Sweating silver bullets while surviving a mighty scare from Toledo's Rockets, a Saturday night road test awaits the Buckeyes in south Florida.
"There's lots of room for improvement," insisted OSU head coach Luke Fickell after the Bucks held off a late UT charge for a 27-22 week two victory.
At times, the Scarlet & Gray appeared little more than average behind career backup QB Joe Bauserman whose overall body of work was just good enough to secure the win.
OSU's fifth-year senior completed 16-of-30 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown. Most interesting was Fickell's decision to use Bauserman for the duration.
True freshman Braxton Miller had generated 160 total yards a week earlier, rotating with Bauserman as part of the Bucks' 42-0 season-opening blanking of Akron.
"I'm confident with both our quarterbacks," was about the extent of Fickell's postgame analysis Saturday.
Of immediate concern for OSU fans is Bauserman's potential for producing a second consecutive wire-to-wire performance. This time, obviously, against a more athletic and talented defense Miami's Hurricanes will showcase.
"I was a little surprised (I played the entire game)," Bauserman admitted to reporters. "It was a long, tiring game. But it was good for me to be able to take all the snaps."
Naturally, the situation (and potentially Saturday's humid conditions) will dictate Fickell's strategy vs. UM.
The fact game three is on the road could conceivably work to Bauserman's advantage considering thousands of frustrated fans in the 'Shoe let him hear it at least a half dozen times following an occasional inability to execute.
Surely, though, the Buckeye Nation knows better by now: This Joe goes by Bauserman, not Montana.
Was not the Virginia native's OSU career destined to culminate strictly in a backup capacity had not Terrell Pryor opted to frequent a Columbus area body shop?
It stands to reason, Bauserman will be closely monitored Saturday with every possibility Miller makes a return appearance during the proceedings.
Though equally depleted of key personnel in the wake of Miami's latest scandal of the month, coach Al Golden's Canes will serve as an accurate gauge how much progress OSU has made in three weeks.
From viewing the Bucks' first two starts in the press box, I'll continue to withhold judgment until Fickell's club fields a complete team at midseason.
"We've got a lot of things to work on," advised junior tight end Jake Stoneburner who has four TD receptions after two games. "Going down and playing Miami will be a major test for us in a totally different environment. I feel like we'll be able to rise to the occasion."
THE Buckeyes stopped Toledo's last-minute drive after forcing an incomplete pass on fourth and five from OSU's 16.
Had the Rockets pulled off the upset, they would have been the first Ohio team to defeat the Buckeyes since 1921.
"I don't even want to think about (that scenario)," Stoneburner disclosed. "That would have been too tough to deal with." The Dublin Coffman prep product has a team-leading eight catches, totaling 93 yards....
CHECKING out various blogs Sunday night, hearty reps of Steeler Nation expressed outrage over the Black & Gold's decisive setback at Baltimore. Many were howling for (defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau's head, pointing out Pittsburgh's defense has yielded 66 points its past two starts, including Super Bowl XLV.
This just in: LeBeau wasn't guilty of coughing up seven turnovers vs. the Ravens nor Ben Roethlisberger's costly pick-six and Rashard Mendenhall's late fumble vs. the Packers.
Amazing how one rotten performance is being perceived by many as a precursor for the entire 2011 season.....
MORE troubling than anything the Steelers failed to achieve Sunday was the go-ahead touchdown surrendered by Cleveland in what should have been a season-opening victory over Cincinnati.
The Browns' defense got burned well beyond the point of embarrassment as Bengals' backup QB Bruce Gradkowski connected with wide open rookie A.J. Green on what resembled a back-yard play of middle schoolers.
Gradkowski took a quick snap on a third and 11 play while most Browns' defenders were just breaking the huddle. The 41-yard gift wrap score gave Cincy a 20-17 lead with 4:28 remaining.
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org