By: Chris Brenneman
What is going on with Ohio State? This is the question fans are asking. When this season started, OSU was suppose to fly through the first four games, but the Buckeyes can’t seem to get rolling. This is the last game before the dreaded Big Ten schedule. OSU had a chance to slam the Blazers last weekend, but UAB showed the Buckeyes they were not going down without a fight. Ohio State had to play all four quarters on their guard. In front of 105,019 fans, UAB scored the first nine points of the game, and was on its way to a potential upset. The Buckeyes (4-0) found a way to pull out the win, though, beating UAB 29-15.
UAB came into the Shoe and gave everything they had against the Buckeyes. UAB has beaten only one other major powerhouse in the past – LSU in 2000, with a 13-10 victory. In the first quarter, UAB came out strong, while the Buckeyes once again started sluggishly. Not only did the the Buckeyes’ play softly on both sides of the ball, but so did the special teams. UAB caught Ohio State sleeping during a punt and blocked it, picking up the botched kick for a touchdown run. After a horrid first quarter, the Buckeyes finally scored by using the ground game against the Blazers. However, UAB was able to sneak in another field goal to end the half at 21-12 in favor of Ohio State.
The second half was up and down for the Buckeyes as well. UAB was able to cut the lead to a TD in the fourth quarter. At the end, the Ohio State D was able to dampen the Blazers’ offense and kick into a sixth gear. The Buckeyes’ offense was able to use the air attack to spread the ball around. Braxton Miller had one of his softest showings of the year. Miller went for 12/20 for 143 yards, and rushed for 64 yards on 11 carries. Miller also had two TDs. Ohio State running back Jordan Hall – in just his second game back – ran 105 yards on 17 carries. Head Coach Urban Meyer said “The fact is, we’re a bend-but-break defense, which is painful to watch.” “We missed too many tackles today again. We’re not a methodically dominating offense. We’re not a very good offense right now and we’re got to get a lot better fast.” Meyer once again gave credit to Miller for being one of the best players in the nation.
Ohio State is undefeated, but does not have the power yet. The Buckeyes are in a Growing Pains stage. Going into conference play next week will show exactly how good (or poorly) Ohio State can play. This is also the first road game for Buckeyes, as they travel to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans. Last year, the Spartans came into the Shoe and beat the Buckeyes 10-7. Michigan State is 3-1, with their only loss coming against Notre Dame two weeks ago. The Spartans’ defense is going to have a spy on Miller at all times, while trying to blow up the young OSU line. The Silver Bullets will have their hands full as Michigan State RB Le’Veon Bell, who is one of the best in the Big Ten, and quite possibly the country.