Bears And Buckeyes Battle At Ohio Stadium

By: Willie Bee | Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Home, sweet home is the battle cry in Columbus where the Ohio State Buckeyes welcome the California Golden Bears for Saturday's college football betting matchup.

Ohio State opened as a 16-point favorite for the contest with the number pushed up to 17 as of lunchtime Wednesday.  The initial 52½-point total has remained steady on the Don Best Pro Odds screen.

Urban Meyer not only walked into a job with a storied history like Ohio State's football program, he also is getting a chance to acclimate to his new occupation without having to travel.  Saturday's clash with Cal will be the Buckeyes' third straight home game with Alabama-Birmingham also due in town a week from now.

The Buckeyes are 59-7 since 2002 at home and won't experience life on the road until they trek to Michigan State two weeks from now for their first road test of the campaign.

Ohio State is coming off a 31-16 win over Central Florida a week ago in which the Buckeyes fell a point shy of the 16-point spread oddsmakers placed on the game.  The Knights made it a ballgame for the first 20 minutes or so before OSU broke open a 10-10 tie in the second quarter with 21 unanswered points.

Sophomore QB Braxton Miller enjoyed a huge game for the Buckeyes with 155 yards and a score through the air while adding over 140 yards and three TDs rushing.  It wasn't a perfect performance overall for OSU by any stretch of the imagination, with three turnovers that included an interception for Miller.  But the Buckeyes defense also registered three takeaways, all interceptions and one a key pick in the third with Central Florida deep in Ohio State territory.  Travis Howard had one of the interceptions to give him three already on the young season.

Jeff Tedford brings the Bears in 1-1 on the season (0-2 against the spread) after a 50-31 home win over Southern Utah last week that never came close to covering the 35-point spread.  California tallied 30 points in the final 15 minutes, two of the touchdowns by the special teams and defense, and a third on a 77-yard scoring dash by freshman Daniel Lasco to ice their scoring.

The 50 points and more than 500 yards of offense put up by Zach Maynard and the Cal offense were nice to see, but the Bears defense struggled against the FCS Thunderbirds who got a big day from Senior QB Brad Sorensen (31-of-45, 292 yards, 4 TD).  That certainly doesn't bode well going into Ohio Stadium against a talented offense like Meyer's Buckeyes.

Cal is listing a couple of starters as probable on this week's injury update.  Linebacker Chris McCain was originally thought to be out with a shoulder issue, but has been upgraded to probable.  Likewise, tight end Richard Rodgers (ankle) is expected to play.

The biggest health concern for the Buckeyes is starting tailback Carlos Hyde who is not expected to play Saturday due to a knee injury.  True freshman Bri'onte Dunn will reportedly start in Hyde's place.

The Buckeyes and Bears are meeting for the seventh time, and first clash since 1972 when Ohio State cruised to a 35-18 victory out in Berkeley.  That marked OSU's fifth straight win in the series that started with Cal's 28-0 shutout in the 1921 Rose Bowl.

ABC will broadcast Saturday's tilt, with television coverage set to begin at noon (ET).

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