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Tulane Green Wave vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Prediction and Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer

For the first time this 2018 season, Ohio State will have its head coach on the sidelines during a game when the Buckeyes host Tulane. Having served his university-mandated suspension, Urban Meyer addressed the media on Sunday, stating, "This was the first time I’ve had a chance to visit with you since Media Day. And I want to start off by apologizing for that performance. I want to be really clear that there is zero intent to mislead. The report found that. I did not answer questions with the accuracy that I should have..."

For an hour, Meyer answered all questions regarding the circumstances that led to his suspension, clearly hoping to be return the focus to the results on the field, rather than events off of it.

Ohio State is coming off a 40-28 victory over TCU that has the Buckeyes 3-0 and ranked fourth in the country. Superstar junior defensive end Nick Bosa is battling an abdominal injury that will keep him out of Saturday's game, as the hope is to protect the remainder of Bosa's season.

This will be the first time that Tulane and Ohio State have ever played. Tulane comes into this game 1-2, having lost two games by a combined 13 points. Tulane lost the season opener at home to Wake Forest in overtime 23-17, and last week on the road at UAB 31-24. In its second game, Tulane rolled FCS opponent Nicholls State 42-17, so the Buckeyes are getting a team that truly believes that it could have been undefeated coming into its first-ever game in Ohio Stadium.

Tulane at Ohio State

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 22, 3:30 p.m. ET


Spread: Ohio State -36.5

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Three Things To Watch

1. Ohio State's offense in Urban Meyer's return

Even in Meyer's absence, Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has had an impressive start to the 2018 season, throwing for 890 yards, 11 touchdowns, only one interception with a 72.5 percent completion rate. Co-offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day have played to Haskins' strengths, while eschewing the traditional staple of the Buckeyes' offense, the quarterback zone read. With Meyer back on the sidelines, will Haskins carry the ball more than he has in the previous three games?

2. Tulane's running game vs. Ohio State's run defense

Tulane's Corey Dauphine had a monster game in the win over Nicholls State, rushing for 152 yards on just six carries. Ohio State has been susceptible defensively to big plays, having given up long runs to Oregon State and TCU. Will Ohio State stack the box against Dauphine on Saturday afternoon in Ohio Stadium?

3. Ohio State's pass rush without Nick Bosa

The aforementioned Bosa will be missing from the game against Tulane. The Green Wave have two talented wide receivers in Darnell Mooney (18 receptions for 308 yards, three touchdowns, 17.1 yards per reception) and Terren Encalade (11 receptions for 248 yards, two touchdowns, 22.5 yards per reception). Who will step up along the Ohio State defensive line to apply pressure to Green Wave quarterback Jonathan Banks?

Final Analysis

Tulane has played competitively in all of its games so far this season, but the talent gap between the Green Wave and Buckeyes is substantial. Even without the services of Nick Bosa, the Ohio State defensive line has talented players to make up for Bosa's absence. Urban Meyer has been itching to get back on the sidelines, and this game is going to serve as a springboard for the Buckeyes as they prepare for Big Ten conference play.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Ohio State

Prediction: Ohio State 56, Tulane 7

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also is writing and podcasting for Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.