Was it a perfect game for the Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday in East Lansing as they took on the Spartans in their first road game? No, but what is a perfect game? Is it a complete blowout? Is ‘perfect’ running it back every time for a touchdown or is it methodically and meticulously running that time down? What is perfect?
What we did see was huge improvements to get us closer to the level that we should be and get them to see what those results would give them.
Don’t throw away your Heisman hopes for Braxton Miller just yet and I wouldn’t take him off my list in favor of Geno Smith. Miller is focused on the team and makes things happen. God-given talent and whether or not he is a “hell of an athlete” aside, it was not his best performance, but he still led the Buckeyes to a 17-16 victory.
He carried the team selflessly and made things happen when times were tough and the Buckeyes needed the play. Yes, he threw another interception, but he was 16-of-23 for 183-yards and when it counted it seems they were where they needed to be. That 63-yard bomb to Devin Smith was not only a credit to Miller, but a very talented receiver that continues to be a very dynamic and explosive go getter. The play sealed the scoring for the Buckeyes, but also helped drive home the fact that Miller is an all-around talent.
A lot of credit has to go out to the Buckeye “O” line as they kept the Spartans mostly off of Braxton. Without the protection they provided on Saturday this game would not have been the same. Only one sack was allowed compared to nine last year against the Spartans. The game was won up front with Jack Mewhort, Reid Fragel, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsley and Marcus Hall plowing holes for Miller, Carlos Hyde and, for a while, Jordan Hall. Even though it was tight at times on the ground, it seemed that there was always the needed space for what the play-makers needed.
Hello defense, it was certainly nice to see you join us in the fifth game for an outstanding win and to show the talent, skill, and desire that got you to Ohio State! The Silver Bullets came out and played and held a huge threat, Le’Veon Bell, to 45 yards with the entire team only netting 22 rushing. They forced the Spartans to put it in the air, not exactly their strength. A slightly over fifty-percent passing average by Andrew Maxwell can be directly attributed to the pressure put on by the Buckeyes.
Heart, all heart. You can see a visible difference this season compared to last and what a show it was. These guys are out there battling it out and yet know they cannot see a bowl appearance or shot at a National Championship, but are out to prove their worth and take a shot at an undefeated record. Perhaps that makes this team as dangerous an opponent as the B1G has to offer in 2012.
Certainly film review this week is still going to have plenty of things to correct and there is room for improvement. Three turnovers, still some tackling issues, and six penalties that cost them 65-yards are things that they need to keep in check. Was Michigan State the best that we’ll see in 2012? I’m not sure, but they certainly gave us the challenge that we needed.
This win allowed Coach Meyer to show a different side of his emotions that I don’t think we have completely seen yet. The first Big 10 game and a victory – the first real challenge and we came out on top – the first match-up against an equally talented team and his Buckeyes didn’t budge.
Not that Meyer doesn’t have heart and doesn’t let his hair down or smile, but he is a serious man who got to show his fun side on Saturday in that state up north. Visibly, he was in the game, in the zone and having the time of his life as seen by the chest bumping and thumping image that has soared across the internet and television. Welcome to the Big 10, Coach Meyer, and congratulations on your first Big 10 win.