Ohio State improved to 2-0 on the young 2012 season with a 31-16 victory over Central Florida. Quarterback Braxton Miller led the way, rushing for 141 yards and three scores, while throwing for another 155 on 18 of 24 passing.
The game was tied at 10 in the second quarter when the Buckeyes atoned for their own turnover by intercepting a pass (Travis Howard). Miller capped off the drive with his second rushing touchdown, and OSU had a 17-10 lead at the break.
The Buckeyes then took the opening kick of the third quarter and marched on a 12-play 76-yard drive ending in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Jake Stoneburner, the 10th of his career for the Dublin native.
That cushion ended up being the difference. Statistically, the game was pretty close, with Ohio State coming up with 411 yards of offense to 352 for UCF. The Buckeyes had a decided ground game advantage, out-gaining the Knights 256 to 99 in that category.
Miller again proved to be special. His three rushing touchdowns were the first time since Beanie Wells in 2007 (against Wisconsin) that an OSU player ran for three scores. Miller became the first quarterback since Art Schlichter in 1978 (Illinois) to accomplish that feat.
On the receiving end, both Corey Brown and Devin Smith had six catches. On the season, Brown now has 13, which is just one short of the leading season total for Ohio State in 2011.
On the down side, running back Carlos Hyde left in the first half with a knee injury. While it was not believed to be serious, there’s no word on how long (if at all) he will be out.
There were also several missed assignments and blocks from the offensive line and running backs. Miller saved things on more than one occasion turning a broken play into a positive gain.
The OSU defense played pretty well through the first three quarters, but allowed 117 yards in the fourth when the Knights were trying to catch up. Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortels was 25 of 41 for 249 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
There were several wide open receivers, though, for the second straight week. Certainly that will be an area of concern for this team moving forward.
Travis Howard did intercept his third pass of the season, while Orhian Johnson also played an excellent game. The senior safety had six tackles, a pass break up on a key third down, a tipped pass that turned into Howard’s interception, and a pick of his own.
The Buckeyes weren’t particularly sharp in this victory. Ohio State was whistled for ten penalties, and turned the ball over three times. Certainly that won’t make Coach Meyer happy.
It will likely be a long week of practice for the 14th-ranked Buckeyes, who have California here in Ohio Stadium next Saturday.
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