Buckeye Watch — Miami (Ohio)
By Tony Gerdeman
Well, was it everything that you had hoped for?
In the past, when there were two or three scores left on the field of a 31-10 win, you could tell yourself that it was still a significant blowout because it really should have been 56-10.
But how about a team that scores 56 points and still leaves those two or three scores on the table?
What we saw on Saturday was still a relatively basic offense to those calling the plays, but it was light years ahead of what Buckeye fans have seen for the last decade or so.
For me, it's not so much the new system, but rather it's the new mentality. Offense is a good thing, and it is okay to want a boatload of points. Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.
Whether that offense is a pro style or a spread, or a combination, as Ohio State has been for years, it doesn't matter. What matters is the mentality. The desire to put as much pressure on a defense as the game will allow. That is what the Buckeyes are into now.
The die-hards don't have to like the system, but they should respect the fact that there is now an offense in Columbus that puts a premium on points, not punts.
In fact, somebody needs to turn that into some type of t-shirt slogan. "Points, Not Punts".
10:29 Gameday. Over these last few months, I've had dreams of oversleeping this game, or forgetting about it until midway through the third quarter. I'm glad to say that I've made it today and nothing terrible has happened to me. [Blacks out.]
11:04 I'm most interested in seeing the passing game today. Can Braxton Miller hit the open receivers who will no doubt be running free? He doesn't need to always hit them, but he certainly needs to be at about a 75% clip.
11:21 Nathan Williams is dressed and running around. Almost as much as the passing game, I'm looking forward to seeing him get some snaps. Would love to see the crowd react to his first appearance, but they probably won't notice.
11:24 I realize there is no cheering in the press box, but I am starting Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde and the OSU defense today on my fantasy team. I realize that if anything bad happens, you will blame me for being the reason why it happened. But you need to get a life. It wouldn't have anything to do with me. It would be your fault for not wearing your lucky socks. Idiot.
11:30 Block O is half full and it's about eight minutes until Quick Cals. Mickey Marotti is going to have these kids running stairs for being late. Later tonight, he'll show up at campus parties and instigate competitive keg stands in order to keep kids hydrated. “Don't want to cramp up,” he'll say.
11:39 Miami's band is taking the field. They're so smug.
11:45 Finally, TBDBITL. It is about to be broughten. I would like to see these two bands fight, and the only weapons allowed would be their own instruments. I wonder which section would live the longest. I would equate the sousaphone to a battle ax. It's not the most nimble of weapons, but I bet it leaves the deepest wounds. Flutes probably hurt, but it's not going to stop anybody. I would send the flautists in first. They are expendable. “Go in there and create some racket and smack some people on the head!” [Turns to trombonists, chuckles and shakes his head.] “They are so dead.”
11:46 Desmond Howard just picked Michigan to beat Alabama. Today, I was going to predict that the sun would rise, but I wanted to go with a surer bet, so I predicted that Desmond would pick Michigan over Alabama.
11:57 Eddie George leads the pregame video package on the big screen. He's such a homer. The Buckeyes enter to 'Hell's Bells', which is how everybody should enter everything. Everything.
12:02 Miami wins the toss and receives. Let's take a look at this defensive line immediately why don't we.
12:04 The kickoff coverage team consists of the entire secondary and some freshmen linebackers. Looks rather speedy. Interesting bunch look by the coverage team. Not spread out at the kick, which ends in a touchback.
12:05 J.T. Moore is getting the start at defensive end in place of Michael Bennett. That likely means that Bennett won't be going at all today. The defense starts in base. Empty backfield. Five wide. Delay of game. Overheard in the press box, “You only had eight months to call that play.”
12:06 Huge hit by Etienne Sabino leads to a 15-yard penalty for targeting. Sigh. A Buckeye linebacker finally makes a perfect tackle and he gets flagged for it. I love hugball.
12:08 Third and one. RedHawks drop their second straight pass attempt. A defense always has to rely on drops against spread teams. They'd never lose if they caught everything. Miami punts.
12:09 The first play from scrimmage for the Buckeyes in the Urban Meyer era is...a straight QB sweep for three yards. Was I alone in expecting an 89-yard triple-reverse touchdown pass to Braxton Miller on that?
12:11 Third and six. Empty backfield. Miller can't find anybody and throws it away. I wonder how Boston College is doing. Buckeyes punt.
12:12 And those were the scripted plays that they worked on more than any others. I don't want to tell you to panic, but I might start loading up on potable water and toilet paper for your bunker if I were you.
12:15 Nathan Williams is on the field for the first time. John Simon moves over to the strong side. Great to see. We knew he was going to play, but getting out here this early is a very good sign.
12:16 Third and five. There's a miscommunication of some sort as Travis Howard and Christian Bryant are split by Nick Harwell for 44 yards, taking the ball down to the Ohio State 22-yard line. I remember this play from last year.
12:20 Third and five from the six-yard line. Nathan Williams nearly sacks Zac Dysert, but he loses him and Dysert finds Justin Semmes who drops it. Ouch. He would have walked in. Looks like Nathan Williams is still getting used to grabbing another man and throwing him to the ground. Hmm, let's not describe football in that manner anymore.
12:21 Miami will attempt a 24-yard field goal. And it's wide right by Caleb Patterson. That's why it sucks to have a kicking battle. It generally means that you don't have one kicker good enough, and the “winner” is always looking over his shoulder.
12:26 The Buckeyes go three and out. Urban Meyer said that they scripted the first twelve plays, and so far this script reads like a romantic alien comedy written by George Lucas. Buckeyes punt.
12:27 Freshman defensive tackle Adolphus Washington is in on this drive. And there is another big play by the RedHawks, this one a pass to Dawan Scott down to the ten-yard line. No pass rush and a lot of guys running free. C.J. Barnett missed on that one. 58 yards on the gain.
12:28 Shotgun. Dysert missed a wide open receiver, which would have been another walk in touchdown. I think Miami knows what OSU is doing and OSU doesn't know themselves.
12:30 Third and four from the five-yard line. Rollout. And the touchdown pass is dropped again. Another silver bullet dodged by the Silver Bullets. Miami kicks a 22-yard field goal to take the 3-0 lead.
12:33 I guess that counts as a win for the Buckeyes. Being down 3-0 is much better than being down 14-0 like they should be. Maybe if they were down 14-0, then they'd really be the angry team that Urban Meyer wanted.
12:35 Touchback on the kickoff. People just want to see a first down right now. Give them something to believe in. Too bad there are still a few plays left in the script. [Mibzelborp takes Darla's hand, looks into her eyes and says those three little words: “I g – g – g – gleebglop you.”]
12:36 Braxton Miller rolls out, scrambles and then does his patented reversal of field for a gain of 18 yards. He tried to throw a stiff arm, but he only ended up launching himself like a gymnast doing a vault. And he didn't stick the landing.
12:38 Third and six. Five wide. The pass is incomplete for Corey Brown. It went 100 mph through his hands. I can hear the crowd snoring. Buckeyes punt.
12:44 Miami goes three and out. Devin Smith fields the punt and loses two yards on the return. Apparently the special teams is scripted as well. [Mibzelborp gets stuck in an elevator because he doesn't understand human machines and misses Darla's big dance recital. Will she forgive him?]
12:46 The Buckeyes go three and out, just like the script must say.
12:49 Third and one. Shotgun. Dysert finds Westbrook, who gets knocked out of bounds on a great play by Nathan Williams. He'll be a yard short and Miami will punt. Williams came off of one man to take down Westbrook. He looks pretty healthy to me. That brings us to the end of the first quarter. Buckeyes trail it 3-0.
12:51 What I've seen are open receivers and a quarterback who is too excited to throw the ball well. And a running game that can't get a groove with a QB who is reading instead of handing off. Might be time to get serious with the running game.
12:53 There we go, Carlos Hyde gets a big gain, chugging for a 16-yard pick up. This seems promising.
12:54 Same formation, but Braxton keeps this one for six. Had he given it to Hyde again, the score may be 7-3 right now.
12:55 Play-action to a wide open Corey Brown. Brown had to wait for it a smidge, but that's still a 38-yard pick up down to the 23-yard line. There are just so many possibilities with the play-action in this offense. It just depends on Miller's accuracy.
12:56 Braxton looking to the endzone... WOW! Devin Smith just went up and plucked the football out of the sky with his right hand, and cradled it into his body like he was a fireman rescuing a kitten from the top of a tree. He got two feet and a hand in for good measure. And Smith hands the kitten to the referee. Now that's how it's supposed to go. Four plays, 83 yards and done in just 1:03. Buckeyes lead it 7-3.
12:57 Braxton Miller had five yards passing in the first quarter, but he's now 2-2 for 61 yards in the second quarter.
1:00 Another drop on third down by Miami. I wonder if George Lucas has written their script as well. [“Indiana Jones and Bigfoot's Baby Mama Drama”, by George Lucas.] Miami punts.
1:06 Second down. Play-action, quick pass to Corey Brown out of the slot. Michigan made a killing on that play with Denard Robinson and Roy Roundtree in 2010. It picks up thirteen yards, and is probably on the low end of what it will generally pick up when executed well.
1:07 The play action is deadly right now. And there it is again with a triple-option look as Miller finds a wide open Jake Stoneburner, who goes out of bounds at the nine-yard line.
1:08 Third and goal from the five-yard line. Bri'onte Dunn is in for the first time as a tailback. He splits out wide. Rollout...touchdown to Corey Brown on a quick out from the slot. That's as easy as you'll ever see. Wow, even the extra point is a hurry up. Buckeyes lead it 14-3. Miller is 5-5 for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the second quarter.
1:09 Once the Buckeyes went off script, good stuff happened. They got a pretty good idea of how the RedHawks were responding to certain situations, and now they know what is more effective. One thing they know now is that Miami has no answer for the play-action.
1:15 Miami goes three and out thanks to another dropped pass on third down. Tremendous script. [Scene: Indiana Jones getting drunk by himself in a tent in Tibet. An attractive yeti pokes her head in...]
1:21 Miller fumbles the ball forward and recovers it for a six-yard gain. I'm a fan of Tom Herman's offense, but I think that play call was simply too dangerous. Granted, Miami never saw it coming, but still, it's a huge gamble.
1:22 And there goes Braxton Miller again, this time for 33 yards down the right side. He takes it to the nine-yard line. It's pretty amazing how he can just always do that a couple of times per game. There are a lot of very talented tailbacks who don't get big runs like that as routinely as Miller does.
1:23 Miller is closing in on 100 yards rushing.
1:24 Touchdown Carlos Hyde from four yards out. And no flag for the post-score hand signal with the gloves. We are making progress, America! Buckeyes lead it 21-3.
1:25 Ohio State has 213 yards of total offense in the second quarter. I'm picturing Urban Meyer as Al Pacino in 'The Godfather III'. “Just when I thought I was out, Braxton Miller pulls me back in.” Having a quarterback like Miller to call plays for has to be better than retirement, right?
1:30 Third and one, and Miami drops another third down pass. It was wide open again. The Buckeyes are fortunate that Miami is so unfortunate. Such is life when following this particular script, however. [“Come here often,” Indy asks. “This is generally the area where I poop,” the yeti replies. “Are you trying to seduce me,” Indy retorts.]
1:33 Miller drops back, is getting sacked, and just flips it backwards and it's recovered by Miami, and then stolen by Zach Boren. Now they're going to call it grounding. Not sure how you can ground a backwards pass, but then I'm just a guy with the common sense of an average man. The ref says Miller was hit while attempting to throw a forward pass, hence the penalty. Okay.
1:35 And Miller makes it all up with a designed run right behind Boren. He picks up 22 yards on second and 22. He's got to be close to 100 yards rushing this half. I'm assuming Meyer wasn't happy with Miller after the grounding call, but after that run, he's probably like, “You're good. We're not fighting anymore.”
1:40 Third and fifteen with twelve seconds left in the half. Miller drops back, shrugs off a sack and heaves it downfield to Evan Spencer who catches and spins down at the one-yard line. Spencer slipped in front of the defender and went up and got the ball. Ohio State calls timeout with three seconds left. Miller let his receiver go make a play and that's something that Spencer can certainly do. Very Michigany. That was a 44-yard pick up. And you have to go for it here.
1:44 Carlos Hyde gets stuffed. It was close, but he tried to leap over the goal line instead of simply just pushing his way in. If he would have stayed on his feet, he would have gotten in. His torso got in, but the ball didn't. Ohio State goes to the half leading 21-3.
1:45 Clearly, Urban Meyer didn't like having his job threatened in that first quarter. Though while he may have liked 14:57 of that second quarter, I guarantee he hated the final three seconds.
1:48 The Buckeyes put up 297 yards of total offense in the second quarter. That has to be a school record, right? I am declaring it one right now. Welcome to the dawning of the Age of Urbquarius, the Age of Urbquarius, the Age of Urbquariuuuussss.
1:52 I don't even know what to say after that second quarter. That was like watching every other team in America that actually had a desire to move the ball. Crazy to see it in Ohio Stadium, though.
1:55 I just hope the Buckeye defense didn't mind being put in a “bad position” when the Buckeye offense was busy accumulating 345 yards of total offense in the first half.
1:58 Braxton Miller has 99 yards rushing and 189 yards passing. The only game last season where he passed for more yards was against Michigan (235), and he's just six yards shy of his career-high in rushing.
2:05 Game time. Armani Reeves with a nice return to the 35-yard line.
2:06 Trips right. Well, there goes Braxton Miller and there goes his rushing record. And what a stutter step to seal it! Touchdown Miller on a 65-yard triple-option keeper. He faked the give to Carlos Hyde and because the blocking was perfect, there was only one defender to contain both Miller and Corey Brown, who was the pitch man. That play was run so well that Miller essentially got to decide whether he or Brown were going to run for a 65-yard touchdown. The result was already determined, the only question was who was going to execute it. Buckeyes lead it 28-3.
2:10 Miami drops another pass. [Indy: “Would you care for a drink?” Yeti: “I drink from the stream.” Indy: “I like you earthy chicks.”]
2:11 Dysert gets dropped for a huge loss as Sabino and Noah Spence tackle him at the nine-yard line for a 20-yard loss. They call Dysert for grounding, but Spence still gets credit for the sack. He pressured Dysert on two straight snaps there. He is going to be something very special to watch for three seasons.
2:13 Miami will have to punt. And the ball is snapped over Zac Murphy's head and rolls into the endzone. Touchdown Bradley Roby on the recovery. Watching the replay, I have no idea how Roby got in there. He was on top of the pile and the ball was on the bottom. I bet he was awesome at the shoe hunt on field days. Buckeyes up 35-3.
2:22 Third and four. Ouch, Corey Brown gets beaten badly by Nick Harwell for the 44-yard touchdown reception. That's a very good receiver beating a nickel back. It's not unheard of. Still, that's not going to sit well with Urban Meyer. Time for 28 more points of vengeance.
2:28 The Buckeyes go three and out. What? Are we back to the script? [Mibzelborp dies in elevator from starvation.] Ben Buchanan's punt is fair caught at the Miami 39-yard line.
2:32 Fourth and two and Miami has to go for it here. John Simon gets pressure on Dysert, nearly sacks him, but Dysert gets it away and it's intercepted by Travis Howard! Should've been a horse collar on Simon, but instead it's a first down for the Buckeyes.
2:35 Third and four. Miller scrambles and gets a yard. Now he is down and cramping. This is why we pound Gatorades, son. Kenny Guiton is warming up, and he is coming in because the Buckeyes are going for it from the Miami 39-yard line.
2:37 Guiton picks up five yards on the carry and also a 15-yard penalty for a late hit. Is Braxton done?
2:39 Third and three from the twelve-yard line. And there's a bad snap from Corey Linsley, and Corey Brown recovers it at the 35-yard line. The Buckeyes will now punt. That's two very badly blown redzone situations today. The first coming at the end of the first half.
2:47 Miami goes three and out. They punt. Braxton Miller is coming back out with 1:58 left in the third quarter. That's a bit surprising to me.
2:49 There's a loss of five for Braxton. He's down again and cramping. He's mad. And he's out again. Well, Urban Meyer said he wanted an angry team, but I don't think he meant he wanted them angry because of cramps.
2:51 The Buckeyes punt, and it's downed at the six-yard line..
2:53 We have reached the end of the third quarter. The Buckeyes lead it 35-10, but both teams have missed a couple of prime touchdown opportunities.
2:57 There's another interception for Travis Howard. It was an easy pick thrown right to him. He returns it and runs out of bounds at the Miami eight-yard line. Not sure what Dysert was looking at, but Howard dropped back and snatched it.
2:58 First and goal. Touchdown Carlos Hyde. He broke an ankle tackle and scooted on in. Very nice looking run, sir. 42-10.
3:06 Miami goes three and out. Freshman defensive tackle Tommy Schutt had tackles on first and second down. That was a pretty promising performance on that drive.
3:09 Second and seven from the ten-yard line. Zach Boren gets the ball and he busts tackles for nine yards. Wow. Urban Meyer is even smiling after that one. The next snap is about to be the most easily-predicted play call in the history of American sports – the ball is going to Boren again.
3:10 And Boren gets it again, touchdown! From a yard out. Buckeyes lead it 49-10. I'm watching Zach Boren being congratulated, but he fights through it to thank his offensive linemen over on the sideline.
3:17 Third and two. Adolphus Washington gets the sack to force a punt. He might soon be the best interior pass rusher on the team. By my count, the Buckeyes have two sacks today and they are by freshmen Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington.
3:18 Well, it's been real, but it's time to head down to the field. If I miss something, I'm sure it won't impact the game.
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