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The Suburbanite
  • Blame Newton for Ohio State's uneven performance vs. Buffalo

  • In a nod to Isaac Newton's law of gravity (what goes up must come down) each Monday following an Ohio State game, we will examine a few areas in which the Buckeyes were good, and, well, the not so good.

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  • In a nod to Isaac Newton's law of gravity (what goes up must come down) each Monday following an Ohio State game, we will examine a few areas in which the Buckeyes were good, and, well, the not so good.
    Saturday’s 40-20 win over Buffalo had moments where the second-ranked Buckeyes looked dominant, and then it had moments where they didn’t exactly look like the No. 2 team in the country.
    BRAXTON MILLER AND “O” ON FIRE
    Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller helped his Heisman hype with a strong performance in the first quarter when many eyes were watching. How many pundits flipped to something else when it was 23-0 and Miller was throwing like he was going against air? Miller finished with a combined 255 yards (178 in the passing game).
    The best series of the game was OSU’s second. Miller completed a nifty swing pass to freshman Dontre Wilson, who couldn’t avoid a shoe-string tackle, or he would have gone 61 yards instead of just 18. Two plays later, Miller threw for 25 yards to Chris Fields, who was his fourth read. He hit Evan Spencer along the sideline for 10 more to the Buffalo 7. Miller found Fields for a 7-yard TD pass on the next play.
    That was the ninth play of the game for the Buckeyes and they led 16-0. Miller connected with Massillon graduate Devin Smith for a 47-yard bomb in the first series
    The third series started with a holding penalty on Jack Mewhort, which backed up Ohio State to first-and-18 from its 8. Statistically speaking, a penalty on first down that leads to anything of more than first and 10 means the offense has about a 25 percent of converting during that series.
    But Miller dug his team out. Ultimately, the drive ended with Jordan Hall breaking a 49-yard TD run and a 23-0 lead.
    NEWTON SAYS …
    The offense peaked at that point. Ohio State had 216 yards of offense in the first quarter. That’s 47 percent of the Buckeyes’ 460 total yards. The first drive of the second quarter ended when head coach Urban Meyer went for it on fourth and 1 from his 48. Hall was stuffed on an inside run, and Taylor Decker, who had about as bad a game as he could, was beaten. Meyer let the line, and Decker in particular, have an earful on the sideline.
    It didn’t get better.
    Wilson, the hyped freshman, took a reverse around left end and fumbled on the next possession. That led to Buffalo’s first touchdown.
    On the next OSU possession, Miller threw a blind screen pass that was picked off by outside linebacker Khalil Mack. Either a tackle or tight end failed to get Mack on the ground and Miller threw the pass, counting on his teammate to do his job. Mack returned it for a touchdown.
    Page 2 of 3 - The Buckeye offense was never the same after that. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman admitted to getting conservative.
    “We had three drives that were pretty close to disastrous there,” Herman said. “We said, ‘Let’s get everybody settled down and hand the ball off a little bit.’ That probably was not the right direction to take, because that’s not what the defense was giving us. I felt I got a little conservative, and it really wasn’t the way to attack these guys with what they were doing up front.”
    Conservative? Ya think? Ohio State attempted five passes in the second half.
    YOUNG DEFENSE HOLDS ITS OWN
    Looking at how Buffalo scored its points early, it is hard to fault the defense. First, the defense held its own after the failed fourth and 1 on the Buckeyes’ half of the 50. Ron Tanner came up with an interception on third down. Wilson’s fumble gave the Bulls another short field, and Mid-American Conference team or not, give a visiting offense a little light, and eventually, they will take it.
    Momentum started to shift here.
    Then Miller’s pick-six was not on the defense whatsoever.
    Given the fact that starting linebacker Ryan Shazier was out of the game with cramps, and the decision to hold safety C.J. Barnett out, it meant the entire defense was almost new players.
    It would have been interesting if a Braxton Miller sack and fumble recovered by Buffalo at the Buckeye 1 had stood. At the time, Ohio State was up 30-20. Buffalo would have taken over at the 1, and a touchdown would have meant a 30-27 OSU lead and ESPN regretting putting Beth Mowins on the game. Instead, an illegal hands to the face penalty on Buffalo bailed out Ohio State.
    NEWTON SAYS …
    If Armani Reeves is going to play soft man coverage for the first quarter, good QBs are gonna eat that up. Buffalo did that, and Meyer seemed to get more irked by the pass. “The things that drive you nuts, the little dink and dunk things, I feel like we don’t trigger on,” Meyer said. Meyer wants aggressive corners. He gets back one of the best in the country when Bradley Roby returns from suspension.
    Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington were relatively quiet. Spence did register a sack before it was over, but with so much promise, who else thought they give more in the opener?
    Still, giving up 258 yards and really just one score on the defensive unit, isn’t a bad start for a young defense in the first game.
    THREE QUESTIONS
    Is Kenny Guiton really that good? He ran for one 2-point conversion and threw for another. When Miller left with cramps, Guiton made a perfect read and threw a great pass for a 21-yard TD in the third quarter?
    Page 3 of 3 - You think Ohio State looked bad? San Diego State, which comes to Ohio Stadium on Saturday, lost its opener to Eastern Illinois to the tune of 40-19. “That’s as bad a performance as I’ve ever been around,” San Diego State head coach Rocky Long said.
    Is anyone in the country — outside of Texas — still rooting for A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel?
    Reach Todd at 330-580-8340 or
    todd.porter@cantonrep.com
    On Twitter: @tporterREP

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