On a cold, wistful day in the fall of 1896, the Ohio State Buckeyes traveled north by northwest to Ann Arbor, Michigan. A humbling 34-0 defeat at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines later, a rivalry was born. This Saturday, New Mexico State travels to play Ohio State in Columbus.
What's there to say about a game between a fledgling WAC team under first year head man (and former UCLA defensive coordinator) DeWayne Walker? The Lobos have scored 12 or fewer points in half of their games. The Aggies (they farm sand, evidently) are getting 850 large to take their medicine and provide a mid-season jersey scrimmage for the men of the Scarlet & Gray. NMSU totaled just 283 total yards hosting Fresno State in a 34-3 loss last weekend. If you're still not chomping at the bit for a forthcoming clash of the titans, let's gander on over at just whom will be driving the pain train this weekend, shall we?
In this very space a week ago, I foolishly compared Jim Cordle to a turnstile after his unhealthy, not-remotely-anywhere-near-game-shape embarrassing effort against Purdue. A week later, Cordle is taking to the scarlet carpet and bringing home awards and accolades alike for a remarkable performance against Minnesota. With Mike Adams out indefinitely, the left tackle spot isn't being returned to Andrew Miller, but instead to the now vivified senior utility lineman. Miller will take on the backup left tackle duties in addition to his role of the last two weeks as backup left guard. Despite also being somewhat banged up last week, Justin Boren will look to bounce back from a mix of injury and ineffectiveness while Mike Brewster too looks to shake off some discomfort that slowed him slightly the last two weekends as well. Bryant Browning and J.B. Shugarts hold down the fort on the right side, with just two brave souls, Andrew Moses and Marcus Hall, able and willing should disaster strike to fill in on a moment's notice.
Running back is the other position of interest this weekend, as Brandon "Mazda 3" Saine appears healthy and ready to continue serving as the principle tailback in the Ohio State offense. Jordan Hall will serve as the primary backup, though Dan Herron is slotted in at 3rd, should injury not prohibit his return. In a nod to his impressive combination of strength and vision last weekend, Jermil Martin makes his first appearance on the depth chart since pre-season. The rest of the offense remains unchanged. Terrelle Pryor - who believe it or not is outgunning the suddenly in full-on quarter life crisis mode Tim Tebow 234.88 total yards per game to 232.14 - is very much still the same maturing before our eyes work-in-progress he was before the Minnesota game. TP should have the opportunity to chunk the rock around with his buddies, play a little tag with some new friends from Las Cruces, and have a nice little Saturday. Maybe he'll even have the opportunity to learn a thing or two in the process.
The Vest seems relatively committed to the what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach to the defensive side of the ball, and who can really blame him? Thaddeus Gibson put together an absolutely ridiculous 3 sack performance against the Golden Gophers. Ross Homan continues to lead the linebacking corp playing like one of the absolute best linebackers in America on a week in week out basis. And if he hasn't garnered enough praise, Kurt Coleman may honestly only have two real peers in any secondary in America (and they play in Los Angeles and Knoxville respectively). This unit checks in as the 13th best total defense in the country, permitting just 284.75 yards per game (doesn't exactly bode well for an offense that barely managed that against the 61st ranked, does it?). The latest Silver Bullet incarnation is also the 7th best scoring defense, having yielded just 13.13 points per game. Look for Cam Heyward, Doug Worthington, and Todd Denlinger (with Nathan Williams making his requisite cameo in the early-to-mid 2nd half) to make Sunday a very sore, sobering morning for 5 unfortunate large young men from southwest New Mexico.