Up 21-3, Urban Meyer decided not to settle for a field goal heading into the half.
Wideout Evan Spencer had just hauled in an impressive 44-yard grab, and Meyer sprinted down the field to ensure Ohio State got in one more play.
The assumed call with three seconds left was a field goal. Get your three points, go into the locker room up three scores and fight another day.
Not today, though.
This is not what Buckeyes fans have grown accustomed to seeing with this team, but they'll gladly take it.
Ohio State rolled the dice from the 1-yard line with running back Carlos Hyde. As time expired, however, Hyde was dragged down for no gain, and OSU headed into the tunnel with no points.
Although this aggressive plan failed miserably this time, a few things became very apparent on one play: TresselBall is dead, and Urban Meyer has returned to the Big Ten with guns blazin’.
It wasn’t a pretty start for the Buckeyes, though. Braxton Miller completed one of his first seven passes, and he finished the first quarter with only five yards passing. The defense also looked soft.
Miami (Ohio) QB Zac Dysert picked the secondary apart, while the much-talked-about defensive line couldn’t get much of a push. The Buckeyes were lucky to be down only 3-0 after one quarter, as the Redhawks squandered a handful of scoring situations.
The second quarter was a much different story. The offense found its edge when Braxton Miller hit Devon Smith for a 23-yard touchdown. Unless something drastic happens, you will not see a better play this weekend.
Ohio State found its groove and outscored Miami 21-0 in that quarter. As was mentioned earlier, that quarter could’ve been even better for OSU.
Miller got very comfortable in the pocket—despite battling cramps in the second half—and finished the day with a stat line even Urban Meyer would be impressed with: 207 passing yards, 161 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
He also gave us a sick 65-yard touchdown run and a stutter step that looks like it belongs in a video game.
Despite the early struggles, the Ohio State offense had 86 plays on the day, scored eight touchdowns and saw seven different players find the end zone. Ohio State’s leading receiver hauled in 14 passes (not a typo) all of last season, while wideout Corey Brown caught seven balls in this game alone.
Urban Meyer’s influence through 60 minutes was very apparent. There is much work to be done in all facets of the game, but in 2012 this team will have a much different look than its ever had.
They will face much tougher competition in the coming months and will likely struggle at times in these games, but this year is all about building. Braxton Miller will make mistakes, the young defensive line will continue to grow, and they will suffer a loss or two (or perhaps more) at some point in 2012.
Just as we learned at the end of the half, however, these failures will send distinct messages and provide valuable learning experiences for when the team becomes bowl-eligible in 2013.
It’s going to be one hell of a ride.
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