No. 5 OHIO STATE (0-0) vs. NAVY (0-0)
When: Noon Saturday at Baltimore
TV: CBS Sports Network
Line: Ohio State by 14.
Series Record: Ohio State leads 4-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The Buckeyes head east for a matchup against a Navy team that nearly pulled off an upset at Ohio State in 2009 before falling 31-27. This time, the Buckeyes must overcome the loss of QB Braxton Miller to a season-ending shoulder injury if coach Urban Meyer is to improve to 13-0 in season openers. Navy, meanwhile, hopes to sustain the momentum created by a 9-4 season that ended with a 24-6 victory over Middle Tennessee in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Navy’s triple-option attack against Ohio State’s big, physical defensive line. With quarterback Keenan Reynolds leading the way, the Midshipmen ranked second in the NCAA in rushing last season with 325.4 yards per game. The unit will be facing an experienced OSU front led by senior tackle Michael Bennett (7 sacks) and end Joey Bosa (7.5 sacks).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ohio State: With Miller out, the Buckeyes turn to J.T. Barrett, who will become just the fifth freshman since 1950 to start a game at quarterback for Ohio State. Barrett, who received a redshirt last year, hasn’t played in a game since high school in 2012.
Navy: Reynolds rushed for 31 touchdowns last season, an NCAA record for quarterbacks. The junior also has five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter since becoming a starter five games into his freshman year. Although Navy prefers running the ball, Reynolds has thrown for 1,057 yards and eight touchdowns.
FACTS & FIGURES
Ohio State enters with the nation’s longest regular-season winning streak, 24 games. ... Navy’s last victory over a Top 25 team came on Nov. 7, 2009, against No. 19 Notre Dame. ... Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo seeks his 50th career win. He’s 49-30 over six years. ... Meyer is 47-4 in his career in games played in August and September.