The Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Nittany Lions of Penn State Saturday night thanks to an offensive explosion lead by quarterback Braxton Miller. Miller led the Buckeyes with five total touchdowns and running back Carlos Hyde continued his dominance on the ground with 147 yards on 16 carries and two scores. Ohio State totaled nine touchdowns on Saturday, four of which went for 25 yards or more. On this week’s edition of Big Play Breakdown, we will evaluate three of the four big plays and how they were executed.
Braxton Miller 39 yard touchdown run
If you haven’t blocked out all of the disaster that was the 2011 Ohio State football season, you will remember the one and only play that always seemed to work that season; the quarterback draw. The same play was used to break Miller open for his first rushing touchdown of the year on Saturday night in the Horseshoe. Miller showed pass, while the offensive line set up for the delayed run. Center Corey Linsley and right guard Marcus Hall double teamed the right side defensive tackle while the rest of the line washed the defensive ends up field. After showing pass, Miller darted right following the double team by Hall and Linsley. With great downfield blocking by his receivers, especially Devin Smith, Miller was able to dive into the end zone for his first rushing score of the year.
Carlos Hyde 39 yard touchdown run
Believe it or not, prior to the Iowa game Hyde’s longest run of the 2013 season was a 21 yard burst against Florida A&M. Hyde then set a new season high against Iowa with a 28 yard rush, and followed that up with his 39 yard sprint to the end zone against Penn State Saturday night. The Buckeyes lined up with twin receivers to the left (Smith, Chris Fields) and tight end Jeff Heuerman offset to the right with Corey Brown wide to the boundary. The play was a zone read which normally means that the quarterback is going to read the defensive end. In this case however, the outside linebacker blitzed, which means the offensive tackle, in this case Jack Mewhort must block the end and the linebacker becomes the read. The linebacker ran up field, so Miller made the right read and gave the ball to Hyde. With superb blocking by Smith and Fields downfield, Hyde was able to run past the hapless Penn State defense and extend the Ohio State lead.
25 yard touchdown pass- Miller to Brown
If the sweater vest was still at the helm in Columbus, this play never would have happened. In fact the entire drive that led to the score by Brown would have never happened as the Buckeyes already led by four touchdowns. We all know that Jim Tressel would have been content with a 35-7 lead at halftime, but not Urban Meyer. With just nine seconds left on the first-half clock, Miller lined up with trips receivers to the wide side of the field and Smith to the boundary. The Buckeyes ran four verticals, a play that is simple read for the quarterback; watch the safety and throw opposite of where he goes. The inside slot receiver which was Brown on this play, is taught to split the middle of the field and make the safety commit to him or the other slot receiver. Miller stepped up into the pocket beautifully to avoid pressure and fired an absolute bullet over the middle to Brown who had a safety right on his back. The play could have gone to Brown or Heuerman, who had beaten his man off the ball and was also open up the hash mark in the end zone. Regardless, Miller showed off his arm strength and gave the Buckeyes a five score lead at the half.
While there is not much to break down on the play, Dontre Wilson’s touchdown on Saturday is worth noting. The speedy freshman scored on a 26 yard swing route from Miller on pure speed and agility making the defender look silly with a juke move that brought the fourth largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history to its feet. Backup quarterback and senior captain Kenny Guiton also scored twice on the ground sending the student section into a chorus of “Kenny G” chants. The Buckeyes look to add to their offensive output this week against lowly Purdue.