What we learned: Week 1

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
2:00
PM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Let's take a look at the new developments for Ohio State after its 40-20 win over Buffalo on Saturday afternoon.

Still room to grow for Braxton Miller

The improvements with his mechanics were clear pretty much from the start, with Miller only needing one attempt to deliver his first touchdown pass of the season after a deep strike to Devin Smith. The junior had a hot hand early and rattled off seven consecutive completions to open 2013, offering more evidence that his accuracy is much closer to the level coach Urban Meyer is expecting. Miller is adding even more explosiveness to an offense that was already the best in the Big Ten last season. But he also had some shaky moments and made some questionable decisions with the football, putting a couple balls out of reach for Philly Brown and firing blindly on a screen pass that turned into an interception and touchdown for Buffalo. Miller has pretty clearly taken some steps forward and stuffed the stats sheet just like normal, but there still remains room to grow.

Meyer willing to gamble after touchdowns

An aggressive coaching style mostly showed up in Meyer's decision to forego field goals last season in favor of fourth-down tries. Now it appears he's willing to skip extra points as well. The Buckeyes punched in 2-point conversions after their first two touchdowns on the season in the first quarter Saturday, surprising Buffalo and just about everybody else with their boldness. Backup quarterback Kenny Guiton has the trust of Meyer and the option at times to audible out of the kicking game if the numbers are right. Over the course of the season, that could lead to some on the scoreboard that aren't multiples of seven.

Jury out on defense

There was nothing wrong with the end result for the Ohio State defense, and it would almost certainly take games in which it gave up just 14 points and 258 yards all season long if it could. Given the level of competition, the Buckeyes might have been looking for something just a bit more impressive to open the season, but it's difficult to judge a unit that at times on Saturday had just one returning starter on the field. Ryan Shazier's cramping issue, Bradley Roby's suspension and a previously undisclosed ankle injury for C.J. Barnett all but wiped out Ohio State's on-field experience. Having them all healthy and cleared to play will change the look of the defense dramatically. Until then, the verdict on that side of the ball will have to wait.

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter

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