Five things two watch for:
1. This is the first meeting between Ohio State and New Mexico State.
2. The Buckeyes are ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense (13.1 points per game) and 10th in rushing defense (92.25). The Aggies average 13.3 points per game, which is last in the Western Athletic Conference.
3. OSU leads the Big Ten in scoring offense in conference game at 30 points per outing; New Mexico State is giving up 28 points per outing.
4. The Buckeyes are 3-0 against WAC teams.
5. The Aggies’ Tonny Glynn leads the conference in kickoff returns with an average of 22 yards per kick. Junior returner Marcus Anderson tops the WAC in punt returns with an 11.4 yard average (22nd in the nation), including a season-long 56-yarder.
OSU wins 45-7.
The run for the roses (or the Rose Bowl) for The Ohio State University starts in early November.
A three-game stretch at Penn State, home to Iowa and at Michigan will determine which bowl the Buckeyes will be either in 2009 or early 2010. It could range from the Rose Bowl to the Outback Bowl.
I can’t see the Big Ten getting more than one team to a BCS bowl this season. Yes, Iowa is ranked fourth in the latest BCS standings, but it’s going to be hard for the Hawkeyes to reach the BCS National Championship game unless strange things happen like 2007 for OSU.
Even then, I can’t see it happening. The Hawkeyes seem to having a 2002 type season. They are winning close, but still winning.
The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes are other teams in contention for the Big Ten title. They are both a game behind the Hawkeyes in the loss column. It should be an interesting November to watch.
But the Buckeyes step out of conference play Saturday to host New Mexico State.
What do we know about the Aggies?
They play in the Western Athletic Conference. They are 3-5 overall, 1-3 in the conference. The have beaten Prairie View A & M 21-18, New Mexico 20-17 and Utah State 20-17. They have lost to Idaho 21-6, UTEP 38-12, San Diego State 34-17, Louisiana Tech 45-7 and Fresno State 34-3.
They are coached by DeWayne Walker, who is in his first season at the helm. He spent the last three seasons as UCLA’s defensive coordinator and was in an assistant in the National Football League prior.
On offense, the Aggies average 13.2 points per game, which is near the bottom among Bowl Subdivision schools.
Running back Seth Smith is the Aggies leading man on the ground, rushing for 87.9 yards per game. Quarterbacks Jeff Fleming and Trevor Walls (from Waverly, Ohio) have split time behind center this season, both completing just over 50 percent of their passes.
Defensively, junior Ross Connor ranks third in the WAC in tackles with 70, while junior Jason Scott ranks sixth with 67.
When the Buckeyes start Big Ten play, they usually stay in Big Ten play.
In 2002, OSU hosted San Jose State in its seventh game. Four years later, the Buckeyes played Bowling Green in Game No. 6.
Likewise, in 2001, OSU entertained San Diego State in the sixth week, but that was because the Sept. 15 game was postponed due to September 11.
If you’re the Buckeyes do you take this time to continue the momentum of a 38-7 win over Minnesota against a team you’re favored by 40 points over or would you rather get into the nuts and bolts of the rest of season?
OSU certainly was much better against the Golden Gophers — the offense in the second half and the defense after the first couple of series’
The game against New Mexico State has real potential for OSU, especially quarterback Terrelle Pryor, to get more work in before the grind begins, get a lot of players in the game and gain a big win.
I’m not suggesting that the Aggies won’t come ready to play. This is a good chance for them to show what they have in a new setting, but in the end, OSU just has too much talent than the men from Las Cruces, N.M.