Buckeye Offense Flexes Muscles in Meyer's Debut

By Kyle Rowland on September 1, 2012 at 6:08p
33 Comments
Urban Meyer found his comfort zone in Ohio Stadium.
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It started on the walk from the team hotel to St. John Arena for Skull Session. Urban Meyer became overwhelmed. But this time it wasn’t stress induced and an excruciating headache did not follow.

The boy from Ashtabula, Ohio, who grew up watching Woody Hayes’ Archie Griffin-led teams of the mid-1970s had arrived. Yes, Ohio State is Meyer’s fourth head coaching job and national championships and an undefeated season litter his resume. But now he’s at the school that’s always been near and dear to his heart.

As the team strode down the steep tunnel and on to the arena floor for Skull Session, Meyer took a peek, letting out a “Wow” with a smile that would make the Mona Lisa jealous.

In an instant, Meyer reverted back to the kid who sat in the house on Lake Road with his father, Bud, and watched the Buckeyes run roughshod over the Big Ten. Everything slowed down around him and as he stood on the floor soaking up a raucous atmosphere, Urban Meyer wasn’t the head coach of Ohio State. He was just a fan admiring a great tradition.

When he took the mic, Meyer told the crowd his mission from Day 1 has been to make the great state Ohio proud, and he intended to do that on his first gameday as head coach.

Mission accomplished.

The first quarter may have caused angst, the offense looking like the clown show Meyer described in the spring, but the Buckeyes righted the ship in the season opener, winning 56-10 win over Miami (Ohio) in front of 105,039.

“It was a great day,” Meyer said. “Hang on Sloopy kicked it off in the fourth quarter, and I stared at that for a while and watched it.

“I've been enjoying being Ohio State coach for about seven months now. So that was a, I don't want to deflate that moment (Carmen Ohio)…It's a great moment. I'm with a bunch of guys I care about. I love our players.  There are lot of guys on this team I have a lot of respect for. And saying the alma mater, I'm a graduate, and the fight song, that was a special moment. We got to sing the fight song in the locker
room, as well.”

Passing

  Cmp/Att Pct Yds TD Int Rat
Braxton Miller 14/25 56.0 207 2 0 152.0
Kenny Guiton 5/9 55.6 36 0 0 89.2

Rushing

  Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Braxton Miller 16 163 10.2 65 1 0
Carlos Hyde 17 82 4.8 16 2 0
Bri'onte Dunn 7 32 4.6 7 1 0
Rod Smith 3 17 5.7 12 0 0
Kenny Guiton 5 14 2.8 10 0 0
Zach Boren 2 10 5.0 8 1 0
Devin Smith 1 2 2.0 2 0 0

Receiving

  Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Corey Brown 7 87 12.4 38 1 0
Evan Spencer 3 54 18.0 44 0 0
Devin Smith 2 31 15.5 23 1 0
Jake Stoneburner 2 28 14.0 20 0 0
Zach Boren 2 18 9.0 14 0 0
Nick Vannett 2 13 6.5 7 0 0
Verlon Reed 1 12 12.0 12 0 0

Since the November day Meyer was announced as the program’s 24th head coach, Buckeye Nation has been focused on offense, offense, offense. After one quarter, no one would have blamed Meyer if discomfort crept into his head. Braxton Miller was one for his first seven with five yards passing, while the Buckeyes had just 48 total yards.

But just like the Miami-Florida game in 2010, after the RedHawks got out of the first quarter with a 3-0, the hosts dictated the final 45 minutes. Ohio State scored 35 unanswered points to take command, including 21 in a 297-yard second quarter.

The RedHawks missed a 24-yard field goal and were held to another field goal from inside the red zone before Ohio State got on the scoreboard.

“Obviously, the first quarter was very poor football on our end,” Meyer said. “But you also want to give credit where credit's due, and that's Miami (Ohio) doing a really good job defending a certain formation that we ran.

“You have 10 months to prepare for a game and a lot of film to watch. They prepared
very well. So that's what happened in the first quarter.”

The head coach may have been anxious, but his quarterback was anything but, something Meyer showed confidence in following the game. One for seven or not, Miller wasn’t going to get caught up in the perceived negatives.

“I'm not as positive as Braxton was,” Meyer said. “But it's nice to have your quarterback stand right with you and say, hey, we'll be fine. I liked his demeanor.”

Tim Tebow rewrote the Florida and SEC record book, and in his first game as Meyer’s quarterback, Miller had a record-setting day. His 161 rushing yards broke Cornelius Greene’s 38-year school record (146 yards) for a quarterback. In the process, Miller also tied Greene’s OSU quarterback record of four career 100-yard rushing games.

Miller was involved in two highlight-reel plays. With the Buckeyes trailing 3-0 in the second quarter, Miller found an open Devin Smith in the end zone, but overthrew him ever so slightly. There was no reason to worry, though, as Smith grabbed the ball with his right hand and pulled it into his body for the touchdown.

“It was definitely my best all-time catch,” Smith said. “I’ve had some catches at practice but nothing like this one.”

Said Miller: “Man, I just saw a guy like it was man coverage, and I'm seeing this guy jerk a little and he got past me. I threw it inside and (Smith) jumped. You know he's a hurdler. Throw it as high as you want, he can get it."

On the first play of the second half, Miller took off and ventured all the way to the Miami 30 when two RedHawks had the angle. Miller, however, stutter-stepped and made his way to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown, putting OSU ahead 28-3. It was the second-longest touchdown run by an Ohio State quarterback.

“I was just trying to get away from a guy,” Miller said. “In practice, some guys they do it and they say, oh, he's down. But I just did a little jerk and I scored a touchdown.”

After a horrid start throwing the ball, Miller went 13 for his last 17. On the day, he was 14 of 24 for 207 yards and two touchdowns.

It wasn’t all offense, though. The Ohio State defense also flexed its muscles. While Miami quarterback Zac Dysert completed 31 of 52 passes for 303 yards, he was also victimized by Travis Howard – and his own receivers – who intercepted two errant throws.

Howard’s first interception came with Miami driving into Ohio State territory midway though the third quarter.  The second was nearly taken back for a touchdown after Howard returned the ball 17 yards to the eight-yard line.

“It was a great play," Howard said. “I wish I would have taken it in the end zone. He (Dysert) is a great quarterback, though. I guarantee he’ll be in the National Football League one day. He has the arm strength and athleticism to make the big play.”

Carlos Hyde found paydirt on the first play for his second touchdown of the day. By then, Ohio State led 42-10. Much to the chagrin of Meyer, Hyde did not eclipse the 100-yard mark, instead settling for 82 and a pair of touchdowns.

“I'm disappointed that he didn't get 100 yards,” Meyer said. “I thought he would. We were going to feature him a little bit today. Some of those big runs that Braxton Miller had were tailback runs. So a few carries got taken away because Miami made a decision to force the quarterback to run and then have extra defensive players where they were.”

The Buckeyes outgained Miami 538-312 for the game and limited the RedHawks to negative one rushing yards.

33 Comments

Comments

Rooster Buckburn's picture

The beginning of a brand new era!  Great job Buckeyes!

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

Took in a great game today and loved everything I saw except the 1st quarter(ps that qb is going pro) but my news flash of the day....Wisconsin is not as advertised and the big 10 (don't hate me) looked reaaaaaally weak

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Ahh Saturday's picture

MSU D looks pretty tough.
Nebraska was impressive today.
Purdue might win the divison.

Buckeyejason's picture

I think Nebraska wins it this year.

BUCKEYES BABY!

45buckshot's picture

Yeah, for me the interesting thing to note is Wisky struggled and Purdue romped. If theyre going to do it, this yr is their chance

Veni, vidi, vici

UM3

schooey's picture

It brought a tear to my eye when I thought that Meyer had a tear in his eye. But then I thought it was probably a speck of dirt or something that he wiped away. 

Jeremy91's picture

I'm waiting until B1G play before I pass judgment on the B1G as a whole.

"Do not pray for an easy life. Rather, pray for the the strength to endure a difficult one" - Bruce Lee

Menexenus's picture

I missed the pre-game.  Did they continue the Hive?  Or is that gone now?

Real fans stay for Carmen.

LadyBuck's picture

I missed most of the game due to work, but from what I saw, it was awesome! The defense needs to tightened it's hidges and the offense needs tweaks, but I'm excited about what I saw. 

buckz4evr's picture

I didn't see them do the hive

Menexenus's picture

Bummer...  I liked the Hive and I think it was starting to become something distinctive for us.  The major networks always used it in Buckeye promotional footage.  So why get rid of it?

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Bucksfan's picture

Because all the TD highlights will do just fine.

Buckeyes2014's picture

How is Braxton or Simon, I think they both got injured, and I wanted to know how they were?

GO BUCKEYES!

William's picture

I never saw Simon get injured, maybe he was. Miller's issue seemed to be cramps.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I didn't see Simon hurt, either.

Class of 2010.

buckeye76BHop's picture

Was there...loved it all....but the humidity and the 1st quarter (and some other things that need fixed...remember...I used to coach...so as I love the win...there's always room to improve).  I predicted 52-10 on one of Friday's articles btw...was off by a smidgen.  I have a feeling DB coverage as well as Offensive and Defensive linemen drills out the yin yang are in order for Tuesday and Wednesday's practices.  No pass rush what so ever for the most part in 1st 3 quarters and DB's can't cover with out blitzing more.  They tried a lot of drop coverages with Nate W. and let 3 or 4 rush at a time.  LB's where almost nonexistent concerning rushing the QB besides Sabino one time who almost made the sack (those guys were flying around tho...that's for sure).  DB's were on an island and not a good one.  Roby's great...Howard while he had better play in 2nd half...he's suspect against a good QB and average WR's (as were a couple others...not too good from them).  This will come back to haunt OSU unless they get better or will be replaced by Reeves or someone else.  
Didn't like seeing Braxton running so much but as I've said before...he'll be better than Tebow as far as running but most don't think I'm right (I tend to think I am based on this at 32 seconds in.  Longer runs as opposed to Tebow running over and through ppl with 30 carries a game...those high amounts of carries just won't be happening with #5).  Guess we'll see.  All I know is when OSU needs to get the little things figured out before going into B1G play...MSU has a damn good defense and OSU needs to improve on passing and running differently bc we won't be running up the middle on them or may be at all (Braxton creating plays with his legs will help but OSU can't rely on it...or will they???).  

"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 

gumtape's picture

Great article, Kyle. I figured most of the 11w writers would still be out partying now.

High and tight boo boo

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I don't think there's any problem with the offense that a bit of an upgrade in the personnel won't fix--and even there, it sure looked like this was a better offensive line than we saw from the senior-led group at any time a season ago. What's going to limit us, for the rest of this year at least, is the lack of true elite ability among our offensive players.
Miller's inconsistency as a passer is still an issue, and while he's going to continue to get better, I think it's fair to start wondering if his accuracy is ever going to get to the point where it needs to be (even Tebow, a certifiably inaccurate passer by NFL standards, had a sterling completion percentage in this offense). There's still too much of the "throw it up there and hope the good guys come down with the ball" that we've gotten familiar with from Denard Robinson. But #5 makes so many positive things happen that the growing pains are easy to forgive.
There was a lot of grumbling in the live thread about the defense, but I thought we came out with a decent philosophy. We've seen in the past that it's hard to nickel-and-dime your way down the field against us through the air, because eventually something happens to set back the drive. Our problem today was the three big plays that we allowed, which accounted for the one touchdown and the two long drives in the first quarter (which only netted M-OH three points). That kind of thing can't happen against the better teams, or against the teams with more veteran QBs (perhaps trying to pressure Dysert more, rather than trying to confuse him with extra guys in coverage, might have been the better route).
Depth on the defensive line is going to be a big positive as the season goes on. We were controlling the line of scrimmage much better in the second half.
Lots of positives, but it looks like Sparty will be the big test of how much better we are on offense. It will be the difference between not being allowed to go to a BCS bowl and not being allowed to go to the Motor City Bowl.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

741's picture

Observations from A-Deck: Was refreshing to see a whole OSU football game without a false start penalty by a certain offensive lineman or otherwise, as well as no delay of game penalties (especially those fabulous ones that came after a time out). GO BUCKS!

Crimson's picture

Fragel had one.  I love not seeing you-know-who.  What's wrong with the Browns anyway, putting him on the practice squad?

cinserious's picture

That certain O-lineman's name wouldn't happen to rhyme with schmooogarts would it?

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

jkrk's picture

I'm just thrilled that Hyde lost some carries because Miami forced Braxton to keep it. If we're still playing Walrusball I think Hyde gets all those carries for a loss. 

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

If we can erase the first quarter from our memories, pretend it never happened - that was a pretty good first game!  lol

Class of 2010.

CowCat's picture

I was there.  Urban didn't disappoint.  If you went to the bathroom you missed two scores.
TBDBITL doing the Beach Boys at halftime kicked ass too.
Shout out to the haters:  If you hated TOSU with Tressel, you're in for a real treat.  Buckle up.
OH-IO

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

highwire's picture

Last part was gold...can't wait!

cinserious's picture

All in all, it was an amazing performance and the beginning of something great. I hate to say it and I love to say it, but i think the offense may have outshone the defense ever so slightly.

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

nickma71's picture

It was nice to see Guiton step in and really not miss a beat. And it isn't that Alabama is as elite as they have been, the problem is michigan should not have been ranked. As stated before hand.

gravey's picture

Baffled by the lack of big plays from our D-line.  Folks have been going nuts over our D line all off season. 
It was hard to tell if we're just looking through our scarlet-colored glasses or whether the scheme (rushing just 3 most of the game) was the cause.  
Still, it seemed that we were locked up one-one with their O-line in obvious passing situations and our guys didn't beat their guys.  Their QB had a load of time on a few passes.

Crimson's picture

We dropped one into coverage a lot, didn't blitz much, and their QB is a pro.  I still saw pressure on a few plays.  Not counting the two late sacks, there was still an intentional grounding penalty that was essentially a sack.  A lot of credit really does go to Dysert, but we'll see many more sacks in future games.  No worries (as long as you ignore the 1st quarter).

faux_maestro's picture

Rushing 3, not blitzing, lots of quick throws will keep sack totals low. They were still getting pressure even with all of the quick throws.

Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

Ashtabula's picture

Making his hometown proud