After a sluggish start, the Buckeyes found their groove and overwhelmed the RedHawks 56-10. In Urban Meyer’s debut today, the Buckeyes showed some flashes of great potential.
For one, this squad showed resiliency. After an anemic first quarter, which saw breakdowns on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, both units rebounded well and picked up the intensity.
Offensively, the execution improved mightily, as they relied on Braxton Miller to make plays and he delivered. He was decisive, made some excellent reads and did a good job managing the game. Although he had a couple of bad throws he had an excellent opening game, as he rushed for 161 yards, which set an Ohio State record for a quarterback. He also passed for 207 yards, ran for one touchdown and passed for two more.
Further, the wide receivers stepped up big time.
Devin Smith’s awesome 23-yard touchdown snatch will grab headlines across the country. Meanwhile, Evan Spencer showed his mad leaping prowess to pull in a 44-yard reception to give the Buckeyes a chance to score before halftime. Corey “Philly” Brown also had an outstanding game. Urban wanted this group to step up and they delivered.
Additionally, two other players that had big games were Carlos Hyde and Zach Boren. Carlos did a great job exploding through the hole. He finished the game with 82 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, Zach made some outstanding blocks that sprung big plays. It was great to see him rewarded in the fourth quarter with some carries, as he earned a rushing touchdown.
Defensively, after a tough start the Silver Bullets locked it down. The defensive line did a good job breaking through and putting pressure on Zac Dysert. This helped to stifle the RedHawks’ offensive rhythm. Players that stepped up were John Simon who was as usual a menace and Nathan Williams, who did a good job bringing the pressure. One player who looks like they are going to make a huge impact is Noah Spence, as he did a great job executing.
While the secondary gave up its share of big plays, Travis Howard had a big day, as he came away with two interceptions. Bradley Roby continues to show his toughness and exceptional speed, as he made big plays on defense and recovered a Miami (Ohio) punt snap for a touchdown.
There were many positives to take away from this game. However, the Buckeyes also showed some weaknesses.
The secondary gave up too many big plays. Dysert picked apart the secondary early, and if Miami’s receivers could catch, this could have been a much more competitive game. As the Buckeyes have a veteran unit, expect them to improve their communication and lock this down.
On offense, the line gave up too much penetration, especially in the middle. While they made some great plays, their inconsistency lead to stalled drives. A great example of this was at the end of the first half where they had a chance to score a touchdown from the one-yard line; instead, Miami stopped Hyde in his tracks.
Ultimately, it was an outstanding debut for the Buckeyes.
Going forward, the Buckeyes need to build upon this momentum. Their next contest will be at home next Saturday against UCF. The game kicks off at noon and will air on ESPN 2.
Stat of the game: The Buckeyes finished the game with 538 total yards of which, Braxton accounted for 368.