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Urban renewal begins as Miller shines in OSU romp

Braxton Miller AP

The naming of Urban Meyer as the head coach at Ohio State was easily the marquee hiring of the 2011 coaching carousel. And, with two BcS titles stapled to his coaching resume’ and despite NCAA sanctions that make the Buckeyes ineligible for the postseason, the anticipation for the 2012 season was nearing a fever pitch prior to kickoff at the Shoe Saturday.

After a sluggish first quarter, the anticipation was validated.

Miami of Ohio actually held a 3-0 lead with the first 15 minutes in the books, but 35 consecutive points reeled off by the No. 18 Buckeyes over a span of about 15 minutes left no doubt that, as expected, the Urban Era at Ohio State would kick off with a nonconference win.

Perhaps the most positive development during the 56-10 win was the continuing, well, development of sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller.  Upon Meyer’s hiring back in December, the former Florida coach seemed most excited over the prospect of coaching Miller in his version of the spread offense.

An athlete of exceptional talent, Miller was limited his true freshman season last year by both his inexperience at this level and the coaching staff — starting all but one of the Buckeyes’ 13 games last season, Miller attempted just 157 passes, with a game-high 25 in the regular-season finale.  With Meyer in charge, and with the confidence the coach has in the player, Miller attempted 24 passes in his two-and-a-half quarters of play.

Even as Miller completed just over half of those passes (14), he totaled 205 yards passing — just the second time in 13 career games he’s gone over that modest mark — two touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions.  Certainly Miller was helped by his receivers on a couple of occasions — Devin Smith, anyone? — but the sophomore seemed more at ease in the opener than he did at any point last season, a direct result of the confidence Meyer and his offensive coaching staff has in the player.

And, Meyer saw exactly what he wanted to see headed into the game.

“But I think one of the things about Braxton Miller that I really had to see, and I did see today, is that the objective with Braxton is to make him from an athlete playing quarterback to a quarterback that manages,” Meyer said in quotes distributed by the school following the win.

Of course, being the athlete that he is, Miller complemented the marked improvement in the passing game with his usual stellar effort on the ground, leading the Buckeyes in rushing with 161 yards and another score (65-yard run).  Add it all up, and it means Miller accounted for 366 of OSU’s 538 yards of total offense and three of the seven offensive touchdowns — again, in less than three quarters — in his first game under Meyer.

Yes, the level of competition must be taken into consideration.  Still, the excitement displayed by Meyer prior to the start of the season was very much justified based on the small taste Miller gave OSU fans in Columbus.  And made it seem like the best may be yet to come.

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7 Responses to “Urban renewal begins as Miller shines in OSU romp”
  1. nickp91 says: Sep 1, 2012 3:41 PM

    Urban Meyer’s first game as Ohio State’s head coach was one for the history books

  2. callmecynical says: Sep 1, 2012 4:28 PM

    Hey JT, True TOSU fan here, but it is only Miami of Ohio. Let’s see what they do against Cal and the rest of the Big Twelnvelope. Trade mark rights reserved. BTW, they will roll through the BTW, agian trade mark rights reserved. Just for kicks, I’ll throw this one in. When my Reds win the WS against the Rangers I’ll buy you a gyro in the short north, deal?

  3. John Taylor says: Sep 1, 2012 5:14 PM

    Deal, cynical.

  4. handsofsweed says: Sep 1, 2012 8:37 PM

    You two spend a lot of time together in the short north, huh? Nice.

    I thought Brax threw a large number of incredibly poor balls and was bailed out multiple times by incredible catches. I know you already mentioned that.

    The good part was that the problem looks mechanical and not mental. It seemed that on all of his “sideways-wobblers, bounce passes and 17 feet tall miss-targets,” he made good reads and his timing was good. It’s just that he uncorks a load of horrible throws. That’s gotta stop. Soon.

  5. kozbee says: Sep 2, 2012 12:13 AM

    Meyer your Buckeyes played no one.Can`t understand the rave over a win over miami of Ohio.Urban your becoming a softy in the Big Ten.

  6. dkhhuey says: Sep 2, 2012 8:20 AM

    Nicely done Buckeyes! It was hot and sticky in the Shoe yesterday but it was so worth it to witness the start of the Urban Era! This team will only get better and can’t wait until we start our Big Ten run! That catch by Devin was freakin ridiculous – so was that move by Braxton on route to his long TD run. Top that off with the pummeling of UofM and Ohio beating PSU – that was a great day yesterday!

  7. stephenolszewski says: Sep 4, 2012 10:09 AM

    I’m not excited because they beat Miami of Ohio 56-10 I’m happy because you saw progress in the offense and last year they couldn’t even demolish the bad teams with Fickell as the Head Coach. Hopefully Braxton can develop his arm more and he will be scary in Urban’s offense

    BTW lol at that Stiff Arm where Braxton tried to stiff arm and flew out of bounds was too funny

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