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Last updated: 09/03/2012 5:28 PM

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Football
Best of the Day: Top Plays and Players from Saturday’s Win

By Brandon Castel

There was plenty to write about during and after Ohio State’s 56-10 win over Miami (Ohio) Saturday, but we decided to focus on the key players, best plays, storylines and even some newsworthy Tweets from the first weekend of college football.

Top Six Players

Braxton Miller
Photo by Jim Davidson
Braxton Miller

1.OSU QB Braxton Miller — It’s impossible to argue against what Miller did in his first game in Meyer’s offense. On the ground, he was nothing short of spectacular – breaking Cornelius Greene’s 38-year-old rushing record for a quarterback. Miller misfired on a few of his passes, and he was lucky that intentional grounding play wasn’t ruled a fumble, but his numbers were borderline Heisman-esque on Saturday: 200 yards passing, 161 rushing and three touchdowns. 

2. Miami QB Zac Dysert — It’s not indicative of the final score, but this game really was a battle between the two quarterbacks. Miller was much more effective at getting his team into the end zone, but he also had the benefit of a receiving corps that made some big plays for him down the field. Dysert was on the opposite end, as a number of his receivers dropped key passes that could have led to scores. He still finished with over 300 yards passing, despite the fact he had guys in his face most of the afternoon.

Travis Howard
Photo by Jim Davidson
Travis Howard

3. OSU CB Travis Howard — The Buckeyes had to overcome some blown coverage’s early on, but Howard made two of the biggest plays of the game. They may not seem as big because both came in the second half, after Ohio State had pretty much wrapped up the game, but Howard’s two interceptions were both key in keeping the momentum. The first one came immediately following Miami’s first, and ultimately only, touchdown of the game. Dysert hooked up with Nick Harwell for a 44 yard score to make it 35-10, but on Miami’s next possession, Howard picked Dysert in Ohio State territory. Howard’s second pick at the start of the fourth quarter set up Carlos Hyde’s 8-yard touchdown run to make it a 42-10 game.

4. OSU RB Carlos Hyde — With Jordan Hall still on the shelf until week two or three, Hyde had 82 yards and 2 TDs on just 17 carries. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry without having a huge run to skew the numbers, and he was EXACTLY what they needed him to be Saturday except for that last play of the first half. If you go back and watch a number of Braxton Miller’s big runs, look to see how many Miami defenders were out of position because they were focused on Hyde.

5. Miami WR Nick Harwell — There weren’t many guys making plays for Dysert on Saturday, but Harwell proved to be everything Meyer said he could be and more. In all, he snagged eight passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. His biggest play of the day was a 44-yard score where he got behind OSU defensive backs C.J. Barnett and Corey Brown.

Philly Brown
Photo by Jim Davidson
Philly Brown

6. OSU WR’s Philly Brown and Devin Smith — Harwell had the big numbers Saturday, but it’s hard to say his performance was more valuable than what Brown and Smith gave the Buckeyes. Evan Spencer also made a couple nice catches, but Smith had the biggest pay of the day on a one-handed, acrobatic circus catch in the end zone. It was Brown who really carried the day, however, with seven catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Five Biggest Plays

1.There were a number of big plays Saturday, but the biggest, and most important had to be Devin Smith’s one-handed grab. Not only is it the play people will be talking about for the rest of the season, but it also came at a critical juncture in the game. Ohio State had struggled mightily in the first quarter and they were desperately looking for something to get things going. Miller got them in Miami territory with a 38-yard pass to Brown, but Smith’s catch sparked a 56-7 run for the Buckeyes. It actually wasn’t that great of a throw by Miller. It might have even been picked, except Smith reached up and snatched out the air, one-handed, with his fully-extended body.

Devin Smith

2. The game still scoreless in the first quarter, Miami quarterback Zac Dysert had a couple of chances to get the Redhawks in the end zone. The first ended with a dropped pass by David Frazier on a 3rd and 1 at the OSU 45-yard line, but it was the second that really hurt the most. After driving Miami inside the OSU 10-yard line, Dysert slipped a sack by defensive end Nathan Williams and made a perfect read to find fullback Justin Semmes out in the flat. Semmes could have walked into the end zone untouched, but he flat out dropped the pass. Freshman kicker Kaleb Patterson missed a chip-shot wide right and the Redhawks came away with no points.

3. Leading 21-3 late in the first half, Miller was trying to guide the Buckeyes quickly down the field for a last-minute score. He had them out near midfield, when a well-timed blitz from Miami caught him dead-footed in the backfield. Instead of taking a sack, Miller tried to force the ball into the flat, only it went flying in the wrong direction. It landed deep in the backfield, and would have been a fumble, except it was ruled intentional grounding because Miller was still in the pocket. On the very next play, Miller took off for 23 yards on 2nd-and-22, getting it all right back and then some.

4. On the first play of the second half, right after Carlos Hyde was stuffed at the one-yard line to end the first half, Braxton Miller made the play of the game. He faked a handoff inside to Hyde and took off down the left sideline on a option keeper. Fullback Zach Boren made the key block and Miller made Miami DB D.J. Brown look silly with a stutter-step at the 30-yard line on his way to a 65-yard touchdown run.

5. Now leading 28-3 early in the second half, the Buckeyes gave the ball back to Miami and Adam Griffin made a nice special teams tackle at the 19-yard line. It might have been an omen, because a few plays later, it was Bradley Roby who recovered a botched fumble in the end zone to give OSU a 35-3 lead.

Top Five Tweets

1. @BTNTomDienhart OK, competition for Catch of the Year already is over. And it's only Sept. 1. Devin Smith's one-handed grab is the winner.

2. @BeauBishop Braxton could have some Denard from sophomore year numbers if this keeps up.

3. @JonThoma I don't care if it's Michigan. 41-14 score line in a Big Ten vs SEC team hurts to see. I'll NEVER get over that loss. Damn you Urban!

4. @Brewster50 Rule #1 whoever Michigan is playing---root for that team---big ten pride is put aside for the embarrassment of Michigan

5. @OsuCoachCoombs Ok now I know! From the walk to the skull session to the quick cals with the students to the kickoff. And then the game! This is awesome!

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