No. 18 Ohio State opened their 2012 season with a 56-10 victory against Miami (Ohio) in Urban Meyer’s first game as head coach. There is still much to be learned about the Buckeyes this season, but a few things were made evident in OSU’s route of the RedHawks.
An offense can be fast while going nowhere
Even in the first quarter, when the Buckeyes punted four times in four possessions, it was evident how fast Meyer wants his team to play. As the stagnant OSU offense managed just 48 yards in the opening quarter, sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller continued to hurry his teammates back to the line of scrimmage for another play. This offense will struggle at times, but they will not compromise their game plan, or their aggression.
But when moving it’s a thing of beauty
After a shaky first quarter the Buckeyes responded with an offensive barrage. It took the offense only four plays to move the ball 83 yards for their first touchdown of the season, and from that point forward the Buckeyes moved down field at a rapid pace. In the second quarter alone, OSU accounted for 297 yards of offense; more yards in one quarter than they had in five games last season. With Miller at quarterback, Ohio State had four touchdown drives of more than 50 yards. None of those drives took more than nine plays.
Braxton Miller in a nutshell
Miller’s performance was essentially a microcosm of what I expect his season will look like. At times, his play will remind everybody that he is just a sophomore learning a brand new system. He showed that he still struggles throwing the deep ball, missing an open Evan Spencer three times in the first half. The first pass attempt was overthrown and the next two were underthrown. All three could have been touchdowns.
But after starting the game by completing just 1 of 7 passes for five yards, Miller caught fire, connecting on 13 of his next 17 attempts for two touchdowns and no interceptions. Miller also broke the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a game, accounting for 161 yards on the ground.
The secondary was second best
The Buckeyes’ secondary could be a cause of concern this season. Miami quarterback Zac Dysert finished with 303 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, but could have had an even better game. The Buckeyes benefited from several dropped passes by Miami receivers, and will have to tighten up their coverage as the move closer to conference play.
Give an extra helmet sticker to…
The OSU wide receivers. Last season, the team’s leading receiver had 14 receptions. Yesterday, Corey “Philly” Brown led the team with seven. That’s a testament to how anemic OSU’s aerial attack was last year.
But it also indicates how improved the receivers, and in particular Brown, are.
Brown is clearly a focal point of Meyer’s offense, and one of Miller’s favorite targets. He was used in a multitude of ways, lining up out wide, in the slot and occasionally, in the backfield.
Sophomore Devin Smith’s acrobatic, one-handed touchdown reception in the second quarter could be the play of the year in college football. It also ended OSU’s offensive drought, and provided a much-needed spark of excitement to the entire stadium.