Miller Rallies Scarlet In Ohio State Spring Game
Braxton Miller led a 65-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to give the Scarlet a 20-14 lead, then Christian Bryant thwarted a late Gray drive with an interception of a Kenny Guiton pass to cap the first Ohio State spring game directed by coach Urban Meyer, played under cloudy skies but in front of 81,112 in Ohio Stadium.
The entertaining affair picked up steam in the fourth quarter as Miller took the Scarlet down the field on eight plays for what turned out to be the winning TD, a 7-yard run by Rod Smith. It was one of the few runs on an afternoon dominated by passing, as Meyer had promised.
The key play on the drive was a pass that was wiped out, though. It appeared freshman Tyvis Powell had made an interception, but defensive tackle Chris Carter was called for a personal foul, giving the Scarlet new life at the 31-yard line.
A 23-yard pass to freshman Michael Thomas moved it to the 7, then Smith scored.
Miller wound up completing 24 of 31 passes for 258 yards but with one interception. Thomas was the star of the day with 12 catches for 131 yards.
The Gray had taken a 14-13 lead courtesy of a shanked punt by Ben Buchanan that went just 14 yards, giving the Gray the ball at the Scarlet 22 late in the third quarter. Guiton quickly took advantage and capped the short, four-play drive with a deft fake to Brionte Dunn followed by an untouched 4-yard keeper for the touchdown.
Miller directed the Scarlet 50 yards in the last 37 seconds of the first half, hitting tight end Nick Vannett and Thomas with two passes each to set up a 32-yard field goal by Drew Basil. That gave the Scarlett a 13-7 lead.
It also countered the touchdown drive led by Guiton moments earlier. He capped it with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith, who grabbed the bullet on a deep crossing route at about the 10 before turning up and into the end zone. That had cut the Scarlet lead to 10-7.
After a "hoot and holler" drill, one-on-one scrums between selected player, at the end of pregame warmups climaxed by Guiton taking out Miller, Miller gained revenge on the opening drive of the game.
Displaying the hurry-up offense as promised from Meyer and new offensive coordinator Tom Herman, Miller took the Scarlet down the field on eight plays immediately, hitting four passes, with Carlos Hyde scoring the touchdown on a 1-yard run behind Jack Mewhort.
Miller also took the Scarlet to a 41-yard field goal by Basil early in the second quarter, upping the lead to 10-0. Meyer, inciting the crowd to get involved, then had Basil try six more field goals from increasing lengths, with him making three -- one a 53-yarder -- before falling short on two straight 58-yarders.
There were several players sidelined for the game, including No.1 running back Jordan Hall, who apparently was held out for precautionary reasons. Also among the watching were tight end Jeff Heuerman and linebackers Curtis Grant, Storm Klein and Josh Perry with various ailments.
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