Friday, September 24, 2010

GAME PREVIEW — OBJECTIVE VS. WINLESS EMU: JUST GET BETTER

COLUMBUS — Eastern Michigan has not won a college football game since November 28, 2008.

The Eagles have lost 15 straight contests, and have been outscored in that span by a margin of three touchdowns per game. And this is by a team that resides in the Mid-American Conference — not exactly the SEC.

So how in the world can Ohio State — the No. 2 rated team in the nation — get up for such a miserable opponent this Saturday at The Horseshoe?

"Just like last week," OSU tight end Jake Stoneburner said.

"People said we might take (Ohio) for granted because we just came off a big win over Miami, and we came out rolling. I don't see why we would do anything different this week."

Buckeyes senior star Tyler Moeller said that the Buckeyes can't expect to be facing the same winless Eastern Michigan team that they've seen on tape.

"We know the team that we see on tape is not the team that we're going to get," Moeller said about EMU. "We know the teams that we play come to our stadium and give us their best. Any team can come out here and play and potentially beat us. So we want to get better. We want to go out there with fire and play our very best."

Eastern Michigan may be the worst team in the FBS, so why in the world would someone expect to see a squad other than the horrid one that's plastered all over the game film?

"Because everyone wants to beat Ohio State," Moeller smiled.

One thing that Eastern Michigan does have going for them in this game is their second-year head coach Ron English. Ohio State fans may remember Coach English from his days as Michigan's defensive coordinator (2006-07) and secondary coach (2003-05). English knows Tressel's style and tendencies (even though in his five seasons in Ann Arbor he was just 1-4 against the Buckeyes).

"It will be a good exercise to see just how well we can focus on the task at hand and get ready to play Eastern Michigan," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "We know Coach English. He knows us better than his players know us, having been on Lloyd (Carr's) staff for all those years, coaching the secondary there at Michigan."

English is an aggressive coach, and his team — although not as talented as most — will bring it on every single play. Tressel looks at that as a challenge and a possible advantage for his Buckeyes.

"The thing that I think will be very good for us is Eastern Michigan has — they're slowly trying to upgrade their personnel — has only one speed, and it's fast and it's straight ahead," Tressel said. "They're going to blitz you like crazy when you have the ball. If you're punting, they're going to send 10 or 12 guys, it looks like.

"They're going to do everything a hundred miles an hour, and so you are going to have to be prepared for everything that they bring at you."

Obviously, the chances of Ohio State losing to the Eagles are about as probable as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling Shimon Peres over to the palace for a few beers. (Note: For those of you who can't seem to turn off ESPN or MTV, those two men are the respective Presidents of Iran and Israel.)


Tressel said the main objective is to just get better.

"What's most critical to us is we've got to become a better team every time we touch the field in practice or every time most certainly we touch the field on a Saturday afternoon," Tressel said. "As I've said before, I have a lot of confidence that our older guys understand that, and I think our younger guys are growing to understand that."

Photo of Terrelle Pryor by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

Bottom Line

I could sit here and write about match ups and schemes, and what each team needs to do to give themselves the best chance of winning, but let's face it, this game is going to be as ugly as Tressel wants to make it.

Look for the Buckeyes defense to post their first shutout of the season, and for Terrelle Pryor and the offense to dominate for the two and a half quarters that they'll play.

Lee's Call: OSU 52-0