Ohio State Football 2011
Buckeyes Bounce Back with Braxton
Woody Hayes once said, "Three things can happen when you pass the football, and two of them are bad".
A week after one of the worst passing performances in the program's history, the Buckeyes took the advice of their former legendary head coach and pounded the football, running their way to a 37-17 victory over the visiting Colorado Buffaloes.
The Buckeyes made it clear from the get-go their game plan of running the football. With true freshman, Braxton Miller, making his first career start, OSU ran the ball early and often.
Even though Braxton was making his first start, he played veteran, displaying a lot of poise and composure.
"I slept pretty good," Miller said. "I really didn't have any jitters at all."
Miller finished the day with 166 total yards, an even 83 yards through the air and ground.
After quarterback Joe Bauserman's lackluster play failed to energize the offense last week, Miller was declared the Buckeyes' starter on Thursday. Although Miller's numbers weren't sparkling, his command of the offense was.
"He gave us a lift," said Ohio State interim coach Luke Fickell. "He gave us some things we needed."
Jordan Hall, who rushed for 84 yards and a TD echoed his coaches' sentiments, "Braxton did a good job. He was calm. He's going to be special."
The Buckeyes offense led by Miller, and the running game, gained a total of 336 yards, 226 of those yards coming from the rushing attack.
With the Buckeyes setting the smash-mouth tone on offense, the defense caused turnovers and held the Buffaloes to just 76 yards rushing.
The Buffaloes, with just one turnover in their first three games, lost two fumbles in the first half while falling behind by two touchdowns. They also had nine penalties and several other mistakes.
After their first possession, Darragh O'Neill shanked a punt that covered just 20 yards and put the Buckeyes in control at the Buffaloes 43. Seven plays later, Hall leaped over the goaline for the touchdown.
Tailback Rodney Stewart (a Columbus native) and quarterback, Tyler Hansen miscommunicated on a handoff with no defender around after the ensuing kickoff, the ball coming free with Ohio State's Adam Bellamy falling on it deep in Colorado territory. Basil then converted a 28-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Then, early in the second quarter Miller floated a 32-yard scoring pass to Smith, who was running a post pattern and had toasted the defensive back covering him.
Later in the half, with Colorado still in the game down by just 10 points, Stewart was interfered with by a teammate on a punt return and fumbled. Zach Domicone recovered for the Buckeyes at the Colorado 11. Two plays later, Basil converted a field goal to make it 20-7.
OSU scored first in the second half to build their lead to 27-7 as Miller once again found Smith for their second hookup.
Both teams tacked on 10 more points each as the Buckeyes improved their record to 3-1.
Having been handed a rather humbling loss to the Miami Hurricanes last week, Fickell had his team re-focused and ready, avenging last week's debacle.
The Buckeyes will look to keep their momentum going as the begin conference play next Saturday against the Michigan State Spartans in Columbus.
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