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Buckeyes near full strength against underdog FAMU
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- There is almost no one - except for maybe a deluded fan somewhere - who believes Florida A&M has a remote chance against fourth-ranked Ohio State on Saturday.
With a Big Ten opener a week later against rival Wisconsin, the Buckeyes will use the Rattlers as a full-dress scrimmage to iron out the final wrinkles before embarking on the games that really count.
"We don't make the schedule, we don't choose the teams we play each and every week," safety Christian Bryant said. "They come into Ohio Stadium, they'll see what the Ohio State Buckeyes are about."
Coach Urban Meyer had expected his players to be complacent, and was prepared to have his assistants jump down their throats to get them to focus. But that wasn't necessary. The Buckeyes have been efficient and businesslike all week.
"It's not really about the opponent," senior safety C.J. Barnett said. "It's about us."
Here are five things to note about Saturday's game:
'LOS IS MORE: The big news around Ohio State isn't who the opponent is but rather who'll be back on the field: tailback Carlos Hyde and quarterback Braxton Miller.
Hyde, who ran for 970 yards while leading the team in scoring in 2012, was suspended for the first three games after an alleged altercation with a woman at a Columbus bar this summer. He'll step into the rotation behind starter Jordan Hall, ninth in the nation at 134 yards a game.
"It'll be hard to prepare for us," Hall said. "Carlos is like my brother, so we're happy to be back out there with each other. I told him on Tuesday in the meeting room, 'Let's go, man.'"
BIG STAGE: FAMU gets $900,000 for the trip to Columbus, which will cover more than half of the school's $1.6 million budget for football and will put a dent in the Tallahassee university's $10.5 million operating budget for the school's 18 varsity sports.
Coach Earl Holmes also sees the game as a rare opportunity for his Football Championship Subdivision team to step into the glaring spotlight.
"I think it's for the kids," Holmes told The Columbus Dispatch. "You have aspirations of playing (in the NFL), so here you can find exactly where you fit. And it's the atmosphere. You have one of the best stadiums to play in in college football. Everything is positive. I appreciate those kids getting those opportunities."
KENNY OR BRAXTON? All-conference performer Braxton Miller sprained a knee ligament early in the second game, so Kenny Guiton stepped in and has been a star at QB.
Miller is likely to play against FAMU, although it's fluid who'll play and how much. Guiton has no regrets, either way.
"I like to go out and have fun every time I hit the field. That's my goal," he said. "It's just a plus to be able to go out there and show what I can do."
Meyer said he's tinkered with formations that would put both QBs on the field at the same time. Don't be surprised if he tries something funky just to give the Badgers something to think about.
HEAVY HEARTS: Last weekend, a former Florida A&M player, Jonathan A. Ferrell, was gunned down by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) police officer.
Ferrell, who played for the Rattlers in 2009 and 2010, had a car accident and then pounded on the door of a nearby resident, who called 911. Police said that when they arrived Ferrell ran at them. They attempted to stop him with a Taser, with another officer shooting him several times. He was unarmed.
Officer Randall Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in his death.
ALWAYS RUSHING: Meyer says FAMU blitzes on every play, and that that is an incentive for the Buckeyes to play even harder.
"We've got to show up and play hard," Meyer said. "Because when you face teams that blitz all the time, the last thing that anybody in that stadium or I want to see is people in our backfield. And if you don't prepare for it, you look silly."
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BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on from the sidelines during the third quarter against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on September 14, 2013 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)