Buckeyes Welcome Zips

Ohio State hopes quarterback Todd Boeckman can build on his impressive first start and help the team win 20 consecutive regular-season games for the first time in nearly 36 years when it hosts Akron on Saturday.

The 12th-ranked Buckeyes won their 19th straight in the regular season last weekend, 38-6 over Youngstown State. They have not posted a victory in 20 regular-season contests in a row since a run of 30 wins from Nov. 4, 1967-Sept. 11, 1971, during which they won the 1968 national title.

Ohio State, which has won 11 straight at home, is trying to get back to the Bowl Championship Series title game after losing 41-14 to Florida last season.

Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Ohio State -29 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 49 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that a whopping 75% of bets for this game have been placed on Ohio State -29 (View College Football bet percentages).

If the Buckeyes are going to make another run at playing for the national title, they'll need more solid play from Boeckman, a 23-year-old junior quarterback who replaced Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.

Boeckman completed 17 of 23 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns against the Penguins in his first career start before exiting the game so sophomore Rob Schoenhoft and freshman Antonio Henton could get some playing time.

"I think I made some good passes and then I made some bad passes," said Boeckman, who threw only 10 passes in mop-up duty over three previous seasons. "I've been waiting four years for this opportunity and now that I have a shot at leading this team, I wanted to take advantage of it.

"Troy did some great things here but now we have new guys and a new team and we want to surprise some people."

Brian Robiskie, who had 29 catches for 383 yards and five touchdowns last season, caught nine passes for 153 yards in the opener.

With the passing game showing promise under a new quarterback and standout receiver, Buckeyes running back Chris Wells hopes to rebound from a lackluster performance against Youngstown State.

Wells, the heir apparent to Antonio Pittman in the backfield, rushed for only 46 yards on 16 carries last week with 20 yards coming on one play.

Defensively, the Buckeyes are looking to replace end Lawrence Wilson, who broke his right leg midway through the second quarter.

"Lawrence Wilson's a good player," Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. "He's an enthusiastic guy, he gets riled up and fired up. He's one of those guys who's played enough to be a leader."

Redshirt freshman Rob Rose is expected to replace Wilson and will be trying to help Ohio State extend its winning streak, during which the Buckeyes have limited opponents to 11.9 points per game.

Ohio State is 5-1 against Akron, but the teams have not met since the Buckeyes' 28-14 victory on Sept. 8, 2001, at Ohio Stadium.

The Zips are looking to build on a season-opening victory for the first time since 2001, when they dropped their second game of the year at Ohio State. They last started a season with consecutive victories in 1993.

Akron won its first season opener in six tries last Saturday as defensive back Reggie Corner returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter of a 22-14 victory over Army.

The Zips, who intercepted two passes and had four sacks, held Army to only one offensive touchdown.

Akron's defense appears to be improved from last season, when it totaled seven interceptions and 16 sacks to rank at the bottom of the Mid-American Conference in both categories.

Offensively, the Zips hope Jabari Arthur can build on a career-best 11 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown against Army. The senior from Montreal had a team-high 45 receptions for 730 yards and four scores last season, prompting him to be drafted sixth overall by Calgary in the CFL draft.

by: Anthony White - theSpread.com - Email Us

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