Welcome to the official beginning of the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State. The Buckeyes defeated Miami University 56-10, in spite of not having the best overall performance.
Sure, there were plenty of good things, but there were plenty of missed plays, blown assignments and other things that drive coaches crazy. There will be a lot of corrections made in the coming week, and I wouldn’t want to sit in film study tomorrow…it won’t be pretty.
After a slow start that saw OSU trailing 3-0 after the first quarter, the Buckeyes responded with three touchdowns in the second quarter, including a spectacular catch from Devin Smith on the first score in Urban Meyer’s tenure.
The biggest thing that jumped out to me, were differences in attitude and philosophy between Coach Meyer, and Jim Tressel before him.
For example, after a deep pass to Evan Spencer right before half, the Buckeyes elected to go for a touchdown with three seconds left, and the ball at the one. Tressel would have sent out the kicking unit 100 out of 100 times. The fact that Carlos Hyde didn’t reach the end zone isn’t what is important here…it’s the driving force under Meyer that there is no such thing as enough.
Secondly, the Buckeyes kept up their tempo on offense the entire game, running some no-huddle with Kenny Guiton deep into the fourth quarter with the game comfortably in control. Again, that’s never something an OSU team under Tressel would have done.
The up-tempo, exciting offense also is a change for Buckeye fans. Last year, OSU averaged just over 60 plays per game on offense. Today, the Bucks ran 86.
Quarterback Braxton Miller turned in some impressive statistics, but I’m sure he’ll tell you he can play better. He missed some reads, had some poor throws, and even coughed up the football, although he recovered it. The day ends with an OSU record for the sophomore signal caller, however. His 161 yards rushing are the most ever by a Buckeye quarterback in a game, eclipsing Cornelius Greene’s 146 against Wisconsin in 1974. Miller also threw for 207 yards and a couple of touchdowns, on 14 of 24 passing.
It’s the fourth career 100-yard rushing game for Miller already, matching the school’s mark. It should be noted that Terrelle Pryor accomplished that seven times, but four of them had to be vacated from the 2010 season.
On the receiving end, Corey “Philly” Brown had seven catches for 87 yards, which is a nice afternoon. If you recall, the leading receiving last year for the Buckeyes had 14 catches total, so Brown is already halfway there in just one game.
Carlos Hyde was also impressive at times, carrying 17 attempts for 82 yards. A second quarter run was the spark that got the offense going.
Ohio State totaled 538 yards of offense, to just 312 for Miami. The RedHawks actually had 313 yards passing, but were held to negative yards (-1) on the ground.
You can’t blame quarterback Zac Dysert, however. He proved today that he’s not only one of the top quarterbacks in the MAC, but in all of the country. Dysert flung it around a Breesian-like 53 times, completing 31, with several other passes dropped. The Ada native had 303 yards passing with a touchdown and two interceptions.
He completed three pass plays of 42 or more yards, including the lone RedHawks touchdown.
Ryan Shazier led the Buckeyes in stops with 8, while Bradley Roby was all over the place with six tackles, two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery of a bad punt snap for a touchdown.
Travis Howard intercepted a pair of passes, the first Buckeye with a multi-pick game since Chimdi Chekwa against Miami of Florida in 2010.
While Miami returns to Oxford with a 45-point loss, it should have been a closer game. The RedHawks dropped a couple of potential touchdown passes, and missed a field goal. Add in three turnovers, and Miami shot itself in the foot multiple times.
It’s Central Florida next for the Buckeyes, once again with a noon kick at Ohio Stadium. More coverage today on 10TV during the 6pm and 11pm newscasts, and in Wall to Wall Sports tonight at 11:35pm live from the Donatos at Upper Arlington (Northwest and Zollinger)