Buckeyes Survive Near Knightmare

By Kyle Rowland on September 8, 2012 at 6:20p
55 Comments
Catch him if you can.
7 10 14 0 31
3 7 6 0 16

The encore didn’t top the opening act, but Braxton Miller drew a standing ovation nonetheless.

One week ago, Miller set the Ohio State quarterback rushing record with 161 yards. This week he tied a 34-year school record for rushing touchdowns in a game by a quarterback, with three.

But it wasn’t just the touchdowns that left fans with an open jaw, it was the way in which Miller willed his team to a 31-16 victory over Central Florida.

After an up-and-down first half for the Buckeyes, Miller took command after the half, driving Ohio State 76 yards in 12 plays. It gave Ohio State a 24-10 lead and a much-needed momentum boost.

The drive ended when Miller perfectly lobbed a ball over a defender that landed softly in Jake Stoneburner’s hands in the end zone.

Miller finished the day with 141 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns, and 155 passing yards and one passing score. All told, Miller was responsible for 296 of Ohio State’s 411 offensive yards.

It came at a cost, however. When running back Carlos Hyde went down in the second quarter with a right MCL sprain, the run game fell on Miller’s shoulders.

"Carlos went down, so I had to help out with the running to get that going," Miller said.

Head coach Urban Meyer wasn’t happy with him carrying the ball 17 times last week. Twenty-seven against UCF left him even less pleased.

Passing

  Cmp/Att Pct Yds TD Int Rat
Braxton Miller 18/24 75.0 155 1 1 134.7

Rushing

  Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Braxton Miller 27 141 5.2 37 3 1
Philly Brown 2 33 16.5 19 0 0
Bri'onte Dunn 5 29 5.8 13 0 0
Carlos Hyde 7 27 3.9 8 0 0
Zach Boren 7 16 2.3 8 0 1
Rod Smith 3 10 3.3 5 0 0

Receiving

  Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Devin Smith 6 57 9.5 15 0 0
Philly Brown 6 48 8.0 11 0 0
Jake Stoneburner 2 20 10.0 12 1 0
Zach Boren 1 13 13.0 13 0 1
Jeff Heuerman 1 9 9.0 9 0 0
Evan Spencer 1 6 6.0 6 0 0
Carlos Hyde 1 2 2.0 2 0 0

“That's too much,” Meyer said. “Twenty-seven hits. He's blown out right now. We have to be smart. Someone's got to run the ball. And right now he's our best answer.”

That’s because Jordan Hall is already out after his freak foot injury over the summer, though his projected return date is this upcoming Saturday against Cal. Hyde’s injury leaves Ohio State with Zach Boren, Bri’onte Dunn and Rod Smith in the backfield.

Despite Miller’s 57 yards on five carries in the first quarter, UCF refused to load up at the line of scrimmage or clog the middle of the field. He ran nine more times in the second quarter for 43 yards.

“Oh yeah,” said Miller, when asked if he was surprised that UCF left the middle of the field open. “We tried to get some separation by spreading out the wide receivers. But it was wide open,” he added with emphasis.

He gladly took advantage. Miller scored on runs of 37, six and eight yards.

Miller said he wasn’t sore last week after 17 carries, but this week was a new experience for him.

“I’ve never had 27 carries in my life,” he said. “Twenty-seven is a big gap from 17. I’m sure I’ll feel something tomorrow.”

By the size of the ice pack on his elbow, it appeared that Miller was already feeling it. After completing one of his first seven passes last week, he connected on his first seven against the Knights. On the day, Miller was 18 of 24 for 155 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

He started out the game much calmer, completing short passes to raise his confidence level. None of his 18 completions was longer than 14 yards.

“I was just taking what the defense gave me,” Miller said.

His 37-yard first-quarter touchdown run put the Buckeyes up seven, and it looked like more of the same after his 161-yard performance last week. Facing a 4th-and-1 near midfield on the next possession, Meyer chose to go for it. And like last week’s goal-line mishap, the Buckeyes again failed to get the yard. UCF’s Jonathan Davis hit Miller behind the line of scrimmage and sent him into a helicopter-like somersault.

“I'm trying to push the buttons to make us a good team,” Meyer said. “Midfield you should be able to, on 4th-and-1, get a first down. We did it twice, and I think our offense knows we're going to do it again. At some point you have to do that. When you're a very good team, which right now we're not, but we're working our tails off to become that very good team.”

UCF took advantage of the turnover on downs and kicked a field goal. Ohio State extended its lead to 10-3, but the Knights came right back with a touchdown of their own to tie the game at 10. A quick touchdown drive before halftime sent the Buckeyes into the locker room with a seven-point advantage.

When the second half commenced, Ohio State had arguably its best drive of the season, scoring in 12 plays. On the next possession, UCF quarterback Blake Bortles threw an ill-advised pass that was batted around by a handful of Buckeyes until, finally, linebacker Etienne Sabino bounded downfield with the interception.

Ohio State’s lead eventually stretched to 21 points, before the Knights scored a touchdown and Adolphus Washington blocked the extra point, providing the final margin.

Bortles finished 25 of 41 with 249 yards and two touchdowns. But all of that production was offset by three interceptions, including one in the red zone by Orhian Johnson. Travis Howard was the recipient of the other pick, his third of the season.

University of Miami transfer Storm Johnson had 75 yards rushing on 12 carries.

There was chatter all summer about UCF giving Ohio State a game, and Meyer reiterated that message throughout the week. It was an opponent that was not to be taken lightly.

“As always, I like to give credit to a very good team we faced in Central Florida,” Meyer said. “We knew going in they would try to run downhill on us. I think this is the second week in a row we held a team under 100 yards rushing.”

It wasn’t all ice cream and cookies, however. At 2-0, Ohio State sits where it should. But to Meyer, it’s still an imperfect team that is far away from being special.

"I don't want to say we're not a good team, but we're not," Meyer said. "We're just mushing around out there. And we've got to be much better than we are.

“We’re not where I thought we'd be. I thought we'd be a little more explosive on offense and thought we'd get some pressure on the quarterback.”

Facing two inferior teams, as most major conference schools do to begin the season, Ohio State’s lack of pressure on the quarterback has been a major flaw and mystery. Entering the season, the main theme of the 2012 Buckeyes centered on a dominant defensive line; they haven’t been bad, but dominant is far from anyone’s mind.

But that’s not where the concerns end in Meyer’s eyes.

“Offensive line, I think is doing a decent job moving the ball,” he said. “Receivers are starting to build up a little bit but there's other areas where I thought we'd be a little more explosive on offense.”

Down to the third-string tailback, the offense could be suffering even more in future weeks, depending on Hall’s status. But injuries aside, it was the three turnovers and 10 penalties for 79 yards that stuck in Meyer’s craw.

“Pick your poison,” he said. "Turnovers and penalties. You can't win. That's not a good team.”

But, as Meyer says, the mission each and every Saturday is to win the game. Ohio State has done that twice, no matter how ugly the final product looked.

“I don't want to be a downer around here.” Meyer said. “We won a frickin’ game. We won by two touchdowns against a quality opponent. It’s time to move on and get ready to go play (Cal).”

Bloody Tuesday might be extra red – or scarlet – this week. No doubt Meyer wants his team to not just win, but win with excellence in execution. The ultimate motivator, Meyer will likely push the right buttons this week.

And when the Golden Bears head east, the objective for the Buckeyes will remain the same: win the frickin’ game. 

55 Comments

Comments

tampa buckeye's picture

Michigan sucks that is all 

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Wisconsin is even worse. They miss Russell Wilson and Paul Chryst THAT much?
I guess I don't understand Meyer musing about Miller carrying the ball too often. Isn't that something in his power to change? The upshot seems to be that they don't want Dunn carrying that heavy a load right now, but I think using your starting quarterback as your primary means of working the clock in the fourth quarter is a little strange.
The defense was generally strong, but the coverage breakdowns and the failed attempts to strip the ball that lead to missed tackles and 20 yard gains--that all needs to stop. I know fans tend to hate a lack of blitzes and soft coverage, but you can't argue with success: it was another week with multiple interceptions and around 6 yards a pass for the opposition.
The offense needs more experience in the system, and at most positions, better players too. Right now we're pretty plodding with the exception of Miller's runs, and I don't think that's a recipe for consistent success.
Onward to our (sigh) only PAC-12 matchup of the season.

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

tampa buckeye's picture

We are still by far the best team is the big ten.

rkylet83's picture

Not really.  Michigan State is better at the moment.

SPreston2001's picture

I wouldnt say by far... We havent even started B1G play and we still have alot of big time issues to work out. 

yrro's picture

I'll take the win, but we look far too much like Michigan now - a one-player offense.

Kyle Rowland's picture

Agree 110 percent. I actually said the same thing during the game. The offense is Michigan from two years ago. Way too one dimensional. I expect that to change, though, as the season progresses. 

SPreston2001's picture

We mind as well throw 10 offensive lineman out there and let Braxton run around and make something happen every play! Its pathetic how much he is carrying the team! Can somebody else please step up?!!!!

Buckeyejason's picture

How does someone step up when RB's are hurt..Braxton runs the ball on almost every play. When he throws the ball down field for a reciever to make a play the pass is bad.

BUCKEYES BABY!

SPreston2001's picture

How does someone step up?? Seriously is that really a question? Make something happen when you touch the ball thats how! Yes Braxton ran the ball almost every play but thats probably because he felt like he had to. Dunn didnt exactly light it up when he touched the ball and the WR's didnt get much seperation from the defense. Theres always a way to step up and seperate yourself from the pack. You mean to tell me our whole offense is Braxton and Hyde??
 

Buckeyejason's picture

Our whole offense is 
brown, Smith, Spencer,Stoneburner, Boren, Dunn, Hyde..
point being..we need to get the ball to everyone..not Michigan with Denard running the QB 30 times. You get people to step up when players get oppurtunites. How are receivers supposed to make plays  when they run 5-10 yard routes? The Offense is dink and dunk..zone read..with Braxton running almost 80 percent of the time.
 
By the way..Dunn  averaged almost 6 yards a carry. That's pretty good for a true freshman.

BUCKEYES BABY!

SPreston2001's picture

Yeah Dunn averaged 6ypc but he didnt really do anything impressive. Now if he would have finished with 100+ yards with 6ypc then I would feel a little better about it. Our offense is dink and dunk but our WR's dont make plays after they get the ball. Percy Harvin would turn a 6 yard pass into a 80 yard TD lol. Percy, Reggie Bush, LeMichael James, Tedd Ginn, etc those are playmakers in my book. But I guess we will get there eventually...

schooey's picture

Syracuse is sort of hanging with USC. Or USC has second string in, I've not been watching. 

Buckeyejason's picture

Hopefully Howard's not covering Keenen Allen next week. I know he has 3 picks in two games..but he's still far from "Howard Island"

BUCKEYES BABY!

dan_isaacs's picture

Meh.  Greenland's an island.  Howard Island is as roomy as that, at least.

Dan Isaacs

coach's picture

why didnt nathan williams play?

Buckeyejason's picture

He was too sore apparently.

BUCKEYES BABY!

dan_isaacs's picture

Why didn't Adolphus play more?  He shoudl be in on every passing down.

Dan Isaacs

Buckeyejason's picture

He's been playing a shit load..pretty much starter snaps. 

BUCKEYES BABY!

Conroy's picture

I think people (At least the ones on the in game thread) need to chill a little.  UCF is a REALLY GOOD TEAM--Probably the best non AQ team in the country.  

schooey's picture

We will see, they almost sucked last year. 

Kyle Rowland's picture

They're definitely a top 40 or 50 team. But I wouldn't say they are the best non-AQ team. Boise is almost certainly better. 

Conroy's picture

Boise may be better, but I think top 40-50 is definitely underrating them.  Phil Steele almost certainly had them too high, but I think they're a legit top ~25 team.

Buckeyejason's picture

What happened to Stoneburner burning corners and safeties like everyone on here said he was going to do in his new reciever position? We're pretty much seeing what I expected out of him..2 catches a game, a ghost for most the most part. Too much hype was placed on this guy..why not target him more?

BUCKEYES BABY!

schooey's picture

Well yeah, they have to get the ball to him. Hard to do if Braxton runs on every other down. 

yrro's picture

They don't trust Braxton's passing deep or across the middle yet.
In some ways, the current offense is as conservative as anything Tressel ever ran. It's just more effective while being so, because Miller is a stud at running the ball.

Buckeyejason's picture

This. And Stoneburner doesn't have the agility/finese/quickness to beat corners. 

BUCKEYES BABY!

William's picture

No, not at all. His move to WR was way overhyped. He's more of a flex player like Hernandez was at Florida. What I'm surprised at is that he hasn't been involved in a screen or shovel option, as those were staples of Meyer's offense at Florida with Hernandez, and Stoneburner has yet to be used in either situation. That brings up another point, have we even run a single shovel option?

SPreston2001's picture

Well honestly we dont have the playmakers Urb had down in Florida to really run the type of offense we have and Stoney is nothing like Hernandez (athletically speaking)...

William's picture

Maybe in terms of shiftiness, but Stoneburner and Hernandez are pretty equal in straight line speed. Philly Brown, Devin Smith, and Evan Spencer are all guys that were track stars in high school too. 

SPreston2001's picture

Well yeah thats what I mean he's not as shifty as Hernandez. Our WR's may have been track stars but that doesnt make you a playmaker lol. 

Buckeyejason's picture

Yeah, Hernandez goes east-west better than Stoney..Jake might have him in the 40 though..not sure.
For a guy that runs a 10.5 100 and quick at the same time..I wish we'd throw deep to Philly Brown more.

BUCKEYES BABY!

SPreston2001's picture

With that being said, I still cant figure out how in the hell he got caught on foot by that cop over the summer lol.

Buckeyejason's picture

 Haha I know right?

BUCKEYES BABY!

Menexenus's picture

I think "Near Knightmare" is a bit of an exaggeration.  After all, we led almost the entire game.  (It was only tied for a short time.)  We were up by 3 TDs in the third quarter...  Didn't feel all that "knightmarish" to me.  I guess YMMV...

Real fans stay for Carmen.

schooey's picture

I want to see Nebraska and Fox has some baseball garbage on. 

Buckeyejason's picture

Fox is garbage period.

BUCKEYES BABY!

schooey's picture

They just showed Tyrann Matheiu (sp) inhte crowd and he does not look too stoned. His girlfriend is not ugly either. haha 

Kyle Rowland's picture

Imagine that, Lol, a football player with an attractive girlfriend. 

BriGuy's picture

I know Urbs keeps bringing up we need to pressure the QB alot more but the way the coaches are calling the Defense it sure isnt helping out the D-line. We rush 3 way too often. We dont blitz a whole lot and when they do it is very basic blitzes. Since they dont blitz often they cant really show blitz and then drop into coverage to try and confuse the o-line and the Qb. We run a very basic zone like a YMCA team, you know, drop to this area and this is your zone. But they dont cover the receiver that actually enters their zone.
So basically IMO, our coaching is making our Defense look worse than they are. Maybe they're not wanting to show a whole lot for BIG play, I dont know.

Buckeyejason's picture

Watching last weeks game twice and today's..we blitzed quite a bit. Corey Brown blitzed almost the half the game last week from his defensive back spot..and I recall Sabino and Shazier being sent quite a bit as well..just not getting there though.

BUCKEYES BABY!

lhardeman's picture

I am a little concerned with our D-Line play though.  It seems like the only ones making consistent plays are the freshmen. When Washington was in he made an impact.  He pressured the QB and I believe he was the one who blocked the extra point.  Hankins played well the last quarter, but the other three didn't seem to be in on many plays.  Simon hasn't had his named called much this season.  I personally believe they should move him inside.  He is quick off the ball, but he isn't fast.  He would be better served inside where you can use his quickness  and strength and have a shorter distance to the qb.  He would be a great 3-4 end, but not so much a 4-3 end.  Also LB's need to step up.  I did think the secondary played decent, but there were too many blown coverages at important times.  Offense needs some more plays made by anyone other than Braxton.  I think as the season goes on we will see improvement, so stay patient.  GO BUCKS!

Ohio State till I die.

Buckeyejason's picture

No one else can make plas on offense if Braxon always has the ball in his hands.
A little too late to put Simon inside. Hasn't really played there since 2010. People are freaking out a little to much when it comes to Simon. He has been disruptive in both games...doesn't have any sacks but still being very disruptive.

BUCKEYES BABY!

D-Day0043's picture

I wonder if Meyer is getting a little miffed with Fickel's defense? He said he was going to have a talk with him about the lack of pressure and blown coverages.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

SPreston2001's picture

I think Fick still has alot of Tressellball engraved in his head! Urb wants a fast paced aggressive D so Fick better get with the program lol.

D. Anthony's picture

I hate seeing the QB run so much, but Urban is right, Miller needed to run the ball a whole lot to get the win. It should be clear to everyone who watched the game. He has a way to go before we can rely on his arm and nobody else was running well...if Urban stops running Miller we lose or come come close to losing and everyone would say "if he would've run Miller more we win by a couple  touchdowns". Let's hope hope for better offense next week and pray the D learns to play zone better or we need to go back to man and blitz more. We aren't bringing the heat.

D. Anthony

SPreston2001's picture

Yeah its better than having a QB like TP and trying to make him drop back every down like Tres did lol. I used to scream for TP to run sometimes lol.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

I know that we primarily switch between a 4-3 and a 4-2-5 nickel package. Part of the supposed advantage of our scheme is that it allows for us to throw a whole host of different coverages and looks at the offense. But, if we do none of those things, it's basically a damn prevent defense. Is there some nuance that I'm missing, because I just don't see it.

billjones's picture

Not sure what to make of this.  I would prefer having a stout defense to an offense that puts up 400 yards without breaking a sweat.  It's possible that UCF is better than we think.  But, clearly, lots of room for improvement all around.  I am reserving judgement until this defense is tested with the game on the line.  We have lots of athletes and I like the intensity.  I think I see the method to the madness.  I just need to see a statement.  I have a feeling we'll be fine.

Menexenus's picture

Did O'Leary say anything about the noise in the stadium in the post-game?  (The noise seemed to contribute to a few of his squad's false starts.)

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Buckeyejason's picture

HOLY UL-MONROE!!!! Goin to OT vs Arkansas!!

BUCKEYES BABY!

William's picture

Another team I picked to cover the spread. They were on track to do so until Tyler Wilson went down.

Buckeyejason's picture

UL Monroe  just picked it off with 20 secs left!!

BUCKEYES BABY!

Buckeyejason's picture

I feel like QB's that can throw the ball are becoming extinct in college football. 

BUCKEYES BABY!

pjtobin's picture

After watching the game again the offense didn't look horrible. Three or four plays three of our backs were confused. I thought Braxton threw the ball well 90% of the time. Still some issues with his feet. That's ok. He is young. Our d line was doubled teamed almost all game. I may have my beer goggles on but I am happy to this point. Football is not always  pretty. Not always perfect. A lot of stuff to work on. But won't that always be? Did tress nc team have stuff to work on? Way to many games in the w colum thanks to nugents foot. Ugly or not, if they continue to win I'm happy. Urbs has a game plan for each game. It is subject to change if and when needed. Plan b. b is for Braxton!

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.