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Keys to the Game - Colorado Buffaloes Vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Tennessee Logo

1-2, 0-0
NR (Coaches Poll)

September 24th, 2011
Colorado Buffaloes vs. Ohio St. Buckeyes
Where: Ohio Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
1:30pm MT

Radio: AM 850 KOA
Live Stats: ESPN
Line: Ohio St -16.5
Sunny, 69 degrees at kickoff

Tennessee Logo

2-1, 0-0
NR (Coaches Poll)

Colorado_mediumMake True Freshman QB Braxton Miller Uncomfortable

True freshman Braxton Miller will be starting his first collegiate game against the Colorado Buffaloes Saturday in Columbus. He is the most athletic quarterback the Buckeyes have on their roster but obviously is very inexperienced. His inexperience has shown itself through critical turnovers - one interception and one fumble against Miami. With the suspension of WR DeVier Posey, the Ohio State passing game has been non-existent. Against Miami, Ohio State went 4-18 for 35 yards. If the Buffs can stop the running game and force Braxton into third and long passing situations, Colorado could stick in this one. Rattle the young quarterback early, force some turnovers and we could have a ball game.

more after the jump...

Colorado_mediumBe Prepared for the Quarterback Run, Don't Allow the Big Play

The Buffs lost their first game against Hawaii simply because QB Bryant Moniz ran for a career high 121 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns. Miller has 13 carries for 62 yards in his two games of action. Ohio State is going to come out and try to run the ball against Colorado to settle in Braxton so the Buffs need to stay home on defense, play smart football and don't allow the big play. Make Miller orchestrate 7 to 8 to 9 play drives to beat you. Make him earn it.

Colorado_mediumHave to Get Speedy Going

We saw glimpses against Colorado State last week when the Buffs ran for 145 yards on 34 carries especially in the second half where Colorado had 92 yards on 21 carries. But this is a different beast in Ohio State. They are always tough upfront and they're angry after missing 27 tackles last week against Miami. This will have to be the offensive line's best game of the year. Ohio State ranks 14th in the nation in total defense.

Colorado returns one of their best offensive lineman in LT David Bakhtiari so that should help. Once again, if Colorado can get the running game going, it will open up Paul Richardson in the passing game as well as keep Braxton Miller out of rhythm in his first start.

Colorado_mediumShow Up at the Beginning of the Game

Until two minutes left in the second quarter of the third game of the year, Colorado hadn't scored a touchdown in the opening half of football. In the two games the Buffs lost, they were down 17-0 and 16-6 respectively at halftime. If the Buffs get down by double digits on the road in the Horseshoe, you can guarantee road loss #20 and a 1-3 non-conference start.

This is an Ohio State team that was sluggish against Toledo barely beating the Rockets at home two weeks ago and they lost to Miami last week. They are probably not the most confident team in the country especially with instability at the quarterback position. Jump out to an early lead and who knows how Ohio State will react. Applying some pressure could do wonders for the Buffs.

Colorado_mediumTyler Hansen Needs to Play His Best Collegiate Game Yet

Yes, Tyler Hansen has some good numbers this season. Throwing seven touchdown passes to just one interception. He ranks third in yards per game behind Nick Foles and Marshall Lobbestael. But he still has some room to improve. He has completed just 55% of his passes, going 61 - 111. Their have been plays this offense needs to make that they aren't making yet. Hansen needs to lead this team to victory and for that to happen, we need to be able to say he was consistent and made big plays when his team needed him to.

Colorado_mediumStop the Penalties

Colorado ranks 116th (out of 120) in penalties per game at 9.67 and 118th in penalty yards with 90 per game. That won't cut it on the road against Ohio State.