Ohio State Buckeyes: ucf-osu-090812

Meyer's tinkering pays off in secondary

September, 8, 2012
9/08/12
6:32
PM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Urban Meyer's specialty is offense. But when he picks up on something on the other side of the football, he's going to let his assistants know what he wants.

After watching Orhian Johnson in practice and on special teams, the Ohio State coach made his feelings known about the senior defensive back and his desire to get him on the field. The defensive staff complied, and the results were obvious with Johnson inserted into the nickel package and lending a hand in two turnovers as the Buckeyes knocked off Central Florida 31-16 on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

[+] EnlargeOrhian Johnson
Greg Bartram/US PresswireOrhian Johnson received more playing time against UCF and made two big plays.
"I was very involved in that decision," Meyer said. "I see, he’s just so talented, and he’s another guy that’s been around here for a while. Production hasn’t been what it needs to be, but he earned that right in practice, did some really good things on special teams.

"We felt like we needed more production out of that nickel spot."

The Buckeyes got plenty from Johnson, who tipped a second-quarter pass that deflected into the hands of cornerback Travis Howard and later snagged his own interception to snuff a late drive into the red zone that could have tightened up the game.

Linebacker Etienne Sabino added another pick for the Ohio State defense, which now has five overall after two games and has provided a big lift to the offense by supplying great field position. And while Johnson's own pick didn't do that, his big play might have been the most critical of the bunch so far as he preserved the two-score lead with his grab at the 9-yard line.

"It definitely felt good to get out there and help my teammates win," Johnson said. "Any chance possible, I just want to go out there and help them.

"With our defense, we kind of thrive in those [pressure] situations. ... And it definitely felt good to get my hands on the ball."

Doing it twice obviously felt even better. And it offered a bit of validation for Johnson's coach in the process.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The standard was perhaps set a bit too high.

Ohio State was close to perfect in two crucial areas in its first game in the spread offense, with just one penalty that seemed to bother Urban Meyer and no turnovers at all to worry about.

The amount of concern for the new Buckeyes coach was considerably higher after a 31-16 win over Central Florida, and he clearly expects his team to get back to that level of play it established a week ago.

(Read full post)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Running down a couple key Ohio State players dealing with health concerns after the 31-16 win over Central Florida on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
  • Michael Bennett: The defensive end didn't dress as he deals with a groin injury that has kept him out of both games so far this season.
  • Nathan Williams: Another defensive end was held out along with Bennett, as Williams was sore after perhaps playing too many snaps last week in his return from microfracture knee surgery.
  • Travis Howard: Came out in the second half with "stingers," according to Meyer. The cornerback is expected to be available next week.
  • Carlos Hyde: Left the game in the second quarter with a knee sprain, and his exact timetable for recovery isn't clear yet. The running back could potentially miss two games.

Running ragged: OSU banged up at RB

September, 8, 2012
9/08/12
6:16
PM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jordan Hall hasn't played a down yet this season after an offseason injury.

Warren Ball went down in training camp, and the true freshman is out for the year after surgery on his foot.

Carlos Hyde made it into the sixth quarter of the season, but now he's dealing with a knee sprain that could potentially keep him out for two games.

(Read full post)

Instant analysis: Ohio State 31, UCF 16

September, 8, 2012
9/08/12
3:32
PM ET


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Urban Meyer might have a few more teaching points.

But the Ohio State coach will again have the benefit of cleaning up issues after a win.

The Buckeyes had communication issues on both offense and defense and had some problems with penalties, but they had more than enough firepower to make up for it as they beat Central Florida 31-16 on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

It was over when: Another tipped ball found its way into the hands of an Ohio State defender early in the third quarter, giving possession and good field position to Braxton Miller. The sophomore quarterback needed only three plays to produce another rushing touchdown, his third of the game, putting the Buckeyes firmly in control with a 31-10 lead.

Game ball goes to: Miller did it all on offense again, shouldering even more of the load in the process.

With starting running back Carlos Hyde limited with a knee injury, Miller had the success of the rushing attack and the football in his hands all afternoon against a respected UCF defense.

He finished with 296 total yards and was responsible for all four touchdowns, three of them on the ground.

Stat of the game: Meyer suggested 17 carries were too many for Miller last week, but the quarterback added 10 more to that total in his second outing of the season.

Ohio State might not have had much choice with its top two running backs on the sideline in street clothes in the second half, but keeping Miller healthy could be tough if he keeps getting so much work.

How the game was won: The defense had a few breakdowns in the secondary and was pushed around on a few big rushing plays, but the Buckeyes were opportunistic again in the turnover battle.

Of the three interceptions Ohio State snagged, two supplied short fields for the offense, and Ohio State capitalized both times with touchdowns to swing the momentum in its favor and build a lead that provided some late wiggle room.

What it means: UCF looked like the toughest test on Ohio State’s nonconference slate, and it certainly didn’t roll over even after falling behind by three scores.

The Knights were physical and fundamentally sound, and provided real challenges on both sides of the ball for the Buckeyes, which revealed plenty about Urban Meyer’s team early in his first season.

The most important development, though, continues to be how perfect Miller is for the offense. Even with some bumps in the road, he bailed the Buckeyes out with another dynamic outing.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The offense came out swinging this time.

But Ohio State has an opponent capable of throwing a few punches back in its second game under Urban Meyer.

Central Florida weathered an early surge and came back to tie the score in the second quarter before Braxton Miller’s legs put the Buckeyes on top 17-10 at halftime at Ohio Stadium.

Stat of the half: Braxton Miller carried 14 times for 108 yards in the first half, including a pair of touchdown runs with Central Florida failing to put so much as a hand on him.

Player of the half: Miller picked things up right where he left them when cramps shortened his game in the season opener, picking up big chunks of yardage on the ground and getting the Buckeyes on the board early with a 37-yard touchdown rush in the first quarter. The sophomore quarterback has been by far the most reliable offensive option, as the spread offense has suffered through some growing pains.

What’s working for Ohio State: When in doubt, the Buckeyes simply call for Miller to run a draw.

His speed, the spread formation and some solid blocking have opened up enormous holes for him on the play, and it was particularly valuable with the score tied late in the half and Ohio State facing a third-and-16. All Miller did was pick up 24 yards -- then punch in the score on the next play.

What’s not working for Ohio State: Communication has apparently been an issue as the transition to the new offense and faster tempo hasn’t looked quite as smooth.

There have been substitution issues and a couple costly penalties, and Meyer hasn’t looked pleased through the first 30 minutes. But Miller’s athleticism has essentially bailed out the Buckeyes as they take a lead into the locker room.

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