First posted at Inside The Shoe
The first loss in the 2011 season was in serious contention among Buckeye fans for one of the worst offensive performances in recent memory. Miami seemed to be in control for most of this game, and even when they gave chances for Ohio State to get themselves back into it, Bauserman failed to bring about any offense. Even when true freshman Braxton Miller came in, the offense showed sparks of life, but ended up stepping on their own feet and stalling the drives with turnovers, and lackadaisical effort.
While the Buckeyes have 1 more week to learn what they need to do to win games, the Big Ten season is right around the corner, which means it's go time for the Scarlet and Gray. Let's take a look at what went right and wrong on Saturday.
What Went Wrong
1. Joe Bauserman: Bauserman cannot be the starting quarterback for Ohio State any longer. He proved time and time again that despite having 4 years to prepare for a situation in which he would have to step in, he simply isn't going to ever be ready. After throwing long balls (0 complete) to the D-section in Sun Life Stadium, Bauserman couldn't do much trying to keep any pressure off him at all. When he stepped up, he was sacked. If he tried to roll out, he was either sacked or threw the ball away. The only bright spot in his game was his would-be touchdown pass to Jake Stoneburner, and even that ball was behind #11.
2. First half defense: If you take away the first five to eight minutes of the first quarter, and the last minute of the game, the Buckeye defense gave a total of 3 points away. Unfortunately, in America, they happen to count all 60 minutes, including some shell-shocked points given away after Lamar Miller's opening burst. The defense in the first half was ugly, as they could just not contain Lamar Miller or Jacory Harris. Hurns, a receiver that caught both Cane's touchdowns, was open all night long and had Roby in circles. Giving up early points with no offense isn't going to cut it against the Big Ten.
3. Wide Receivers: When your best wide receiver (I'm exaggerating a bit here) is a former QB and has little WR experience, you know you might have some trouble. Looking frail, small, and fragile, the Buckeye's receiving corps isn't what it used to be. Not even close. The blocking is what kept Jordan Hall breaking free on a couple of big runs that could have kept OSU close, and the drops are just adding to things we don't like to see as fans. I can blame Bauserman and Miller, but I can't blame them for not having anyone to throw the ball TO. 1 play in particular was when Miller faked a play-action and had all day to throw. He's already proved he can go through reads and check downs with ease. He stood there with great protection from the line, and couldn't find anyone open. To be sure, credit Miami's speed, but you really can't get open when it counts? We might be in more trouble in that spot than I expected, at the least.
What Went Right
1. Braxton Miller: Miller showed promise on Saturday, and while he didn't really get a chance to throw much, his running ability already has shown why everyone was obsessed with this kid coming out of high school. I think that the staff needs to look to the future of this team, and that means progressing Miller into what he can become eventually. Best case scenario is that this turns into a 2008-type season with Pryor being replaced by Miller.
2. Jordan Hall: Hall is the real deal, and once combined with Herron, Hyde AND Berry...well, this could be the focal point of the offense for the rest of the season, providing we have a mediocre passing game at the least. Of course, in turn, a great running back stable will help open up passing lanes for young Braxton to throw into. It all starts with Colorado.
3. Ben Buchanan: As much as I love Ben and his ability to punt, he shouldn't be on this list after a game. That truly means..we sucked. That's besides the point, though. Buchanan had a couple of huge punts, including 1 60+ yarder. The defining moment in that game for Ben? When he booted one inside the Miami 10, got it called back after illegal formation, and then proceeded to boot the ball to Miami's 5. Impressive stuff, and that's one way to turn our special teams around for the future.