As you can see from the picture, my wife and I had a decent view of today’s game against Colorado. The Buckeyes dominated the Buffaloes from start to finish in a much needed victory, winning by a final score of 37-17. Last week’s Miami loss was ugly on so many different levels that Buckeye Nation was hungry for something positive, and they got it.
In Mike and Mike fashion, I thought that I’d relay my own views on today’s game in a “Good, Bad, and Ugly” format. Lucky for us all, there’s a lot more of the Good than the other two…
Braxton Miller – Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. His first career start was the reason that I decided to buy tickets for this game, and he didn’t disappoint. His stats (5-13 for 83 yards and 2 TDs, and 83 yards rushing) are anything but intimidating, but his control of the offense, ability to create plays with his feet, and protection of the football are what have Buckeye fans celebrating tonight. Some people may be quick to criticize him for bringing the ball down and running before checking all of his reads, but let’s not forget that he’s a true freshman, and you may recall some of those same complaints about Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith, in his first year at QB. Miller showed just how elusive he can be today when he did decide to run. To put it mildly, he broke more ankles than Kathy Bates.
Devin Smith – He atoned for a drop early in the game by catching the rest that came his way. Freshman QB – Freshman WR…I’m drooling at the thought of having these two players develop chemistry over the next 3.5 years. Smith already has 3 TDs in his young career and will have plenty more…trust me. My apologies to Dee Miller, but this receiver is about to become THE #15.
Jordan Hall – Playmaker. He may not be able to beat Ted Ginn in a race, but Hall has playmaking ability that we’re just starting to scratch the surface on. He AVERAGED 67.5 yards on two kick returns today, but that’s only because a holding penalty brought one back 40 yards! He also demonstrated numerous times that he can do the make plays in the backfield as well. We have a stable of good running backs, but right now #7 is the Derby winner.
Carlos Hyde – Hyde averaged over 6 yards per carry today, and AGAIN showed that he has what it takes to be a stud at OSU. Unfortunately for Hyde, there are other competitors for carries this season (Hall, Herron, Smith, Berry, and now Miller), but as long as he keeps producing when he gets the ball, he won’t have to worry about getting onto the field.
Ryan Shazier – I’m excited to see this kid get onto the field more and have the chance to make some big plays. Bottom line, he hits and hits hard! He is constantly making big plays on special teams and takes full advantage of his linebacker playing time by throwing himself into every tackle opportunity that he can. He only weighs in at 212 lbs, but his athleticism and speed is off the charts for a linebacker.
Defensive Line – The D-Line got a significant push on Colorado’s line all day long, typically led by John Simon, and helped to make Tyler Henson’s life miserable for most of the day. He still managed to get his passing yardage on a few big plays, but that had little to do with this group, and I’ll get to that in a minute.
Reid Fragel – His 40 yard dash time can probably be taken with a sundial, but he can get open, and he can catch. He hauled in a pair of passes today, and although he won’t be breaking any records for yards after the catch, having a second TE that can catch passes will help keep defenses guessing with he and Stoneburner.
Kicking/Punting – Drew Basil has now fully recovered from a bad case of the yips, and made all three of his field goal attempts today, including a 47 yard beauty in the 4th quarter. Ben Buchanon, although his average may look low today, managed to pin Colorado inside of the 20 yard line on three out of his four punts and continue a scarlet and gray tradition of winning the field position battle.
Defensive Backs – They showed a knack for making tackles and definitely have the talent to be a solid group. However, they had too many breakdowns in coverage today, especially on 15-20 yard passes in the middle of the field, which allowed Colorado the opportunity to move the ball and score points. Travis Howard made a few plays, but also got caught with his eyes in the backfield on Colorado’s first score.
Braxton Miller – Settle down, he did a great job, and I’m not about to take that away from him. However, when he takes off and runs, as much as I respect his decision to go after extra yards and lead by example, the picture on the right should show why he made the “Bad” list. It’s tough to be the QB of the future if you’re on the sideline due to injury.
Clock Management – This may be a bit picky, but I felt that the coaching staff could have done a better job with clock control at the end of the first half. We came away with a field goal, but the fact that we left enough time for a kickoff and one offensive play shows me that we could have attempted a pass to the end zone and THEN decided on a field goal before half.
Dropped passes – Very few things kill momentum and get your home crowd angrier than hanging your freshman QB out to dry by dropping passes. After last week, I had sincerely hoped that our WRs had gotten this out of their system, but after witnessing at least 3-4 more today, it’s obviously still an issue. Maybe Fickell can get on the phone with Cris Carter and have him come in and show them how it’s done.
All things considered, this was a good game. Braxton did everything that he needed to do to get the win, and Buckeye Nation now has a quarterback…Hallelujah! Let me know your thoughts and if I left out any important things, whether they be good, bad, or ugly.
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