a strong game but an award-winning one.
Miller, after catching two passes for 78 yards and rushing six times for 62 yards, with a touchdown doing both, was named the Big Ten offensive player of the week for the fourth time in his career.
Additionally, the Huber Heights, Ohio, native’s 54-yard receiving touchdown early in the third quarter tied Art Schlichter’s school record for career touchdowns responsible for with 85, while his 53-yard run later in the quarter set the new mark.
After the 3:30 p.m. game against Hawaii on Saturday, the Buckeyes are scheduled to continue their three-game non-conference homestand against Northern Illinois. Kickoff is again set for 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Ohio Stadium.