1. The return of Carlos Hyde
After serving a three game suspension for his involvement in an incident at a Columbus bar in July, senior running back Carlos Hyde is set to make his return against Florida A&M. Hyde rushed for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2012, and was set to return as Ohio State’s top running back heading into the year. While Hyde was serving his suspension, redshirt-senior running back Jordan Hall stepped up in a big way, and will start against Florida A&M while Hyde is left on the bench. Coach Urban Meyer has said he does not know who will be getting the majority of carries, so both backs are heading into the game shrouded in some mystery. Other running backs like freshman Dontre Wilson and redshirt-junior Rod Smith may see a reduced role compared to previous weeks because of Hyde’s return to the field.
2. Can Bradley Roby bounce back?
Redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby is typically a rock for the OSU secondary and is considered one of the top defensive players in the country. But against California he was burned by the speedy Golden Bear receivers, allowing two touchdowns in his first start of the season. After serving a one game suspension to start the year for his involvement in an incident at a Bloomington, Ind., bar this summer, Roby made a triumphant return against San Diego State the week before, but seemed to be in a funk against Cal. With the Big Ten schedule looming, Roby will need to be at his best if the Buckeyes are going to achieve their National Championship goals for the season. Playing well before next week’s date with Wisconsin Sept. 28 will be vital for Roby’s (and OSU’s) defensive confidence.
3. How much playing time will Braxton Miller get?
Arguably the biggest storyline heading into Saturday is whether junior quarterback Braxton Miller or redshirt-senior Kenny Guiton gets the starting bid to lead the Buckeye offense. Meyer said Miller will play a limited role against FAMU, but it will be interesting to see how it figures into the equation against a Football Championship Subdivision team. Guiton has led OSU to a pair of wins in his absence, playing well enough to be named the Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week after his performance against California. Meyer said his backup “has earned some time,” and in a game OSU should win, it is likely that keeping Miller out of harms way will be a top priority for the coaches.
4. Will OSU take this game seriously?
After winning a primetime game last weekend at Cal, the Buckeyes return home for a noon matchup against the Rattlers. With another night game on the horizon just a week later when conference rival Wisconsin comes to Columbus, OSU’s focus on taking care of the task at hand is worth watching. Redshirt-senior safety C.J. Barnett said the team has all of their focus on FAMU, but if the Buckeyes score early and often Saturday, Meyer and company may have to work to keep them locked in to close out the victory.
5. How many points with OSU score?
The Buckeyes are averaging nearly 45 points a game so far in 2013, while the Rattlers are only putting up an average of 18 a game. OSU’s young defensive players are improving with every game, and against a FAMU offense that has been struggling, Miller and company should get plenty of possessions. How much Meyer forces the issue offensively against the Rattlers will be vindictive of how much OSU visits the end zone, but scoring more than 50 points again is certainly not out of the realm of possibilities.