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Last updated: 09/25/2011 12:00 PM

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Football
Buckeyes Bounce Back, Bludgeon Buffaloes
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Watching Ohio State’s offense move up and down the field Saturday against Colorado almost made last week’s loss to Miami (Fla.) seem like a distant memory.

Almost.

With Big Ten play just over the horizon, the Buckeyes (3-1) needed something to make them forget about the abysmal offensive showing against the Hurricanes.

As it turns out, that something was a someone.

Braxton Miller
Photo by Jim Davidson
Braxton Miller

With newly inserted quarterback Braxton Miller running the offense, the Buckeyes looked like a different team in their 31-17 trouncing of visiting Colorado (1-3) in week four.

“This whole week at practice we knew we had to change our attitudes,” fullback Zach Boren said.

“We had to keep fighting. We wanted that to be our mentality.”

Miller was making the first start of his young career, and he didn’t exactly light things up in passing game—although anything would be a dramatic improvement over last week. What he did do was electrify the offense with his legs.

“He was very good,” senior center Michael Brewster said.

“He got it going slinging the ball and made sure everyone in the huddle knew the play call before we went to the line. He stepped in and did his thing.”

With senior Joe Bauserman watching from underneath his headset, Miller ran for 83 yards and passed for 83 more, including a pair of touchdowns to fellow freshman Devin Smith.

The Buckeyes only had 110 yards passing, but their 226 yards on the ground were more than enough to solidify a convincing victory that ended with the ball resting on the Colorado one-yard line.

Luke Fickell
Photo by Jim Davidson
Luke Fickell

“Offensively we went in thinking we have to run the football,” OSU Head Coach Luke Fickell said.

“I know there’s some different ways we have to run it, but people are going to make it difficult on you. But when you look at it, we did a good job running the football.”

The Buffalos didn’t do a good job of making it tough on Ohio State. They gave the Buckeyes excellent field position all afternoon long. OSU’s average starting position was the Colorado 47-yard line.

"We were in a long field whether it was a penalty on a return, or them pinning us back there,” Colorado coach Jon Embree said.

“We gave them a short field a couple of times. I think that was 13 points.”

When they didn’t give it to Ohio State, Jordan Hall took it anyways.

Jordan Hall
Photo by Jim Davidson
Jordan Hall

“We know our special units are going to be a big part of it, and obviously Jordan can do a lot of different things,” Fickell said.

“He can be a weapon back there. People have to be aware of where he’s at, kicking the ball to him, whether it’s punts or kickoff returns.”

The junior tailback had a nice 12-yard punt return Saturday, but his real damage came on the kickoffs. After returning the opening kick out past midfield—it was called back to the 40 on a hold—he nearly took his second one to the house.

It looked like Colorado had him bottled up, but Hall squirted free down the right sideline. He made the kicker miss and went 90 yards before defensive back Terrel Smith tracked him down.

“I ran up the middle and I saw a lane to the right,” Hall said.

“I hit the lane, but it kind of made me mad I didn’t finish it off. At least we scored on the drive.”

They scored on the next play. Carlos Hyde took a toss to the left and walked into the end zone to give Ohio State a 34-10 lead. Hall finished with 84 yards on the ground and Hyde added another 40.

Miller would have finished with over 100 yards on the ground if not for three sacks. He carried the ball 18 and threw only 13, but his two touchdown passes to Smith were things of beauty.

“Braxton did a good job. He was calm. He’s going to be special,” Hall said.

“You see how he makes people miss when the blocking breaks down, and he had some good passes that were missed.”

The one thing the Buckeyes didn’t miss many of Saturday was tackles. After missing 27 of them against Miami, the defense was much better this week, holding Colorado to just 76 yards on the ground.

Game Notes
Two Minute Drill - Post-game locker room

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