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Ohio State Football 2012

 
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Meyer, Buckeyes Victorious in Conference Opener

 

 

Urban Meyer's first Big Ten matchup as the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes went like any other stereotypical Big Ten game. It was a barnburner.

Nonetheless, the 14th ranked Buckeyes outlasted the 20th ranked Michigan State Spartans, 17-16, to improve to 5-0 on the season.

OSU quarterback, Braxton Miller, got shook up twice, but kept coming back on the field, and in the end the Buckeyes played just well enough defensively to come away with the bruising win.

"This was a war. This was two sledgehammers going at each other," Meyer said. "I know the Big Ten has taken some heat. That was a great game. Great atmosphere, a bunch of great players on the field that are going to be playing at the next level, and that was good for college football and good for the Big Ten."

Brutus Fathead Miller threw for 179 yards and ran for 136 and put Ohio State ahead for good with a 63-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith in the third quarter to give the Buckeyes a 17-13 lead.

"We hook up all the time," Miller said. "That's one of my favorite receivers, so I'm always going to look for him."

Despite another stat-stuffing performance, Miller struggled. He turned the ball over three times in Michigan State territory, including a fumble early in the fourth, but the Buckeyes actually caught a break on that play. The ball bounced right to Kurtis Drummond of the Spartans, who began running down the right sideline before the play was blown dead and Miller was ruled down.

The call was reversed after a review, giving MSU the ball at its own 32, but the Buckeyes were saved from a big return that almost would surely have followed if the call had been correct to begin with.

The Buckeyes then appeared to have stopped the Spartans when MSU quarterback Andrew Maxwell underthrew a pass on fourth-and-1 from the Ohio State 44, but Travis Howard was called for defensive holding on the opposite side of the field, keeping the drive alive.

Dan Conroy's 48-yard field goal pulled Michigan State within a point with 7:07 remaining.

Miller remained down holding his left knee after his fumble but was able to come back the next time Ohio State had the ball. The Spartans forced a three-and-out and took over at their own 20 with 5:39 left, still down a point.

That was when the Buckeyes defense dug in and came up big. They held the Spartans to only one first down before forcing them to punt. The Spartans wouldn't get another chance.

Meyer becomes the third coach to start 5-0 in his first season at Ohio State. Carol Widdoes and Earle Bruce also did it in 1944 and 1979, respectively.

Michigan State (3-2, 0-1) has lost four home games in a row against Ohio State.

Ohio State will look to remain unbeaten next Saturday as they return to Columbus to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers under the lights of the Horseshoe at 8:00 p.m. ET.

 

By Nick Adams
BigTen-fans.com Ohio State Correspondent

 

 

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