Ground game comes up big in Buckeyes’ spread
COLUMBUS – When Ohio State University hired Urban Meyer as its new football coach last November, the thing most fans were excited about was his offensive approach.
Meyer has been one of the innovators of the spread offense, but unlike some spread approaches, including Miami of Ohio’s, the Buckeyes’ spread is more run-oriented.
That worked out quite well for a trio of quarterback Braxton Miller, tailback Carlos Hyde and the usually seldom-used Zach Boren.
The Buckeyes ran for a total of 294 yards, which was 295 more than the RedHawks gained.
Miller had one of the highlights of the day when he took the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter and raced 58 yards for a touchdown. At about the RedHawks’ 20, he utilized a stutter step that simply left a Miami defender on the ground.
“I just did a little jerk and scored,” Miller said. “Some guys do that in practice and you think the guy is going down.”
Miller finished with an OSU record (for quarterbacks) 161 rushing yards on 17 carries, which is too many carries, according to his head coach.
“We would like to keep him in the 10 to 12 range,” Meyer said. “But, very few of those were direct runs. Some were scrambles, but some were part of the run/read game.”
The Huber Heights Wayne product left the game twice in the third quarter due to cramps.
“I am fine with that many carries,” Miller said. “I had a lot of fun with the guys today. They threw a little trick at us in the first quarter, but after that, we got rolling.”
Hyde scored two touchdowns, but he was most disappointed that he came up short of the 100-yard barrier, finishing with 84 stripes.
“I definitely wanted to get 100 yards, and I knew if I would have broke another run I would have been there,” Hyde said. “It was pretty exciting to get out there and get Coach Meyer his first victory.”
Boren, who is a team captain, came into Saturday’s game with all of one carry in his Buckeyes’ carrer. He doubled that on Saturday and scored his first career touchdown. He also caught two balls for 18 yards.
“I dropped a pass and that really (makes me mad),” Boren said. “But, I came back with two receptions. Braxton does so much with his speed that it’s tough to cover all of the guys. Hopefully, I have more carries in my future.”
Meyer was simply stunned when he was informed during his press conference that Boren had so few carries in his career.
“That was his second carry?” Meyer asked. “Second carry of his career? Wow! I thought I heard someone say it was his first touchdown. If you watch him play, he’s a nifty guy.”
WELCOME TO THE BIG SHOW
It’s been quite a week for former Steubenville Big Red standout Najee Murray. Last Wednesday, Murray was formally welcomed into the Ohio State Buckeyes’ football family when he had his “black stripe” taken off his helmet.
He wasted little time in showing why he was one of the area’s most heralded recruits in several years.
Murray played primarily on special teams Saturday. He recorded two solo tackles. In the second half, Murray was playing cornerback, but nary a ball was thrown in his direction.
Freshmen weren’t made available to the media.
Miami of Ohio’s defense – which is directed by 1980 Cadiz High graduate Jay Peterson – drew high praise from Meyer.
And rightfully so since the RedHawks had the Buckeyes looking “very poor” offensively in the first quarter.
“Miami of Ohio did a really good job of defending a certain formation that we ran out of,” Meyer said. “And that’s our base formation. We have to be able to make quicker adjustments.”
The Buckeyes rebounded to finish with 538 yards of total offense.
Prior to the game, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan addressed the RedHawks’ players. Ryan, who accepted the Republican nomination last week at the convention in Tampa, is a Miami of Ohio graduate.