Preview: Miami (Ohio) at #18 Ohio State

By Kyle Rowland on August 31, 2012 at 1:00p
32 Comments
Zac Dysert brings a canon for a right arm. 
Ohio State Buckeyes #18 Ohio State 0-0, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 12:00 PM ET - BTN —— Ohio Stadium Columbus, OH Miami (Ohio) RedHawks Miami (Ohio) 0-0, 0-0 MAC Roster | Schedule

Twenty months after the initial murmurs of bad news inside the Ohio State football program went public, a sense of normalcy has now engulfed the program. The 2011 season acted as a frustration reliever, but even then turmoil still lurked around the corner.

When head coach Urban Meyer and 105 players stampede out of the tunnel on Saturday, 105,000 people will come up out of their seats and let out a collective roar, both of approval and relief.

Finally, it is football season.

There is no need to run through the specifics. Ohio State’s soul and closet full of skeletons has already been opened for all to see. Mended back together, something all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t do for Humpty Dumpty, the Buckeyes are eager and angry, like Meyer wants them, to begin a season of redemption.

There’s no bowl game at the end of the season, but it doesn’t change the objective: win every game. Winning for the seniors and showing the nation Ohio State is back have also become rallying cries in the locker room.

The team’s first opportunity to showcase its new-look offense and stout defense comes against the Miami RedHawks. It’s been 91 years since the Buckeyes lost to an in-state foe – Oberlin in 1921 – predating the existence of Ohio Stadium. Meyer nor his players plan on becoming an unwanted historical footnote – or headline – much like the Michigan Wolverines’ 2007 team, which fell to Appalachian State in the all-time upset.

With a quarterback-receiver combination that could rival many Big Ten schools, the RedHawks aren’t someone to be taken lightly. But the 22-point underdogs also don’t pose a serious threat to Ohio State if the Buckeyes play anything that resembles the game of football.

Opponent

Miami head coach Don Treadwell enters his second season at the helm in the tiny southwestern Ohio hamlet of Oxford. Year 1 produced a 4-8 record, but there is plenty to build on, and the RedHawks have gone from the cellar to the penthouse before – as recently as two years ago.

Treadwell, who took over on an interim basis for Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio following his heart attack in 2010, leads a Miami team that has come close to pulling off program-defining upsets in the season opener the past two seasons, in 2010 at Florida (34-12) – more on that later – and 2011 at Missouri (17-6).

For months on end, we’ve all heard how great the Ohio State defense, and especially the defensive line, is going to be this season. Well, it should be known quickly if the hype is warranted because they’ll face a prolific offense out of the gate.

The defensive line is almost certainly licking its chops when it sees Miami had the worst rushing attack in the country last season, averaging less than 74 yards on the ground a game. But the air-raid offense ranked 14th with almost 300 yards passing per game.

The leader of that aerial assault is senior Zac Dysert, who has an opportunity to re-write the Miami record book this season. He trails Ben Roethlisberger by 2,229 passing yards for first place all-time on the Miami chart. Coming off a year in which he threw for 3,513 yards, Dysert is likely to achieve that. His passing yardage total from last year was the second-most in school history and Dysert added 23 touchdowns for good measure.

A Davey O’Brien Award candidate and three-time captain, Dysert ranked 11th in passing yards per game (292.8) and 17th in completion percentage (65.9). Meyer has already dropped praise on him, deeming him worthy of the NFL.

Get Smart

  • Miami's 664 wins place them 24th on college football's all-time list.
  • Miami's 266 MAC victories and .648 MAC winning percentage are tops in league history.
  • Going back to garbage time in the '05 game, Miami has scored 14-straight points on Ohio State.

Nick Harwell, Dysert’s favorite target, was the second-leading receiver in the country last year with a shade less than 130 yards per game. Only a junior, he is already on track to become the RedHawks’ career leader in receptions. He already owns the school record for single-game receptions (15), yardage (229) and single-season receptions (97). Last season, Harwell accumulated 97 catches for 1,425 yards.

“That quarterback is a tremendous player,” Meyer said. "And that receiver is really good. Those two kids can play anywhere in America.”

“Our secondary has some experience. I can’t say they played great (last season). Scheme-wise Miami will challenge us. They do things to put you in tough situations. Hopefully we're able to get after quarterback a little bit.”

John Simon, Johnathan Hankins, Michael Bennett, Garrett Goebel, Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington will pose serious problems for the Miami offensive line. Ohio State has the size, numbers and conditioning advantage. Bradley Roby should draw the Harwell matchup, and it’s something Roby, a possible breakout star on a national level, relishes.

On defense, the RedHawks were rated in the middle or bottom-half of the country in most categories.

In an interesting twist, this will not be the first time Dysert has faced a Meyer-coached team. In the 2010 season opener, Miami traveled to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the Gators in the first post-Tim Tebow game. Florida struggled mightily, trailing at the end of the first quarter and only leading 21-12 in the fourth before taking charge and winning 34-12.

Dysert finished the 2010 contest 25-of-44 for 191 yards, but he threw four interceptions with zero touchdown passes.

That wasn’t Meyer’s first meeting with Miami, though. In his debut season as a head coach, Meyer’s Bowling Green Falcons lost to the RedHawks at home, one of just three loses on the season and Meyer’s only defeat at Doyt Perry Stadium in his two seasons at BG.

“I know Miami very well,” Meyer said. “I have a great deal of respect for them as a university. I know the history and tradition, and I also know their coach and their quarterback. I've been watching them play. It's going to be a good challenge for us.”

Buckeye Breakdown

The spring game and brief images of practice have allowed us to peer inside the Ohio State offense. What is on display Saturday, in a real live game, is likely to contrast greatly.

A passing game that ranked among the nation’s worst a season ago has undergone a complete overhaul. Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman installed quarterback Braxton Miller into a system in which he can thrive and become a showstopper.

Finally, Braxton Miller will be unleashed. 

At a recent scrimmage, Miller put up playground numbers, completing 27 of 39 passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns. The RedHawks secondary is arguably the best in the Mid-American Conference, but the MAC is not the AFC, so Miller shouldn’t be forced to thread the needle on every throw.

The absence of Jordan Hall could be felt next week when Central Florida comes to town, but Miami is short on big-time athletes on defense. Plus, according to Meyer, Philly Brown has developed into the Buckeyes No. 1 offensive weapon. Devin Smith and former tight end-turned-wide receiver Jake Stoneburner have also earned positive remarks.

A pass-run ratio of 60/40 is Meyer’s goal, though opponent personnel will dictate that. With a defensive line that was porous a season ago, Miami could be staring at a long day of Carlos Hyde. The Buckeyes have a decided size and depth advantage.

The junior from Plantation, Fla., had somewhat of a breakout year in 2011, but it was a roller coaster at the same time. One game Hyde would rush for 100 yards, the next he’d get zero carries. Boom Herron’s suspension was part of the equation, as was Hyde’s immaturity. Still, it was a head scratcher.

Rejuvenated and entering the season as a temporary starter once again, Hyde could seize the job. He’s already been given the title of “most improved offensive player” and he’s a traditional running back, whereas Hall is more of a scatback. Sure, they’ll split carries when Hall returns, but they have entirely different skill sets.

An area to watch, albeit not exciting, will be offensive line and, in particular, the right tackle position. Reid Fragel won the starting job from true freshman Taylor Decker, but Decker will be the first sub in, at left or right tackle.

The matchup between Fragel and Decker was almost a dead heat, with Fragel almost winning by default because of his veteran status as a senior. Both players are adequate, not great. Their evolution throughout the season will be a must-watch, and it will be interesting to see how they each handle action in the first game.

Prediction

Miami (Ohio), picked to finish third in the MAC East, is not the pushover Youngstown State has been in recent years. But the RedHawks also don’t pose a Michigan-esque challenge. That being said, anything can happen and that’s why they play the games. We’ve heard that mantra since the beginning of time.

When the Buckeyes welcome Kent State to the Horseshoe in 2014, the victory streak against fellow Ohio school will have reached 93 years, because Miami doesn’t have the horses to hang a loss on the Buckeyes – especially in Meyer’s homecoming.

The first quarter will be important if the RedHawks have any chance at pulling off the upset. Taking the crowd out – with 29,000 students in attendance due to the academic calendar change – is paramount. It’s awfully hard to quiet 105,000 delirious fans. Early momentum, whether it comes on offense, defense, a scoring play or a turnover, is big for the RedHawks.

Meyer, Miller and the Buckeyes are on a mission to show they are for real and that Ohio State is back among the nation’s elite. Miami is victim No. 1 on their tour.

Behind an efficient offense and overwhelming defense, the Buckeyes send the fans home happy on Saturday and with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. It will be Christmas in September for a fanbase that went through 20 months of coal-filled stockings.

Ohio State 42, Miami (Ohio) 10

32 Comments

Comments

dubjayfootball90's picture

Saw this pop up when I refreshed the page and though "Yes, the game previews are back" with a big smille, ear to ear.

jthiel09's picture

If Ohio State's d-line is as good as we all think they will be, Miami might not have the time to throw the ball like they want ... John Simon and company are hungry.

JT

cplunk's picture

Can this workday END already? I need to get the store to get my accoutrements for tomorrow!! We're within 24 hours....

Buckeyejason's picture

^Amen to that! It's like Christmas eve. I'm going to be a lazy f*** all day tomorrow watching footbawwwl!!

BUCKEYES BABY!

Pam's picture

couch + me + CFB=bliss

Buckeyejason's picture

You're truely a rare breed Pam.

BUCKEYES BABY!

Pam's picture

My BF calls himself a CFB "widower" All weekend plans revolve around it. Saturday night dates? Take-out until January.

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Your BF should call himself "lucky".....

hodge's picture

My question is, why does your boyfriend want to go out on Saturday nights?  College football is on!

buckeye76BHop's picture

Love this^^^^my wife just thinks I'm fanatical...but it's only for CFB.  Could care about the NFL besides Buckeyes and how they're doing.  Your BF is lucky that you invest time for college football.  My sister in-law likes it...I just can't sell my wife on watching it (unless it's the Buckeyes...she'll watch OSU but that's it;-)  

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."
"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."
Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

hodge's picture

This is why I feel truly blessed to have a football-loving girlfriend.  She was born in Steeler country, so the process of turning her on to college football has taken the better part of four years, but just the other day came the crux of her fandom.  Full disclosure, I'm a complete nerd for the BBC program Doctor Who, and my girlfriend and I have been eagerly awaiting the season premiere for almost a year now.  Well turns out the premiere is Saturday at nine pm.  So, I was prepared to miss the UM-'Bama game in favor of the premiere when I asked my girlfriend what'd she'd rather watch, without missing a beat, "We can record Dr. Who, that can wait.  Michigan and 'Bama are playing."

BucksfanXC's picture

I'm glad you didn't predict it would end 41-14

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

kr66osu's picture

Arrrgh I have to go to class at 4:10, I don't know how I'm going to be able to sit in there for an entire hour while I'm thinking about football
Why can't it be tomorrow already?

William's picture

I had 3:00 labs every Friday last year. It sucked balls. 

DJRoss926's picture

4:10 class on a Friday? That had to have been the only time it was offered, no way someone voluntarily signs up for a class at that time

kr66osu's picture

yeah it was my only choice unfortunately
 

Jbuckham94's picture

I have class at 4:10 as well. It was brutal.

Class of 2016. Go Bucks!

doodah_man's picture

Jim "DooDah" Day
It is hard to play dirty against a man who picks you up.

Poe McKnoe's picture

Hunt for Redhawk Closure 
lol

RBuck's picture

Looking forward to see this new offense click. I realize that there will probably be a few busted plays but this will be fun to watch.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

Poison nuts's picture

I was thinking the same thing. Hopefully when the plays breakdown - Braxton can make some magic out of them. The new offense combined with his ability to make something out of nothing should be pretty cool watch...

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

buckeye76BHop's picture

I'm going...can't wait.  Decided not to sell tickets to the first game in Urban's Era...couldn't resist taking my Dad and seeing what's to come for a few years;-)   GO BUCKS!

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."
"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."
Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

osubuckeye4life's picture

Here is a Ted Ginn Jr. highlight film in honor of the start of the season. 
Man, I forgot how fast Ginn was one of the most amazing players to play for the S&C of all time no doubt!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGyrgqOKZLg&feature=BFa&list=FLOZkSXFpyIZWFRYkDiln6VA
I'm stuck at work tomorrow refreshing espn.com. So, I'm gonna miss this one unfortunately. 
 
Anyone know if BigTen network usually has replays of the 12pm game latter in the day?
 
 
 

Sterling's picture

I don't know where you get your service from, but i have Comcast here and all of the B1G games are being replayed on Sunday.  OSU at 5pm EST.  I don't know if BTN keeps their schedule the same across different providers.  Hope that helps-

osubuckeye4life's picture

I have Time Warner and I'lll check their website. Thanks for the info!

Sterling's picture

Also, you are so right about Ginn.  Those highlights never get old.  Dude just had an extra gear.

osubuckeye4life's picture

Exactly, tOSU needs a new Ginn. I think if anyone can find one it's Urban. 

thatlillefty's picture

@ 4:33 he just turns on the jets! Santonio can't even keep up with him..
Want to say, I can't wait til Urban recruits another kid like Teddy. But he was a rare talent, the likes of which I don't know we'll see again.

osubuckeye4life's picture

Those highlights just never get old. Probably, my favorite was when he juked like six players on Les Miles OK State squad in the Alamo Bowl in 2004. Proceeded to reverse the field gained like 50 yrds and got to the five yard line! 
 
Another sick one was vs TTUN one where he used his hand to keep his balance. 
I loved the callls back then:
"Ginn is in the open field, GONE!"
"No one is going to catch him!"
"Ginn is leaving everyone in his dust!"
"Teddy Ginn says, 'Better luck next time guys'"
"THERE HE GOES AGAIN!" 
"Bye! Bye!" 
 
 

BIGHEC39's picture

Hey Dub Jay, my brother from another Mother.  Let me ask you a dumbass question......
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!!!!
THAT OHIO SATE BUCKEYE PARTY!!!!!
Yes sir, I am....  I been smellin bacon all week playa....   Good Times to all my Buckeye Fans all over the US.....

BigHec39

baddogmaine's picture

Going in this reminds me of Toledo last year - good QB though not as good as we made him look - and Navy - their lack of size was offset by our inability to use our size. We should win easily, though we should have beaten Toledo and Navy easily. To a degree it is comparing apples and oranges since Miami is neither Toledo nor Navy, but how much we dominate, rather than final score, will give a good indication of just how well coached this team is. This early in the season against a greatly overmatched foe margin of victory means less than consistency of domination.