UCF vs. Ohio State: Final Report Card, Player Grades for the Buckeyes
The No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the UCF Knights 31-16 in Columbus this afternoon. Braxton Miller rushed for three touchdowns and added another one through the air to power the Buckeyes to a victory.
With Ohio State now 2-0, the Buckeyes turn their attention toward next week's opponent—the California Golden Bears. Before we do the same, let's take a look at Ohio State’s final postgame grades and evaluations.
Braxton was solid in the run game, rushing for 141 yards and three touchdowns. He took what the defense gave him in the passing game, going 18-24 for 155 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The only criticism—other than the interception—would be that he failed to connect on any deep passes with his receivers.
Hyde went down with a sprained MCL early, so he only accumulated 27 yards on seven carries. Just like last week, Hyde was making an impact with his bruising running style, and you can only hope for his sake that his knee injury doesn’t sideline him more than a few games.
Dunn was solid running the ball after Hyde went down, but his opportunities were pretty limited. The true freshman rushed for 29 yards on just five carries, and like Hyde, he showed some strength when running the ball.
Smith led all Ohio State receivers with 57 yards receiving on six catches. The sophomore receiver got open for Braxton multiple times throughout the game and was on the receiving end of Ohio State’s longest pass play, which went for just 15 yards.
Brown also hauled in six catches, totaling 48 yards against UCF. After leading the Buckeyes in receiving against Miami, Brown wasn’t targeted as much because Braxton seemed to be looking for Devin Smith quite a bit.
Stoneburner matched his two-catch performance against Miami with two grabs for 20 yards on Saturday, but he was the only Ohio State receiver to get in the endzone against the Knights.
Heuerman snagged one catch for nine yards and was pretty much a non-factor in the passing game all day. When he and Vannett were in for blocking purposes, the tight end duo performed pretty well.
Mewhort played a pretty solid game, but the best offensive lineman on Ohio State’s team was a little anxious today, getting flagged for two false starts against the Knights.
Norwell did a good job against the Knights’ interior line, and his key block against a UCF blitzer in the first quarter sprung Braxton Miller for a 37 yard touchdown run.
Linsley shotgun snaps were on point today, something the coaching staff definitely wanted to see after his bad snap in the Miami game killed a scoring drive.
Hall was lined up against UCF’s Jose Jose—a 327 pound defensive tackle—quite a bit today. He struggled early, especially in the first quarter when he was called for holding and gave up a sack on the same play.
Fragel is settling in at right tackle pretty nicely and played well on the edge for the Buckeyes. Although some of the pressure Braxton faced was due to his man getting free, he won more battles than he lost.
Simon led all Ohio State defensive lineman with five tackles (.5 for loss). The senior came into the season with a ton of hype, and while he has caused a lot of pressure for opposing quarterbacks, we’ll have to wait for week three to see if Simon can get his first sack.
Although Hankins only finished with three tackles, he was Ohio State’s most dominant defensive lineman. Hankins single handily blew up multiple UCF plays with his interior pressure, and the big defensive tackle was also credited for blocking the Knights’ extra point attempt in the third quarter.
Goebel was decent in run support and finished with three tackles (.5 for loss). Coach Meyer wants Ohio State to get more pressure on the quarterback, and Goebel could help the Buckeyes do that with pressure up the middle.
With Michael Bennett and Nathan Williams out today with injures, Spence got a ton of playing time. Although he only registered one tackle, Spence was Ohio State’s most consistent pass rusher.
With Curtis Grant playing the middle linebacker position, he should be in position to rack up a ton of tackles, especially against a team like UCF. The sophomore backer finished the game with just three tackles though and didn’t make any game-changing plays.
Etienne Sabino —B+
Sabino finished the game with five tackles, but his interception in the third quarter was a huge play for the Buckeyes. It allowed Braxton Miller and the offense to score its second touchdown of the quarter, giving Ohio State a three touchdown lead.
Ryan Shazier —B-
Shazier also finished the game with five tackles, but the sophomore didn’t make as big of an impact on the game as Sabino did. There were times when Shazier was blocked very effectively by UCF, allowing the Knights to spring some huge plays.
Travis Howard —A
After snagging two interceptions last week against Miami, Howard grabbed another one against Blake Bortles and the UCF Knights. With Roby struggling, Howard has emerged as Ohio State’s best cornerback so far this year.
Orhian Johnson —A
Johnson was maybe Ohio State’s best player on defense, racking up six tackles against the UCF Knights. The senior made plays all over the field Saturday, but none were bigger than his interception to start the fourth quarter. UCF was in the red-zone and driving, and Johnson’s huge play was a momentum killer for the Knights.
Although Bryant led the team with seven tackles, he allowed the Knights to make some huge plays. It was his comically poor angle that sprung Storm Johnson’s 48 yard rush that set the Knights up for their first touchdown of the game.
Barnett played a solid game, finishing with five tackles and two pass breakups. When Bryant missed on Johnson’s big second quarter run, it was Barnett that raced down the field and prevented an easy touchdown.
Roby had a rough game Although he made some decent plays, he struggled immensely in the third quarter, giving up a huge 35 yard pass to the UCF offense. Later that drive, it was his man that ended the drive with a touchdown reception for the Knights.
Ohio State played a fantastic game in this area today. The Buckeyes’ kick coverage was absolutely phenomenal, both on kickoffs and punts attempts. There were only two opportunities for kickoff returns for Ohio State, and Devin Smith had 50 return yards on both tries.
Urban Meyer places a ton of importance on special teams and the Buckeyes made a huge play for the second consecutive week. In the season opener against Miami, Ohio State took advantage of a bad snap and recovered the ball in the endzone. This week, the Buckeyes blocked one of UCF’s extra point attempts.
Ohio State's coaching staff struggled in the first half as UCF kept things close to start the game. Second-half adjustments were made, most notable on defense, and Ohio State built a three-touchdown lead before cruising to the 15-point victory.
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