Miscues Highlight Buckeyes' 29-15 Win over UAB

By Kyle Rowland on September 22, 2012 at 6:28p
45 Comments
A blocked punt was only the beginning of OSU's problems.
0 21 0 8 29
6 6 0 3 15

If the goal was to show Michigan State the least amount of pizzazz as possible, Ohio State accomplished the mission. Saturday’s contest against Alabama-Birmingham was supposed to be the first cakewalk of the season. For the Buckeyes, it was more like walking the plank.

Favored by 37.5 points, Ohio State didn’t even score that many points in its 29-15 win over winless UAB. Four games into the season, Ohio State has achieved a 4-0 record. But each game has exposed flaws. With a trip to East Lansing, Mich., on tap, the Buckeyes are in need of a severe boost.

Missed tackles, missed assignments and inopportune penalties were a trend for a second consecutive week.

“There are no excuses,” linebacker Etienne Sabino said. “We can’t have dumb penalties and missed tackles if we want to get off the field in three downs.”

Ohio State played poorly for long stretches of the game in every facet – offense, defense and special teams. A week after giving up several big plays to California, the Silver Bullet defense had a repeat performance, surrendering 14 plays of 10-plus yards to UAB.

“It's glaringly obvious we’ve got to get a lot better or we won’t win next week,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “I really had confidence this was going to be an Ohio State-looking team, and it wasn’t.”

Ohio State kept UAB out of the end zone, but that didn’t hide the fact that the Blazers racked up 403 yards. Entering the game, UAB’s offense was ranked near the bottom of the country in every offensive stat, which may be why all four UAB scores came on special teams.

“I think we seem like a very passive team,” Meyer said. “We're on defense, we give up little screens, little bubbles. They didn't score a touchdown on our defense but, we gave up a lot of yardage.”

Passing

  Cmp/Att Pct Yds TD Int Rat
Braxton Miller 12/20 60.0 143 0 0 120.1

Rushing

  Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Jordan Hall 17 104 6.1 14 0 0
Braxton Miller 11 64 5.8 19 2 0
Rod Smith 6 25 4.2 12 1 0
Zach Boren 2 7 3.5 5 1 0
Corey Brown 1 4 4.0 4 0 0

Receiving

  Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Corey Brown 4 68 17.0 25 0 0
Devin Smith 4 39 9.8 14 0 0
Jordan Hall 2 21 10.5 14 0 0
Jeff Heuerman 1 10 10.0 10 0 0
Michael Thomas 1 5 5.0 5 0 0

It wasn’t much prettier on offense. During the week, quarterback Braxton Miller and wide receiver Devin Smith vowed the offense would finally put together four solid quarters. If anything, the Buckeyes may have had their worst offensive performance. UAB’s defense sat in the bottom 10 of the country but limited Ohio State’s high-powered attack to a season-low 347 yards.

“Our explosive plays are obviously nonexistent for much of the game,” Meyer said.

It took Ohio State 23.5 minutes to score its first points. By then, it was already trailing 9-0. The Buckeyes were held scoreless for another 20-plus minute stretch that included all or parts of the second, third and fourth quarters. On the season, Ohio State has scored 20 points in the first quarter and 28 in the third.

“We’re not coming out with enough energy,” Miller said. "Somebody’s got to get our energy to rise. Our mindset isn’t where it needs to be at the start of the game.”

Miller, who’s developed into a Heisman Trophy candidate, finished with 64 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Jordan Hall, in his second game back after a foot injury, looked much more like his old self, leading the Buckeyes in the rushing department with 105 yards on 17 carries. He becomes the first running back – Miller has done it twice – this season to rush for 100 or more yards. Rod Smith had 31 all-purpose and a touchdown.

Miller was 12 of 20 passing for 143 yards. His longest completion was 25 yards and he was sacked twice. His top-two targets – Corey “Philly” Brown and Devin Smith – combined for eight catches and 106 yards. Jake Stoneburner was left empty-handed.

The 105,019 fans in attendance found out quickly that the game wouldn’t be the usual September non-conference laugh-fest.

The Blazers jumped out to a quick lead when three players converged untouched on Ohio State punter Ben Buchanan and came away with a blocked punt. Nick Adams scooped the ball up and ran 20 yards for the touchdown. And just like that, less than six minutes into the game, UAB led 6-0. Orhian Johnson blocked the extra point.

It was 9-0 after a 47-yard field goal from Ty Long in the opening minutes of the second quarter.

Surprisingly, Miller’s first rush didn’t come until more than 20 minutes into the game. But he made the most out of it, dashing through the UAB defense for 14 yards and a first down.

“That's the way the game unfolded,” Meyer said about Miller’s lack of carries. “We were very conscious of it. I'm exhausted talking about it, how many hits he takes and all that. He's going to play quarterback in a spread offense and we're going to do what we're going to go do to win a game. We're not good enough to start worrying about it. He's one of our best players, if not our best player on offense. He's got to play better, too. We've all got to play better.”

Ohio State didn’t get on the scoreboard until 6:31 left in the first half, but it would open the floodgates – until halftime struck. The Buckeyes needed 10 plays in 75 yards to get their first touchdown. It came on a one-yard plunge by enigmatic tailback Rod Smith. It was the second touchdown of the sophomore’s career and the first since his first career game.

UAB answered with a field goal, and it was historic. Ty Long connected from 54 yards out, representing the longest kick in school history and the third-longest in Ohio Stadium.

The next minute – or 48 seconds – is when the game turned on its axis. Instead of going into the locker room at halftime up 12-7, UAB self-destructed and had a nine-point deficit to overcome.

The Braxton Miller magic made an appearance. It took him all of five plays to lead Ohio State to pay dirt. The score came on a 12-yard run by Miller, making multiple UAB defenders miss in trademark Braxton fashion.

That put the Blazers down two points, well within reach with 30 minutes left. But the next miscue was too much for them to make up. Tight end Kennard Backman caught a ball in the right flat and was near a first down when Doran Grant, who started in place of the injured Bradley Roby, jarred the ball loose with his helmet. Grant pounced on the ball, and Zach Boren ran into the end zone three plays later.

A rousing halftime speech in the Ohio State locker room was expected, and it may have occurred, but the Buckeyes certainly didn’t respond to it. UAB surprised them with an on-side kick, but failed to take advantage. It didn’t matter.

Ohio State got zero first downs in the third quarter last week against Cal. It nearly happened again this week. Ten plays, 43 yards. The defense held UAB scoreless, holding the nine-point lead.

UAB cut it to a one-possession game, however, less than two minutes into the fourth quarter on Long’s third field goal of the day. After forcing Ohio State to punt, the Buckeyes had UAB 3rd-and-5, but Christian Bryant got a 15-yard unsportsmanlike taunting penalty.

“I didn’t say or do anything,” Bryant said after the game.

It kept the drive alive until Long missed his first field goal of the day, sending a 47-yard kick wide left. It ended a 12-kick streak of converted field goal attempts.

A Braxton Miller touchdown and two-point conversion with 5:03 left put Ohio State up 29-15. Grant intercepted a pass on the next UAB possession and the Blazers never threatened again.

UAB freshman quarterback Austin Brown completed 21 of 25 passes after entering the game in the second quarter. He threw for 196 yards with one interception. Running back Darrin Reaves led UAB’s rushing and receiving efforts with 114 total yards (72 rushing, 42 receiving). 

“You’re always happy to win a college football game, so we’re very pleased about that,” offensive lineman Jack Mewhort said. “At the same time, we know we have a lot of improving to do, there’s no doubt about that. We enjoy it tonight and then go back to work tomorrow, just like every week.”

45 Comments

Comments

JakeBuckeye's picture

Urban Meyer still hasn't made me stop missing the Tressel-Pryor era. :/ Maybe next week will be a start.

D-Day0043's picture

Too bad we couldn't offer UAB's kicker a scholarship. (No more violations please.) That kid looked great except for the one miss.

Baroclinicity's picture

Someone in the know:  seems like we never have punts blocked, and Buchanan has had 2 that I remember going back to the '10 Sugar Bowl.  Not a huge deal, but is it coincidence, or is he a tad slow getting the ball off?
 
edit:  I realize it could be blown blocking schemes... but just wondering about the punter himslef.

kr66osu's picture

Today it was definitely the blocking scheme. They tried out a new punting formation and it completely failed.

Buckeyeneer's picture

To quote an old Maddenism: "It looked like a jail break!"
There were about 5 guys on his butt. Its like the line didn't know they were supposed to block someone before releasing. Can't blame this one on the kicker.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

buckeyemondo's picture

buchanan has got to have some field awareness and either try to rugby style it out of there when under duress, or just eat it.  we likely only give up 3 rather than the 6 in either scenario.

Poison nuts's picture

Those dudes were on him before he even got the ball pretty much. That one had absolutely nothing to do with Buchanan. He's actually lucky he didn't get crushed.

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

Ohio1St81's picture

I've seen a lot of comments about "growing pains" - to me, that means adjusting to a new offensive formation or perhaps adjusting to a new position. Players should not just regress in fundamentals - tackling, not commiting penalties, etc. - simply because there are new coaches in place. Whether we want to admit it or not, the errors OSU is commiting are not a result of some unfulfilled adjustment period, but of poor leadership, coaching, and execution. When does the term "wake-up call" stop applying and become habitual lack of intensity and execution?
Certainly I will be criticized for this post, but I still support my Buckeyes and am happy to see them 4-0. However, I also believe that part of supporting a team includes the willingness to call them out when there seems to be lack of effort or, in the Buckeyes' case, a lack of improvement. 

gravey's picture

Maybe it's just these players that played poorly last season because they're not that good, or difficult to coach are the same players this year; and even if Billl Walsh and Bill Bellicheck were coaching this team, they still wouldn't absorb what they need or run any faster.

Buckeyeneer's picture

I feel you. To many mental mistake and that is poor discipline, plain and simple.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

baddogmaine's picture

In fairness I could not see the game - the B1G network is not a favorite with cable providers in the State of Maine for some reason. But I could see the play-by-play posted on my computer screen. And based on that it appears this is the week the Buckeyes became the complete team, adding to mediocity or worse on offense, defense and discipline (stupid penalties) incompetence on special teams.
We may need to accept that either the team learned such bad habits under Fickell they are still not over them, or Meyer is not delivering the bold new look most people expected - and have been giving him credit for even though so far this year the team has done little to justify it. Our defense is truly inept - and if Meyer is not personally responsible he is responsible for whoever is - and our offense too unimaginative to fool even as average a defense as UAB. Meyer may yet lead us to a promised land more significant than close wins over badly overmatched foes, but to this point too little improvement has really been demonstrated.
And so to my eyes hope for next week can come in two forms. First is App St v. AACC - in any given week a better team can lose to a lesser. And yes, despite a loss to ND and a scare against a directional MI MSU so far has been better on defense and has a running game that can control the clock. It is because Sparty has a stud RB and a rookie QB that they are not likely to pick on our pass defense, which is a good thing since our pass defense statistically is among the very worst in the FBS. But our poor tackling does not promise good results against a back who has gone over 200 twice already this year. And if Cal and UAB could contain Miller MSU probably can.
If NW beats Syracuse tonight I'd say the polls have the wrong unbeaten B1G team ranked. We may be 4-0, but we are not a Top 25 team based on on-field results. From what I've seen there are several one-loss teams, and probably even some2- loss teams who I think could beat the Buckeye team we have seen so far. Win next week and that can be reconsidered.

Baroclinicity's picture

Northwestern won and is 4-0.  Minnesota is playing 'Cuse and if they win they would be 4-0.  I think you're still referring to Northwestern here?
 
edit:  also, I wouldn't be surprised if we dropped in the rankings again.
edit again:  and if we don't get any pressure on Denard, Michigan will maul us given the bad pass defense.

TLB's picture

No he wont. I will take Brax over him right now.

Baroclinicity's picture

I would too.  But that's not the point.

TLB's picture

He can have his rush yards but his arm would not beat us.
subject change: clemson fsu sure looks faster than any B1G game I have seen

cplunk's picture

I would have taken Brax over Denard at the end of last year. This year it isn't even close- Brax is much better. He's as a good a runner, a better passer, and doesn't jack up random ints in bunches.
That said, Denard is gonna crush our D if they don't fix some issues. They make bad reads, take bad angles, and can't tackle. If The Game was tomorrow I'd bet the Bucks win, but I'd also bet Denard gets close to 200 yards rushing and we only win on Braxton magic.

cinserious's picture

As good a runner my ass. Braxton is a MUCH better runner and he's only played college FB half the amount of time. I do agree though when it comes down to it, Braxton does have magic in him. He's a natural.

"Get him a body bag, Yeah!"

SPreston2001's picture

Umm I may have to disagree with you on that note. Denard is quicker and faster than Brax and a bit more lethal in terms of running. Braxton has nice moves and is alot more smooth with his running, but Denard has cat like reflexes and acceleration that make him very dangerous in open space. Brax is the man, but dont underestimate Denards running ability...

cinserious's picture

Cal and UAB didn'nt contain Miller, the coaching staff contained Miller. If the staff lets Miller run roughshod over the 'vaunted MSU-D' in the first quarter, we could have a better outcome that most people think. Think Nebraska on the road last yr., no wait don't...our defense looks just as inept as last year's.

"Get him a body bag, Yeah!"

3 Yards And A Cloud of Dust's picture

Just win baby!  The Buckeyes will get better, but it is certainly a story of different parts of the team showing up at different times.
Nice to know when they dropped the hammer, they put points on the board in a hurry.  Getting Hyde back will help.
Also helps UAB leads the nation in chop blocks.
And, Bryant can deny all he wants, the replay shows the truth.  I wish the coaches would yank guys out of the game when they make this stupid mistakes.  

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

I'm not sure OSU would beat Michigan right now. My confidence in this team is really low. They haven't showed me very much to get excited about. Too many penalties, missed tackles, stupid penalties, failing to stop 3rd and long. Coaching is not good and many of the players are not as good as hyped to us fans.

SGTBuckeye83's picture

A couple things... There are a lot of teams that were supposed to be good this year and just look bad. I agree that the intensity is not there....Do ya'll think it may be the fact that all games so far have been noon games and all at the shoe? I think we play better against MSU...which doesn't say much because every team in the B1G looks awful. I will say this as well. Cal and UAB did NOT contain Brax. He simply only ran when he had/wanted to. I have seen several times when Brax could have pulled and run forever but he stayed and kept his eyes down field. He is trying to get better, but make no mistake they didn't contain him.

Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction.

Poison nuts's picture

This team is Jeckell & Hyde!! Last week I defended the coach(es) to another poster...& I still do, but there is something very wrong with this team right now & I cannot figure it out...I have got to think the coaches are working with these guys properly. The ESPN special showed me a group of fiery intense coaches, The guys from BTN thought it was great coaching when they stopped in - but something is wrong. This was not the team (UAB) to have looked that bad against & make no mistake - that was an awful game to watch. Pacing around behind the couch hoping that OSU doesn't get an Appy St. Vs UM pulled on them was not how I saw the thing going...
But yes - another win is a good thing & here's to hoping that these guys can get ready for MSU & be motivated....

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

headina's picture

I was there and I was embarrassed.

GO BUCKS

TLB's picture

So are tsun fans.
Yet only down 10

luckynewman13's picture

the upside of today is that this ND v. UM game is friggin' hilarious!

ekeith21's picture

poorly coached team! Fire Fickell! Bench Bryant for his poor play and trash talking.

Tonga Buckeye's picture

WHAT!

"go not where the path may lead, rather go where there is no path and leave a trail"

AntiZmbeTskFrc's picture

Is it just me or does it seem like the offense is holding back at times these past two games? It just looks to me that they are out there practicing and not playing a game. for the defense on the other hand why the hell can we not defend the damn screen plays. i could just tell every time when they were gunna pull off a first down screen play and there still was a nice ten yard cushion from howard on the wides.

"We got no food, no jobs... our PETS' HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!"

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Stoneburner? Stoneburner? Stoneburner?

Buckeyejason's picture

Who's that?

BUCKEYES BABY!

BuckeyeBeth's picture

Listen. Don't fire or bench anyone right now. A) calls by the officials were terrible, you weren't on the field and you dont know what, if anything was said. B) let this team, with all new systems, coaches and players PLAY TOGETHER FOR ONE YEAR. I really don't want to hear your bitching til next year.
Yes, today was incredibly painful. But let's be honest - did you really expect this year to be "zomg osu is the best team EVAH" ? If so, you've been drinking some serious spiked kool-aid. (or at least that pretend bowl of cereal that denard seems to like so much.)
So cheer your team, love your school. Yes, discuss the weaknesses - but its WEEK FOUR, we're undefeated and it's all NEW. Let's sit back and support these guys. If next year is atrocious, then I'll understand if you whine.
Go Bucks! Beat the Spartans!
- Beth.

Success - it's what you do with what you've got.   - Woody Hayes
 

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

I expect our weapons to be utilized. Stoneburner was a weapon @ TE. Moved to WR and he is ghost. Odd, no?

buckeyepastor's picture

What i see is on defense we still seem to be largely "read & react."  I don't see us really taking initiative.  Still do not get this "blitz only when necessary" approach that we seemed to have especilally in the first two contests.   We were not much the aggressor vs. inferior foes, what now with conference play and teams that match our talent level?   I do think fundamentals can suffer because of players still learning the system, but that should only be the problem for up to week 2.   
On offense, still feel like they lack intensity.  I remember in the ESPN program Meyer fumed about the impression of the offense believing it was OK to not get it done and lean on the defense.   I know Braxton is not a very vocal guy and maybe doesn't have to be, but he needs to get people giving their best on every play and I don't see that.  I see a team that does some things well on offense (or defense) and thinks more highly for it than they should.    
I do not feel great about MSU.  I think the bigger stage is something that some players will really rise to the occasion for.  But I think OSU can play their best and most complete game of the year on Saturdy and still lose by more than a touchdown to MSU.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

cinserious's picture

Fact: Braxton Miller's footwork and running ability are far and away the Buckeye offense's best, most potent, and most dangerous weapon this year. Why on earth would you not set the tone in the first quarter by utilizing this enormous comparative advantage? After he destroys a defense's will to exist a few times with his runs, then you open up the passing game and really start piling it on. Having him throw,throw,throw early on mixed with some J. Hall runs is not very effective. For every mistake Brax makes on a pass, there is an equal amount of receiver miscues as well. I'm not opposed to 'forcing' him into learning how to be an effective passer, but let him set it up with his feet first. I'm hoping all these shenanigans are a ruse to throw-off MSU's defensive gameplan.

"Get him a body bag, Yeah!"

painterlad's picture

I've tried to figure this team out but I can't. Therefore I have determined to just watch the games and let this do-over season play itself out.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

betmo's picture

Fickel/Vrabel..2013..Quote the Raven: 'Nevermore". Currently appearing on 'Lost' or was that cancelled?

baddogmaine's picture

According to NCAA statistics after four games against a schedule that has not exactly been threatening OSU is 96th in the FCS (out of 120), 10th in the B1G in pass offense; 104th in the FCS, 11th in the B1G in pass defense; and 112th in the FCS and dead last in the B1G in tackles for loss. Total defense is somewhat better nationally (71st) but dead last in the B1G. Total offense is at least in the top half both nationally and in conference, but at 52 and 4 is not very good. We are also dreadful nationally and in conference in punt returning. Miller is personally #2 in the B1G in total offense - behind Denard Robinson. None of this reflects most or least "valuable," they are raw statistics, but they strongly suggest that OSU under Meyer with Meyer's recruits helping out is not significantly better than it was under Fickel. And while statistics can be skewed by early failures not reflecting recent improvement the team's play has not demonstrated marked improvement. Improvement can start any week and there is room for improvement.
Team Rankings had us 49th and falling in pure team rankings after the Cal game - we almost certainly will be  lower than that now. They have us 56th and climbing in overall power ratings (adjusting for schedule strength) after yesterday's game -  climbing because two other teams that had been slightly ahead of us looked even worse yesterday. These rankings are subjective to a great degree, but it's hard to argue that we are better than middle of the pack based on performance.

Crimson's picture

Alternatively, OSU is  25th in points for and 32nd in points against in FCS FBS.  This still doesn't tell us anything.  It's four games into a season with 6 new coaches.  Tell me how bad we suck at the end of the season.

baddogmaine's picture

Reviews at the end of the season are boring. Collegefootballnews' Clucko the Chicken can do those. Take a stand now.
I'm predicting that Vegas will have Sparty by 8 points. I think this is low and is based on the OSU brand drawing money at any margin. My  money would be on MSU by about 15 (though in reality I don't bet, I just predict). I don't see us scoring much, or doing much to stop Bell.  (MSU did struggle against EMU's defense, but no one has struggled to move the ball against OSU's defense.) Only MSU's (so far) inability to throw has me keeping the spread under 20. When you tell me I'm wrong also tell how much of your own money you would put on the Buckeyes covering 8 points against.

Crimson's picture

I get it; you're a gambler.  Besides betting, you like to review how good the team is this season before they've shown you how good you are.  My apologies, as I don't work like that.  End of the season reviews are boring, because they're right.
OSU is inconsistent, and MSU can't put points up on a good team.  It could be 24-20 OSU, or it could be 24-6 MSU.  If you like, I'll bet you a penny that OSU won't cover the 8 point spread, but you have to mail me the stamp first.

ek68's picture

The Buckeyes are  middle of the pack BIG team. They will need to show more or they will struggle with MSU, NEB., TTUN, Wisc., & no cake walk with Illinois, PSU, & Purdue. If they continue to play this way a 4-4 record or 5-3 is not out of the question. Not impressed at all.

 

 

 

wjpalumbo's picture

I noticed all the UAB defenders lined up within ten yards of the line of scrimmage at least 90% of the time and we kept trying to run Hall and the other backs from the read option.  When tOSU didn't run all the receivers ran short crossing routes and screens.  I wasn't there and couldn't see the whole field (maybe some of the receivers ran deeper post and streaks) but the game plan appeared to play right into our opponents strength.  I know Braxton missed a couple of wide open receivers deep but the deep stuff was open and the offense did nothing to stretch the field and open up the run/ short passing game.  It seemed like the offense coaches were running plays like a scrimmage to challenge the team to be successful no matter what defense the opponent was in.  I'm hoping for a little more creative play calling for the remainder of the season and that Miller recognizes when a play won't work and learns to check to one that will.
On the defensive side of the ball I'm not as concerned as some, but concerned non the less.  I thought the tackling was better and we kept them out of the end zone but when one player was there to make the tackle and missed there was no one else there to clean it up.  What ever happened to the Silver Bullet gang tackling we have grown accustomed to the last decade?  The line play was OK but it is hard to get pressure on the QB when the o-line consistantly chop blocks and grabs big hand fulls of jersey.  If they call a team for an illegal chop block three times, you can be sure that it happened a lot more than that.   With Michigan State running a more conventional offense the D-line should have more success but that being said, the linebackers need to step up big (which they haven't done yet) or it could be a long day in East Lansing.

 
 

ekeith21's picture

BuckeyeBeth Yeah you could hear Bryant on the Big Ten network screaming "your a bitch" several times! This is the worst defense in years. Fickell isn't a great coach. Our hearts want to say he is but he isn't.