Ohio State Football 2011
Offense Disappears in Buckeye Loss
One week after true freshman, Braxton Miller, took over as the starting quarterback, the Buckeyes offense seems to be digressing.
The offense managed only 178 total yards, including a putrid 35 yards on the ground, in Ohio State's 10-7 defeat to the Michigan State Spartans.
When the Spartans defense wasn't making plays, OSU (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) was doing what it could to help them. Joe Bauserman led Ohio State to its only score, a 34-yard pass to Evan Spencer with 10 seconds left to prevent the first possible shutout in Columbus since 1982.
Fickell said after the game that he might open up the quarterback job to the four contenders, also including Kenny Guiton and Taylor Graham, who had fought for it during spring and preseason practices. At another point he said Miller would remain his starter.
Although Fickell seemed confused about his quarterback situation, the first year interim head coach wasn't confused about what Braxton Miller's problem throughout the game.
"Things were happening fast for him (Miller)," Fickell said. "He just maybe didn't see the field real well. We thought we were going to have to throw the football, as many people as they were putting in there (on the line to stop the run) and as much heat as they were bringing. We thought our best option was to go with a guy that probably could see the field a little bit better and throw the football a little bit better."
Bauserman relieved Miller in the second half and converted on half of his 14 passes for 87 yards, while Miller was 5-of-10 for 56 yards and an interception.
The Buckeyes inconsistency on offense has been a problem for the majority of this early part of the season; however, the Spartans defense should not be overlooked.
Michigan State (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) came in as the national leader in total defense (172 yards per game) and passing defense (101 ypg), and backed up that lofty ranking on Saturday.
The Spartans got on the board first in the opening quarter as QB Kirk Cousins threw a 33-yard dart in the back of the end zone to WR B.J. Cunningham.
The combo of Cousins and Cunningham had a solid afternoon. Cousins completed 20-of-32 passes for 250 yards, while Cunningham, the Big Ten's leading receiver, had nine catches for 154 yards.
The scored remained 7-0 up until Spartans kicker Dan Conroy added a 50-yard field goal with a little over 10 minutes remaining the contest.
As mentioned, OSU's offense was never able to get anything going up until the final touchdown, but it was too little too late.
The loss for the Bucks ended a seven-game winning steak against the Spartans. The defeat also snapped a 16-game winning streak at Ohio Stadium, the fifth longest in FBS entering Saturday.
Things don't get any easier for the Buckeyes as they travel to Nebraska to take on the nationally ranked Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium next Saturday.
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