The Hurricanes blew out of town just as quickly as the blew in without much damage to the national title aspirations of Ohio State. Here are five things that we learned after Ohio State took down the Miami Hurricanes:
5. Ohio State still has a lot of work to do on their kick off and punt coverage
The Buckeyes have given up four touchdowns this year, and three of them are via a kick return taken to the house. Today, getting four turnovers was the great equalizer, but if this trend continues, this glaring weakness is going to derail a special season at some point.
You have to believe the coaches are working hard to correct whatever lane assignments or pursuit angles are to blame, but it needs to be controlled quickly.
4. The rest of the OSU special teams took a big leap forward
Aside from the aforementioned blown coverages, the rest of the special teams units excelled. Devin Barclay was able to convert five of six field goal attempts without even nary a fingertip brush by the defense.
In addition to the field goals, Ben Buchanan was consistently kicking the punts high and deep to continue to force fair catches by the Miami speed burners (other than what was returned). This was a much better all around showing than last week against Marshall.
3. The Buckeye defense is more than fast enough
All the talk coming into this game was how the Ohio State defense would keep up with the speedy skill position players that Miami possesses. The answer was a resounding, “Just Fine.”
The Buckeye defense did not allow too many big plays on defense, and was able to force several turnovers largely in part because of their ability to break on the ball. Many will point to the Hurricanes two kick returns for a touchdown as a speed deficiency (which may be correct for the return game), but the defense can run with anyone.
2. Terrelle Pryor is still more dangerous with his legs
Yes Terrelle Pryor has made great strides in the passing game. His throwing motion has improved, and his pocket presence and adjustments at the line are much better All of this aside, Pryor is still most dangerous when things break down and he rambles through and around the defense for a key first down.
There were several occasions late in the game in which Pryor found a way to shake off defenders and bullhead his way to a critical drive extending play. This money part of Pryor's game could carry Ohio State through even tougher situations this year, and needs to remain in the arsenal.
1. Ohio State dodged a bullet
If you are an Ohio State fan, it was easy to sit back and watch this game without too much anxiety in the second half. Turnovers were certainly a part of the equation, and you can't discount the fact that the defense had a lot to do with it, but you would also be wrong if you think that Miami was outclassed on this Saturday.
Miami gave Ohio State a lot of opportunities, and missed out on a lot of their own. At the end of the day, celebrations are in store, but this game could have easily gone the other way. Despite what many will say, this Miami team is very good.
It certainly wasn't a perfect game, but it was still a solid showing by Ohio State as it made enough big plays on defense to pull this one out against a very talented Miami team. Next up, the entire Ohio State team should get an opportunity to tune up on some things against Ohio University, but must be careful not to look past the Bobcats.