Usain Bolt Ends Relationship With European Girlfriend

Six months after an inferno blazed between the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, and Slovakian fashion designer Lubica Slovak, the relationship has sputtered.Those who expected the two to make it to the finish line, may be disappointed to learn that the former sizzling affair has made it a mere six metres, if measured.The record holder has opted to focus his energies on creating new records on the track, sources in his camp confirmed. Bolt is competing at the 2012 Olympics in the United Kingdom this summer and cannot afford any distraction at this time, his team added.Bolt and Slovak dominated social networks last month, after a photo, which was taken on a sponsored shoot, was leaked. The two parted more than ‘lips’ two weeks ago, an unexpected birthday gift.Research by The Star reveals that Slovak was introduced to the fastest man on the planet, just before Christmas 2011, by female reggae artiste Tami Chynn.Bolt, one of the most sought after bachelors worldwide, was rumored to have been involved with former VH1 Show contestant Tanisha Lava Simpson as well as former British triple-jumper 23-year-old Rebeckah Passley, who claimed he broke her heart in an article in the SUN tabloid in 2010.It is not clear whether the triple-Olympic champion plans to re-ignite the sparks with his first flame, Mizicann Evans, who was seen with his parents at the Jamaica National (JN) Invitational meet at the National Stadium last Saturday in Kingston.“She remains a close friend of the family, and they (Usain and Mizicann) are in constant touch,” said a friend of Bolt.Read the rest of this story on the Jamaica-star.com read more

In Trouble Again Von Miller Cited for Driving With

Denver Broncos’ Von Miller has to sit out the first six games of the season after he was suspended for violating the  NFL’s  policy on substance abuse.  Now the football star finds himself in more trouble with the law that may cause him to miss more games.The third-year linebacker was arrested back in August for failing to appear in court on traffic charges, including careless driving, driving without a license and without proof of insurance. Last week he was cited again for driving with a suspended license and speeding, according to CBS4 in Denver.While he was not jailed for his second driving offense in less than two months, it certainly raises questions about the maturity of the all-pro linebacker.The NFL does not typically involve itself in disciplining players who have traffic violations. There have been exceptions, like that of New Orleans Saints wide receiver Donte Stallworth. In 2009, Stallworth killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence in Florida. He received a 30-day jail sentence and  was suspended for the entire 2009 season.In Miller’s case, the NFL probably will not take action, but that does not mean that the Broncos organization won’t. However, it is likely that Miller will skate by, which is unfortunate because it doesn’t appear he is learning from all his mistakes. read more

Lamar Odom Could be Returning to the Clippers

Despite a destructive offseason, Lamar Odom may get back on the court in the near future. According to sources close to the situation, The Los Angeles Clippers and Odem met for two hours on Friday at team facilities.Odom has struggled with drugs, a possible divorce from wife Khloe Kardashian, a DUI arrest in August, and was captured on tape destroying a camera man’s equipment. He also struggled on the court last season for the Clippers scoring only 4 points in 19 minutes and 5.9 rebounds.However, sources have stated that Odem looked healthy and was in good spirits during the meeting. There’s no word whether Odem actually signed a contract, but the Clippers do have room on the roster for him.According to Yardbarker, former Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro gave current head coach Doc Rivers a positive review of Odem as a player prior to his issues going public.Reports have shown that the Lakers also might want in on Odom following his recovery. More details will be posted in the coming week as this story develops but one thing is for sure, Odom seems to have regained his focus and could be back on the court this season. read more

The NFLs HomeField Advantage Is Real But Why

As the NFL playoffs approach, teams will be competing hard down the stretch to secure home-field advantage for at least one postseason game. It’s also the reason teams like the Rams and Saints, who have comfortably locked up a playoff spot and even home field for their first playoff game, will risk injury to their starters as they chase home field for a potential conference championship game. This all makes good sense: Over 57 percent of games are won by home teams in the NFL, putting the road team at a distinct disadvantage.The benefits of playing at home in the NFL are clear. Statistician and FiveThirtyEight contributor Michael Lopez, along with Gregory J. Matthews and Benjamin S. Baumer, found that the effect of home field-advantage in American football is second only to the NBA among the major sports. But what is less clear is why.Michael Lombardi, NFL analyst and former front-office executive, believes that much of the disadvantage stems from players being unable to hear the snap count. According to Lombardi, losing the ability to hear the count takes away the offensive line’s inherent advantage of knowing when the play will start. This allows linemen and skill players to burst off the line and get a small early advantage on the defense. This loss of first-mover advantage on the offensive line — I’ll call it the Lombardi hypothesis — then manifests itself as road teams being less effective running the ball.The Lombardi hypothesis is intuitive. Most fans who have watched an NFL game in Denver or Seattle have seen the effects crowd noise can have on an offensive line’s ability to communicate. It’s not a huge leap to think that lower rushing efficiency might be the natural result of a loud crowd. But is it true? Are teams less effective running on the road? And if teams are less effective rushing on the road, how confident can we be that crowd noise is the cause?To find out, I took play-by-play data generated by Elias Sports Bureau from 2009 through Week 15 of 2018 and broke out all rushing plays by home and away team. I then plotted the distributions of yards gained per rushing play for both groups to see if there was a difference between rushing effectiveness for home and away teams.It turns out that road teams are indeed slightly less efficient rushing. Home teams average 4.37 yards per carry while road teams average 4.27, a tenth of a yard less. The distributions of yardage gained on rushing plays are extremely similar, however, and the disadvantage road teams face when rushing the ball is quite small. Assuming both teams ran 30 times in a game, we would expect the road team to rush for just 3 less yards than the home team.The relative benefits to the home team are magnified if we look at rushing expected points added, which account for game context like down, distance and field position. EPA per rush play is negative for both home and away teams, -.073 away vs. -.058 for home teams, but it is slightly less negative of a proposition for the home team. Over those same 30 rushing plays, we would expect the home team to lose 1.7 points, while the away team would be expected to lose 2.2 points, good for a half-point differential.So the first part of the Lombardi hypothesis appears to be correct: It is slightly harder to run on the road than at home. But is crowd noise the most likely cause? As a first approximation for a loud crowd, I broke out the rate at which both home and road teams were penalized for false starts1Using the same Elias data from 2009-2018.. We might expect more false start penalties to be called on the away team in a hostile, loud environment than the home team. Yet this not what we find. From 2009 through Week 15 of 2018, false start penalties were called on 1.4 percent of all home team plays and 1.34 percent of road team plays.This is a strange result if crowd noise is the driver of road teams’ lower rushing efficiency. To validate the finding, I drilled down into situations where teams were either backed up inside their own 10 yard line or in their opponent’s red zone. We’d expect the home crowd to be especially boisterous in those high-leverage situations, leading to more false starts for the road teams. But again that isn’t the case. Road teams were penalized for a false start on 1.44 percent of such plays, while home teams were penalized at a nearly identical — but still higher — rate of 1.47 percent. There’s other research that suggests crowd noise is not a factor in NFL team performance as well. Economist Tobias Moskowitz and Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim were also unable to find evidence that crowd noise affects player performance. In the NFL specifically, they found that kickers and punters appear to be unaffected by crowd noise — undermining another common perception.But if crowd noise can’t explain home-field advantage, then what does? Unfortunately, the answer to this rather fundamental question remains elusive. Probably the best evidence for a true home-field advantage comes in the form of the sports teams in Denver. It may be the case that Denver’s high win percentage at home, especially early in the season, is dragging up the home league-wide home-field advantage. Each mile-high team in the major sports enjoys a home-field advantage far above those of their peers. The reason for it can be traced back to temperature and altitude. Playing at a high altitude without properly acclimating to it, especially in warmer temperatures, is a legitimate physiological disadvantage.I asked Lopez, who is now director of analytics for the NFL, his opinion on what drives home-field advantage, and he was circumspect. “It really is unclear,” he said. Lopez identified a few areas that might account for at least some of advantage, including referee bias in high-leverage situations.“If you look at the 15 most impactful, controversial calls in games over the past few years I think you’d find that maybe 14 of the calls went for the home team,” Lopez said. Next Gen Stats data might hold promise in this regard, however. “Using the ball-tracking data we have available, there are probably incremental ways we can help make official’s lives easier while increasing fairness in the game,” Lopez said.Lopez also noted that some recent studies have shown a drop in the size of the effect of home-field advantage. The drop could perhaps be explained by more comfortable travel, or better institutional controls on referee bias. How much these factors explain the 57 percent win rate home teams enjoy is difficult to say. Blaming crowd noise and its hypothesized effect on home-team rushing efficiency, however, appears to be unfounded. read more

UNC Played Ugly Enough To Win

It wasn’t pretty basketball, by any stretch. UNC and Gonzaga combined for a putrid 34.8 percent field goal percentage, 20 missed free throws and 44 total fouls in Monday’s men’s NCAA Tournament final. Legitimate comparisons were being made to the infamously bad 2011 title game in terms of unwatchability. But none of that mattered to North Carolina when the confetti rained down upon its sixth national championship after a 71-65 victory.Much was made of the size matchup between the twin gargantuan frontcourts of the Tar Heels and Bulldogs, and neither team shied away from banging away on the interior despite the game grinding to an ugly, defensive stalemate for long stretches of the clock. But UNC’s bigs — particularly Isaiah Hicks, who followed a rough performance in the national semifinal with 13 points vs. the Zags — badly outplayed Gonzaga’s, powering a 40-18 scoring edge in the paint and an 18-percentage-point edge on 2-pointers.Overall, both teams were equally (in)efficient shooting the ball; the winning Tar Heels actually put up an inferior effective field goal (eFG) percentage (38.4 percent) compared to the Bulldogs’ (40.7). But UNC also gave itself more chances to score on the margins, grabbing three more offensive rebounds and winning the turnover battle in a landslide, 14-4. In combination with one of North Carolina’s best defensive games of the season at the other end — and Gonzaga’s absolute worst offensive showing all year — the Tar Heels offense eked out just enough points to win.It helped that Carolina also won the battle of the star players. UNC’s top two scorers during the season (Joel Berry II and Justin Jackson) combined for 38 points on a 39.5 percent eFG% Monday night, while Gonzaga’s top pair (Nigel Williams-Goss and Przemek Karnowski) tallied only 24 points on a horrid 26 percent eFG%. And any help those two could have received from the likes of Zach Collins or Johnathan Williams was disrupted by the foul trouble each found himself in throughout the second half.Speaking of which, the game was marred by sloppy play and plenty of fouls — more of the latter, in fact, than any of the previous six title games1The 2011 NCAA Tournament is as far back as Sports-Reference.com’s game finder tool goes. (including the whistle-heavy 2013 final between Louisville and Michigan). Fans on both sides spent most of the second half griping about the officials’ aggressive whistles.But winning ugly is still, well, winning. On Monday night, North Carolina did what it had to do to beat Gonzaga — just like it did all tournament long, against a difficult slate of opponents that included teams who eventually ranked Nos. 35 (Arkansas), 25 (Butler), 10 (Oregon), 4 (Kentucky) and 1 (Gonzaga) according to the ratings of college stats guru Ken Pomeroy. That’s an impressive stretch of victories, one befitting a team that was hell-bent on avenging last season’s buzzer-beating defeat on the championship stage.So who cares if the final game wasn’t pretty? North Carolina is your very deserving 2017 NCAA men’s basketball champion. read more

How Liz Cambage Broke The WNBAs Scoring Record

Scoring is up across the board in the WNBA this year, and one player, Dallas Wings center Liz Cambage, aimed to keep it that way Tuesday when she scored 53 points — the highest individual total in league history — during a 104-87 victory over the New York Liberty.And given the other elements of her game, which included 10 rebounds, five blocks and two assists, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Cambage’s display in 37 minutes of playing time was one of the finer all-around showings the league has ever seen. It’s worth keeping in mind that the WNBA plays 40-minute games as opposed to the NBA’s 48-minute ones. That difference is a key reason that the NBA, which has experienced a spike in triple-doubles in recent years, sees that statistical rarity so much more often than does the WNBA, where it has happened only seven times in league history.Cambage, 26, shot 17-of-22 from the field and 15-of-16 at the free-throw line, all while outscoring New York’s starting five by 10 points. She torched nearly every look the Liberty threw at her, alternating between either side of the floor, and made mincemeat out of double-teams as if she were still being covered by a single defender. She logged 11 points in the first quarter, 17 in the second and five in the third before going off for 20 in the final period to seal the game.Yet a handful of her buckets in the first half came with no one near her at all — largely because she doesn’t hold the reputation of a sharpshooter and had only made five triples in 74 career WNBA games heading into Tuesday’s contest. So one can only imagine the initial shock New York players felt when Cambage calmly drained four threes on five attempts.The 6-foot-8 Cambage isn’t known as a jump shooter. More generally, she isn’t widely known in this country at all despite having long been a basketball star in Australia, where she grew up — perhaps because of her disjointed time in the league. She was the No. 2 pick in the 2011 WNBA draft but made it clear upon being selected by the Tulsa Shock that she didn’t want to play there. As such, she has never played two consecutive seasons in the U.S., and she spent the past four years playing overseas, where many of the best players routinely sign to earn higher salaries.In any case, Cambage — who entered Tuesday averaging nearly 20 points and more than nine boards — has pieced together an impressive season, having been named an all-star for a second time. She ranks in the league’s 95th percentile in post-up situations this year, according to Synergy Sports Technology.1She is tied for the WNBA lead in technical fouls. In games like Tuesday’s, in which Cambage is fully in sync with point guard and fellow all-star Skylar Diggins-Smith, there aren’t a ton of good options defensively to contain her. (New York wasn’t all that successful in denying Cambage during the first meeting between the teams, either, when Cambage scored 28 points on just 17 shots in that game, albeit in a Liberty win)Just minutes into Tuesday’s game, the Liberty tried forcing the ball out of her hands with a double-team, and Cambage simply kicked the ball out to the arc, where Allisha Gray was prepared to knock down an open triple. Then, on her next scoring chance, Cambage — having just illustrated the risk in sending a double-team her way — aggressively sealed her defender inside the restricted area, allowing Diggins-Smith to loft a pass from the arc into her for an easy lay-in. Beyond that, she kept defenders off balance by occasionally putting the ball on the floor and inviting contact, like she did against Amanda Zahui B a pair of times during the final period.Cambage surpassed the WNBA record of 51 points, set in 2013 by Riquna Williams. Cambage’s game Tuesday, with those 10 rebounds and five blocks, was far more complete than that of Williams, who finished hers with just one rebound and three assists. (Williams and Cambage were teammates during that 2013 season.) The next-highest showings are held by names that are far more well known throughout the sport: Maya Moore (48 points in 2014), Diana Taurasi (47 in 2006) and Lauren Jackson (47 in 2007), an Australian ex-player with whom Cambage has drawn comparisons.But a performance like this one only figures to boost her profile. “I’ve had big numbers in China, I’ve had big numbers in Australia, and I’ve heard a lot of people say I could never have big numbers here in the WNBA,” she told reporters afterward. “So I guess this game is for y’all.”CORRECTION (July 18, 2018, 12:15 p.m.): A previous version of this article included an incorrect quarter-by-quarter breakdown of the 53 points that Liz Cambage scored in Tuesday’s game between the Dallas Wings and the New York Liberty. Cambage scored 11 points in the first quarter, 17 in the second, five in the third and 20 in the fourth. (The WNBA originally reported Cambage as having scored 13 points in the first and 15 in the second.) read more

Jackets return home after West Coast trip

The Columbus Blue Jackets expect to win each game, but that wasn’t the case during their second road trip of the season.  After its best start in franchise history, Columbus (6-4-0) dropped three of four West Coast games in six days. During the trip, the Jackets allowed a combined 22 goals. The Jackets lost 6-2 Sunday night in Los Angeles, and now return home.“The minute we stop being aggressive and give up the middle of the ice, we are going to get burnt every time,” coach Ken Hitchcock said.Columbus now faces Phoenix 7 p.m. Wednesday at Nationwide Arena. On Friday they face the Penguins, the defending Stanley Cup Champions, in the same setting at 7 p.m.Before the Anaheim game last Saturday, Hitchcock switched up each of the four lines to look for a change in the team’s late letdown. On the top line, center R.J. Umberger and left wing Jason Chimera joined team captain Rick Nash. Kristian Huselius moved down to the second line with Antoine Vermette and Jakub Voracek.The strategy worked. Columbus won 6-4 against the Ducks and Hitchcock spoke with the media following Columbus’ third road win of the year.“It’s early in the season and guys are learning,” Hitchcock said. “I thought we really stayed with it tonight, and I liked a lot of things we did. We looked more like the team we needed to be to win on the road.”The second line and Nash were the highlight of the night against the Ducks. Nash and Voracek each scored twice, while Vermette scored a goal with two assists. Columbus outshot Anaheim 18-10 in the second period and outscored the Ducks 4-1.Vermette tied the game after a score from the low slot with a backhander. The Ducks responded with a power play goal, but the Jackets came flying back putting up three goals in the final 6:06 of the period.Nash scored at 13:54 after spinning away from a Ducks’ defenseman at the right of the net and shooting it through the slot before a deflection sent it in.Nash is showing why he is considered one of the best in the NHL. He has collected 15 points this year, including six goals and nine assists.“That’s the difference about our team this year,” Nash said. “A couple years ago, we’d get down a goal on the road and fold our cards. But now we don’t let it discourage us. We stick with it.”Pittsburgh (9-2-0) is one of the hottest teams to begin the 2009-10 campaign. The Penguins have a league-high 18 points and are led by forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The two Penguins top the team in points to begin the season. Malkin has 13 points and nine assists, while Crosby follows with 11 points, including six goals.The Jackets’ defense has only allowed one goal each of three home games this season. Top defenseman Mike Commodore will make his 2009-10 home debut after missing the beginning of the season with an injury.A home environment could be exactly what the Jackets need right now.“We can’t hold up,” Hitchcock said. “When we pull back in this league and decide to play a counter-attack game, we aren’t going to be successful. We are just trying to get our players to understand that — don’t play the score, play the game.” read more

Commentary 2011 NBA draft gives Cleveland Cavs another shot at greatness

With the first and fourth overall picks in the 2011 NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are closer to fulfilling Dan Gilbert’s prophecy. The Cavs’ owner predicted that the “Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled (former) king wins one.” OK, that’s still insane. They aren’t the Miami Heat, but they are on the right track as they attempt to escape LeBron James’ shadow. In a small market like Cleveland, no rebuilding process is quick and simple. It may not take very long to get back to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, considering it is the Eastern Conference. The time it will take to get back to a championship level, though, is unpredictable. It always will take a bold move or two — such as the Mavs trading for Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler — to build a championship-caliber team, but at the core of almost every title team is a superstar it drafted and developed. The Cavaliers were there at one point. Led by James and, uh, Sasha Pavlovic, they reached the NBA Finals in 2007. That was not a championship-level team — and the San Antonio Spurs proved that to them. To get back to the Finals, a series of bold moves ended up creating a team that didn’t have the mental toughness to win a title. That mindset was very reflective of its team leader — ironic, in a sense, considering he embraced the title “chosen one.” Regardless, the upcoming NBA draft signals that it’s time to move on from the past. By the pure luck of ping-pong balls bouncing their way — partially thanks to the Los Angeles Clippers’ eternal incompetence — the Cavaliers have a way to change the direction of the franchise. Despite James’ spoiled and arrogant attitude, he did create a positive culture around the team. The level of success the team reached during his seven years with it — though title-less — is unparalleled in franchise history. Not only did he help build a more passionate fan base, but his departure ended up galvanizing Cleveland fans and establishing a deeper connection to the team. That was most evident at the Cavs-Heat game Dec. 2, when the venomous crowd created a raucous atmosphere eclipsing that of the city’s first NBA Finals game. Gilbert paraded himself and a slew of other Cleveland “celebrities” out in front of the Quicken Loans Arena crowd in James’ return to Cleveland. Apparently, this was supposed to symbolize just how ingrained the Cavaliers are in the fabric of the city — and it’s true. The Cavs have done a better job identifying themselves with the city than the Browns or Indians. Of course, without consistent success, fans will start to lose interest in the team. That’s why striking gold in this year’s NBA lottery is key for the Cavaliers. It offers an opportunity to turn the team around quickly and establish another star to rally around. This time, hopefully, he won’t be thrust onto an undeserved throne. read more

Cross country comes down to just racing for Ohio State

On the surface, cross-country racing seems like such a simple sport. Go a long distance as fast as you can, and get as many top finishes as possible. But collegiate cross-country is not quite that simple. While the goal is still to run as fast as possible, there are nuances to the scoring and the structure of the events that can leave newcomers to the sport scratching their heads. Races for the men are between five and eight kilometers long (3.1 – five miles), with the majority being eight km. If the race is an NCAA regional or national championship event, it is 10 km (6.2 miles) long. Women’s events are between five and six km. (3.1 and 3.7 miles). At each event, only a team’s five fastest times count. The team is then given points equal to each runner’s overall finishing position. So if a runner finishes second, the team is given two points, three points are given to third place and so on. “It’s scored just like golf in that the lower your score, the better you finish,” said men’s team coach Brice Allen. The best possible score is a 15, which is achieved only if a team takes first through fifth place. The team with the lowest total wins the match. This is the case for all regular season events and the Big Ten Championship meet. Qualifying for the national championship is a bit more complicated. There are nine major regional events. The top two teams from each of those events automatically move on to the NCAA Championships. An additional 13 teams will qualify based on their performance in the regular season. Events prior to the weekend of September 15-16 are considered warm-up events and do not count for national qualifying. Top runners whose teams do not qualify for nationals may qualify to compete as individuals. There are other minor changes that occur during the cross-country postseason. “When you get into the championship races there’s more team tactics,” Allen said. “Sometimes your lead runners will set the pace for your No. 5 guy. There is strength in numbers.” The strategy was echoed by women’s cross-country coach Khadevis Robinson, who said that sticking together is key. “You can get (positions) one, two, three and four and that’s only 10 points, but if your fifth person gets 110th then you gotta add that 110 onto those 10 points and now your score is 120. Whereas someone else can get 15th, 20th, 21st, 23rd and 24th. Add those up and it’s less than 120,” he said. “Even though your first four girls got one, two, three and four, you lose.” However, this is not easy. “Getting five guys to finish an eight-10 km race within a 25-35 second spread is extremely challenging,” OSU redshirt senior runner Chris Fallon said. There are a number of other aspects to the sport that most people are not aware of. Athletes spend a lot of time in the weight room and recuperating from injuries. “I don’t think people know how much time we put into our sport,” said junior runner Meredith Wagner. “We never have an offseason. We train year-round and compete in three seasons. We spend many hours a week in the training room and doing rehab to stay healthy.” Cross-country injuries can range from simple blisters to tendonitis and stress fractures. “I give a lot of credit to our athletic trainers for putting up with us,” Fallon said. Despite the difficult year-round work, the pain and the strategy involved, the essence of cross-country is fairly simple. “At the end of the day it comes down to just racing,” Robinson said. read more

5 things to watch for Ohio State v Northwestern

Junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) hands the ball off to senior running back Carlos Hyde (34) during a game against Wisconsin Sept. 27 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 31-24.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editor1. Saturday Night Lights, Part 2Coming off the high of taking down Wisconsin in prime time last weekend, the Ohio State Buckeyes are forced to play under the lights again — this time away from the friendly confines of Ohio Stadium. The game against Northwestern is slated to air live on ABC at 8 p.m. and is set to be the host site for ESPN’s College GameDay series, so the pressure will be on OSU to perform again under the spotlight. Northwestern is the highest-ranked team the Buckeyes are scheduled to face this season at No. 16, and it could provide a tough challenge for coach Urban Meyer’s team. If the Buckeyes can handle the pressure for the second straight week, it will go a long way to keeping their potential run to a national championship game appearance alive. 2. The Northwestern OffenseAlthough Wisconsin has a fantastic pair of running backs in redshirt-sophomore Melvin Gordon and senior James White, it is safe to say OSU has yet to face a team with a range of weapons like Northwestern’s. The return of senior running back Venric Mark, who ran for a team-leading 1,366 yards in 2012, from a leg injury is a boost for the Wildcats). Perhaps Northwestern’s biggest threat is senior quarterback Kain Colter. Although he splits time under center with junior Trevor Siemian, Colter is second on the team in both rushing and passing yards and will look to use his dual-threat ability against a young OSU front seven. If Northwestern can get the ball rolling early, it will be hard for the Buckeyes to catch up. 4. Kenny Guiton and Jordan HallRedshirt-seniors quarterback Kenny Guiton and running back Jordan Hall lead OSU in passing yards and rushing yards, respectively. Yet against Wisconsin, the pair combined for zero passing yards and five rushing yards on one carry. The return of junior quarterback Braxton Miller from an MCL sprain and senior running back Carlos Hyde from a three-game suspension have made it difficult for two of the Buckeyes’ early season stars to find time on the field. Meyer and the OSU coaching staff have said consistently they want to keep Guiton and Hall involved, but if another week goes by without either playing a significant role, don’t be surprised if they fall by the wayside completely. It will be interesting to see how often either player sees the field Saturday against the Wildcats. 5. Will Braxton keep it rolling?Coming into the game against Wisconsin, a lot of questions surrounded Miller’s play after he missed almost three whole games with his MCL injury. He came out and answered the call against the Badgers, throwing for 198 yards and four touchdowns to go with 83 rushing yards. Although Miller said otherwise this week, missing 11 full quarters with his injury probably derailed any Heisman trophy hopes he entered 2013 with, but there is no reason to expect any sort of drop-off in production. Against a high-flying Northwestern squad that is 21st in the nation in points per game, Miller will need to be at his finest to pull out the victory and keep Meyer’s record flawless at OSU. 3. Can Roby bounce back?So far in the four games that redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby has played, he has struggled twice — against California and Wisconsin. Last week, Roby was matched up one-on-one for a majority of the game with Wisconsin redshirt-senior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, who burned Roby consistently for 10 catches, 207 yards and a touchdown. If the Buckeyes hope to contain Northwestern, Roby will need to be on his game, most likely matching up against junior wide receiver Tony Jones. Another week can’t go by with the preseason second-team AP All-American cornerback struggling if OSU plans to keep its undefeated season alive. read more