Buffalo vs. Ohio State: Jordan Hall Steals Spotlight from Braxton Miller

Sebastian LenaAnalyst IAugust 31, 2013

Hall (right) had the Buffalo defense chasing him all game.
Hall (right) had the Buffalo defense chasing him all game.Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Ohio State running back Jordan Hall stole the show during the No. 2 Buckeyes’ 40-20 victory over Buffalo Saturday afternoon.

Coming into the game, all eyes may have been focused on Heisman hopeful quarterback Braxton Miller. However, it was Hall who came away as Ohio State’s most dominant player.

In fact, the senior could be the key to the team’s bid to put together back-to-back undefeated seasons.

On Saturday, Hall rushed for a career-best 159 yards on 21 carries. He also added touchdown scampers of 49 and 37 yards.

Although Miller had a good game himself, throwing for 178 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 77 yards on 17 carries, his mistakes proved costly. More specifically, a second-quarter interception that was returned 47 yards for a touchdown by the Bulls’ Khalil Mack, cutting the score to 23-13.

But just 17 seconds later, Hall came to the Buckeyes’ rescue, restoring order with his second score of the game.

Sure, his performance came against a Buffalo team that's a combined 9-27 over the last three years—a team Ohio State was favored to beat by 35 points. However, Hall accomplished something not too many players in school history have.

The folks at ESPN Stats & Info put it all into historical context:

Jordan Hall is the 1st Ohio State player with multiple 30+ yd rush TD in a game since Beanie Wells in 2007.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 31, 2013

More importantly, Hall’s play may have also ensured that the starting spot is now his to lose.

That’s not what was expected during the preseason. There was talk that teammate Carlos Hyde, not Hall, would be the first back under head coach Urban Meyer to rush for 1,000 yards.

That all changed when Meyer announced that Hyde would be suspended for the first three games of the year for his participation in a nightclub incident.

Now, all the confidence seems to be behind Hall as the starter:

“Jordan Hall is the best running back on our team right now,” Meyer told the Plain Dealer’s Doug Lesmerises. “And so he’ll have to lose that spot. I’m talking next week, the week after, whenever. He’s a tailback at Ohio State. He’s earned that right.”

As long as the Buckeyes have Hall in the backfield, they’ll be a tough out for any of their opponents in 2013.