Ohio State Football: Buckeyes Will Be Tested After Easy Week 1 Win
The fact that Ohio State won so big in its first regular-season game was certainly a good sign, but the Buckeyes aren't out of the woods quite yet.
They still have a lot to prove, even after a 56-10 win over Miami of Ohio in the season opener.
The win was still big, particularly because many believed Ohio State had done nothing to deserve its No. 18 preseason ranking. The Buckeyes finished 2011 in fourth place in the Big Ten Leaders Division. They won three conference games and lost five.
And then, suddenly—with a new coach—the Buckeyes were given a whole new identity and a far more positive outlook. And until Saturday, they'd done very little to justify that outlook.
Now, it's a different story. Ohio State did exactly what a top team should do to a middle-tier, over-matched opponent on opening weekend. Braxton Miller came up huge, throwing for 207 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 161 more yards and another touchdown to break the school's single-game rushing record for quarterbacks.
Behind Miller, junior running back Carlos Hyde carried 17 times for 82 yards and a couple of scores. Junior wide receiver Philly Brown caught seven passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.
The offense looked great. The offense looked precisely the way the offense of the (now) No. 14 team in the nation should look. But we still don't know if Ohio State is fully recovered from last year's futility. We still don't know if this is a team that is capable of finishing first in the Leaders Division, never mind whether this team is one of the best in the nation once again.
There's also the fact that the defense—despite forcing three turnovers against Miami—allowed 312 yards to a lower-level opponent. Granted, the Buckeyes were able to keep Miami out of the end zone until the third quarter, but no team can rely on forced turnovers to blow its opponent out of the water.
There's also the fact that the Buckeyes need to take down a top-tier team before we start lavishing praise. A 46-point defeat of a MAC opponent is nice, but Ohio State needs to do that to a Michigan State or a Nebraska before this program truly establishes that it is back.
Saturday was a start, but there's still plenty of work to do.
Ohio State did enough to prove that it's worthy of a Top-25 ranking, and it did enough to prove that this season, at the very least, is going to be better than the last.
It's going to take a little more work, though, to prove conclusively that they are the Buckeyes of old.
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