OXFORD – Miami quarterback Zac Dysert is getting his first chance to play against Ohio State on Saturday, but it will be his second shot at an Urban Meyer defense.
Whether that experience, which was gained in a 34-12 Florida win over Miami in 2010, will be useful when Dysert and the RedHawks play OSU on Saturday at Ohio Stadium is debatable.
Dysert says he doesn’t expect it to provide a road map of what the Buckeyes might try to do against him.
“We don’t really know what they’re going to do. We’re going to prepare to do our best. We’re excited for the opportunity to play them,” Dysert said.
The former All-Ohio quarterback from Ada is coming off a junior season when he passed for 3,513 yards, completed 65 percent of his passes and threw 23 touchdown passes.
The four-year starter has thrown for 8,530 yards, which is second all-time to Ben Roethlisberger at Miami. He ranks third in career yardage among active NCAA Division I quarterbacks behind Oklahoma’s Landry Jones and USC’s Matt Barkley.
Dysert’s first game against a Meyer defense produced 25 completions in 44 attempts for 191 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown, in Florida’s first game in the post-Tim Tebow era.
Meyer was highly complimentary of Dysert during his weekly press conference on Monday, saying about the QB and his top receiver Nick Harwell (97 catches last season), “Those two kids can play anywhere in America.”
Dysert has played for two different head coaches and was recruited by a third and has had five quarterbacks coaches during his four years as a starter, plus a redshirt season.
Maybe it is good timing that his current QBs coach, Mike Bath, was Miami’s quarterback when it played at Ohio State in 2000. OSU won that game 27-16 after Miami led 10-3 late in the second quarter.
“He has shared some stories with us. That kind of gets us motivated. He just tells us what it’s going to take,” Dysert said about what Bath has said about playing in Ohio Stadium.
Bath, a Celina native, said, “We’ve talked a little bit about that, just talking to him about how it’s 110,000 people. But the reality of it is when you’re in the game it’s going to look like a sea of white t-shirts and it’s not going to really mean anything to you. That’s the mentality we need to have.”
Recent upsets of Big Ten teams usually have included good quarterback play by the MAC team.
In 2010, when Toledo beat Purdue, QB Austin Danton rushed for two scores and threw for two more. When Central Michigan won at Michigan State in 2009, Dan LeFevour passed for 328 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception.
“There’s probably some truth to that,” Bath said. “We are good enough to go out and compete and Zac is good enough to lead us in that quest to go to Ohio State and compete on that field.
“The biggest thing we have talked to him about this whole year is just play within yourself. Just play within our framework and see what happens,” he said.
With another good season, Dysert could have the opportunity to try to make an NFL roster a year from now. Draft predictions have rated him as high as the No. 4 quarterback in next year’s NFL draft.
“That’s awesome but you can’t really think about that stuff now,” Dysert said. “You have to focus on the season. That stuff will take care of itself.
“Right now I’m studying film, becoming a student of the game. It’s your last go-around so you don’t want to leave anything back. You don’t want to look back and say, ‘I wish I would have done this, I wish I would have done a little bit more.’ You don’t want to look back and have regrets.”