Devin Smith’s highlight reel catch was the first of OSU’s eight TDs (AP)
The final score might have been about what we expected; Ohio State easily outclassed Miami University on the both sides of ball. A 56-10 victory is always a great way to start the season even thought this didn’t qualify as much of a test.
It wasn’t so much the win itself, but the key elements of that win that should have fans feeling confident about 2012.
After suffering through an anemic passing game in recent years, the Bucks started slow again on Saturday. Any concerns were dismissed, however, when Devin Smith nabbed a fantastic one-handed catch that put the Buckeyes ahead 7-3.
If crazy TD grabs aren’t your thing, how about sophomore QB Braxton Miller’s record-setting 161-yard rushing performance. Not only was it the best ever for an OSU quarterback, it featured a 65-yard run to the endzone that gave an indication of the kind of athlete Miller can be.
Miller finished with 368 total yards and three scores, connecting with seven different receivers on 14 of 24 passing. In addition to the connection with Smith, he had a 44-yard pitch and catch to Evan Spencer. Both phases of the dual-threat were in full effect today.
Still not impressed? How about the first career rushing touchdown for fullback Zach Boren? Boren, who has long been a valuable blocker and pass-catching option out the backfield, touched the ball only a couple of times prior to today’s game. But coming into 2012, Urban Meyer made it known that the senior would be playing a more prominent role.
Need more? The Bucks threw in a pair of Travis Howard interceptions, a fumble recovery scoop and score on a muffed punt, and a perfect 8 for 8 day from PAT-machine Drew Basil. Seven different Buckeyes found the endzone on a day when, quite simply, everything worked.
Braxton Miller benefitted from a high speed offensive gameplan (AP)
Perhaps the most amazing part of the game was watching the Scarlet and Gray running an up-tempo, no huddle offense. Urban Meyer’s offense. No more “three yards and a cloud of dust”. Forget the 30 second half running plays after the lead was established. Meyer pushed the pace and immediately distinguished himself from the Tressel era, as we all knew he would.
Once the lead was safe, he plugged in backup QB Kenny Guiton, who got some important gametime in relief of Miller. Ohio State kept the pedal to floor until the final whistle, and while under other circumstances it might have felt like running up the score, in the case it was merely Meyer seeing what kind of horsepower he’s got under the hood.
It’s clearly too early in the year to draw any real conclusions, but Ohio State looked very, very good.
The Buckeye defense, led by John Simon, rendered Miami one-dimensional (LaPrete/ AP)
John Simon (DL)- The stop unit’s hear and soul had another stellar performance, wreaking havoc up front and helping to limit the Redhawks to -1 yards rushing.
Devin Smith (WR)- Smith’s circus catch is already being heralded as a contender for the eventual play of the year. And he made it look easy. The catch came at a key time in the game; after being shut out 3-0 in the first quarter, OSU needed that spark.
Philly Brown (WR)- Corey “Philly” Brown led all receivers with seven grabs for 87 yards and a score.
Travis Howard (DB)-Howard’s interceptions were highlights in an otherwise disappointing aspect of OSU’s defensive game. The Bucks gave up 313 yards through the air. At least Meyer has something to work on in this week’s practices.
Game ball goes to…
Braxton Miller (QB)- Opening 2012 with a dominating performance, Miller made a nice statement about his team’s potential as well as his own. With due respect to Miami, this should have been an easy win, but that doesn’t detract from Miller’s day. The only blemish was missing on six of his first seven attempts.