Five Things: San Diego State

By Chris Lauderback on September 8, 2013 at 2:30p
The injury prone Braxton Miller freaks out the faithful once more

Looking for an upgrade in performance following a season opening win over Buffalo that featured a general lack of intensity, Ohio State again started fast, overcame a knee injury to Braxton Miller and absolutely smothered an over matched San Diego State squad in a 42-7 win. 

Urban Meyer welcomed back Bradley Roby, Rod Smith and C.J. Barnett and the staff was able to empty the bench in a lopsided affair that saw Ohio State rack up 35 points in the 1st half.  

The story of the game was easily Braxton's injury, and the subsequent smooth jazz orchestrated by Kenny Guiton but more on that in a bit. 

The win improves Ohio State to 2-0 on the young season, a week before they head to Berkeley to take on the California Golden Bears but before we turn our attention to the tree huggers out west, let's take a last look at Five Things that stood out in the dominating win over the Aztecs. 


With Bradley Roby back in the fold alongside first year full-time starter Doran Grant, the Buckeyes appear to have one of the more formidable corner tandems they've rolled out there in recent years. 

Obviously, it's way too early to know exactly how good Grant will be over the course of the season but the early returns are impressive and we already know Roby is a legit #1 corner on any team in America.

Doran Grant will be busy this year thanks to Roby's greatness

Yesterday, the combo combined for eight tackles, three pass breakups and an interception. In the 1st half alone, the pair helped limit SDSU passers to a combined 9/20 through the air for a meager 72 yards with an INT. 

It will likely be a rare event that Roby's game stats jump off the page simply because opposing teams will avoid throwing in his direction but he did make a nice play on the Aztecs' third possession of the game, blanketing Tim Vizzi on 3rd and 8 to force a punt. Later, on SDSU's last possession of the half, Roby came up big on 2nd and Goal from the OSU 9-yard line with a big hit on Colin Lockett at the 3-yard line. Grant took it from there, likely making Aaron Craft squeal, using textbook form to break up a slant in the end zone intended Ezell Ruffin to end the half. 

Doran's interception came gift-wrapped from Curtis Grant who drilled Adam Dingwell just as he let go of the ball, giving the Buckeyes possession at the SDSU 45-yard line. 

Beyond Grant's cover skills, he has also shown himself to be a sure tackler and someone committed to his craft. In fact, I didn't realize this but his OSU bio notes he was one of two Buckeye skill players to be awarded the Iron Buckeye Award last winter, given to the "student-athlete(s) who best exemplifies unquestionable physical training dedication, determination, discipline, toughness and leadership".

With Grant doing his part on a starting secondary loaded with experience at the opposite corner and both safety spots, the green front seven is poised to enjoy a legit security blanket as they evolve throughout the season. 


After Braxton went down with a knee injury on the Ohio State's 7th play from scrimmage, the Buckeye offense again turned to the smooth jazz courtesy of backup quarterback Kenny Guiton. 

The unflappable senior captain took over the controls and produced 235 total yards and three touchdowns in the most extensive single-game action he's seen during his time in Columbus, nearly breaking Twitter in the process. The 235 total yards eclipsed the 224 yards he'd racked up in his career before yesterday's game.

Guiton completed 19/28 throws for 158 yards with two touchdowns and one interception along with another 83 yards on the ground including a 44-yard touchdown run. 

"The Songbird" takes a request from Urban Meyer

As Meyer noted after the game, Guiton doesn't possess crazy arm strength and isn't all that fast but he's a born leader that relishes his role on the team and while he's no Braxton from a skill-set perspective, the kid is pretty damn good at playing within himself and executing the offense. 

His interception was a perfect illustration of what he isn't – a strong downfield passer – but his strengths are notable. Without question, he runs the option and zone read plays better than Miller despite significantly less reps and his presence in the huddle and on the sidelines post-possession is also starter-esque. 

His option pitch to Jordan Hall on Ohio State's last possession of the half was a thing of beauty. On 2nd and 12 from the SDSU 26, Guiton shuffled left, made the end commit, and pitched to Hall in stride triggering a 25-yard burst to set up a touchdown and a 35-0 lead. 

Through the air, he found Philly Brown twice for six with a pair of strong, well-placed throws into decent coverage. 

The first, a 27-yarder on his first full possession of the afternoon, found Philly streaking down the left sideline as Guiton calmly stepped into his throw knowing he would take a strong hit from a blitzing linebacker just as he released a perfect spiral for six. 

The second, a 24-yarder on Ohio State's 2nd possession after halftime, was a thing of beauty as he split two defenders with another perfectly lofted football that only Brown had a chance to catch. 

It was a truly an outstanding performance by a truly outstanding kid. 


After piling up nine penalties for 94 yards in last week's sloppy win over Buffalo, the Buckeyes were at it again, totaling eight flags for 75 yards. 

Hall channeled his inner Shugarts for much of the day

The offense was particularly awful, accounting for seven infractions, while the eighth was committed by an offensive player, Jordan Hall, when he foolishly roughed the SDSU punter as his punt block angle left him no choice but to barrel into a prone Joel Alesi.

Starting right guard Marcus Hall was abysmal, totaling four flags with three false starts and a 15-yard hands to the face. 

His opening false start put the offense into a 3rd and 10 situation and they were unable to convert. 

On Ohio State's opening possession of the 2nd half, easily their worst series of the day, Hall and Chris Fields (two flags on the day) teamed up to back the Bucks up 30 yards on successive plays. 

Fields wiped out a 9-yard run on 1st and 10 by Ezekiel Elliott with a facemask penalty and Hall erased an 8-yard completion to Evan Spencer with the hands to the face infraction. Their combined derps became contagious as the next two plays saw Philly and Smith drop passes to euthanize the possession. 

Left guard Andrew Norwell also had a false start on the day, giving the seasoned offensive line four such miscues on the afternoon. 

Meyer can't be pleased with 17 total flags in two weeks though it was nice to see the Bullets charged with zero accepted penalties on the day. 


It's always important to keep perspective when playing against inferior opponents but I liked what I saw from the refurbished defensive line. 

The group helped hold SDSU to a combined -4 yards on their first five possessions which totaled just 13 plays. In fact, the Aztecs totaled just 99 yards of offense in the opening half and were held to 1/9 on 3rd down conversions (3/16 for the game). 

Michael Bennett and reserve DE Steve Miller, playing in place of injured Adolphus Washington, were the standouts up front. 

Miller came up big on back to back possessions in the 1st half, picking up a sack on 3rd and 19 to force a punt then dropping into coverage on the ensuing SDSU "drive", stopping receiver Lockett for a 2-yard gain on 3rd and 3 to force another punt. 

Bennett continues to earn Meyer's praise for his work on and off the field

Bennett played one of his best games as Buckeye. He single-handedly blew up SDSU's next-to-last possession of the half beating his man with a spectacular spin move before forcing and recovering a fumble as he blasted QB Quinn Kaehler for a 10-yard loss and turnover. Rod Smith scored three plays later to make it 35-0 good guys. 

On the Aztecs' first possession of the 2nd half, Bennett was at it again, overwhelming his blocker on a 2nd and 6 before leveling RB Chase Price for a 4-yard loss. SDSU would put two plays later.

True freshman Joey Bosa also had another solid outing putting pressure on the quarterback up the middle and Noah Spence added 0.5 sacks and a hurry. 

Again, it was a joke of an offense they faced but it looks like the Buckeyes have at least four top-level guys in Washington, Bennett, Bosa and Spence with guys like Miller, Chris Carter, Joel Hale and true freshman Michael Hill adding rotational depth. 


Excepting the precious few dinosaurs that say things simply for shock value, even Meyer's biggest detractors typically recognize him as the 2nd most dominant college head coach behind Tusca-Lucifer himself. 

He's earned such props mostly by way of winning two national titles, showing impressive creativity as an offensive mind and recruiting the pants off virtually everyone else in the sport. 

One of the more subtle things I'm growing to love about Meyer is how he uses games to get things on film that opposing coaches must spend time preparing for down the line. 

In game one, Meyer employed a flex formations as the Buckeyes converted a pair of unconventional two-point conversions. Opposing coaches are now forced to spend time on at practice. 

Yesterday, Meyer put two more things on film that must be accounted for. First, he used that quad/bunch wide receiver formation split right, with another receiver split wide, creating space for Guiton to peel off his 44-yard touchdown jaunt. No question, teams will need to spend a few minutes scheming against that look knowing additional plays could emerge from that set – or worse, yet: Braxton Miller could be the quarterback running out of it. 

Meyer also rolled punter Cameron Johnston before a couple punts yesterday and with the kid's athleticism, opposing coaches will need to invest time in thinking of how Urban could take put said skills to use on fakes.

You have to love how Meyer trolls the conference coaches as he plows through the non-conference slate. (I do wish he'd stop trolling Bri'onte Dunn so hard though)


Comments Show All Comments

UrbanCulture's picture


Hovenaut's picture

I read right through your guise, man.

Well played.

jfunk's picture

Just once before he graduates I want to see Kenny G score a touchdown and bust out a little air-saxophone action. The guy has earned it.

Scotch: It may be too early to drink it, yes; but people it is never to early to think about it.

vitaminB's picture

Who knew all these years Tebow was just Kenny G'ing it.

Blue Eyed Buckeye's picture

Buckeyes win by 3-scores with a backup QB and fall to #4?  What the hell AP poll?

BuckeyeSouth's picture

Even worse, we won by 5 scores.  Who cares though, it's the AP poll and doesn't mean squat.

Champions.  Undisputed.  

nm_buck's picture

It sucks but that's what happens when non-conference SOS is weak.  In all honesty I'd say the three teams above us are equally deserving.  Oregon manhandled VA and of course Clemson beat up on GA. 
All we can do is take care of our own business.  Keep winning.  We do that, we'll get there. 

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

BuckTheWorld's picture

Can anyone tell me how to upvote something?  

An Angry Fan

CALPOPPY's picture

You need to have 100 helmet stickers before you can vote. You get those by participating in the site (comments and posts) and having others upvote your comments.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

GoBucksOSU's picture

EDIT: nevermind your question was already answered.

Hoody Wayes's picture

Braxtonian zeitgeist?

BuckTheWorld's picture

I think the team looked fine.  Dontre will be something special 

An Angry Fan

nm_buck's picture

He already is something special from what I have seen.  Can't wait until he starts getting more calls... we ain't seen nuthin' yet.
EZ-E looked good too... if it weren't for those yellow flags he would have had a decent day...

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

Is it bad that I find myself "disappointed" after Dontre only gains about 8-12 yards on a carry...
that kid looks like he could go to the house on every touch!
I'm glad he's a Buckeye!

FUqUespin's picture

mi$hitagain still sucks

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Great game overall by the buckeyes.  Yeah, #79 had the crowd grumbling after the second infraction, but sometimes you have days like that.  Wonder if he will start next week?

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

ChillitownBuck30's picture

Marcus Hall had a rough day, but he isn't going anywhere.  Meyer has said multiple times he is the most improved lineman on the team.  He is a fantastic guard with some mobility.  

“Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.”

OSUNeedles's picture

I will just refer to him as Marcus Shugarts until he.pulls it back together.

oh_dad55's picture

I can see punter Johnston being given the green light to decide when to tuck and run for a first down.  He seemed to be sizing up the defense on one of his first two punts, like he might have been thinking about it.  Those roll-outs look awkward, but give the punter a view of the field ahead of him.  They also give the special team another second to be flying down the field toward the punt returner.  A second here or there, good hang time, and the return man is forced to fair catch.  Kudos for zero return yards yesterday!


RMichaelS's picture

To Hall's defense:  Kenny G's hand clap signals were different than Miller's. 
Also, did you see the close up of that hit on Miller!!?  two helmet to helmets at the same time, one on each side of his head!  all down low where the officials couldn't possibly see it.  No wonder his helmet popped off.  At the time, the knee was the least of his concerns.
And the Michigan Notre Dame Game!  man, the Michigan quarterback is everything we hoped Braxton would morph into.  His passes are crisp & right on; his receivers snatch the ball out of the air & explode up the field; and he has good, ground eating speed.  We will have our hands full in the Big House.  O, and I am always delighted to see Brian Kelly enraged on the sideline. 

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great article Chris.  Kenny did great!  Hopefully Braxton returns and gets healthy soon.
Go Bucks!

pjtobin's picture

Still no Mitchell. I was hoping to see him on special teams. How can a guy that fast and that big not see any playing time? Any thoughts?

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

Brandon26841's picture

Really raw, and he might be having trouble grasping the mental side of the game. 
Looks like a redshirt year for him. It should have been obvious to anybody that watched his highlights closely that although he's clearly a freak athlete, he had a ways to go. 

pjtobin's picture

I wouldn't say it was obvious to anybody who watched his highlights. I would say he does play with instinct. This is the first I have heard of a redshirt. If he needs time to improve I can see that. I was hoping he would be a impact from the rip. How long do they have to declare a redshirt?

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

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

Not to mention all the changed numbers. The first time I saw Jordan Hall I thought Rod Smith had shrank and lost 40 pounds.

jccavanaugh's picture

Is it too much of a stretch to think some of the formation game-footage trolling might be aimed at Tusca-Lucifer himself?  Make Saban spend the pre-bowl downtime, if it comes to that, working on a surplus of different offensive looks?