Things got back on track for the Ohio State at Ohio Stadium in week number 4 of the college football season. Solid field position, big plays, and breakdowns on Colorado special teams gave Ohio State the advantage all afternoon in a 37-17 victory in the final non-conference game of the season.
Things got started off right on the kickoff, as Jordan Hall started the opening drive right with a 45 yard return. After a holding penalty moved the Buckeyes back to the 40 to begin the game. Braxton miller got his first start as a Buckeye, and on his first drive went three and out after a botched snap on third down.
Colorado then got the ball for the first time at the 28. Tyler Hanson would go three and out on three pass plays. After a nearly blocked punt that went 20 yards, hit the foot of Bradley Robey and was recovered by Chris Fields, The Buckeye offense took over for the second time of the game with solid field position.
That’s when Jordan Hall and Braxton Miller started finding a rhythm on the field. Miller moved the chains on third down to the 30 yard line on a short run and followed that up with a ten yard run option keeper to get the Buckeyes into the red zone. Jordan Hall would then get his legs moving with a nice run to the sidelines and out of bounds to the ten yard line on a big block by Zach Boren. Hall would then have a nice cutback nine run yard, dodging the defensive front in the middle of the field for a gain of nine yards and to the goal line. Hall would then jump over the pile from the one yard line and score the first points of the game.
The Ohio State defense then responded on the following drive on a botched hand-off from Tyler Hanson to Rodney Stewart on third down and two. That’s when defensive lineman Adam Bellamy jumped on the football and the Buckeye offense took over again in Colorado territory.
The offensive line then started to find a rhythm, creating a huge hole for Carlos Hyde on a nice draw play. The Buckeyes got within the ten yard line, but Miller struggled with finding an open receiver. The offensive line gave him plenty of time to throw, but after an deflected pass on third down intended for Devin Smith, the 6 play drive ended with a 28 yard field goal off the foot of Drew Basil, making it 10-0 at the Shoe.
Colorado would continue to struggle throughout the first quarter. The Ohio State secondary shut down any big play options for Tyler Hanson, and held the Buffaloes to zero first downs.
As the clock wound down in the first, Miller used his play-making abilities to keep the third OSU drive alive. Despite being 0/2 passing, the freshman moved the chains on a 10 yard run up the middle of the field when the pocket collapsed. Miller then started the 2nd quarter with a bootleg keeper to the sidelines and past midfield. After an incomplete pass attempt and broke down play up front, the Buckeyes punted to the five yard line, where the ball was fair caught at the five…
Colorado working deep in their own territory, tried to get the screen game going, but to no avail. Tyler Hanson continued to struggle finding a rhythm, leading his receivers out of bounds and being late to his targets in lieu of another 3 and out.
On the ensuing drive, Braxton Miller completed his first pass of the game to tight end Reid Fragel. The Buckeyes continued to run Miller out of the I formation on the drive, until the field was opened up for a beautiful 32 yard pass down the middle of the field to Devin Smith for the touchdown. A perfectly thrown ball on the blown coverage, making it 17-0 after the extra point.
The Buffaloes would finally get the first first down of the game with 7:00 minutes left in the half, by getting the ball to play-making receiver Paul Richardson. Despite pressure throughout the drive, Colorado was able to get past mid field for the first time through screens to Rodney Stewart and the legs of Tyler Hanson. With some time in the pocket, Hanson completed a strong pass to tight end Ryan Deehan for a gain of 20+ and into the Red Zone. Richardson and Hanson would then find some chemistry. After an nearly one handed fade touchdown catch from Paul Richardson, the Buffaloes shortened the field with a nice out route that made it 4th and 1 from the 11 yard line. The Buffaloes would go for it from the Shotgun, as Hanson was flushed out of the pocket and forced to throw from his back foot. Former Michigan receiver Toney Clemens, who had a coming out party against Colorado State last week, made a great catch in mid air to make it 17-7.
After a stalled drive, the Buckeyes would punt with less than :30 seconds left in the half. For the second straight time this afternoon, the Colorado special teams would botch a play in their own territory. The Buffaloes would attempt to field the football near the 10 yard line that caused a fumble with fifteen seconds to go in the first half. Braxton Miller would rush to the 1 yard line on a nice keeper, and with 6 seconds left. Luke Fickell would decide to go for the automatic three points off the foot of Drew Basil to make it 20-7.
After getting things going offensively at the end of the first half, Colorado’s offense came up short on their first drive of the second half. After going three and out, the Buffaloes punted the ball 33 yards and put the Buckeyes at mid-field to start their first drive.
From mid-field, the Buckeyes would run the football down the throats of the Buffalo front to start their first drive of the second half. Jordan Hall broke free off the direct snap to the 20 yard line out of the Wildcat formation. Then from the Shotgun on 3rd and 5, Braxon Miller put a beautiful touch on the football near the sidelines as Devin Smith planted his foot inside of the pylon and went up to get the football and score to make it a 20 point ball game.
Tyler Hanson and the Colorado offense would respond on the following drive. Westerville product Rodney Stewart got things going for the first time all day. After a nice pass to tight end Ryan Deehan for 21 yards, Stewart broke free for a 27 yard run to put the Buffaloes inside the Ohio State 30 yard line.
That’s when the defense stepped up big time, sniffing out the passing game and forcing Will Oliver to kick a 47 yard field goal on 4th and 16. The kick was good and made it 27-10.
On the ensuing kick, Jordan Hall nearly put the dagger in the heart of a horrific special teams unit. Hall broke free to the sidelines on a 90 yard return. He was brought down just before finding paydirt. Carlos Hyde would finish Hall’s dirty work by finding the outside edge and running in for the 5 yard touchdown score making it 34-10.
Colorado would then move the football, but stall at the Buckeye 47 after a fumble recovery by Ohio State was overturned.
Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde took over at the Ohio State 20 heading into the 4th quarter. Through the air and on the ground, the two youngsters did their part in running the clock down. Despite being up big, the Ohio State coaching staff gave the youngster a great opportunity to throw the football.
After an incomplete pass to Evan Spencer to keep the clock killing drive alive, Drew Basil nailed his third field goal of the day, this one from 47 yards out with more than 12 minutes to play in the ballgame, making it 37-10.
Ohio State would then spend the rest of the fourth quarter as a training session for Braxton Miller. Whether it was running the football or passing it, Miller used the time as an invaluable time to improve in the system. In his first start as a Buckeye, Miller went 7/16 for a total of 110 yards. He added 17 carries for 84 yards.
The Buffaloes would add a touchdown drive late in the ballgame.
Joe Bauserman entered the ballgame in cleanup duty with less than three minutes remaining in the ballgame. He made two good striding passes at the end of the 4th quarter. He led a drive alongside Rod Smith that got to the goal line before Luke Fickell allowed the clock to wind down.
Jordan Hall led all rushers with 87 yards on 18 carries.
The Buckeye defense held Colorado to just 13 first downs on the day. The Buffaloes were held to under eighty yards rushing on the afternoon.
The Buckeyes will open up conference play next Saturday against the Michigan State Spartans.