By: Chris Brenneman
The Ohio State Buckeyes took on “little brother” from the MAC in Urban Meyer’s debut – the Miami (OH) Red Hawks. This is the first of four games at home for the Buckeyes, and it was time to see how much they grew up since the spring game. Meyer’s new look for the team has taken fans by storm, turning the basic Power I and run game into a spread offense that embraces the run. The Shoe was packed with 105,039 fans, and they were not disappointed.
The first quarter was a bit shaky for both the Red Hawks and the Buckeyes. Each team had trouble running and passing the ball. A big issue for the Buckeyes (that the Red Hawks exploited) was how to split the defensive backs and make them think. Miami QB Zac Dysert was on a hot streak, making a great deal of passes that caused the Bucks D to bend. A bright spot for the defense, however, was that the Red Hawks receivers kept dropping passes. The Silver Bullets let the Hawks run them wild, causing the fans to throw out a “boo” or two. The Red Hawks were able to take advantage of the secondary for a few big plays, ending with a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Miami’s defense was also able to stymie the Buckeyes new offense, giving Miller no room to work with. Zac Boren, Corey “Philly” Brown, and others could not catch any of Miller’s passes.
In the second quarter the magic happened, and the potential “Play of the Year” was made. Braxton Miller saw Devin Smith in man-to-man coverage, and tossed a beauty that Smith was able to get to for a one-handed catch and touchdown. The crowd went nuts, and wouldn’t quiet down the rest of the game. During the entire second quarter, both the offense and defense made an impact. The Silver Bullets’ power in the second quarter got the Red Hawks running scared, as they forced a three and out on the next possession and gave way to the offense for a 57-yard drive and touchdown. After another defensive stop, Miller and his wide receivers did it again with a third touchdown. The only pushback for the Red Hawks in the second quarter was a defensive stop on the goal line with three second to go. The Buckeyes went into halftime with a 21-3 lead.
In the third quarter, Miller found a seventh gear, and ran for a 65-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half. By this time, even Special Teams was in on the act, picking up a botched snap in the end zone on a Miami punt attempt. The black and blue Red Hawks found a bit of an aerial attack, as Dysert found Nick Harwell for a 44-yard touchdown reception. That was the only positive Miami could find the rest of the game.
Going into the fourth quarter, Ohio State had a commanding 35-10 lead. Meyer pulled out some plays to keep the fans in the game. Senior Zac Borren scored his first rushing TD as a Buckeye. Freshman Kenny Guiton came in when Miller went out with crapping issues, and did not disappoint. The Buckeyes added a couple more touchdowns to win the game 56-10.
Overall, the defense gets a solid 3.5/5. Even though the Silver Bullets held Miami to negative one rushing yards, the secondary really took a beating in the first quarter. The Miami offense could have put up 14 points in a matter of minutes, if not for the dropped balls. The defensive line did its job at stuffing the holes and not allowing any rushing touchdowns. The Buckeyes need to make sure that the secondary has all the kinks worked out soon. The teams OSU will be facing would have made those catches and put OSU in the hole early. Luke Fickell is back at what he loves and will get the defense ready for its next challenge.
The offense gets 4/5. It had its trouble in the first quarter, but did not allow any turnovers. The O-line did have trouble opening a hole and the receivers could not catch the ball well, though. This was a very strong showing on the Coaching staff as well. It took an entire offseason to transform the once power run Buckeyes to a spread team. Urban Meyer and his crew did a tremendous job at showing what they did with the Buckeyes, and it showed in the second quarter.
The Buckeyes will face the University of Central Florida Knights at The Shoe this week. Meyer and the fans know he made the right choice in coming to OSU. Go Bucks!