Week One of the 2012 Ohio State football season is officially behind us. The Buckeyes didn’t come out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter as we had hoped, but they definitely finished strong in closing out Miami (OH) 56-10 to mark the first win of the Urban Meyer Era convincingly.
With that, it’s time to pass out some helmet stickers for a select few who performed at the highest level on Saturday, as voted on by your Empire team.
Urban Meyer has raved about Braxton Miller from the moment he took the podium when introduced as Ohio State’s 24th head football coach. From his introductory press conference last November: “I just met Braxton and I wanted to meet Braxton – that was very important,” Meyer said. “And with all due respect to everybody in this room, that was the highlight of my day….not this.”
What the Buckeye faithful has waited nine months to see is the new Braxton Miller – the one running an Urban Meyer offense rather than a Jim Bollman offense. We expected big yards and big points and, after a slow start, Brax gave us just that.
Even having only played the first half and part of the third quarter, sitting out the remained with apparent leg cramps, Miller racked up 368 yards on the ground and through the air, accounting for three total touchdowns, including a sixty-five yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter to break the game open for good.
After a 6-7 season in 2011 that saw Braxton running an inefficient, slow-moving offense, it was great to see Meyer cut him loose. In the second quarter alone he accounted for 297 total yards which bettered four different game totals from last year – and earned him five helmet stickers from the Empire crew.
Senior cornerback Travis Howard struggled through his junior year, allowing youngster Bradley Roby to steal the spotlight at Cornerback U, but Meyer and the staff have found something in Howard that we haven’t seen before. According to Meyer, he’s matured and is now turning into the defender we all expected to see a year ago.
Meyer on Howard from Saturday’s post-game press conference: “Coach Fickell just called out Travis Howard as one of our players of the game on defense. This is obviously prior to watching film. But Travis, really got a lot of respect for him. But he was not a great player here last year. Did not play great. He’s got great abilities. So a kid with great ability that doesn’t play great, there’s a problem. Something’s out of alignment there. And I can see it happening right now, that kid’s turning into a very good player.”
Against the RedHawks, Howard bounced back from that rough junior season and did so in a big way, reeling in two interceptions on Saturday afternoon to match his total from a year ago. He didn’t make any tackles on Saturday but his two picks to stifle any thought of a Miami comeback, along with one pass break-up, were good enough to earn him five helmet stickers from the Empire crew.
Others receiving helmet stickers this week:
Devin Smith (3) | Carlos Hyde (1) | Ryan Shazier (1) | Etienne Sabino (1) | Nathan WIlliams (1) | Zach Boren (1)
2012 Season Totals:
- Braxton Miller (5)
- Travis Howard (5)
- Devin Smith (3)
- Carlos Hyde (1)
- Ryan Shazier (1)
- Etienne Sabino (1)
- Nathan Williams (1)
- Zach Boren (1)