Buckeye Watch - Colorado
By Tony Gerdeman
The Braxton Miller Era is now underway. Feel the relief.
As far as premieres go, this wasn't a bad one. It wasn't fancy, but it was definitely effective. After all, 336 yards of offense isn't really anything to get excited about, but 34 points through three quarters certainly is.
The Buckeyes probably would have put up more yards had they actually ever had to traverse the entire length of the football field, but Colorado refused to pin Ohio State deep, so what are you gonna do?
Miller only completed five passes, but he had three or four drops. You can look at his numbers and see 5-13 completions, but he threw the ball much better than that. He'll still have to get better though.
The talk will be about Miller, but what won the game was Jordan Hall, special teams and defense, and they should only be getting better as we move into Big Ten play.
Oh, and Devin Smith. How about that kid?
11:25 Sign of the day on Gameday: “Penn State is garbage”. Direct, honest. This sign should run for political office. “Penn State is Garbage 2012” bumper stickers would sell very well.
2:14 Just knocked out a bratwurst, some cole slaw, chips and then went back for a plate of pulled pork. I wish I would have brought my napping pillow.
2:48 Ideally, I'd like to see some quick passes for Braxton early. If the cornerbacks are playing eight yards off the line, then let Miller throw some quick hitches to soften up the defense. It will also build his confidence. Assuming he needs it built, of course.
2:51 To no surprise, Philly Brown is not dressed. I'm guessing there are a few other receivers itching to make some plays today, considering they didn't make any last week. Not that there were many to be made though.
3:10 Christian Bryant looks like he's starting in place of Orhian Johnson today. It seemed like a matter of time. Colorado has some versatility in their offense that is better suited for Bryant's skills.
3:12 Defensive end recruit Sevon Pittman is at the game today. Both Jim Heacock and Gordon Gee said hello to him. He's a recruit that Michigan State thinks is still committed to them.
3:35 There are terrible seats still available here up in the north endzone. The ones that look down on the snipers.
3:40 Ohio State has won the toss and has elected to receive. Luke Fickell must go.
3:41 Jaamal Berry and Jordan Hall are set to receive and get the Braxton Miller Era underway. They better not return this for a touchdown. Hall gets it at the five and he is gone. There's flags. He actually gets tackled at the 22-yard line. Holding on Zach Boren. But it will still put the ball on the Ohio State 40-yard line. That was a close one. I was worried that he was going to score.
3:43 Nice hand for Braxton Miller. I was nervous that the fans would boo out of anger because they wouldn't be able to boo Bauserman.
3:43 QB draw for a loss of one. I love those designed quarterback runs. They are absolutely terrible. Always have been. If you must call designed runs, just run an iso play with Braxton and Zach Boren.
3:44 Third and nine. Jordan Hall is in the slot. Fumbled snap and Braxton picks it up and manages to salvage a yard out of it. What in the world was that? Bad snap by Brewster. It's sabotage! Ohio State punts.
3:45 Well Luke, I hope you're happy. I'll never understand taking the ball first when you don't have an offense that actually craves aggression.
3:47 Colorado goes three and out. Tyler Moeller in coverage both times to eliminate completions. That's the guy we know.
3:49 Jaamal Berry is in the backfield and Jordan Hall is in the slot. Berry gets three yards on the read option. Good to see him out there so early. Tells me he's finally healthy. I wonder how much of the read option we will see now. How confident are the coaches in Miller's ability to read it properly? Yeah he ran it in high school, but everything is easier to read in high school.
3:50 Third and two. They run the old fashioned option and Braxton keeps it for six yards to the short side. There might not be a need to throw the ball today.
3:51 The Buckeyes have a bulky lineup in. Boren and one of the tight ends are split out. This is SO a running play. Yep. Braxton keeps it and picks up ten yards on the zone read. That was gonna be a run all the way with that lineup. No sense in disguising it if you can block for it.
3:52 Hall gets to the wide side for about twelve yards. Crazy running wide like this. Whatever happened to sticking between the tackles where things are safe and predictable? So much can happen when you run wide. I don't like possibilities. I am uncomfortable with them.
3:53 Touchdown Jordan Hall leaping over the goal line from a yard out. Up and over like Walter Payton used to do. The Buckeyes lead it 7-0. The drive went seven plays and 43 yards. Seven runs. Power football has made itself known to Pac 12 football for the first time ever. It kicked down their door, ate their last piece of pizza and said something derogatory about the Pac 12's wife. And all the Pac 12 could do about it was order more pizza, thank power football and nod their head in agreement.
3:57 Toney Clemons is back to return the kickoff. It's hard to be mad at Toney Clemons. He transferred out of Michigan because he wanted the opportunity to play for a real football program. Keenan Canty gets it out to the 19-yard line before getting hammered by Ryan Shazier. He and Nate Ebner are serious business on these returns. Thunder Twins power activate. Form of...smashfist! Form of...hammer rocket!!
3:59 Fumble by Tyler Hansen on the zone read! He and Rodney Stewart were playing tug of war and Adam Bellamy plopped down on it like a comfy sofa. And I think I just saw him tell Hansen to go fix him a turkey pot pie. First down for the Buckeyes at the Colorado 22-yard line.
4:03 Third and goal from the 15-yard line. QB draw coming. Yep. There it is and Miller gets four. There is nothing more predictable than Ohio State QB runs. At least now we get to see Drew Basil take a kick from outside of six feet. This is from 28 yards out. Got it. Buckeyes lead it 10-0.
4:05 Third drive down. Still no completed passes for Braxton Miller. Nothing to worry about yet. It's not unusual for Buckeye quarterbacks to go entire halves without completing a pass this year.
4:11 Another three and out for the Buffs. This doesn't seem like a very impressive offense to me. I didn't expect them to run, but I thought maybe they'd look like they had played football before.
4:14 Hall and Berry are in the game together. Hall in the slot. This will be the same zone read as earlier. It is. Berry loses two yards because Colorado knew it was as well. I'm just some press box idiot, so if I know what's coming, as long as Greg Robinson didn't take a job with the Buffs in the last 24 hours, then Colorado is going to know what's coming too.
4:15 Third and nine. Wow. Braxton takes off and picks up 16 yards. That should be his second or third read max. If it's not there, take off. Right now, forward is a good play. Just keep moving forward.
4:16 We have reached the end of the first quarter with the Buckeyes leading 10-0. Pretty outstanding way to start a game. Haven't completed a pass and yet you're still moving the ball. Better than that, however, is the fact that the defense is tackling again. THEY'RE TACKLING AGAIN!
4:17 There has been a ton of guys playing on offense so far. Playmakers wanted. Inquire within.
4:19 Play-action rollout. Braxton keeps it and picks up thirteen more on the scramble. He showed the type of wheels that make the women in Cleveland shave their upper bodies for a change.
4:21 Another rollout, however Miller cuts back for a 13-yard gain. But it's gonna come back because of a block in the back by Jack Mewhort. Drive killer. Braxton gave the “Jog-a-Dope”, and then attempted to lower a blow ala Terrelle Pryor back in the day. Miller got thrown to the ground. Looks like we won't be naming Braxton's stiff arm just yet. Unless we call it “Daisy Mae”, or some such thing.
4:27 The Buckeyes can't overcome the penalty and have to punt and Rodney Stewart fair catches Ben Buchanan's punt at the five-yard line. Thank you sir, may we have another. I don't understand why players do that. Your feet are on the ten-yard line. You're not supposed to go backwards. Players need to pretend they're standing on the edge of a cliff. Maybe that would work.
4:28 It all goes back to the block in the back. 18 yards is just too much to expect this offense to pick up in two plays, and that says an awful lot.
4:31 Third and five. Christian Bryant is demanding that people stand up and cheer. You better do what he says. Hansen rolls out and throws another one away. It's weird seeing this from the other team for a change.
4:36 Third and six. Braxton Miller completes a pass to Reid Fragel! A completion!!! A real completion!!!! And it was enough for a first down. The crowd is standing!! Tough catch by Fragel.
4:37 J.B. Shugarts false start. Is it 4:37 already? That wasn't even close.
4:38 Braxton keeps it on the zone read for seven yards. One more guy to beat and he gets six. It's exciting to see him avoiding all of these tackles, but he's ripe for a backside fumble.
4:39 Third and eight from the 32-yard line. It's two-down territory. Braxton rolls out, and there's an easy touchdown to Devin Smith on the post route. Turns out it wasn't two-down territory, it was touchdown territory. The Fresh Connection (don't worry, it'll grow on you) strikes again. Mr. John Porentas called that play. They don't have Devin Smith in there to run block. That dude was wide open. Nice, easy throw. Just a terribly handsome duck, and if you didn't know it by now, Devin Smith is going to be a star. Buckeyes lead it 17-0.
4:43 Kickoff. Nate Ebner on the tackle at the 17-yard line. Form of...squashface!!!
4:44 Screen pass to Stewart. Huge hole and he still only got seven yards. Big Hank tracked it down. Somebody must have been wearing a meat poncho...
4:46 Another screen to Stewart. This one goes for about four. Etienne Sabino about killed Hansen before he could even get that off. Dude was shot out of a cannon that was shot out of a larger cannon.
4:51 Fourth and one from the twelve-yard line for the Buffs. They call timeout to talk it over. After the way they have been shut down today, they may not have any choice but to go for it. However, since they get the ball back to start the half in three minutes, a field goal is also a good play. If they were kicking off to start the half, then they'd have to go for it.
4:52 They're going. And throwing? Hansen is scrambling...and throws it up to Toney Clemons and he somehow came down with the fluke touchdown. I think that was on Travis Howard. Great grab on the jump ball by Clemons. Denard Robinson could really use this dude. Buckeyes lead it 17-7 with 2:44 to play.
4:53 Will there be a serious intent to score on this drive?
4:55 The kickoff goes out of bounds. That answers that question. Terrible kick.
4:56 Shotgun. Braxton picks up twelve yards on the scramble. He is so fast immediately. There is no wind up. He's 0-60 once the key meets the ignition.
4:57 Same play. Miller keeps it on the option, no pitch. Flag. Personal foul, block below the waist on Chris Fields. That's a point of emphasis this season—to kill Ohio State drives.
4:58 First and forever. This drive is going nowhere. QB draw, Braxton goes wide and picks up fourteen yards on the scramble before being flipped like a sleeping hobo.
5:00 Braxton gets sacked. The pocket got collapsed, then he got collapsed. Doug Rippy on the blitz and sack. He ran through Brewster like Brewster had an exit sign above him.
5:02 The Buckeyes are stopping themselves on offense, which is actually pretty nice for a change. The Buckeyes will punt.
5:03 The punt is muffed! Stewart muffs it and everybody is fighting for it. Why even try to field that thing? Buckeye ball! Not a very bright team, this one. Penalties. Unforced errors. Etc. Ohio State gets it at the 10-yard line with 15 seconds to play. Time enough for two quarterback draws.
5:04 Miller scrambles down to the two-yard line. Six seconds left. Time for a quick slant if you want.
5:05 They're kicking. Colorado considers this a win. Fans are booing. They just couldn't go an entire game, could they? The kick is good. Buckeyes lead it 20-7.
5:06 Time to get in line for food. Let me know if I miss anything.
5:15 Braxton with 83 yards rushing in the first half. The coaches love the yards, but I bet they don't like him carrying it fourteen times in the first half, though.
5:21 Isn't it fun to watch tackle football again where the Buckeyes actually tackle?
5:25 I've been distracted by those people from a certain Buckeye centric print publication, and now I only have three minutes to eat this plate of meat before the half starts back up. No time for a fork, it will only slow me down!
5:29 Here we go with the second-half kickoff. There's a holding call on the return, which will pin Colorado at the nine-yard line. Nice start for the Buckeyes. This is why you take the ball at the beginning of the game!
5:32 Third and four. Christian Bryant again telling people to get up. Then pauses to do a handshake with Orhian Johnson for some reason. Quick pass to Richardson over the middle for two yards. Great coverage by Bryant. Good thing he got that handshake in. The punt bounces to the 50-yard line. Field position is getting repeatedly won.
5:35 So do you try to re-establish the run here, or open with a play-action touchdown to Chris Fields? Actually, no Devin Smith on the field means it's a run. No reason to get fancy I guess. Jordan Hall gets the ball and picks up four yards against a safety blitz. Well, a safety blitz would have been the perfect time to go deep.
5:36 The Buckeyes now have three tight ends and T.Y. Williams all on the field together. I guarantee that this is the tallest lineup the Buckeyes have ever put on the field at one time.
5:37 Third and two. QB run. Actually, it's Jordan Hall in the wildcat for 20 yards. I thought that was Braxton, then realized it was much too slow.
5:39 Third and four from the Colorado 17-yard line. They have to throw now. Or at least run with the quarterback. Of course! He's throwing it to Devin Smith touchdown in the corner of the endzone! I should have known. This will be reviewed. His feet were right on the sideline. Two feet! Wow, amazing grab for Devin Smith. The Buckeyes lead it 27-7.
5:41 People keep tweeting me about how awful Craig James is. Why not also tweet me about the color of the sky.
5:47 Rodney Stewart takes off for 25 yards. We saw this last week. Don't worry, from my experience, the quarterback will throw an interception soon.
5:51 The Buckeyes hold Colorado to a 47-yard field goal. This is a brand new ball game! Sigh. I can't lie to you. It's the same blowout it was just a minute ago. I'm sorry.
5:53 Here's the kickoff. Jordan Hall takes it at the five and he is gone! Wait, no he's not. He gets tackled at the OTHER five-yard line. From one five to the other. That's 90 yards on the return. Field position battle has been won yet again. Hall needs to increase his speed though, because it's much funner to say “Gone!” from 50 yards out and be right. Ted Ginn spoiled so many people who like to prematurely call out “Gone!”
5:57 The Buckeyes come out in a power look with Carlos Hyde. He will follow Boren to happiness. Actually it's a pitch left and Hyde gets to the corner untouched. That should count as a completion! Buckeyes lead it 34-10. That was a nine-second drive. Not gonna win the time of possession battle like that.
5:59 The kickoff goes one yard deep and Shazier makes the tackle at the 15-yard line. Form of...contusion party!
6:02 Another open tight end over the middle down field. Sweat in coverage. I didn't know Colorado had Travis Beckum.
6:04 Fumble! It's a completion to the tight end and he fumbled after getting hit. Buckeye ball. Christian Bryant forced it, Howard came up with it. Here comes the review. Was there a football move, not sure. But it's a tight end and tight ends don't normally make football moves.
6:06 The pass was incomplete after further review. No football move. I hate football moves. Lazy non-football-moving tight ends.
6:07 Third and five. Simon destroyed Hansen with extreme prejudice and Sweat nearly came away with the interception. Punting time. Simon has no sacks, but his forehead is forever tattooed on Hansen's breastplate.
6:08 Great punt down inside the five-yard line and for some reason it's carried into the endzone by Ray Polk. He must hate his punter. Probably stole his girlfriend or something. Ha ha ha. I'm just kidding. Could you imagine anything more unlikely than a punter stealing somebody's girlfriend?
6:11 Miller drops back, starts to take off, and then backs out to flip it to Carlos Hyde, but it's just a touch too tall. Would've gotten 20 yards on that one. Very reminiscent of Troy Smith's throw to Gonzo in 2005 to win the Michigan game.
6:15 We have reached the end of the third quarter. The Buckeyes lead it 34-10. Colorado players start to hold four fingers up, then realize they don't want to look anymore foolish than they already do.
6:25 Here we go. Drew Basil is going to line up for a 47-yard field goal. Everybody said he just needed some short ones to get his confidence back. Let's see if those short ones worked. And they did! The kick is good. Ohio State leads it 37-10.
6:26 The Buckeyes look like they're having fun again.
6:32 Colorado goes three and out. I think they have a new level of respect for defense after today. Unfortunately, they'll forget it soon by facing the Pac 12 for the rest of the season.
6:36 Braxton rolls out and somehow gets three yards, breaking eleven tackles in the process. Somebody block for this dude!
6:37 The Buckeyes happily punt, and Colorado happily fair catches that punt on the ten-yard line. Is this like their fourth drive to start on or around the ten-yard line? What a bunch of idiots!
6:44 Encroachment on Storm Klein. He was a little bit eager there. He headbutted the center on 'Hut one'.
6:47 Time to head down the field. The last time we did this Rod Smith fumbled with the Toledo game on the line. Good times. Good times.
6:48 Whoa! The elevator down to the field is actually waiting on us. Maybe I won't miss that Rod Smith fumble after all!
6:51 Pretty quick trip. Just like Colorado's trip down the field, which now stands at Ohio State's 19-yard line.
6:52 They get a touchdown pass to some dude, but it's all the way on the other side of the field, so we are watching on the big screen in south stands. It's weird. You have to turn your back to the field to be able to see what's happening on the field. Like driving in reverse only using your rearview mirrors. Buckeyes lead it 37-17.
6:54 Colorado attempts an onside kick and Verlon Reed comes down with it. That's his first catch in two weeks!
6:55 Joe Bauserman is in. No boos. Mission accomplished for Luke Fickell.
7:00 Bauserman moves the ball all the way down to the Colorado one-yard line, where they let the clock run out. Buckeyes win it 37-17 and move to 3-1 on the season. And Braxton Miller has never lost a game as a starter. Pretty impressive.
7:03 I'm standing in the Colorado post game room. My question will be, “Coach, how could you have possibly known that Ohio State was going to be able to score touchdowns today? How much did that catch you off guard?”
7:04 Or maybe, “Coach, the seven completions for the Buckeyes, how shocked were you? And was that shock just too much to overcome? Was it like a bright light that temporarily blinded you and left you unable to manage your senses?”
7:07 In all seriousness, the 37 points are great. But I wonder if the Buckeyes would have been better served to play on longer fields and get Braxton Miller as many reps as possible. Though I guess confidence is important too, and it seems like they have it.
7:08 It's a different story from here on out with Big Ten play starting. But with Braxton Miller now under center, I think people are actually looking forward to it, at least for six more days.
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