The Buckeyes took to the road for the first time this season to visit Miami at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. From the moment the teams took the field, Miami was clearly the better football team, and demonstrated it by shutting Ohio State’s offense down nearly completely on route to a 24-6 victory. Ohio State’s only successful offensive players were Jordan Hall with 14 carries for 87 yards and Carlos Hyde with 12 carries for 54 yards. Neither quarterback had a completion percentage beyond 20% on the game.
The game started with the Buckeyes in possession of the football and Joe Bauserman under center. It’s also worth noting that despite Jordan Hall’s return from suspension the Bucks started out handing the ball off to Carlos Hyde. Clearly the coaches were sufficiently happy with the work Carlos has done this season to warrant him continuing to start for this team. Unfortunately, Bauserman was unable to connect on pass plays on 2nd and 3rd down and the Bucks were forced to punt.
On the first play from scrimmage for the Hurricane’s offense, Jacory Harris handed the ball off to Lamar Miller who blitzed through the center of the OSU defense for 54 yards. The play immediately put Miami in scoring position and set the Buckeye defense back on their heels. A couple plays later, from three yards out, Jacory Harris found Allen Hurns unguarded in the endzone for the first touchdown of the game.
Despite the rough start, the Buckeyes showed confidence in their gameplan and put “The Baus” back in the game. Instead of Hyde, however, the Bucks brought Jordan Hall into the game, and even managed to find him on a wheel route out of the backfield. Again, however, the Buck’s drive ended in a three-and-out. Benjamin, Miami’s star receiver and return man, succeeded in returning the resulting punt to near the 50, showing great speed on the play to get around the corner of the OSU coverage unit.
The momentum continued for the Hurricanes. Taking the excellent field position, a calm and confident Harris took what the defense was giving him and slowly advanced Miami down the field. On 3rd and 4 from the 30 yard line Miami gave Miller a soft toss 6 yards deep in the backfield. It appeared that the Buckeye defense was all over the play, but due to excellent blocking from Miami’s receivers, Miller found his way down to the 2 yard line of Ohio State. It was only a matter of time before Harris was able to again find Allen Hurns, victimizing Bradley Roby on the play.
With Miami in firm control of all phases of the football game, Fickell decided to go with Braxton Miller at the quarterback position. The change seemed to spark the offense a bit, as Jordan Hall ripped off two huge runs to get the Buckeyes quickly into Miami territory. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before Miami regained control as Braxton’s first pass of the game was tipped high and picked off. Braxton had attempted to hit Stoneburner over the middle, but the Miami zone easily got a hand on the ball to tip it into the air.
Luckily for the Buckeyes, though, Jacory Harris returned the favor. After Miller broke 100 yards rushing in the first quarter, Miller attempted a bootleg to his right but then failed to throw the football on time. CJ Barnett made a huge play and jumped the route to give the Buckeyes a huge boost of momentum.
Jordan Hall did everything he could to make use of that momentum and continued his excellent running from the first drive. In four carries over two drives, Hall managed to pick up 53 yards – a ridiculous 13.3 yard per carry average. Hall couldn’t keep going every single play, and the coaching staff replaced him with Carlos Hyde who was unable to gain the same kind of yardage. Following that up with a nearly disasterous fumble by Braxton lead to a long 3rd and 12 for the Bucks. On that play Braxton was unable to connect with Verlon Reed – despite having nearly all the time in the world.
The defense finally began to make their adjustments. As with most Buckeye teams, it always seems to take them a couple of drives to fully figure out what the opponent’s offense wants to do in a game. After a couple of disasterous drives behind the excellent running of Lamar Miller, the Bucks were able to force Miami into a three-and-out.
Bauserman came out on the subsequent OSU drive and lead the Buckeyes smartly down the field with solid running from both Hall and Hyde gashing big holes in the Miami defense. When the Bucks did choose to pass, the result was often not pretty, often with Bauserman overthrowing the receiver, or hitting the receiver with a pass thrown so hard that the receiver couldn’t hold on. While the Bucks weren’t able to get the ball into the endzone, they did manage to put Drew Basil in easy position for a chip shot to get on the scoreboard. The field goal was the first Drew Basil has hit while in the scarlet and gray.
Jacory Harris gave his second gift of the night on the very next drive. With John Simon closing in for the sack Harris attempted to launch one to Hurns on the left side. Bradley Roby snuck under the route and picked it off, giving the Buckeyes great field position inside the Miami 30 yard line. OSU looked unable to use the excellent field position until a Miami defender smacked Bauserman late after an errant pass. The penalty gave the Buckeyes a first down just outside the Miami 10 yard line. Bauserman was unable to capitalize, however, and Basil was forced to kick a second field goal.
With the half winding down, Miami went back to focusing on the running game. The Hurricanes tried to get Miller moving on the ground, and found some room for him to run, but found better success with an excellent 29 yard pass down the left side that was hauled in by Streeter and snared between his knees. Miami was able to convert their drive into a field goal to end the half, giving Miami a two score lead going into the half.
Jacory Harris and the Hurricanes got the chance to start the half on offense coming out of the half. Impressively, the Buckeye defense did not allow Miami to make a first down, and forced Miami to punt from deep in their own territory. Dalton Botts did an excellent job to launch the football deep into Ohio State’s side of the field, only to have Jordan Hall rip off a thirty yard return and give the Bucks excellent field position.
OSU came out of the gate running the football with Carlos Hyde, quickly earning a first down on the strength of his legs. After getting the first down, and building some momentum, the Buckeyes decided to pass on three straight downs with Bauserman, finding no-one open, and only a sack on third down to show for it. Thankfully, despite having to punt it twice, Buchanan was able to pin the Canes inside their own five yard line.
Miami came back and started running the ball straight into the teeth of the OSU defense. They found plenty of success with the strategy, moving the ball quickly to midfield on only three plays despite starting from nearly their own endzone. With a long 1 yard on 4th down near the OSU 40, Miami attempted to go for the first down. The play was broken, however, and the ball squirted deeper into the Miami backfield where it was recovered, resulting in Ohio State ball near the 50.
The next drive saw Miller take the field, only to be replaced by Bauserman after Miller fumbled the first down snap. The rough start completely stymied OSU’s momentum, and while Bauserman finally managed to complete a pass – the second for Ohio State on the day – it wasn’t enough to get a first down.
After several three-and-out drives for each team, Miami began to gain some traction again in the running game. It was quickly appearing like the Bucks weren’t going to be able to stop the Canes on that drive. One 3rd and very short, however, Ohio State’s defense got a great push and Storm Klein stuffed Miller in the backfield to give the OSU offense another chance.
Braxton got another chance to see the field, and the Buckeye offense took advantage of it immediately. The first three calls were the exact same read quarterback keeper that Miller took up the left side of the field for about 17 yards all told. With the offense starting to move, and Miami looking like they would have no answer, OSU called for a pass. Braxton dropped back, saw no-one open and took it up the middle of the field. As he neared the first down marker, a Miami player came up from behind and punched the ball out – primarily because Braxton had not properly tucked the football into his arm – and Miami came up with the fumble.
Harris very nearly brought the Buckeyes back into the game on first down when he threw a pass into the waiting arms of one of the OSU safeties. Unfortunately, he was unable to hold on to the interception. Miami immediately switched to a more conservative offense and began to move the ball down the field with impunity. At this point, there seemed to be nothing Ohio State could do to answer Miami’s offense. After being on the field nearly the entire second half, the Silver Bullets were simply too tired to effectively stop what the Hurricanes wanted to do. With less than a minute left in the game, after running 8 minutes off the clock, Miami punched the ball into the endzone one last time to seal the deal.
The Buckeyes will next face the Colorado Buffaloes in Ohio Stadium on Saturday, September 24th at 3:30 PM Eastern Time.