Ohio State Football 2011
Loss Takes Buckeyes out of Top 25
In a year full of setbacks, it was only a matter of time before the Ohio State Buckeyes felt the ill-affects of their tumultuous offseason.
After starting off the season with two victories over underdog MAC schools, it was Buckeyes who looked inferior as they suffered a 24-6 loss to the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday.
With the loss, the Buckeyes fall out of The Associated Press college football rankings for the first time in nearly seven years, ending the nation's longest streak of appearances in the Top 25.
Saturday's contest featured a matchup of teams dealing with NCAA scandals, and at least for one night, the Hurricanes appeared better prepared.
Lamar Miller ran for 184 yards for the Hurricanes while quarterback Jacory Harris threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to Allen Hurns. Harris finished 16-of-23 for 123 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for Miami, which opened a three-game homestand.
The Buckeyes offense was nowhere near as balanced. OSU quarterbacks, Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller, combined for an abysmal 4-or-18 passing for a mere 35 yards. Miller completed his last two passes on the game's final, meaningless drive to come up with the grand total of four completions, matching the program's worst total for any game in the last 15 years. Furthermore, Until those final seconds, the Buckeyes did not have a single pass for more than 10 yards.
On the ground, the Buckeyes had a decent showing as Jordan Hall had 87 yards on 14 carries and Carlos Hyde tallied an additional 54 yards on 12 rushes.
"We've got to do a better job all around," said interim head coach Luke Fickell. "They made a lot more plays than we did and ultimately that's what the game came down to."
Ohio State had chances to make plays but in two visits to the red zone, the Buckeyes had to settle for two field goals. Conversely, Miami went 9-for-15 on third-down conversion chances, and held the ball for 11:16 in the final quarter, nine of those minutes coming after Marcus Robinson punched the ball away from Braxton Miller in Miami territory. Mike Williams recovered for the Hurricanes and the air went out of the Buckeyes comeback hopes.
"That's what Miami Hurricane football should be," Miami coach Al Golden said. "Play good defense, make some explosive plays on defense and then run the ball in the fashion that we did."
Fickell continued the theme of converting on big play opportunities, "We pride ourselves on not giving up big plays, but the big plays hurt us."
Fickell will look to get his team back on the winning track next Saturday as the Buckeyes host the Colorado Buffaloes at Ohio Stadium.
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