Ohio State Football 2012
Offensive Explosion Propels Buckeyes to Victory
Last season, the Ohio State Buckeyes offense was downright inept, so to think that in merely 12 months they would be putting up 63 points on a conference foe seems a bit surreal.
What is even more improbable is that quarterback Braxton Miller is still learning the offense.
Miller broke his own school record for a quarterback by rushing for 186 yards, dashing 72 yards for one score and passing for another, to lead the 12th-ranked Buckeyes past No. 21 Nebraska 63-38 on Saturday night before the largest crowd ever at Ohio Stadium.
"I'm learning every week," Miller said. "They're throwing new stuff at us every week. I'm just trying to get it all down pat."
Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer seemed rather surprised, but pleased, about his offensive's progress.
"Our offensive line eventually took over that game," commented Meyer. "We have two great runners right now. The quarterback is kind of ridiculous right now and Hyde is a solid back."
Incredibly, Ohio State got off to a slow start but more than made up for it by scoring on six of seven possessions over one span -- with the punt return touchdown thrown in.
They didn't have a first down in the opening period, gaining just 17 yards on 13 plays while falling behind 14-7.
However, in the second quarter, they put up 242 yards and scored 28 points.
Down 17-7 after a Nebraska field goal, the Buckeyes took control of the game by scoring on their next four possessions.
It all started when Miller was confronted by Courtney Osborne in the backfield but juked him and then raced down the right sideline for a 72-yard gain, pushed out of bounds at the Nebraska 3. Miller limped off the field and was replaced by Kenny Guiton, who handed off twice to Hyde, the second resulting in a 1-yard dive for the score.
OSU added one more touchdown to take an 11 point lead at the half, but the Buckeyes watched the Huskers cut the lead to 35-31 on Martinez's 3-yard pass to tight end Ben Cotton. OSU countered with Hyde's third TD run and Brown's lightning-fast burst through traffic on the punt return as the lead swelled to 49-31.
Nebraska running back, Rex Burkhead, averaging 91 yards rushing a game, injured his knee on a 24-yard gain on the fourth play of the second half. He spent much of the third quarter pedaling away on a stationary bike on the Nebraska sideline.
As he pedaled away, Ohio State was piling up the points.
Rod Smith also rushed for a 33-yard touchdown and Hyde one more in the final seconds to close out the scoring explosion.
It was the most points given up by the Cornhuskers since a 65-51 loss at Colorado in the final game of the 2007 season.
The Buckeyes hadn't had so much production since beating Eastern Michigan 73-20 two years ago. The combined 101 points was the most in a Big Ten game involving Ohio State since an 83-21 win over Iowa in 1950. It was the most points scored by the Buckeyes in a conference game since a 69-18 win over Minnesota in 1983.
The win extended Ohio State's fast start in its first year under Meyer and equals their entire win total from last season.
The Buckeyes, still eligible to win a Big Ten division title even though on NCAA probation and banned from the postseason, are tied with Penn State atop the Leaders Division standings.
OSU will look to remain unbeaten next Saturday as the travel to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers.
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