Ohio State’s defense has serious problems.
The Buckeyes got off to another slow start against an inferior opponent, but Buckeyes’ quarterback Braxton Miller ignited the offense in the second quarter as OSU narrowly defeated UAB 29-15.
Despite falling behind 9-0 in the first quarter, Miller rallied the Buckeyes’ offense with a couple of electric runs, leading to three Buckeye touchdowns scored in a 5:29 span in the second quarter. Ohio State led 21-12 at halftime.
Like the game against Miami, the first quarter was ugly for the Buckeyes. Ben Buchanan’s punt was blocked by about seven UAB defenders and was picked up by Nick Adams for a touchdown to give the Blazers an early 6-0 lead.
Then, trailing 9-0, Miller led the Buckeyes on a 10 play drive in 4:23 which saw Rod Smith find the end zone. It was good to see Smith get a touchdown. He’s a running back that has a lot of talent, but has had problems in his career with ball security.
Miller was the leader on offense for the Buckeyes. He completed 12 of his 20 pass attempts for 123 yards. Miller also carried the ball 11 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Hall chipped in 105 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Despite the win, the story of the game was the inability of the OSU defense to make any sort of plays against a bad UAB team. According to head coach Urban Meyer, missed tackles were a point of emphasis in practice this week, but I honestly couldn’t tell from watching the game. It seemed like UAB players were breaking tackles left and right. Next week against Michigan State, this needs to be cleaned up or OSU is in trouble.
Four players really stood out to me on defense–three of which play of the defensive line. Jonathan Hankins is my defensive player of the game as he recorded nine tackles and blew a bunch of plays up in the backfield. Nathan Williams finally got to start a football game and he was flying all over the field. He had a few missed tackles (but who didn’t), but overall I felt he played a very solid game for the Buckeyes. And John Simon didn’t have a huge statistical impact on the game, but his constant pressure on UAB quarterbacks Austin Brown and Jonathan Perry was felt.
Doran Grant also earned the start at corner for the injured Bradley Roby. His stat line: 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception and 1 sack. Not too bad for the first start of his career.
The Buckeyes still have a lot of work to do. The defense needs serious work and the offense needs to become much more consistent.
But, at the end of the day, the Buckeyes improved to 4-0 and will travel to East Lansing next week for a date with Michigan State.
If the Buckeyes don’t improve in practice this week, though, they could be in for a long afternoon.