Cody Cousino / Photo editor
Joe Bauserman wasn’t necessarily expected to be Ohio State’s starting quarterback. After all, he hadn’t started a game since his senior year of high school coming into this season.
But with the departure of former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Bauserman suddenly became No. 1 on the Buckeyes’ depth chart and was chosen over freshman Braxton Miller to take the first snaps of the season.
Bauserman didn’t disappoint.
The fifth-year senior completed 12-of-16 passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns in OSU’s 42-0 blowout of Akron. He also rushed for 32 yards and a score.
“It felt good to get out there and get good timing and get comfortable with the seniors and offensive line,” Bauserman said after the game. “I tried to lead the best I could. It’s something I’ve always dreamed about. It felt good but now I’ll watch film and critique it and move on.”
Coming into Saturday’s game, Bauserman was listed as a co-starter on the depth chart along with Miller, but the senior received the bulk of the playing time until victory was secure on Saturday.
Bauserman took the helm on the Buckeye’s first two drives and marched the team down into opposing territory on both occasions.
On OSU’s opening possession, Bauserman saved a broken play when he evaded at least three Akron defenders and sprinted into the end zone for the Buckeye’s first score of the season.
Bauserman moved the ball effectively on the second drive as well, but redshirt freshman Rod Smith’s fumble on the 3-yard line ended the Buckeyes’ scoring threat.
Miller entered the game on the Buckeyes third possession, but a dropped pass and bad snap forced OSU to punt the ball away.
Miller didn’t see the field for the rest of the half as Bauserman took over and twice found tight end Jake Stoneburner for a touchdown. Bauserman later found Stoneburner a third touchdown reception — a program record.
Head coach Luke Fickell said he was impressed with what he saw.
“It was really good to see Joe show that leadership and that confidence,” Fickell said. “But I think as a whole group that was most impressive.”
Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said he thought that Bauserman’s on-field mentally was what led to his success.
“I thought he played very wise today.” Bollman said. “I thought he made some very good decisions.”
Bauserman’s day ended early in the third quarter with OSU leading, 28-0.
Miller took over and finished the game with 8-for-12 passing with 130 yards and a touchdown pass to fellow freshmen Devin Smith.
The touchdown was the first of Miller’s college career.
“It was special,” Miller said of the play.
Bollman said he was encouraged with Miller’s play.
“You could see some of his talent and you could certainly see some of his athleticism,” Bollman said. “There were some times, in his defense, he was in there with some younger offensive lineman where there were a couple errors that would have made things easier for him. But I thought he was very effective.”
Don’t expect OSU to abandon the two-quarterback system, either.
Bollman said he needed to go back and look at the film, but as of now he “absolutely” planned to play them both next week.
“We know we’re going to need them both,” Fickell said. “We’re just going to give them all the ability to put them in situations and see how they handle it, and still continue to let them compete. They know we have confidence in them, but they’re willing to work together and we’ll see how it grows.”