For a year now Buckeye fans have been anxiously awaiting the opening game with Urban Meyer calling the shots. There have been many opinions on how Meyer will do at Ohio State, and what Meyer will do at Ohio State. One thing that is pretty consistent through all of these, is that everyone believes that he'll be successful.
If today's game was any indication, it's going to be a fun ride for Buckeye fans.
Coming out of the chute, it looked like it might be a long afternoon for Ohio State. The Buckeyes looked sluggish at best. As you watched the game you kept expecting there to be a sudden break out – a long run or huge pass completion or even an interception – but it just never happened. Ohio state ended each of its first four possessions with a punt. It was very frustrating to watch for even the most casual fan.
The Buckeyes were fortunate, too. Zac Dysert, the quarterback for Miami, threw some outstanding passes that ended up on the ground at the feet of his receivers after they simply couldn't find the handle. Had his receivers been able to catch a couple of these key passes, Miami would have easily had 2 touchdowns in the first quarter since the Buckeye defense was apparently still adjusting to their new assignments.
But the thing to remember is that a seasoned coach like Urban Meyer knows better than to try to come out full speed at the beginning of the first game. Realizing that the team would a bit anxious and chompin' at the bit to make things happen, Meyer chose to start conservatively. Begin at an easy pace. Let the players get comfortable with what's going on around them. Let them adjust to each other and the new method. Then, as the comfort level increases, gradually start letting them take control of the game.
So after being down 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, Ohio State led 21-3 going in the locker room at the half. The scoring for Ohio State started in a big way. After needing just 3 plays to move the ball from their own 17 to the Miami 23, Braxton Miller threw a pass into the end zone for Devin Smith. The pass appeared to be overthrown, and 5'8" Redhawk corner back Dayonne Nunley, running ahead of Smith, stretched out for what he thought was a sure interception for a touchback. But Nunley came up empty as the 6'1" wide receiver for the Buckeyes stretched out over him, grabbed the ball out of the air with his right hand and tucked it securely under his arm as his momentum spun him around in the air and landed him face down in the end zone. It was a fantastic one-handed grab that brought 105,000 fans to their feet and started a run of momentum for the Buckeyes that would not end until the final whistle.
Ohio State had two more scoring drives in the second quarter, and almost scored a fourth. With 5 seconds left in the first half, the Buckeyes had fourth down on the Miami 1 yard line. Rather than go for the field goal, Meyer decided to go for it. The run up the middle came within inches of scoring, but the Redhawk defense held, and both teams went into the locker room with the Buckeyes leading 21-3.
The second half started with the Buckeyes receiving the kickoff. Any spark that the Redhawks might have received from the late goal-line stand was quickly extinguished with Ohio State's first play of the second half. Braxton Miller called his own number, ran through a hole in the line, got quickly to the outside and outran the entire Miami defense for a 65 yard touchdown run. The highlight of the run was watching Miller do a slight hesitation move to freeze a would-be tackler so that he could blow past him into the end zone.
Braxton Miller finished the game completing 14 of 24 passes for 207 yards with no interceptions and 2 touchdowns and ran for 161 yards on 17 carries. Carlos Hyde had the second most rushing yards with 82 yards in 17 carries.
For the Redhawks quarterback Zac Dysert finished the game completing 31 passes on 53 attempts for 303 yards with 2 interceptions and one touchdown. Justin Semmes was the leading rusher for the Redhawks gaining 13 yards on 5 carries.
This Miami Redhawk team has a lot of talent and a lot of spirit, and if their receivers can simply find a way to hold on to the ball, they'll have a good season ahead of them.
As for the Buckeyes, it was a good start for Urban Meyer's program that gave the Ohio State fans a glimpse of the good season to come. With this win in the books, the anxiousness past and the future looking bright, the Ohio State faithful have a lot to look forward to. And Michigan fans should be very nervous.
As always, it's good to be a Buckeye.
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