Buckeye Watch - Miami
By Tony Gerdeman
There's no easy way to say this, but I think there might be some issues with the Ohio State offense.
Watching the game, I would have thought that completing a pass was the most difficult thing to do in sports, but since Texas Tech completed 45 of 50 passes earlier in the day, I guess that theory goes out the window.
The running game showed promise, but then went to the corner store for some smokes and never came back.
It's not often that a defense can give up 240 yards rushing and essentially be forgiven for it. The Buckeye defense did enough to win, but the offense gave them no help. Actually, it wasn't the entire offense, because the Ohio State running game did enough as well. The passing game was as bad as I've ever seen. Ever. And I'm not just limiting this too the Buckeyes. It was like watching Akron against Ohio State, except the cleats were on the other foot.
It was hard to watch. I doubt it's easier to read.
4:47 It has not be an easy day for the Big Ten today. When Michigan is carrying the flag, you know things are bad.
6:23 John just texted me. Miami didn't provide any food for the media, which is unheard of. That's a class organization from the top down. Note for next time: Bring sandwich fixings.
6:56 From the sounds of it, there will be quite a few Buckeye fans at the game. I knew it wouldn't be a hostile crowd, but I wasn't exactly expecting Bloomington either.
7:07 It looks like Travis Howard will be getting the start for the Buckeyes, moving Dominic Clarke to the bench. It's amazing to think that Howard is unquestionably a better option than Clarke after the way Clarke has played so far. That tells me an awful lot about Howard.
7:27 This ESPN pregame from Tom Rinaldi is ridiculous. “What price success? What cost conquest?” How can somebody from ESPN spew that with a straight face? That's like Dave Wannstedt criticizing a coach for buffoonery. "What price pie to the face? What cost football to the groin?"
7:30 Holly Rowe tells me that all of the returning Hurricanes will get the start tonight. Not shocked.
7:31 Buckeyes lose the toss and will get the ball. If they can withstand the crowd noise of hundreds talking at the top of their lungs, then they should be okay.
7:32 Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry are back to return. Berry returns it to the 17-yard line. He still doesn't look right.
7:33 Chris Fields drops a low hitch pass that was also behind him. That was second and four, but it feels like a drive killer.
7:34 No full crowd shots. I wonder why. Shotgun. Bauserman is going deep, but it's overthrown to Fields. Well, I don't like it on third and four, but I like the aggression. Ineligible receiver on Stoneburner. Wouldn't have mattered anyway. First mistake goes to the Buckeyes. Time to punt already.
7:36 Wow. In one carry, Lamar Miller takes the Hurricanes all the way to the Ohio State nine-yard line. There was a huge hole up the middle and there were no linebackers. He was tracked down by Bradley Roby. Sweat and Klein were no where. Tremendous blocking, and Orhian Johnson missed the tackle.
7:37 Miami's running backs are nicknamed “Smash and Dash”. I think naming your backfield after a felony is great. Remember when Nebraska's backfield was named “Drag Your Woman Down the Stairs by Her Hair and Lightning?”
7:38 Third and goal. Time for a blitz from Tyler Moeller. Jacory Harris drops back and finds a wide open Allen Hurns between Orhian Johnson and Travis Howard. That was remarkably easy. Now Jacory is confident, which is good. Miami leads it 7-0.
7:39 Not a great series for Orhian Johnson. Perhaps there will be one more round of rotating before Christian Bryant takes the job for good?
7:43 Jordan Hall is now in. Watch out for the obvious pass into the flats. Whoa, instead Bauserman rolls out and throws to Evan Spencer, who drops an off-target pass. It would have gained three yards. That's two drops on just three passes. Buckeyes looking to set a record tonight.
7:43 Bauserman keeps it on the zone read with Hall coming from the slot. Tricky. Now maybe on third down they will run the speed option for a loss of six.
7:45 The Buckeyes punt and Travis Benjamin picks up 25 yards on the return. At least they haven't busted any kickoff returns yet.
7:47 Braxton is taking snaps on the sideline. Looks like he'll be coming in on the next series in order to run the two plays that they trust him with. Oh, Miami just picked up a first down on third and two. The fullback caught a bad pass. Their guys catch the bad passes, apparently.
7:52 Third and four. Toss right, and Lamar Miller squirts through and gets inside the five. Great patience, and there was nobody to fill the hole. I thought wide stuff didn't work against this defense. Andrew Sweat is down. Now he's up. Gotta bring in Ryan Shazier for him, no? Buckeyes are toast, man. Toast.
7:54 Hello 2004, my old friend.
7:55 What time does the Oklahoma game start?
7:56 After Miami's TD, we may be seeing the start of the Braxton Miller era. If he plays well, there's no reason to take him out of this game.
7:57 Toss to Mike James to the right and he fumbled it out of bounds. Ryan Shazier right in there to force the fumble. Almost fumbled it out of the endzone. Shazier put a helmet on the ball and then it bounced off of another Buckeye.
7:58 Touchdown Hurns. Roby gave up the touchdown on the back shoulder. He never looked back. He got his hand in there, but never turned. The ball even hit his hand. Nice catch. Extra point is good. Miami leads it 14-0.
7:59 It's weird. A 14-point deficit was an automatic loss under Jim Tressel. At least we won't have to wait too far into the Luke Fickell era to find out what a 14-point deficit means to him.
8:01 Here comes Braxton. QB draw in 3...2...1... Instead the give is to Jordan Hall, who picks up 13 yards right up the middle behind Zach Boren. Todd Blackledge says that this may “not be the right time” to bring in Miller. There is no right time when he's only getting a fraction of the snaps in practice.
8:02 Nice moves by Hall for another 12 yards. Hyde would've gotten two yards on that. Hall broke ankles.
8:03 Uh oh. Miller is changing something up. Play-action...and it's tipped and intercepted by JoJo Nicolas. Sean Spence tipped it, intended for Stoneburner. I wonder what was changed. Was he fooled? Bauserman was right there to talk to Miller as he came to the sidelines. I think he said, “I would have thrown it away there.”
8:05 Miller picks up 17 yards. He's now over 100 yards in the first quarter. When was the last time a running back gained 100 yards in the first quarter against the Buckeyes? Did Biakabatuka?
8:06 Play-action bootleg. Jacory is looking deep...and it's intercepted with ease by C.J. Barnett. Thank you, Jacory. We were worried that you weren't going to make it. If the stadium was an episode of 'Cheers', that would have been like Norm's entrance. Once Barnett caught the ball, the entire stadium would have said “Jacory!” in unison. A manager on the sideline would have then asked, “How's life Mr. Harris?” “Not great. I just threw another interception. Make sure to stop me at one. Ahh, make it 1:30.”
8:07 Braxton comes back. Another big hole and Hall gets 15 more right up the middle behind Zach Boren. Hurricane Boren has reached landfall. Go get yo plywood!
8:08 Hall picks up 13 more. This dude is serious. He's making up for three games in one quarter alone. He showed great vision and cutback ability. Now he comes out.
8:10 The first quarter comes to a merciful end, but I'm still waiting on the failed QB draw.
8:13 Third and twelve and the crowd is showing moderate interest. Braxton surveys, begins to scramble and then throws it and it's a tad too high for Verlon Reed. Reed came back too far, which made the throw harder to catch. Miller told him to stay, but he kept coming. Time to punt.
8:15 The Buckeyes didn't make Jacory pay for the last mistake. That's a win for the Hurricanes.
8:16 Third down, and it's nearly intercepted by Sweat. Right into his chest. This is a very good sign. The Buckeye jerseys must be invisible. I'd like to thank Nike for their invisible uniforms. Science is crazy! Miami punts.
8:18 Bauserman is back. I'm okay with this. Now the Buckeyes can add the passing game to Jordan Hall's running and returning game.
8:20 Eventually the play-action will give the Buckeyes six, right? Nice hole for Hall who gets five more right up the middle. He leaves the game. His helmet is broke. Quick, somebody give that man your helmet!
8:21 Rollout is dropped by Verlon Reed again. Strange. That would've been a 20-yard gain. Just flat dropped it. First big time game for the redshirt freshman, and maybe it's getting to him.
8:22 Draw to Hyde, who picks up 17 yards. The offensive line is moving folks and the draw was perfect right there. Miami knows the Buckeyes can't pass and they're still being run on. Imagine if this was a capable offense.
8:24 Hall gets five more. Mouth meet football. Commence smashing.
8:26 The Buckeyes are just pounding Miami on the ground right now. If they get to the endzone on this drive, it would almost be like a 14-point touchdown just based on the amount of asskickery that is going on.
8:28 Is there an unobvious way of saying how important a touchdown would be here? No? Okay. Is 'unobvious' a word? No? Okay.
8:30 Third and six from the 15-yard line. Bauserman is changing stuff. Carlos Freaking Hyde!! The snap was dropped by Bauserman and Hyde picked it up and fought for the first down. Then Joe Bauserman took a couple of shots to the head from the Hurricanes, as is their style. Hopefully nobody retaliated because they were taking multiple shots. Open handed punches. Offsetting personal fouls on the Canes and Verlon. Not a stellar day for him to this point. Just saw the replay. Verlon was defending his quarterback, which I'm fine with.
8:32 This stupid siren can die in a fire.
8:33 Third and goal. Bauserman rolls out...and throws it away. There was nobody open.
8:34 Field goal. Drew Basil is looking for his first field goal ever. 22 yards out. Got it. 14-3. Can the Buckeyes win this game without completing another pass? I'm afraid we might have to find out.
8:37 Kickoff. Nice kick. Three yards deep and Benjamin stays. Thank you Lamar Miller, who told him to stay. So persuasive. You are a good friend, Lamar.
8:38 Miller picks up a yard. John Simon was there to grab him by his ankle. He then picked him up and pounded him into the ground like when Bam Bam Rubble meets somebody new.
8:38 Jacory is looking down the field again...and finds Brad Roby for the interception! Simon was there to hit Harris right at the release, but I don't think he affected anything. Now Harris is limping. Crap! By the way, Jacory has now completed twice as many passes to Buckeyes as Joe Bauserman has.
8:40 Hall kicks it out wide. Gets a foot. The run is getting tougher. If only there was another way to advance the football...
8:41 Play-action. Bauserman throws it to the corner of the endzone where there wasn't anybody within 30 yards. Miscommunication between someone and everyone. Roughing the passer.
8:42 Second and seven from the eight-yard line. Hyde for a yard. Now time for the third down throw out of the endzone.
8:42 Pop pass on the play-action and Stoneburner dropped the sidearm pass. That pass was way behind Stoneburner, but if you don't want people thinking that you can make a one-handed catch for a touchdown, don't do it the week before.
8:43 The field goal from 24 yards out is good. Despite everything, the Buckeyes have to feel pretty good right now. They are still within a touchdown and can't throw the ball. It's like playing Duck Duck Goose without any legs, but still being able to almost catch people by crawling on your elbows.
8:49 Miami is going to get consecutive possessions to end the first half and start the second. That could finish the game, if it isn't finished already.
8:51 Third and five for Miami. They're going deep, and got it to Tommy Streeter for a big gain. I'm not sure he ever really had that. Roby was on him. Wow. He caught that with his knees. Nice grab. It will be reviewed, but I think he caught it.
8:55 The Buckeyes have four yards passing. The only person who would be happy with that would be Woody Hayes.
8:59 Miami is going to settle for a field goal and Buckeye fans will gladly take it. This one from 25 yards out is good. Miami leads it 17-6 at the half.
9:00 Uh oh, Al Golden just said Jacory Harris shouldn't be thinking about going that far down the field. Gonna be hard to intercept him in the second half.
9:01 The tackling is pretty poor tonight. If it's not an ensemble cast making a particular play, the Buckeyes are missing tackles. Might be time to see more of Ryan Shazier, and it's still looking better than the passing offense.
9:02 It's time to let Braxton Miller win or lose this game. Playing safe has the Buckeyes down 17-6 at the half. Offense is a necessity and you can't stop looking for it.
9:03 At least if you put Miller in, he will give the defense more to think about. The running game bogged down late and isn't going to get better.
9:21 The game is back on. False start. Lots of confusion for Miami. Nice to see on their first snap out of the half. They apparently needed more time to figure out what to do. They probably sent somebody out to the Miami marching band—wait...does Miami have a marching bad? I was going to say that they probably sent somebody out to the band to tell them to play a couple of extra tunes, but I can't picture Miami having a band. Apparently, I don't really picture Miami as a university. Maybe I just can't picture people from Miami carrying instruments because I assume the only time they don't have machetes in their hands is when they're sleeping or in the bathroom.
9:25 Miami goes three and out. The Buckeyes have the return set up. Jordan Hall gets it at the 16-yard line, gets free and he's on the loose out to the 42-yard line. He's cramping. He probably wouldn't have made it the distance to begin with, but there were some nice moves. Possibly a hold in there at the end. Get healthy quickly, young man.
9:26 Apparently Luke Fickell said “We've got to find somebody with a hot hand, and then we'll stay with them” at quarterback. How about somebody non-frigid? Or somebody who isn't all rigor mortisy.
9:30 Third and nine. Jaamal Berry is in for the screen, but it was smelt and Bauserman had to swallow the football for the sack. Nice job by Bauserman to not get baited into the interception, but the fact remains the Buckeyes are punting. Again.
9:31 Buchanan's punt bounces to the seven-yard line. Nice punt. The defense might need to score here. Crap. Illegal formation. Left tackle not on the line of scrimmage. Tim Beckman is watching this and snickering. That's a terrible punt to lose. But it doesn't matter because Buchanan kicks it again and drops it at the four-yard line. Nice job, Al. You wanna go triple or nothing? We can do this all day long.
9:32 You know things are bad when a punt downed inside the five-yard line feels like an offensive success.
9:38 Miami is churning out the yards on the ground now. They're gonna do everything they can to make sure Jacory Harris doesn't lose it for them.
9:39 Play-action. Harris was looking deep, then dumped it to the tight end for two yards. Buckeye fans got excited, then were let down.
9:43 Fourth and one. Miami is going for it. Jacory fumbles and it's a six yard loss! Buckeyes get the ball. Jacory lost a shoe and limps off again. Klein forced the fumble. Nice mix up out of a timeout again, Miami. If the Buckeyes are ever going to capitalize, they have to do it here.
9:45 Braxton is in. Empty set. Berry in motion. Braxton pulls the ball back from Berry with the read option and bounces it on the ground. Loses four. Now Bauserman is back in. Wow. This is disturbing. Like Japanese horror movie disturbing.
9:47 In case you're still reading, the Buckeyes just punted.
9:48 The next receiver to make a play for Bauserman tonight will be the first.
9:49 The loss of Jordan Hall has been disastrous. What a tease.
9:52 Third and nine. Pick six time. Jacory instead dumps it to Mike James for three yards. Miami will punt. So many plays the defense has given the offense and they're all going to waste.
9:54 Bauserman runs a bootleg directly into an edge rusher who's not really interested in rushing. Throws it away. Unbelievable.
9:55 Third and twelve. Bauserman's pass is tipped at the line of scrimmage. A completed pass should count as points because it's so difficult to do. Buckeyes punt.
9:56 The UCLA game in 2001 comes to mind. Just no offense, yet the defense kept the game close. A four-point lead would seem insurmountable at this point.
9:57 If Travis Benjamin isn't going to muff any of those punts, the Buckeyes are never going to score.
9:58 That's the end of the third quarter. Miami leads it 17-6.
9:59 It's a good thing Jordan Hall didn't carry the ball in the third quarter. He will be super fresh for the fourth quarter.
10:03 Third and one, and Klein is there to stop Miller for a loss of one yard. That's what an Ohio State middle linebacker is supposed to do! Simon and Hankins were involved as well. The fullback left Klein alone. Weird. Another gift. To be returned, no doubt.
10:04 Braxton Miller is in the huddle. It's his team the rest of the way out. Until his eligibility is gone.
10:06 Berry in motion. Braxton keeps it on the zone read and picks up four yards. That was the play they tried on his last snap. They have one play for him. On the sideline they tell him, “Braxton, get in there and run your one play!”
10:07 Braxton keeps it again and scoots up the sideline for a real first down! A first down!! A real one!! All for me!!1?! My precious...
10:08 Bluh. Another keeper for Braxton and he gets five more. He's gonna be exhausted. Even Denard Robinson is thinking this dude needs to take a break.
10:10 Braxton takes off and fumbles the football. Holding it without any regard, and Marcus Robinson came in and punched it right out. Way too easy, and he had picked up another first down.
10:11 Al Borges is looking at this offense and wondering why they didn't design a third play to run like he did.
10:12 Well, at least now the Buckeyes have a chance to score.
10:13 Wow! Jacory nearly threw another interception. And the Miami fans are booing. Christian Bryant would have had a pick six. You have to catch that dude.
10:18 Second and 13 with 5:15 to play. Quick slip screen to Benjamin for two yards. The clock will be around 4:10 at the next snap. I'd be okay with taking a timeout here.
10:19 Third and ten. Unbelievable. Another near interception and somehow Streeter comes up with it between Moore and Clarke. No business throwing that ball. Idiotic. Props to the Canes for winning in spite of this court jester they have playing quarterback.
10:21 Second and goal at the four. Help us, Jacory.
10:24 The clock is running like dogs at a park. Chasing geese. Smelling dog butts. Just has no care in the world. That's what this clock is doing. And Luke Fickell is letting it happen. Doesn't he know about the leash laws? He has apparently given up.
10:25 Third and goal. Just letting the clock run with 1:25 to play. James gets a yard. Now call a timeout please. Wow. This is terrible. Les Miles is watching with tented fingers saying, “Tell me more. Teach me!”
10:26 Good thing you have all of those timeouts for the passing game that you don't have.
10:27 Touchdown Mike James with 33 seconds to play. And Ohio State's streak of 101-odd weeks of being ranked will come to an end. Thank you, Tat-5. Miami leads it 24-6. That drive went 14 plays for 69 yards and nearly nine minutes. I hope there's room on the plane for all of those timeouts.
10:31 Ballgame. Miami is not good. Lamar Miller is good, but Miami isn't.
10:32 The last thing Luke Fickell wanted to do during his one-season audition was rely on a freshman quarterback, but at least he will provide offense from the quarterback position. It may not be passing offense, but at least he's another weapon.
10:34 The reps this week need to go to Braxton Miller. He has to get up to speed to be the full-time quarterback. There is no other option. Both quarterbacks can lead this team to eight wins, which is why you go with the guy who has more potential—and the one who still has a future with the team.
10:36 I'm actually pretty interested to watch this back on the DVR. Football rubber-necking, I guess.
10:38 This is screaming 2004 to me. There will be some changes made over the next four months that will dictate where the next seven or eight years of this program is going. Things look bleak right now, but in the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing. And so forth.
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