At times it hasn’t been pretty, but the bottom line is that Ohio State is still unbeaten on the 2012 season–Urban Meyer’s first as head coach.
Through just six games, the Buckeyes have had less than impressive victories over Cal and UAB. But they also had a hard-earned victory on the road against Michigan State and had an offensive outburst in a win over Nebraska.
There’s no denying Meyer’s impact on the Ohio State offense. The Buckeyes rank second in the Big Tne behind the Cornhuskers in total offense (431.5 ypg) and scoring offense (38.5 ppg).
The defense, though? Not so good. OSU ranks sixth in scoring defense at 20.5 points per game and tenth in total defense, giving up 386.5 yards per game. Both numbers will need to improve as the season goes on.
But one thing most Buckeye fans will say is that it is exciting to watch Ohio State football again.
Through six games, though, there have been ups and downs, surprises and disappointments. With that, I present to you my 2012 midseason awards on both offense and defense.
Offensive MVP: Braxton Miller (QB)
Probably the easiest choice of the group. Ohio State would not be undefeated if it didn’t have Miller. The OSU quarterback has thrown for 1,060 yards, run for 763 and accumulated 17 total touchdowns. Simply put, Miller is everything to the OSU offense.
Most Improved Player: Corey “Philly” Brown (WR)
I must admit, I didn’t see much out of Philly Brown in his first two seasons at OSU. But this year, under Meyer, Brown has improved greatly as a legitimate threat at wide receiver for the Buckeyes. Brown has 35 catches so far this season (he had just 14 last year) for 352 yards and one touchdown. Going forward, Brown will be a big part of the offense’s success.
Biggest Surprise: Offensive Line
There are no stats to back me up here as I’m just going with what my eyes see. But this year’s offensive line is the playing at the highest level we’ve seen in quite some time. With most of the same guys back from last year, and Reid Fragel moving into the starting right tackle spot, the offensive line has been extremely consistent.
Biggest Disappointment: Jordan Hall (RB)
This isn’t really Hall’s fault, as he was battling a foot injury at the beginning of the year. Then when Hall finally came back, he looked pretty good, but injured his knee against Michigan State. It looks to be a rough senior year for Hall, someone who had so much potential in Meyer’s offense. Hopefully he can come back soon towards the end of the year.
Defensive MVP: Jonathan Hankins (DT)
Hankins is an animal. Every game the big man has played he’s been a disruptive force in the opposing backfield. Many believe Hankins is playing so well, he’s moved himself into a top ten draft pick in the upcoming NFL draft. For Buckeyes fan’s sake, here’s to hoping Hankins comes back for his senior season because he’s been awesome this year.
Most Improved Player: Christian Bryant (S)
Bryant was another player who didn’t impress me last year. I felt that he was a major weakness in the OSU secondary. This year, however, Bryant has brought some consistency to the safety position with C.J. Barnett out because of injury. Bradley Roby and Travis Howard have been solid at cornerback, but it is Bryant who has really stepped up and turned himself into quite a football player during his junior season.
Biggest Surprise: Nathan Williams (DE)
You can’t help but root for Williams. Coming off of microfracture surgery in his knee, it was unclear what Williams’ role would be in 2012. But he’s been nothing short of brilliant this year as a key contributor to OSU’s strongest unit–its defensive line.
Biggest Disappointment: Curtis Grant (MLB)
I had high hopes for Grant in his sophomore season. He was a five star recruit at linebacker coming out of high school who didn’t see much of the field last year. But this year he earned the starting job the begin the season, but was replaced by Storm Klein just three games in. Grant has all the talent in the world, it would be nice to see him use it, though.