October 7, 2012

Buckeyes put up offensive onslaught

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Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Urban Meyer knew this day would come. He just didn't think it would come so soon.

Playing in its first primetime game under the first-year Buckeyes head coach, the No. 12 Ohio State football team scored nine touchdowns on Saturday, en route to a 63-38 win over No. 21 Nebraska in front of a record crowd inside Ohio Stadium.

And with that, a new offensive era in Ohio State football was born.

"You can see what we are," Meyer said after the game. "I'm very pleased with where we're at."

You wouldn't know it from watching the ticker or reading a box score, but the OSU offense wasn't always clicking on Saturday. For the third time this season, the Buckeyes ' offense was held scoreless in the first quarter of a game- only managing to gain 17 yards on 13 plays.

"It was a dark day there for that first quarter," Meyer said. "They came out and hit us in the mouth."

It wasn't until there were less than 12 minutes remaining in the second quarter of the game that the OSU offense showed signs of life. That's when Buckeyes' quarterback Braxton Miller ripped off a 72-yard run to set up a Carlos Hyde rushing touchdown.

From there the points kept on coming. And coming. And coming. And coming.

"I think Braxton obviously changed the game," Meyer said. "We have a quarterback obviously that's kind of ridiculous running the ball."

The OSU offense's first scoring drive was the first of six consecutive Buckeye drives that resulted in a touchdown- a stretch which began with 12 minutes remaining in the second quarter and ended with six minutes left in the third. The offensive output helped the Buckeyes overcome a 17-7 deficit and helped to keep their undefeated record intact at the midway point of the season.

At times the Buckeyes looked like they possessed the type of offense that many expected Meyer to bring with him when he took over the OSU program last November, and at times they looked like they had something far different in their arsenal. Thanks to strong efforts from Miller and Hyde- and a 33-yard touchdown run from Rod Smith- the Buckeyes put up 385 yards and six touchdowns rushing the ball, which isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of the spread offense.

That's just fine with Meyer, who appears to be making the most of the talent that he inherited on this roster.

"We're kind of a pound ya offense right now. I don't mind that," Meyer said. "I've not had a lot of those. But that's a pound ya offense."

The reason that the Buckeyes have become the "pound ya" offense is the same reason why Meyer now views his offense as ahead of schedule. While many have been expecting the two-time national champion head coach to get the most out of players like Miller, Hyde, and Corey Brown, it's been the development of the Ohio State offensive line that has made Meyer confident that his 2012 offense can be as successful as the ones that he ran at Bowling Green, Utah, and Florida.

"They didn't look the way we wanted them to look in January," Meyer said. "They are  they're the ones that have really developed. I mean, like really developed. And even early in the season I didn't feel it. I didn't feel us change the line of scrimmage against those early teams. I'm starting to feel us change the line of scrimmage."

With 313 yards (186 rushing, 127 passing) from Miller, four touchdowns from Hyde, and an offensive line that Meyer is proud to call Ohio State's, the OSU offense appears to be in as good of a place that it can possibly be in heading into the second half of its season. But after the 6-7 season that the Buckeyes endured just a year ago, Meyer also knows just how fragile the state of this team can be.

"I've also been doing this long enough to realize you have a bad week, you have a bad night tonight, you have a bad something, I don't want to be the downer, but we're not there," Meyer said. "We have a long way to go."

But if the Buckeyes can get to Meyer wants them to be, there's no doubt that the future will be a bright one. With several prized recruits such as Jalin Marshall and Ezekiel Elliot in attendance on Saturday, it's hard not to imagine how this offense could look just a year from now.

"We had a bunch of recruits in that locker room afterwards," Meyer said. "You would start talking about future, you know, that's the name of the game, is go out and recruit new players and continue and build and keep going."

Where Meyer could be taking those recruits and this program remains to be seen. But if Saturday was any indication, it's somewhere that the Big Ten is unfamiliar with. And for Ohio State fans, that could very good news.


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