For the third straight week, Ohio State failed to comfortably put away an underdog in Ohio Stadium, but the Buckeyes did improve to 4-0 on the season, with a 29-15 victory.
OSU took the lead for good in the second quarter, thanks to a 12-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, who continued to thrill Buckeye fans with dazzling moves. Miller ran 11 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ohio State offense did get solid production from Jordan Hall. The senior running back carried 17 times for 105 yards, while adding another 21 on two receptions. Corey Brown paced the receivers with four grabs for 67 yards.
The OSU passing game never really got on track, though, flashing back to the 2011 season. Miller completed just 12 of 20 attempts for 143 yards.
The biggest problem for the Buckeyes was on third downs. For the game, OSU went just 3 of 10 in that category. Ohio State went “three and out” five times, leading to a big advantage in time of possession (33:47 to 26:13) and plays run (80-57).
For the game, the Blazers out-gained the Bucks 403 to 347 yards, with a 259-143 advantage in passing. Once again, Ohio State’s defense had problems with missed assignments and tackles.
Austin Brown didn’t start at quarterback for UAB, but came off the bench to complete 21 of 35 attempts for 196 yards and an interception. Combined with Jonathan Perry, the Blazers were 28 of 46 passing for 259 yards.
On the ground, UAB came in averaging about 80 yards a game rushing. Darrin Reaves carried it 16 times for 71 yards, leading the ground game. Three Blazers had five or more receptions.
Leading the way on defense, in terms of tackles for Ohio State, was Ryan Shazier with 14 stops. Etienne Sabino made 12, while Johnathan Hankins turned in 10. Sophomore Doran Grant made his first start at cornerback and turned in 7 tackles with a sack and an interception.
The Buckeyes played without starters Bradley Roby and C.J. Barnett, while Hankins, Sabino, Shazier and Ryan Williams all went off with injuries but returned.
Another area of disappointment was pressure on the quarterback. UAB allowed six sacks last week in a loss to South Carolina, however the Buckeyes only got one today, and that was on a play where Brown was forced out of bounds.
On the bright side, OSU did not give up a touchdown on the defensive side of the ball.
UAB really hampered its upset bid with penalties, committing 9 infractions worth 99 yards, including four illegal chop blocks.
The Buckeyes were badly outplayed on special teams, with a blocked punt and 20-yard return for a touchdown by Nick Adams for a 6-0 lead. Orhian Johnson blocked the point after attempt, however.
Kicker Ty Long made the score 12-7 with a 54-yard field goal, the longest in UAB history, and the third longest ever by an opponent in Ohio Stadium. It’s the fifth longest ever against the Buckeyes. In all, Long made three field goals, although he missed a 47-yard attempt that could have pulled UAB to within 21-18.
The Blazers also recovered an on-side kick to begin the third quarter, surprising the Buckeyes.
Big Ten play begins next week, as Ohio State visits East Lansing for the first time since 2008 to play Michigan State.
We’ll wrap up our Buckeye GameDay coverage tonight on 10TV HD News at 7pm and 11pm, and on Wall to Wall Sports at 11:35pm. Former Buckeye Roy Hall will join Dom Tiberi and Beau Bishop.